Male birth control. Or, stop being a whiney-ass baby.

by Janelle Hanchett

I have a little story for the men who couldn’t handle the side effects of a new, effective male birth control shot, and the researchers who canceled the study citing “safety/adverse effects” – the very side effects 30%  – that’s THIRTY FUCKING PERCENT – of women taking birth control experience daily.


The story is called: IF YOU FUCK THIS UP YOU WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE. AKA: Birth control. AKA: Pretend you are us. 

From the time we are teenagers, or choose to become sexually active with men, it becomes “locker room” talk for damn near every straight woman with a vagina (and yes, I know the definition of “woman” is broader than this. I am referring here to the aforementioned identity). In every bathroom, bedroom, hallway, and yes, locker room, the giant, glaring question: HOW DO I AVOID UNWANTED PREGNANCY?

Welp let’s go over the options.

Abstinence: okay, okay. Okay. Okay. But then not okay for most of us. This is the form of birth control that will be thrown in your face if you end up pregnant, or birth control fails. You will be told that you should have stayed abstinent if you weren’t ready to accept the possibility of failed contraception. Yes, even if that risk is 1%. And yes, even though you were 18 and the dude who also trusted that condom has since left you for your roommate.

You should have thought of that! Abstinence is the only safe way!

Condoms: Absolutely excellent except you have to have them all the time and sometimes men refuse to wear them, or whine and whine about it and after a few (hundred) beers, whine so long and hard (see what I did there) that you’re like FINE because you’re 19 and drunk too and then. Well, pregnancy.

YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED ABSTINENT YOU WHORE. He’s just a boy being a boy stop having unrealistic expectations. 

The pill: You realize condoms are too unreliable. You need something more secure and consistent and less reliant on a partner’s dick going in it. The pill! Perfect! You make an appointment at the clinic. You get there and they stick a scope in your vagina before they can give you the pill. Standard procedure. It’s a cold, hard, metal thing about 12 inches in diameter. You stare at the florescent lights. You remind yourself why you’re doing this.

After they stick that in, they swab your insides with a small, splintering piece of wood that they call a “Q-tip.” For the grand finale, doc sticks her hand in you and pokes and prod while you watch the interns gaze at your pubic hair.

But you get the pill! Whew. Sweet relief.

Then you take it. You notice your weight goes up. You notice you are getting a little irritable. A little sad. You notice you’re yelling a lot. You’re crying more. Now, you’re screaming, and now you’re lying in your bed, eating, and you don’t know why. Things that used to interest you don’t. You are legitimately depressed. Your friend says, “Oh, you went on the pill? Oh yeah. That’s what happens.”

What now come again, you think. I have to LIVE like this? I guess if it’s normal. And you hang in there.

You try for a few more months until the migraines come. This can’t happen. You go back to the doctor. They tell you, “Yes, the pill is triggering your headaches. We can put you on the lightest pill since you aren’t responding well to this one, but you have to use a second form of contraception, like CONDOMS.”

And here you are RIGHT BACK WHERE YOU STARTED. “But are there any other options, doc?”

She tells you: “They all have hormones, sorry. The shot. The IUD. It’s all the same. Hormones. If you don’t respond well to the pill, you won’t respond well to those.”

You survive for a few years on the lightest pill, using condoms, enduring the problems and countless pregnancy scares, but then they come out with the NON-HORMONAL IUD and you’re like OMG THANK YOU BABY JESUS and you go back to the clinic and they stick in the scope and hand and splintering wood while a couple interns watch as usual and then they stick in your uterus a little T-shaped device that feels like a tiny fish hook being dragged through your insides.

And then the cramping starts. But you have reliable birth control and no hormones! It’s worth it! Years of security!

You ignore the stories of the way they get implanted in the uterus and cause scar tissue and thus infertility (because you know how important it is to not fuck up your baby-making capacity – you must keep it all working! Do not mess this up!). You ignore it because you have to accept this risk so you don’t get pregnant, and it’s the only thing that’s worked, and truly, you are out of options.

