Getting Fixed

Friday, April 11, 2008


My wife says she can't take birth control pills any more. She is sick of the side effects and worried about cancer. But we have a very active sex life, and she also says she does not want any more children. That means I should, in her opinion, get a vasectomy. I have a ton of questions about this. If she later changes her mind, can we get it reversed? How painful is it? How long does it take to heal? Will there be visible scars? Frankly, the thought of having somebody cut into my sex organs terrifies me. Every time I make a move to call my doctor, I get hit with a wave of nausea. We just had a huge blowup, she's accusing me of dragging my feet and being inconsiderate. I have asked her to consider using condoms for a while, but we had a problem with a broken condom when we were dating that led to her having an abortion. I don't want to go through that again. She was devastated, and I was shaken up as well. Help? Advice? Kicks in the ass?


Stop being such a baby about your precious parts. How did you forget so easily what your wife went through to have your children? Do you recall an episiotomy, by chance, or perhaps the scars from a Cesarean section? And what about that abortion? Do you think she enjoyed having her cervix forcibly dilated so somebody could shove a hose into her womb and vacuum it out?

The hormones in birth control pills mimic pregnancy. For all the years that she's been taking them, that's how she's felt. Every day. Mood swings, weight gain, etc. You might be very surprised to find out how much you like your wife once she quits taking them. You'll be living, once more, with the woman you first fell in love with.

Get on-line and Google vasectomies. You'll be surprised by how non-invasive they are. You will hardly notice what is happening. There will be little or no pain. And then you'll be able to stop worrying about condoms breaking.

Look, I don't want to lack compassion here. Of course you feel anxious about the surgery. Any surgery is scary, and genitalia are valued and vulnerable. We don't want to expose them to any pain or suffering. But you've also got a good case of irrational male anxiety about being sterile. Some of this is based on your unconscious belief that if you don't produce sperm, you won't be a man. You are afraid to lose your virility and potency along with your fertility. Would you feel better if you went to a sperm bank and had some of your semen preserved? You never know what life could bring you. If your wife is hit by a car, you remarry, and your second wife wants to have your child, this is one way to make sure you can do it. Perhaps having that insurance would ease your mind.

Go talk to a doctor. They'll be used to answering your questions about the procedure. Find a surgeon who seems available and able to put you at ease. And tell your wife you need more support. I sympathize with her desire to throw away the pills she sees as carcinogens. But this is a big step for you, and it would be nice if she could help you to vent some of your concerns.

Then stop being such a big baby and go get it done. You'll be taking your long overdue share of responsibility for the consequences of having sex, and protecting your loved one from a threat to her health and santy. That's manhood.

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