What do we know about birth control?

By Ian Hagerty


(Kelsey Snell/MCT)
(Kelsey Snell/MCT)

Birth control is a divisive subject between men and women. Where the responsibility lies between the two sexes concerning the method of birth control used is a question that hasn’t ever really been answered properly. Most guys don’t know the fine details about the type of birth control taken by their girlfriend, and most guys aren’t invited on a trip to the gynecologist. After all, the men aren’t taking any drugs themselves; they don’t deal with any potential side effects.

It’s well within reason that a woman could and should keep these matters private if they so chose. On the other hand, if you and your partner are willing to explore one another sexually, you should also both feel comfortable having an exploratory discussion about birth control together.

I don’t know much about the birth control my girlfriend takes. It is a daily pill and it has something to do with hormones, but I really couldn’t tell you much more than that. I wasn’t there for the appointment to the gynecologist, and I got the impression I wasn’t expected to be either.

It’s not that I wasn’t interested in the subject. It just almost seemed taboo and not something that needed to be discussed at much length. The discussion centered on the actual chances of her getting pregnant.

I’ve had this happen during more than one relationship, but considering the serious implications of pregnancy though, I should be much more involved. I’m sort of oblivious, and a lot of guys out there are too.

On Oct. 24, Buzzfeed posted a video involving men being interviewed and briefly quizzed randomly on the street about their knowledge of female contraceptive methods, mainly hormonal birth control. The men, most of them at least 30 years old, didn’t know much.

Buzzfeed may have been selective in the clips it chose to post, and it surely wasn’t a scientific study, but many of the men didn’t even know what IUD stands for (it stands for Intrauterine Device, guys.) Often when the men answered questions correctly, it came stuttering, out of blind luck, with a look of confusion upon their faces, looking at their interviewer as if she was their middle school sex ed teacher.

Ask yourself, men: how much do you actually know about your significant other’s contraceptive method? Women, how much do you discuss your birth control, or lack thereof, with your significant other? You may know how to slap a condom on, but what knowledge do you have of the other methods of birth control and how they prevent a child from being created?

If you are the type of guy to conceive a child and run away – as many men have been known to do throughout the years – then maybe this column isn’t for you. However, if you have enough of enough of a conscience to not do something like that, it might be nice and even reassuring at the end of the night to know all of the questions involved in preventing an untimely baby.

Even if the guys Buzzfeed interviewed knew anything about birth control, they didn’t know enough to be confident about it. They had a deer in the headlights look, just like the cliché man watching his wife give birth, oblivious and a bit scared.

But men should really try to learn a few things and gain some courage. It probably won’t be long until there is a male version of hormonal birth control on the market. By 2020, a male birth control called Vasalgel may be ready to hit the market. Soon enough, men and women are going to have to decide who in the relationship is going to be responsible for taking birth control.

Maybe men and women will take turns, maybe men and women will both take contraceptives.

Whatever the case, birth control is an issue of equal importance to both of the parties involved in potential conception. It should really be viewed as an issue to be approached with the same effort by both sexes. The end result is everyone’s responsibility and soon enough we are going to be arguing about who is responsible for the prevention as well.

Ian Hagerty is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]