Women can only hope we’ll soon see a male pill. The ques­tion is, can blokes re­ally be trusted to take it?

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - UPFRONT - KATHY LETTE

God is def­i­nitely a bloke. Think of all the things women go through – from pe­riod cramps, where you get taken hostage by your hor­mones once a month, to preg­nancy, where your stom­ach swells to sumo wrestler pro­por­tions. Then there’s the joy of child­birth, where you stretch your birth canal the cus­tom­ary oh, 5km? Then there’s the epi­siotomy fol­lowed by breast feed­ing and the ag­o­nies of mas­ti­tis. And then, fi­nally, the menopause … Then, just when ev­ery­thing goes quiet, do you know what hap­pens? You

grow a beard. How can that be fair, I ask you? Not to for­get all that body main­te­nance women must en­dure – the wax­ing, the blow dries, the hair dye­ing … Plus, on top of those time con­sum­ing chores, the ma­jor­ity of the cook­ing and house­work is also deemed to be the fe­male’s do­main. And if all that’s not enough, women are also ex­pected to be in charge of con­tra­cep­tion. If men could take over one thing, it would be such a help. But should that one thing be re­spon­si­bil­ity for fer­til­ity?

This week Amer­i­can sci­en­tists have an­nounced ma­jor steps to­wards a hor­mone-based male con­tra­cep­tive pill. Re­searchers are ex­tremely ex­cited about a tablet that goes by the to­tally un­sexy name of dimethandr­olone un­de­canoate. (Let’s be hon­est. Some men will take less time to per­form the sex­ual act than to name their pro­phy­lac­tic pref­er­ence.) Any­way, the male guinea pigs who took a 400mg dose of DMAU found that their ca­pac­ity to pro­duce sperm plum­meted, while their plea­sure quota re­mained high.

With a vi­able male con­tra­cep­tive pill on the hor­monal hori­zon, the big ques­tion is this – can a woman trust a bloke to re­mem­ber to take his pill on a daily ba­sis? It’s hard enough to get most men to re­mem­ber to take out the garbage, put their plates in the dish­washer, hang up wet tow­els and pick up their undies from the bed­room floor. Sex­ist stereo­typ­ing you say? No, just years and years of liv­ing with the male of the species.

So, boys, tell us, are you up to the task? It’s a huge obli­ga­tion. Now, I know that most men pre­fer eggs scram­bled or fried or boiled over fer­tilised. Sin­gle mother statis­tics prove that men are no­to­ri­ous for chick­en­ing out of their obli­ga­tions to eggs … So, surely, be­ing cer­tain that the woman you’re sleep­ing with will not get “ac­ci­den­tally” preg­nant should come (no pun in­tended) as a huge re­lief? At the mo­ment, a man’s con­tra­cep­tive op­tions are the con­dom or the rhythm method. A man who uses the rhythm method is known by one name – DAD. And con­doms, of course, can tear or just fall off.

In this world, there are one mil­lion litres of sperm ejac­u­lated ev­ery day, with nearly one mil­lion daily con­cep­tions – half of them un­planned. It seems to me that the real prob­lem with pro­cre­ation is that get­ting preg­nant is too damn easy. Cop­u­la­tion means pop­u­la­tion. All men should have bumper stick­ers on their gen­i­tals say­ing Cau­tion: Baby on Board. Even if you use con­tra­cep­tives, on all con­ceiv­able oc­ca­sions, you’re still play­ing ovar­ian roulette. A preg­nancy test is the one test you can’t cheat on. In truth, there’s only one 100 per cent safe oral con­tra­cep­tive – the word “No” ... Un­less you’re with Har­vey We­in­stein and other movie moguls (al­legedly.) Or with Don­ald Trump, who clearly uses his per­son­al­ity as a con­tra­cep­tive.

Per­haps we should start per­suad­ing sci­en­tists to stop re­search­ing a male pill, and sim­ply put con­tra­cep­tives in the drink­ing wa­ter – a kind of fer­til­ity flu­o­ride. Then, when re­ally crav­ing a baby, wannabe par­ents sim­ply take a pill to pro­mote fe­cun­dity.

I think most women would pre­fer sci­en­tists to de­velop a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal con­coc­tion which stim­u­lates men into do­ing the house­work. Then, if they for­get to take it, the only out­come will be a preg­nant pause ... fol­lowed by a sar­cas­tic fe­male sigh of “Don’t worry. I’ll just do it my­self, then.”

Then, in­stead of peo­ple rhap­so­dis­ing about the “mir­a­cle of life stir­ring within you”, women will be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mir­a­cles on a daily ba­sis – watch­ing male spouses wash­ing up the dishes … with­out be­ing asked! Well, a girl can dream. Ah yes, as you can see, the only fer­tile thing about me is my imag­i­na­tion.

What do you think about a male con­tra­cep­tive pill? Email let­ters to [email protected] Please in­clude your full name and ad­dress. The best let­ter next week wins a dou­ble pass to Barry Humphries: The Man Be­hind the Mask, on May 30 at 8pm.

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