Feature

A birth control pill for men?

Discovery of a new sex hormone brings scientists a step closer to creating a contraceptive pill for men. Breakthrough, or bad idea?

Scientists said this week that they're closer to creating a birth control pill for men, after finding a new human sex hormone that could be used to suppress male fertility. While some say "the pill for men" could be an invaluable addition to the existing arsenal of contraceptive tools, a slew of critics say that women shouldn't be so quick to hand off contraceptive responsibility. Are we ready for a male birth control pill?

Men can't handle the responsibility: Observe the legions of famous philanderers out there, says Ravi Somaiya at Gawker. They're living proof that possessing a male libido is like "'being chained to an idiot.'" Not only are men more likely to lie about being on the pill, they're more likely to forget to take it. The end result: "Sexually transmitted infections and diseases would probably spread a bit faster"—not exactly the result that scientists, or women, are hoping for. "Male Contraceptive Pill Mooted Again, Still a Dreadful Idea"

Why deny men the right to choose? It's "astoundingly insulting" to imply that men aren't capable of taking the pill, says Kate Harding at Salon's Broadsheet. In fact, most "smart, honest, responsible men" are far from sex-crazed beings whose brains become "temporarily short-circuited" upon arousal. The prospect of a male birth control pill—which places responsibility squarely on a man's shoulders—would be welcomed by men who don't want to "put the burden of pregnancy prevention chiefly on the woman.""Are men too incompetent to use the pill?"Women aren't perfect pill-poppers, either: "Don't trust a man to do a woman's job," says Steph Auteri at YourTango, but don't necessarily trust a woman. Even though "we generally have more to lose," women still regularly forget to take the pill, get home late and "collapse into bed" without taking the pill, or "throw caution to the wind" and neglect to use the pill altogether. Maybe "none of us are to be trusted!""Why Women Can't Rely on Male Birth Control"

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