Then your period comes, and you remember that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Your formerly chill 3-day period has been transformed into an upside down volcanic explosion of what must be 60 % of the blood in your body. You change your tampon once an hour, twice an hour. Do I just LIVE in the bathroom now?

It doesn’t end. It’s coupled with waves of cramping that move like fire down your body. Your low back. Your stomach. Your guts.

Here it is: The cost of non-hormonal, not-man-reliant birth control. Fuck my life and my uterus.

The following week, your boyfriend tells you he can feel the IUD with his penis while you’re having sex, so could you please figure out some other form of birth control?

The end.



(40 years, people. 40 years of no real progress in male contraception.)

What kind of 9th-circle-of-hell bullshit is this?

Women suffer for years at the mercy of their uteri, and then at the mercy of birth control methods that work but fuck us up, fail and fuck us up, and we keep working and working and trying to get it right, and a good portion of our lives are centered around avoiding pregnancy, getting pregnant, staying pregnant, all the things about pregnant, and NONE OF IT IS PRETTY and NOW YOU ARE TELLING ME THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR SOME HELP AND RELIEF AND WE ARE TOO CONCERNED ABOUT MEN HAVING TO ENDURE WHAT WE DO?

What the hell is this, “Man Cold, Side Effect Style?”

You know, we with female anatomy endure a lot of bullshit to provide certain things, such as, oh I don’t know, new life. (Or, even worse, to get it to function the way it “should” if it refuses.)

And either way, we endure it our whole lives. Hiding it. Protecting it. Defining it. Mourning it. Medicating it. Fixing it. Figuring out how to orgasm it.

It’s taken a long time for us to get to the point when we have some agency over our bodies, the course of our lives, but still, the birth control situation remains complex and unclear for many of us, and we have no choice but to figure it out.

Are dudes too delicate to endure the exact discomfort we’ve been facing for years?

Once again, society is cool with the suffering of women. We think twice for men. Once again, society kisses the ass of man – or shall I say “penis” – while telling women Well if you didn’t want to deal with birth control, why were you born with a vagina? 

(Ummmmmm hey there. Didn’t choose this. Shouldn’t be punished for it.)

Yeah, I’m angry.

This one hits below the belt (I can’t stop myself).

Figure it out.

HORMONE UP, motherfuckers.

It’s your turn.



61 Comments | Posted in I'm going to get unfriended for this | November 1, 2016
  • denise

    Isn’t this just ridiculous?! And they act like it’s traumatic when they have their prostate checked.

    Or the men (after the decision is made to stop having children) who are just too scared or insecure or stupid maybe, to go in and have a vasectomy? A 10 minute, doctors office visit? Are you kidding me?

    Or maybe the doctor who immediately changed a medication my husband was on because it had a side effect was lack of sex drive? “We can’t have that now, can we?” said the doctor. But when I have had the same complaint, I am told, basically, too fucking bad.

    Come on guys! Woman-up!

    • Debbie

      My husband refused to have a vascectomy. We had 4 children, the oldest being severely handicapped, I had had a ‘nervous breakdown’ and was advised not to have any more children. My husband said that no one was touching his private parts, so I had a tubal ligation. I was angry at first, then decided that since I was the one that should not risk my health by having more children that it was good for me to take responsibility for that.

      I would probably never have heard the end of it if my husband had had a vasectomy anyway.

  • Marian

    THIS. SO MUCH THIS!! Thankfully, I was blessed with a man who I am convinced was born with an ovary, because of how well he sympathizes with my complaints throughout pregnancy, birth, and all things womanly.

    But seriously. Birth control is the biggest load of crap. Why is so much effort going into making women “bulletproof” when we can disable the gun? The pill turns me into Satan. The shot kills my sex drive. I don’t want to use a female condom. I don’t want an IUD because of potential side effects. Etc. Etc. THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD!!! I love you, Janelle! <3

    • Liz

      Disable the gun! Fantastic way of putting it!

