Contraceptive methods are very important tools to guarantee the right to sexual autonomy, in addition to helping to plan or control births.
A fairly common mistake is to consider that this responsibility falls exclusively on women, since there are also male contraceptive methods.
What are the contraceptive methods?
Contraceptive or contraceptive methods are those that prevent or reduce the possibility of fertilization or pregnancy in sexual relations. They contribute to birth control, as well as to reduce unwanted or adolescent pregnancies.
Since 1960 the options for women have multiplied, currently having a dozen contraceptive methods, among which are:
- vaginal rings
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs).
Options for men have not changed much. The oldest are abstinence or coitus interruptus (that is, withdrawing the penis before ejaculating, expelling the semen out of the vagina).
The latter is still one of the most practiced today, although experts say that it is not as effective as it is believed.
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This is because ejaculating near the vagina risks pregnancy. In addition, the pre-ejaculatory fluid also contains sperm capable of fertilization.
Other male contraceptive methods are:
condom or preservative
This contraceptive method is one of the most used by men and women, since it not only prevents pregnancy, it also protects against many sexually transmitted diseases, such as genital herpes, syphilis, HIV or HPV.
The effectiveness of the condom as a contraceptive method may vary depending on its correct use or its quality (they are usually made of rubber or polyurethane latex).
How to use a condom?
You must place the condom on the head of the penis, with the ring rolled in the opposite direction to it. Pressing the tip, it unrolls over the shaft of the penis until it reaches the base.
Using petroleum jelly, lotions, or oils can weaken the condom and lead to possible breakage.
At the end of intercourse, hold the condom at the base as you carefully remove it, then throw it away. Remember, a condom cannot be used twice.
Vasectomy is a procedure that causes sterility in men by preventing sperm from reaching the testicles.
A small incision is made in the scrotum and each vas deferens is removed, cut and tied to prevent sperm from being released in the ejaculate. Then they go back into the scrotum.
Although this practice is usually done with a scalpel, a few years ago the American Urological Association approved a method called no-scalpel vasectomy.
It is less invasive, simpler and with a faster recovery, since specific instruments are used for its execution, such as a clamp that causes the opening of the skin, separating and not cutting the fibers.
It is commonly believed that with vasectomy ejaculation is lost, which is false, since semen is produced in the seminal vesicle and not in the testicles, which is where sperm are produced.
Sperm represents only 3% of the ejaculate and the other 97% is made up of various fluids from the prostate.
It is also not true that sexual desire or libido decline, or that it is a major surgery that takes a long time.
Although it is a potentially reversible method, surgery is required for this, so it is usually recommended for those men who have already started a family or are not looking to have more children.
Vasalgel or inhibition of sperm
Reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG) uses a polymer, a kind of gel, made up of two compounds: styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO).
It is administered by injection into the vas deferens and works by blocking and destroying sperm by lowering the pH and creating charge disturbances.
The great advantage in relation to vasectomy is that they are more likely to be reversible, although specialists are still investigating their effects.
This contraceptive method is still in the testing stage. It was developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and patented in Bangladesh, China, USA and India under the trade name of Vasalgel.
Vasalgel male contraceptive is designed to block sperm but not other seminal fluids, so it is expected to have a minimal effect on ejaculation.
The goal was to develop a long-acting reversible male contraceptive, which could last up to 10 years. Early preclinical studies have shown that rapid restoration of sperm flow is possible once the gel dissolves and is removed from the vas deferens.
Many surveys agree that more than half of men would be willing to use new contraceptives, preferably long-acting, reversible and non-hormonal.
In addition to those already mentioned, researchers are working on the male contraceptive pill, called 11-beta-methyl-19-nortestosterone dodecylcarbonate, or 11-beta-MNTDC.
It is a modified testosterone that combines actions of a male hormone (androgen) and a progesterone. With this, it is sought to reduce the production of spermatozoa and their motility, temporarily affecting the fertility of the man.
Another work around improving or suppressing male fertility is that of the University of California, which studied the process of hyperarousal.
This is the extra “push” or “force” that the sperm need to get through the defenses of the egg.
As the researchers explained, the sperm inhale progesterone, a hormone secreted by the egg, which, by binding to an enzyme called ABHD2, provides the final push that the sperm needs to “finish its race.”
The evidence is preliminary, but experts believe that these findings could be used to develop a method of inactivating these interactions, with the aim of developing a new contraceptive method.
However, both for the male contraceptive pill and for the inhibition of sperm interactions, more studies are needed to get out of the experimentation stages and put this knowledge into practice.
Although contraception usually falls exclusively on women, it is also a responsibility of men.
The availability of contraceptive methods is not as wide as that available to women, highlighting the use of condoms or vasectomy.
Male pills are also in the experimental stage, as well as polymers that seek to block and destroy sperm.
To avoid unplanned pregnancies, it is important to inform yourself, consult a health professional and thus find the best treatment.
Sources consulted: US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Parsemus Foundation.