Part of why there aren’t yet birth control pills for men is because they keep bitching about it. Every time some progress is made in its development, research and studies are halted by reports of unwelcome side effects like lowered moods and libidos, acne and weight gain — all issues, of course, that many women who take hormonal contraceptives have accepted as reality for decades.
More than that, though, men have often expressed a plain unwillingness to take birth control, regardless of what it entails. In 2018, for example, Joe Rogan tweeted about male birth control with the comment, “THAT’S A HARD PASS.” But with the recent announcement of another new potential form of male birth control entering human trials, something has shifted. For once, it seems, fellas can’t wait for the opportunity to be temporarily sterile.
On March 23rd, the University of Minnesota reported that they’d successfully developed a non-hormonal compound that kept mice sterile for four to six weeks at a time with 99 percent efficacy. With this success, the researchers hope to begin human trials later this year. Because it’s non-hormonal, the potential for the usual side effects is low — men can maybe have their cake (regular testosterone levels) and eat it, too (nut in people without risk of pregnancy). With this, the buzz around the story seems a bit more upbeat than usual, despite the fact that stories about male birth control seem to pop off at least once a year.
On Twitter in particular, men are sharing how excited they are for the possibility. “Male birth control pills really about to change the game,” @MulhollandL0ver wrote, including a GIF of Antonio Banderas exhaling in joyous relief from Assassins. “We nutting in everybody now.”
Another posted a picture of a news headline about the development with the caption, “Plan C just dropped.”
Still, some people are hesitant, likely because they’re confusing the new research with prior studies on hormonal male birth control. In the replies of the “Plan C” tweet, one person shared a screenshot of side effects listed from a 2018 study of a different “male birth control” option that suppressed testosterone. Plenty of other men have tweeted that they won’t take any potential male birth control because they’re afraid it will “fuck up their nuts” or distupt their testosterone levels, despite there being zero evidence thus far that either would be the case.
But again, generally speaking, much of the conversation about male birth control is being shaped by people of all genders eager for another way to get freaky. Of course, we still might be a few years off from this option hitting the market — it’s important to remember that those human trials haven’t actually started yet — and it doesn’t mean raw sex will become totally risk-free. But it might soon mean that preventing pregnancy is something men can have a bit more involvement in.
As many of the fun tweets suggest, that’s definitely something worth celebrating.