  • Meg

    Pretty much sums it up. Gender bias is alive and real in Western culture and manifests itself in every aspect of our lives. Thanks for writing this!

  • Wendy Chenkovich

    Damn right!!! Janelle – spot on – you can “drop the mic” on this post!! Fuck – now I’m angry! They should come out with a permanent condom that doesn’t break and strap it on guys until they learn to respect the bullshit we put up with.

  • Mel

    I could not agree more with every single damn word.

  • Bianca Vermeulen-Smith

    Eugh. So frustrating. In fact, I think the MOST frustrating thing for me,s that we, with uteri, have been telling doctors for actual decades about the side effects and we get a quiet pat on the shoulder and a there there deary. Men complain once and, oh shit, this is totes intolerable, lets stop! Why haven’t they listened before, Dammit?!

  • Vanessa

    I love your writing so much. Yes, yes, and yes!!!

  • Katie

    Can I get an A-FUCKING MEN. <— See what I did there ????

  • Betty

    There’s always the diaphragm – and if you think guys complain about feeling the IUD string, you should hear them bitch about the diaphragm! OTOH, some dude tells me I don’t have to worry, that he’s on birth control? I’m supposed to believe him? I don’t think so! (Well, back in my unmarried, sexually active days, anyway.)

  • Mary

    YES!!! What an amazing rant about something that has also been bothering the hell out of me. THANK YOU!!!

  • Rachel

    THANK YOU. This has been fucking pissing me off even before the little penises pulled out of the study and proved me right: if men pushed babies out of their penises then everything that came with, before, and after birth would be the most researched fucking topic on the planet.

    Honestly, what a disgrace to medical research. Get it right, doctors, or go home.

  • Yvette

    And if you choose to chart your cycles, which has worked well for us for ten years, after our three kids, your church will tell you to just abstain during those days that you’re fertile, plus a couple, and it’ll all be fine. Except those are the only days I am really really going to knock my husband down because I’m interested, but screw you, honey, you don’t get to enjoy sex unless you’re up for getting pregnant this month.

    • Elysium

      This. All of this. Fellow Catholic here. Men get to enjoy sex, when women are most in the mood – sex not allowed! Makes me so mad. Clearly men are in charge here.

  • Scott

    Here is an interesting discussion on this topic:

  • Sarah

    My husband went to the vasectomy class and promptly told me he wouldn’t be doing it as it will “hurt” and he could have residual side effects and told me I have to get my tubes tied. I told him that I have side effects from my birthing two babies out of my lady bits 16mo name a few exciting ones; my pelvic floor is shot (so Keegles darling?) and I can’t jump on a trampoline without a visit from Mr. Tinkle….where are The epic of men of lore who could go on quests and defeat stuff, fighting after they lost like whole hands and such?! The most fit procreated and this is the end result??? Whining men that they can’t handle a momentary pain (snipsnip) or endure the effects of a birth control pill? They only deem it unfair or suffering when it concerns their own pain or comfort.

    • Elysium

      What does he say when you point out the pain you went through to have the children? Just curious. 😉

    • Judy

      I solved that little problem by telling my husband and my doctor that I would not be leaving the hospital until something was done. So while my induction was getting started, my hubby paid a visit to the surgeon’s office. His procedure was completed the following day, and I had no sympathy to give.

  • Elysium

    I agree with you on almost all points – but to be fair, I’m in love with my copper IUD. Insertion was virtually painless (I’ve had children, I’m told it can be more painful for women who have not). If a guy can feel it, one of three things:
    -It’s falling out which is problematic and makes it ineffective as birth control
    -The provider cut the string too short. She should have cut it a little longer so it would curl up around the cervix, not poke out like a whisker. Understandable that this would be uncomfortable, provider should use a little more common sense.
    -Your man is psyched out by the knowledge that there’s something up in your uterus. (All in his head? What?! That only happens to women!)

