For most women, birth control is a necessary evil. It causes weight gain, gives us weird skin issues, and messes with our sex drive, but we also don’t want babies, so what the hell is a girl supposed to do? Women have been begging for better options or even some new forms of male birth control for pretty much ever, and it looked like we were finally about to get our wish when trials started on a new hormonal contraceptive shot for men.
Unfortunately, all the dudes are pulling out of the study because, get this—they can’t handle the side effects.
A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism recently revealed that progestin injections are an effective birth control method for men.
The injections work by suppressing sperm production. When researchers tested the shots on 320 men between the ages of 18 and 45 who were all in monogamous heterosexual relationships, they found 96 percent of the men and their female partners avoided pregnancy.
It sounds like a dream come true for women who are sick of popping pills and rocking Nuva Rings, but an independent committee actually halted the trial after 20 men dropped out because they couldn’t handle the side effects.
According to the BBC, six men left the study due to mood changes. Six more left for things like acne, pain, “panic” at their first injections, heart palpitations, hypertension, or erectile dysfunction. Eight other men left because they had more than one of those adverse reactions at the same time.
Well, it gets worse. The study also raised concerns about the injection’s impact on fertility. After a year, eight participants still hadn’t become fertile again, and within four years one guy who participated in the study had only partially recovered his fertility. That’s a legit nightmare for these men and their partners.
Still, the internet has wasted no time skewering the MIA trial participants, because, seriously, women have been dealing with most of this shit forever.
It’s tempting to mock these guys. Seriously, it’s so fucking tempting.
And even men got in on the conversation, making fun of the news.
The fact is the pill has been commercially available to women since 1960, and we’ve been dealing with mood changes, acne, weight gain, depression, decreased libido, and everything these men in the study complained about ever since.
In fact, a long-term study found women on the pill are 23 percent more likely to be prescribed antidepressants, yet when I tell my doctor I think hormonal birth control makes my anxiety and depression worse, she looks at me like I’m speaking gibberish. That’s how women’s concerns about birth control have always been treated, and it stings that the powers that be are only taking note because they’re finally hearing these things from men. Of course our first and strongest reaction is to say fuck a bunch of that noise.
But, if the controversy surrounding this study is what it takes for researchers, and doctors to finally notice that our current birth control methods suck, maybe it’s not so absurd.
It’s way beyond time that we had access to an effective male birth control method. It’s also way beyond time for doctors to stop telling women our birth control is totally safe and looking at us like we’re nuts when we complain about well-documented side effects.
It’d be awesome if doctors could listen to women, trust us, and take our experiences seriously. But, until the world starts actually respecting us, let’s at least hope these male tears about acne and mood changes lead to a conversation that helps birth control get better for everyone, because that’s something every single one of us could use.