We-Vibe and American research institution YLabs have released a new study on new contraceptive options for men and people with penises, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it has highlighted some fairly interesting trends.
The study into the Future of Male Contraception (FYI the report uses the terms ‘women’ and ‘men’ but refers only to biological characteristics, not gender) saw over 3,500 participants and seven sex experts interviewed. It also reviewed emerging options in the world of contraception as well as attitudes towards said options.
We-Vibe and YLabs have shared that overwhelmingly, male-identifying folks would be willing to take new contraceptive options – 78 per cent, in fact. They also noted, however, that the fear of side effects does lead to hesitation.
In any case, the study highlighted that there is a keen interest in sharing contraceptive responsibility with women in cis-hetero relationships. Especially seeing as since the 1960s – when the pill was invented – women and people with uteruses have been carrying the majority of that weight.
Per We-Vibe’s release on this study, 78 per cent of male-identifying respondents said they “want to share responsibility for contraception with their partners and are positive about male contraceptives”. If you zoom in on the younger demographic in particular, Gen Z and Millennials, the response is even more positive, jumping up to 83 per cent.
Speaking on the findings, Johanna Rief, Head of Sexual Empowerment at We-Vibe, shared that:
“Everyone will benefit from different contraceptive methods. Having different options when it comes to contraception can strengthen relationships, build trust and enable partners to enjoy their intimate moments even more. Good sex is not a one-way street.
When both partners feel comfortable, in the mood and, above all, safe, sex can become a much more pleasurable shared experience,” she said.
Where male contraception runs into some speed bumps
Now, while the news on willingness to take male contraception from male-identifying folks is certainly positive, things veer off a teeny bit when it comes to side effects.
The study indicated that men were the least likely group to tolerate any side effects when taking contraception (41% said hell no to this). Women followed closely behind men and gender non-binary folks were by far the most open to side effects.
The side effect that men were least willing to deal with was acne, followed by loss of libido. These two were least popular with women, too. Gender non-binary people listed mood changes and weight gain as their least preferred side effects.
Another problem in this space is trust. The report from We-Vibe and YLabs stated that straight cis-women surveyed for the study shared they’d struggle to trust their partner had taken contraception regularly if given the responsibility. Funnily enough, We-Vibe states that men themselved also shared this concern.
Which is a giant issue in and of itself, really.
What’s on the horizon?
In terms of what types of contraception are being studied as possible options in the future, the report stated that there are two leading methods. NES/T, “a gel that can be applied to the skin and effectively reduces sperm count” and RISUG, “a non-hormonal injection into the vas deferens [sperm duct] that stops the release of sperm” is the second.
Per We-Vibe’s report, both appear to have little-to-no side effects. However, access to funding is difficult in this space, the sex tech brand has shared.
Despite these challenges, the desire for new developments in the world of contraception is clear. A recent report from the UN states that about half of pregnancies are unplanned, and leaving one person in the relationship with the hefty responsibility (and cost – financial and physical) of looking after contraception is just not working for people any longer.
Guess we’ll have to watch this space to see what’s next. Here’s hoping we’re not waiting too long.
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