    I can’t speak to period yet (still breastfeeding, no period), so time will tell. Mirena IUD (hormonal) can make periods lighter or disappear completely. Personally, I’m a fan. 😀 I’m sure husband will man up and get the V when we know we’re done for sure. We think we’re done, but not 100% sure yet.

    • Kayla

      I’m so happy to hear you say that. I get my copper iud in about a week. I’m scared, but any good reviews relieve my worries a little bit!

      • Rachel

        Kayla- I’ve had my copper IUD for 4 years now. If your cramps get bad, start taking magnesium supplements, and abstain from caffeine and chocolate while you have your period.

        • Lisa

          I’m about 5 years in on my 2nd copper T. I’ve had NO side effects because it doesn’t contain hormones. When I was on the pill, I gained weight and had a yeast infection every single damn month. For the 2nd copper T, my insurance didn’t cover it, so I paid $1100 out of pocket. Totally worth it to me.

      • Elysium

        Glad to help! My provider told me to take two ibuprofen before I left home for the appointment, which I did. I think I took one more dose later in the day due to a little cramping (milder than my period). Enjoy! 🙂

  • Jamie

    1) If you don’t like being man-splained to about why you should like something you don’t, then why are you doing it to men?
    2) Did you even read the actual study results? It’s not that great:
    A) It took up to 24 weeks before sperm count was predictably low (that’s 3 shots every 8 weeks for those paying attention)
    B) 95% of the men got their sperm count back after a year. Meaning 5% didn’t recover their sperm count back to what it was before, and some of those 5% barely got any sperm count back at all. Rendering most of this 5% infertile. So let’s say 100 of your friends are on the pill, 5 of them may never be able to have kids in their lives again… but you don’t know which ones, until a year after you stop BC…
    The male-bashing and woman-splaining, has got to stop.
    Actualy study quoted:
    “Results: Of the 320 participants, 95.9 of 100 continuing users (95% confidence interval [CI], 92.8 – 97.9) suppressed to a sperm concentration less than or equal to 1 million/mL within 24 weeks (Kaplan-Meier method). During the efficacy phase of up to 56 weeks, 4 pregnancies occurred among the partners of the 266 male participants, with the rate of 1.57 per 100 continuing users (95% CI, 0.59 – 4.14). The cumulative reversibility of suppression of spermatogenesis after 52 weeks of recovery was 94.8 per 100 continuing users (95% CI, 91.5–97.1). The most common adverse events were acne, injection site pain, increased libido, and mood disorders. Following the recommendation of an external safety review committee the recruitment and hormone injections were terminated early.
    Conclusions: The study regimen led to near-complete and reversible suppression of spermatogenesis. The contraceptive efficacy was relatively good compared with other reversible methods available for men. The frequencies of mild to moderate mood disorders were relatively high.”

    • Sorcelle

      yes!!! I have been saying this for a bit now. As a woman, I am not going to bash men for not taking that risk. It is just not okay to bash anyone for their own decisions regarding their health. I have no right to tell another person what to do with their own body.

      • Hannah

        You are mixing up the individual’s choice here, with the availability of the product. No one is bashing a man for choosing what to do with his body – if the product were available, and an individual chose not to use it, of course that choice is valid. The problem is that a committee decided that these side effects, which women are forced to make the choice whether they want to endure or get pregnant, are just too harsh for men as a whole to endure. The product should be available, just like it is for women, and then it is up to the inviduals to choose whether or not to use it. But men should have the option of manning up and taking that one relatively small burden of reproductive health off the shoulders of women.

    • Judy

      And how many women are rendered infertile by their contraception?

  • Michele K

    You took the words right out of my mouth!!

  • csmith

    All incredibly true. But, really, would any of us trust a guy who said, “hey, babe don’t worry I’m on the pill”. Not when we’re the ones who have to have the baby. My husband can’t even remember to take his antibiotics.

