If men get contraceptive arm gel (yep, being tested), let’s get women these 7 forms of birth control


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Photo: Stocksy/Amanda Lawrence

I’ve been on several different forms of birth control in my life. I’ve done the pill, the ring, and finally, fed up with both of these methods (slash worried about the future of women’s health in this country), I pulled the trigger and got an IUD. This involved me going into the doctor’s office and having a device literally implanted into my uterus so that I could enjoy sex without having to worry about getting pregnant. Was the fuss worth the five to seven years of protection against unplanned pregnancy? Yes, but it was also the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.

So, it’s with a bitter breed of rejoice that I welcome news that clinical trials for a new male birth control gel are set to begin. Why bitter? Well, the specific development the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle’s testing is essentially contraceptive deodorant (not a pill, or an implant, or a shot). Meanwhile, my lady comrades and I are over here, taking sick days to heal from our surgical procedures to accomplish the same effect. So yeah, the playing field doesn’t feel like it’s quite equalizing.

Furthermore, I’m not exactly holding my breath for this to product to reach market because last time I heard about a male birth control trial, it ended because men experienced symptoms like mood swings, acne, and changes in sex drive—AKA common side effects of…you guessed it: hormonal female birth control methods.

“The gel…is designed to decrease a man’s sperm production without reducing his sexual drive or enjoyment,” reads one newspaper’s description. Meanwhile, women everywhere are like, “huh I’m pretty sure no female contraceptives were designed with sex drive in mind.”

That said, it would be nice for women not to have to bear the brunt of pregnancy prevention—but the ease of just rubbing on some gel to the shoulders and arms is absolutely annoying. To be fair, there is scientific validity as to why this topical application would work for men (and not women)…but still. Of course a simple cream would suffice for men. And you know what? Men will probably still complain about having to use it, just like so many do about condoms. (As I write this, my expression is basically that of the straight-line-face emoji.)

“The gel, comprised of segesterone acetate and testosterone, is designed to decrease a man’s sperm production without reducing his sexual drive or enjoyment,” reads one newspaper’s description of the gel.

Meanwhile, women everywhere are like, “huh I’m pretty sure no female contraceptives were designed with sex drive in mind.” Can you even imagine?

Couples are currently being enrolled to take part in the clinical trials, and while we wait for the results, here are some dream-come-true birth-control methods for women that it would be cool for researchers to look into.

7 forms of birth control women want researched while this arm gel for men is in clinical trials*

  1. In the form of daily chocolates
  2. Via shampoo that also makes our hair super soft and shiny
  3. Breathing freaking air
  4. Administered via a refreshing, dewiness-enhancing face mist
  5. In a luxe bath bomb (with legally mandated uninterrupted bath relaxation time, should we choose this form of administration)
  6. Literally anything other than a ring you have to stick up your vaginal canal, only for the ring to get hooked on the tampon you have to use when you start spotting and flung about in public restrooms
  7. Literally anything other than the rest of the options we currently have

*All will be described as preventing pregnancy without reducing a woman’s sexual drive or enjoyment.

In the meantime, take control of your reproductive health with this guide to choosing the best form of birth control for you. Plus here’s how to break up with your birth control pill, sans side effects.

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