> Les numéros > Scumgrrrls N° 14 - Automne / Fall 2008

Heterosexual and looking for safe, fast, cheap and efficient male contraception method

It is called male Vasecomy !

If you are involved in a heterosexual relationship you will be discussing birth control methods sooner or later.

If you happen to live in Sweden you will be led to believe that the options are multiple, safe and easy to come by. But when you examine the “choices” a little closer you’ll soon realise that they’re all aimed at women, and that there are in fact only two different kinds of contraceptives available. The Pill and the copper IUD. The vaginal ring, the monthly injectables, the hormonal IUDs are in fact the same thing as the Pill or the mini pill, synthetic oestrogen and/or synthetic progestogen added to your body in different doses. So if you don’t like hormones you’re left with the copper IUD stuck up your pussy. Not a tantalising option if you have a history of vaginal infections and/or cystitis.

After the birth of our fourth child my husband and I decided to explore the other options, the ones no health worker will suggest. We noticed that the real revolution is actually out there already, and it’s called male sterilization or vasectomy. It is safe, fast and has no side effects at all. For the man himself that is, the health personal administrating this procedure on the other hand seemed to suffer quite a lot just at the thought that a man would freeze his possibility to reproduce.

When I called to make the first appointment with a psychologist I got a lecture about not forcing my husband to do something against his will. I tried repeatedly to tell her that he was unable to make the call himself because of his work and that I was certainly not forcing him. Eventually she could give him an appointment a month later. After her evaluation he could go on and see a surgeon, twice, to make sure he knew what he was doing. Then he was put on the waiting list to have the procedure done, could he take a cancellation on short notice ? Yes, he could. Three months later we were still waiting. He called and two days later there was a cancellation. A 20 minutes all-in-all outpatient procedure and he was done. Yes, it hurt a bit, but not worse then your average period cramps I’m sure. His sexuality is not affected, and it is in fact reversible should he change his mind and want to have another child later on.

Compare this with the side effects caused by bir th control methods aimed at women, I’m thinking first and foremost about the physical effects listed below, but also about being solely responsible for contraception and the pressure on women in general to please others, especially men they’re involved with. And then we wonder why so many women in heterosexual relationships have difficulty in reaching orgasm ?

Common side effects from hormonal birth control methods according to the manufacturer/health workers are increased appetite, weight gain, acne, fatigue, clot of blood, high blood pressure, bleeding, nauseous, breast cancer, headache, change in intensity of sexual desire and response, vaginitis, vaginal discharge, urinary tract infection, breast tender ness, skin problems, gum inf lammation, mood changes, aggravating asthma and an increase in your incidence of contracting viral illnesses. Why not promote female sterilization as well you may ask ? Well, it’s invasive surgery that usually requires general anaesthesia, which always has risks. Other possible side effects include abnormal bleeding, bladder infections and post-tubal sterilization syndrome. The post-tubal sterilization syndrome includes irregular and painful periods, mid-cycle bleeding, or no periods. Reversal surgery is seldom effective and always difficult. Women who do have successful reversal surgery and become pregnant have a higher chance of ectopic pregnancy. So basically it’s easier, safer, faster and cheaper for men.

But unless you and your partner are ready to do some serious research you’ll never find this option. In Sweden the Pill and its hormonal friends (the IUD, the vaginal ring, the injectables) are considered the only answer you need by health workers and officials alike. When the Pill sales go down, health officials worry that abortion rates may go up. Why can’t women simply take their pills is the question asked ? You could easily believe that reproduction was an all-female activity, because men aren’t even mentioned. For some reason, Swedish health authorities promote only bir th control methods with hormones aimed at women. Suggesting that men take responsibility for contraception is not even a joke, it’s unheard of. It’s 2008, can we please have a review of the contraceptive advice given by health professionals – in order to introduce a crystal clear gender perspective and also promote men’s responsibilities and concrete possibilities into birth control ?

FR

Quand on regarde de près les choix contraceptifs présentés aux couples hétéro, on réalise rapidement qu’ils sont tous destinés aux femmes, et ne comprennent que la pilule (et autres solutions hormonales), ou le stérilet. On pourrait croire que la reproduction est une activité exclusivement féminine, les hommes n’étant même pas mentionnés. Ceci en dépit de l’existence d’une méthode sûre, rapide et efficace de contraception masculine : la vasectomie, aussi appelée stérilisation. Pourtant, autorités et professionnels de la santé n’ont pas l’air très à l’aise pour la promouvoir !

NL

Ben je heterosexueel en op zoek naar een veilige, snelle, goedkope en efficiënte MANNELIJKE anticonceptie ? Als je goed naar de verschillende anticonceptiemethodes kijkt, realiseer je je snel dat ze enkel op vrouwen zijn gericht, en dat het in feite neerkomt op De Pil (en andere hormonale oplossingen) en het spiraaltje. Je zou gemakkelijk gaan geloven dat voortplanting een puur vrouwelijke activiteit was, want mannen worden niet eens genoemd. Maar er bestaat een veilige, snelle, goedkope en efficiente methode voor mannen en die heet ’vasectomien’ of ’sterilisatie’. Toch lijken gezondheidsprofessionals er helemaal niet geneigd dit te stimuleren !