  • P. S.

    You have done a fabulous job of this rant. Brought it all back to life for me, now 18 years past fertility: all the 37 years of taking responsibility and trying every kind of birth control, countless dramatic worries over pregnancy at times when I was too young or couldn’t afford it or wasn’t capable of parenting well. 3 successful live children, wonderful people, 2 abortions, 2 miscarriages due to IUDs still in place until 12 or 16 weeks… A woman’s reproductive years are like walking a mine field, and you nailed it in your description here. Rage justified!

  • Nyomi

    Exactly!!!! Brilliant piece. I’ve been thinking all this.

  • Dorothea

    My husband was planning to have a vasectomy after the birth of our daughter. Fast forward to the appropriate time, and he just can’t do it. The zombie apocalypse might come and his precious super hero sperm might be needed. Are you fucking kidding me?
    Tried going back on birth control and no thank you very much. Condoms? Please, that is so much to ask. We are STILL at an impasse.

  • Michael

    What sexist, bigoted tripe. Typical feminism: blame all your problems on men. Misandry only makes you as bad as a misogynist.

  • Steph


    My husband is going for the big-V in a month and is already quaking in his boots. On one hand, I want to be supportive; on the other, I want him to stare at the third-degree tear scar on my taint and weep with gratitude.


    “Hormone up.” DEAD.

    • Amy

      Yes, “hormone up” is the best!

  • Daddy Scratches

    Just for the record: Some of us guys are, in fact, willing to “nut up,” so to speak (I can’t help it either), and actually get a vasectomy. (And some are even willing to then blog about it.)

    Totally worth it.

    • P. S.

      Daddy Scratches, yes, such a good solution if you’re willing, and all respect to you for doing it. And for talking and writing about it. This isn’t about man-bashing, as some may feel; this post is a very legitimate rant about human society and many men leaving women to take all the responsibility.

      • P. S.

        And i love your blog, in which you show a similar experience of consciousness with women: “Occasionally, during those (frequent) moments when my son and daughter have my wife and I stretched to the breaking point, I envision an additional child thrown into the mix, and that vision is one that can best be described as “horrifically untenable.” Against the backdrop of raising a third child for the next couple of decades, the alternative of subjecting myself to a 30-minute session of genital mutilation actually seemed quite desirable.
        Of course, a by-product of this precautionary sterilization logically leads to the second reason — or incentive, if you will — for getting a vasectomy: unprotected sex.”

    • renegademama

      Of course! As PS says, my complaint is more about the way women have been placed “in charge” of reproduction pretty much forever and entirely, without much effort to share that burden. The whole “hormone-up” thing is tongue-in-cheek, which I’m sure you know, although clearly a few readers around here have some trouble reading hyperbole/humor/sarcasm/satire. Gah! Love you and PS and the all the humor readers! xoxo

  • Emily Smith

    I love this on every level. Thank you!!!

    P.S. You are amazing and how do you know how to express in writing exactly what is going on in my head?

  • Not relavant... I'm a woman though.

    My god. This is the most overdramatised load of drama. If you can see how absolutely awful pumping hormones into your body is, and how much the contraceptive pill fucks you up both mentally and physically, they why would you want ANYBODY to go through that? Male or Female, it doesn’t matter! If you care about equality then this piece of writing is an utter contradiction. If your boyfriend doesn’t want to use a condom maybe you need to find a new one. I’m shocked and horrified at how many women have jumped on this ridiculous bandwagon. Sorry if you find any of this harsh but I’m on my period and the excruciating pain in making me a tad hot headed.

  • Roza

    I am grateful that all of the men I am friends with think this is a rediculous outcome. Many of them wonder how they might sign up for such a study. Perhaps the study only selected men who should not be part of clinical testing studies?
    My friend and I are both pregnant, and we have each decided separately that this will be the last time. The male partners in question have both decided that vasectomies seem like very good ideas to them, and have started making a few steps toward making that a reality. We have contemplated throwing a party with cut plastic tubing and popped balloons afterward to celebrate.

