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