A new wave of research is looking for more diverse birth control options for men. Two methods being worked on right now include a daily pill for making sperm unable to enter an egg (awesome) and a procedure called “reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance” in which a plug is put in the vas deferens and can be removed whenever (really awesome).
Now, if you’re a man and you’re reading about all of this for the first time, you’re probably wistfully looking out a window, thinking about how you’re about to die of exhaustion in a massive bacchanalian orgy of care-free sex with anonymous partners.
But this whole thing is dangerous because, if you haven't noticed, humans sure love having sex with each other. As far as primates go, we have gargantuan genitals. One prominent theory on why we have such giant doohickeys is so we could scrape our competitors’ sperm out of our mates (romantic), allowing our sperm a chance to live on. Life is a beautiful thing.
Also, fun side note: gorillas have one of the smallest primate penises in the primate world, which gets even weirder when you consider a chimpanzee has a penis twice a gorilla's size. Also, ducks’ penises can grow up to 17 inches and are shaped like a corkscrew. And did you know pigs orgasm for up to a half hour?
All of that is true. Swear to God.
What I’m trying to get at here is that sexual development and the disgusting and upsetting downsides of procreation – children, marriage, families, Montecarlo featuring two Selena Gomez’s – all of that’s kind of tied to being alive. Sex is like nature’s little prank, giving you something that feels really good, with the alarming downside of ruining your life with a baby. And then once you make that baby, you’re kind of forced to realize that perhaps the world should be a better place for that kid than it was for you, and you go about trying to make it a better place, which kind of keeps the whole human existence bustling along.
So now imagine a future where human beings are allowed to use their relatively massive genitals to have sex with each other, never again worrying about having kids, or making sure the Earth sticks around for their kids. It’s like calorie-free milkshakes, or Slavoj Zizek’s favorite apocalyptic paradox, the chocolate laxative.
The worst sexually transmitted disease of all: disgusting aliens that crap on you until they learn enough English to yell at you.
Also, up until now, most contraceptives have had downsides, which sort of helps incentivise people to not use them sometimes. Condoms are kind of uncomfortable, fairly easy to break, and have stupid advertising campaigns. Also, they are kind of embarrassing to buy, because no matter what, you will always be in front of an old woman in line at the supermarket. And the pill is pretty great, but some of the hormonal shifts in women are pretty rough:
- Weight gain
- Sore or swollen breasts
- Small amount of blood, or spotting, between periods
- Lighter periods
- Mood changes
The side effects are pretty standard, I suppose (plus, hey, swollen breasts). But there are some really alarming consequences of the pill too. Like possibly completely altering women's sexual preferences.
A team of researchers are now saying that the pill has a very strange effect on how women pick sexual partners, blocking a hormone that makes women attracted to masculinity, leading them to instead seek out nurturing, sensitive men. Which explains America’s fascination with Justin Timberlake, I suppose, although he is a pretty great dancer. In other words, what happens is that women who go on the pill find a mate, want to get pregnant, go off the pill, and discover they aren’t attracted to their partner anymore. Unbeknown to them, the pill was altering their taste in men the whole time. Whoops.
So if through all of this research, scientists discover a side-effect-free, completely controllable form of contraception for men, everyone’s going to start looking like this guy:
According to the New York Times, this is Steve Owens of Seattle and he’s currently testing new male contraceptives. That’s what all men are going to start looking like. Look at him, there’s something really weird about him, right? But that could just be because he owns a pet lizard, which automatically makes you a pervert. Still, society’s going to find out it has a lot more disgusting sex maniacs than previously thought when one of those male birth control options hits the market and the US becomes a Thanksgiving banquet of consequence-free sex. Because, like, what’ll be stopping them? Nothing means anything anymore, right? Take that, God!
Hell, in March, a surprisingly large amount of counties in the US were reporting negative population growth, or a lower birth rate than death rate.
About 760 of the nation’s 3,142 counties are fading away: industrial areas near Pittsburgh and Cleveland; vineyards outside San Francisco; rural areas of east Texas and the Great Plains; and the retirement communities in Florida.
Now, discounting the Robocop-ian, industrial sinkholes of Pittsburgh and Cleveland, where people put on homemade leather battlegear and fight each other for oil on deserted highways, it’s easy to see that Americans don’t need yet another reason to not have kids. I mean, fewer kids born in America means fewer fat kids born in America, which means fewer SUVs on the road, which mean fewer kids born with the name Cody, so maybe this is good thing. Seriously though, how are you going to introduce yourself as a grown-up with a name like Cody? Dr. Cody? Firefighter Cody? C’mon now.
Possible Future #1
A new reliable form of birth control for men hits the market. Men start trying it, condom sales sink a bit, but other than that, life stays relatively the same. People are a little friendlier and more relaxed.
Possible Future #2
A new reliable form of birth control for men hits the market. Men start trying it and discover it works perfectly. People start having sex all the time. Orgies become a national past time, beating out the Super Bowl in ratings. No one has children. People stop showing up to work. The streets are filled with an endless sea of writhing, pulsating naked people. All that’s left are teams of scientists making new and more efficient contraceptives to feed the world’s deranged need for sexual gratification.
Finally, after decades of childless, fluid-logged anarchy, two scientists attempting to work on a pill that gives you pig orgasms and a duck penis take a sex break on top of a computer, ruined by spyware from constantly streaming pornography. Their malnourished, disgusting bodies hit the wrong button and send out nuclear missiles, striking the world’s capitals. No one notices, everyone dies of nuclear winter, partially from radiation, partially because no one is wearing clothes.
We’re all doomed.
First published July 28, 2011.