Keeping My Balls

Friday, February 05, 2010

Question

My wife says she is tired of using birth control pills because of the side effects. She wants me to get a vasectomy. She says it is a safe operation, I won't even need to be in the hospital overnight, and it is my turn to step up and take some responsibility. Until I agree she has decreed I am not getting any sex from her. I do not like being given an ultimatum. What's the big deal about taking a pill? I never noticed it did anything bad to her.

Answer

I have a feeling I shouldn't bother to try to explain the complex cycle of rising and falling hormones that women experience on a month-to-month basis. I'll settle instead for a crude approximation of what it's like to be on birth control. Your wife's body has been telling her she is pregnant ever since "the pill" became effective. She isn't ovulating, so none of her eggs can be fertilized. Her uterus wouldn't be able to accept the implantation of a fertilized egg, either. As any woman will tell you, being pregnant usually sucks. The only way she gets through it is to tell herself it won't last forever, and at the end of those nine months, she will have a child. What is your wife's reward for this long-term state of gestation? One more wet spot on her side of the bed?

Side effects of "the pill" can include nausea, weight gain, headaches, acne, depression, breast tenderness, breakthrough bleeding, changes in libido, and an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. Is it really true that she hasn't told you she's uncomfortable or worried? Is it possible you haven't been listening? Some guys tune out women's recitals of physical woes, figuring that's just part of being female. But I'm guessing that this ultimatum wouldn't be such a surprise if you'd been giving her some acknowledgement and comfort.

You may be confusing a vasectomy with castration. After a vasectomy, the man still has his balls. His supply of testosterone is not affected. There's no change in sexual functioning. He still ejaculates. The only visible change may be a couple of tiny scars on his scrotum, and the lack of semen in his come.

The procedure can be performed in a doctor's office under local anesthetic. The incisions are very small. The vas deferens—the tubes that your sperm travel through to join the rest of the liquid in your ejaculate—can be cauterized, or tiny clips can be applied to block sperm. You may not even need stitches.

One catch is that you will still be fertile for about six weeks after the surgery. It's a big mistake to assume this is instantly effective!! You should follow your doctor's instructions to collect semen samples and get them tested to be sure you are not going to impregnate anyone.

Vasectomy should be considered a permanent procedure. If you think you might want to have more children, you could store some sperm with a sperm bank prior to the surgery. Lots of men feel reassured by this.

I understand that the words "surgery" and "my balls" do not go well together. But not getting any sex is going to hurt your nuts a lot more than getting snipped. I'll bet it already hurts to sit down. Spending a lot more time in the bathroom, allegedly doing crossword puzzles?

Before you discuss the vasectomy with your wife, I suggest that you thank her for taking responsibility for birth control, and offer some sympathetic comments about what taking artificial hormones did to her body. Make nice. If you absolutely can't stomach a vasectomy, there are a few other options you could suggest. The two of you could use condoms and spermicidal gel or foam. This is not as effective as taking the pill, but it's not going to alter anybody's anatomy. She could get an IUD. This is a small plastic device inserted into the uterus which interferes with implantation of a fertilized egg. There is some risk of an infection. And there are barriers other than condoms. Your wife could get a cervical cap, a diaphragm, or use a vaginal pouch (the "female condom"). These also should be used with spermicidal gel or foam.

I hate to add this because I think you will jump on it, but your wife could get her tubes tied. This surgery is more serious than a vasectomy. She will be under general anesthetic, and the recovery time is much longer. It would also mean that, once again, your wife's body is the one that gets affected by birth control.

A non-medical form of birth control is to stop having vaginal intercourse. There are a lot of other sexual techniques that can be very satisfying. Oral sex, manual stimulation, and anal sex have been used for centuries as birth control methods. This can be good for the relationship. It can be like going back to your courtship days, spending more time "making out," exploring each other's bodies, teasing each other, flirting and talking dirty, and getting off in new and different ways. Your wife might appreciate the extra attention and novelty. If you have the willpower to get all hot and bothered without getting your cock inside of her pussy as the grand finale, this could work as well.

Your wife honestly isn't asking anything outrageous of you. You wouldn't want to take a pill that screwed up your hormones. The sacrifices we have to make for love (not to mention sex) are often painful. Hitting your thumb with a hammer hurts more than a vasectomy. Cowboy up, cowboy.