It’s certainly no secret that there has been substantial progress in the last week in the development of a male contraceptive pill, but am I the only one not that excited by this news, and even a little reluctant to see a pill being rolled out to males in a few years’ time?

There have been attempts before to create a male orientated contraceptive pill that would allow men to take far more of a responsibility in preventing pregnancy, but there were side effects, such as resulting irreversible changes to hormones levels, that meant the research never produced anything usable. However, scientists have now developed a way to temporarily stop sperm from swimming and there are many suggestions that either a pill or a spray could be here by 2021, a mere five years away.

Before I looked into it, I assumed that the pill would be an exact equivalent to the female contraceptive, taken once a day, every day; you know, gender quality and all that. But no, apparently you can take the male pill up to minutes before the ensuing act takes place as the effects are almost instantaneous in preventing the sperms ability to swim. This effect the lasts for a few days before the sperm return to their normal functioning state.

At first, when I thought of boys having to remember to take a tiny little pill every day, I felt something that was far from excited. Do I really want to put my state of pregnancy in the hands of boys who can barely remember to put the toilet seat down or put the washing in the dryer? I just can’t believe that every single one of them would actually make the conscious effort to take it. With so many other things to focus on, that packet of tiny, white pills of responsibility will quickly left forgotten about, collecting dust on, or more likely fallen down the side of his bedside table. Women have had to take the majority of the responsibility in preventing pregnancy for years, I understand it would be hard to break old traditions and form the new, strange and possibly unwelcome habit of taking a pill every day.

And then, unfortunately, a scene replayed over and over in my head of a boy, caught in the moment, falsely claiming he’s been taking the pill without fail for weeks and that there’s no need for further protection; condom con-gone. I realise I am hugely stereotyping, focusing on worst case scenarios and I know there are many who would treat this with the seriousness that it deserves. But I know I’m also right in thinking there would be a great number of men who would twist the truth in order to score, focusing only on the beautiful naked girl in front of them rather than the crying baby that would present itself less than a year later in the physical evidence the seriousness of their lie.

But, the fact that the pill takes effect so quickly means that it is not an everyday act that must be carried out without fail, but can be taken as and when it’s needed. So, when I realised that boys won’t have to remember/agree to take the pill every day, I wasn’t sure quite how to feel. I think I’m relieved.

At first, I was a bit hesitant and I told myself that boys will still find a way around not taking it. But then I told myself to give boys a little bit more credit. Surely, if the pill works in only a few minutes, it can be taken with the girl present and she would know for certain of its consumption. And, we have to remember that we girls aren’t always the module of pregnancy prevention; who hasn’t forgotten to pop one on a particularly stressful morning when we’re running late to that particularly important meeting? We are, after all, only human.

Yet, despite the fact that I can’t really imagine a way for men to find a way to have sex after convincing the girl that they have taken it when they haven’t, I don’t feel an enormous sense of relief that some of the responsibility could be spread out. I just can’t see them actually taking in the seriousness of what they need to do and fully understanding what they have to do, and that they do have to do it. I know we’re still at least five years off the male contraceptive being rolled out, but even by then, I don’t think I’ll be ready to put the occupancy of my uterus entirely in someone else’s hand; I’ll still be popping my own each day. I’m just too contra-sceptic.

Published by Kate Beckitt