Apparently we’ve got another version of a male contraceptive pill – one that doesn’t have side effects like diminishing libido and thus making contraception something of a moot point. Yes, this is indeed an advance in human civilisation and will be of benefit to some to many. But it’s not going to be quite the game changer that some seem to think. Just because men aren’t as interested in contraception as women are. For we face the pig and the chicken deciding what to have for breakfast problem here.
A male contraceptive pill has been developed which is effective, safe and does not harm sex drive, scientists have announced.
In what has been described as a “major step forward”, the drug was successfully tested on 83 men for a month for the first time.
So far efforts to create a once-daily pill to mimic the mainstream female contraceptive have stalled because men metabolise and clear out the hormones it delivers too quickly.
Technical problems being solved, super. And this will no doubt be a matter of delight for some in committed relationships.
But then think back to when contraception was really effective for the first time – 1920s for anything which worked well enough to be said to really merit the name. Or 1960s for non-barrier methods. Sure, it was all lauded as something of great value to those women who wanted, for example, to space their children. Or limit family size perhaps. But recall that it was limited to married women in those early years.
Which isn’t, of course, where the great behavioural changes came, not at all. The great rise in sex as a result of efficient contraception came outside those committed relationships – or outside marriage at least, generally not quite the same thing. Tinder, just as one example, would not exist without the changes in non-relationship sexual behaviour that efficient contraception brought about.
The point being that women are intensely interested in contraception or not outside a relationship, men not so much. Inside one, yes, that’s rather what the commitment part means. You know, a joint sharing of life, of children, their upbringing. Outside, not so much.
The pig and the chicken are discussing what to have for breakfast. Ham and eggs comes up as an idea – the chicken is interested in this, the pig has to be committed. The investment in baby production and child rearing is such that a single woman is a great deal more interested in the possibilities of conception through any particular sexual act than the bloke she’s doing it with. Which is why a male pill isn’t going to change that outside the relationship activity all that much.
We could just make the old point of who the hell is going to believe a bloke saying he’s on such a pill? Again, inside a relationship it’ll work. For hook ups not so much. Just as I promise I’ll pull out, I’ll respect you in the morning and sure I’ll call are all so firmly believed in our society. But it’s much more productive to look at who will carry the costs of non-pill taking. That’s the person who’s going to be really interested in pill taking or not – and they way human biology works that’s going to be the woman, not the man.
Hey, sure, a male pill that works, great. But it’s not going to change society like the female one did.