  • Mary

    Haha. “Pretend for one minute you are literally as tough as any woman” What a joke. How many women have served and died in the middle east? It’s about a 93% more men dying than women. Get a clue. Women reading this kind of blog aren’t tough, they just want to feel good about their lives as stay at home parents. Sad! lol

    • Sara

      You are disgusting!!!

    • renegademama

      I cannot stop laughing at this comment. Nicely done, “Mary!”

      • Mary


    • Elysium

      Bwahahaha! How many more women than men have had a watermelon pushed or cut out of themselves? About 100%!

  • Ronald

    Quote from the study below. Read it in detail before passing comment. The independent safety experts ended the trial due to extremely high numbers of adverse events (over 1400 in a study with only 320 people!).

    “Eight participants had not recovered tomeet the criteria of
    return to fertility after 52 weeks in recovery phase, the last
    visit according to the study protocol.These participantswere
    followed on a case by case basis until they regained normal
    sperm counts (n 5, up to 74 wk of recovery) or declined
    further follow-up (n 2). One volunteer did not recover
    within 4 years since his last injections.”

    • renegademama

      I too read this document and it states quite clearly that the highest percentage complaint was acne at 45%. Mood disorders were at 17%. Of course there will be many “adverse events.” They are injecting humans with hormones.

      My point is that none of these side effects are more than what women experience from birth control (e.g. 30% of women experience mood disorders) so it seems a little odd that it was unreasonable “unsafe/adverse” for men. Also, as I mentioned, there have been no real advances in male contraception in 40 years. One begins to wonder, you know?

      And yes, women are also rendered infertile due to various contraceptive methods. NOBODY should experience this crap, but women should absolutely not share it ALONE.

  • Susan

    Janelle, I just love when you piss off the internet! It makes my day. I check back daily for the comments and laugh.

  • Jennifer @ WrittenByJennifer

    It’s shit like this that reminds me I have the unicorn version of husband…mythical and no one believes me. He had a vasectomy after our second (who was a surprise) was born. His friends and our male relatives gave him a bunch of shit and ribbing about it before and after and he’s said the same thing: “She’s birthed 18lbs of children in two years, I think I can take this one.”

    I don’t think it’s fair anyone should have to suffer side effects from birth control but it should be an equal opportunity option until the mysterious “they” can figure out a non-side effect causing option.

    • renegademama

      Honestly I think that’s how most men are. My husband is the same, as are most men I know. Maybe we just know excellent people, or, is it possible men exist who are like BITCH IT’S YOUR PROBLEM? I mean, they must. But damn.

  • Tracey

    My husband wouldn’t get a vasectomy after our third child. His reasoning was what if something happens to the children and I and he remarried….. This pretty much killed the sex life….

  • Robyn

    I think the key issue from my perspective is not the availability or otherwise of a male birth control method, but rather the fact that any failure of birth control, be it accidental or through incompetence/unreliability of the person taking it, is that the consequences sit pretty squarely with the woman.

    For that reason I have given up on all other options and made an appointment to get my tubes tied. Husband won’t get the snip and I’m so over the hormonal shit, so here we are.

  • Katy

    Preach. Preeeeeach! I went down this very exact path, to the copper IUD hell. The hubs got snipped, and whined like a child with frozen peas on his balls while watching golf for 3 days on the couch. Yet, after a natural birth, I was up and running next day with stitches in my crotch. gaaah.

  • Lynne

    I love you. Yes, get it all out there! Women put up with so much shit it is unbelievable and then we see it in print like this and realize what insanity it all is. If men had to do this and then get pregnant and go thru labor the human race would cease to exist. !
    I can laugh at this now, because thankfully at 54 i dont need birth control anymore. Thank freaking god 🙂