Contraception for men primarily involves condoms, though vasectomies are a long-term alternative. Whilst scientists continue to work on advancements such as a male equivalent of the contraceptive pill and other methods, it is mainly condoms which are relied upon for contraceptive purposes, usually preventing the possibilities of conception but also the transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases too. Whether a sexual encounter is of a fleeting nature or a regular occurrence within a relationship, it is important that safe sex is continually promoted and awareness of it is constantly nurtured.
Slowing the spread of STDs
Condoms are the only contraceptive protection against STDs, and the efficiency of them relies fully on the participation of men. Condoms are made from a thin layer of latex and prevent sperm from entering the vagina if used properly, which is another important factor to consider. They need to be slipped on and off the penis with great care to ensure spillage doesn’t occur. They are available readily and can even be acquired for free from family planning clinics. Whilst other contraceptive methods make impregnation impossible, only condoms can prevent the spread of STDs, or STIs as they can be known. As such, they are an essential aid to men’s health, and should always be used unless you are in a long-term relationship and have both been tested and cleared for all STDs.
Temporary or permanent contraception?
For some males, total abstinence from sexual intercourse can be advantageous, particular if there are emotional reasons for this, but men who are certain that they have no further wish to conceive often opt for the final step of a vasectomy. This is comparable to female sterilisation, though a less complex measure and means that sexual intercourse can be performed without the risk of pregnancy but no requirement for any additional materials or steps.
A vasectomy is however a very big step and not one to be taken lightly due its permanent nature. It takes around 10 minutes to perform and stops sperm from entering the fluid that is ejaculated when a man climaxes as the tubes that carry sperm are sealed. A vasectomy makes no difference to the level of arousal a man can achieve or his sex drive generally. The only change involved is that conception is no longer possible when he has sexual intercourse. Of course, this won’t prevent him from contracting STIs or STDs if he comes into contact with them, so he should continue to take the accepted steps required when he begins a sexual relationship with a new partner. Many couples opt to both be tested for STDs before entering into sex together, so they can be safe in the knowledge that nothing will be passed on should they choose to have sex without the use of a barrier.
Aside from vasectomies and condoms, there are constantly new developments being made in the scientific world, although there has yet to be a readily available alternative to the two most common forms of male contraception. Recent studies from the US showed that mice have been made temporarily infertile without the loss of sex drive, but a real third method still seems far away. The importance of condoms is constantly stressed by health professionals, whilst those in longer-term relationships may find a vasectomy to be the preferred option when they are certain they do not want to raise any more children.
Written by Kat Kraetzer, an experienced blogger working in the health-care industry for many years