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Male Birth Control Study Cut Short Because … Mood Swings

Photograph by Twenty20

Good news, ladies! Soon, the responsibility of birth control is no longer to rest entirely on your shoulders!

New research into the safety and efficacy of male birth control has been released with promising results. The injection, given to male participants every eight weeks, was found to be 96 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. That’s not quite as effective as female birth control, which has a 99.9 percent success rate when used correctly, but still … it beats condoms, which have an 18 percent failure rate.

There’s just one problem: The study was cut short because 20 participants dropped out, citing side effects. Those side effects included mood swings, changes to their libido and acne.

So … pretty much the exact same "side effects" women on (or off!) the pill have always had to endure. Are any of us surprised that men couldn’t handle it?

But wait, it gets better! The hormone responsible for wreaking all this havoc within the bodies of our big, tough, strong men? Progesterone. The same hormone your body naturally pumps you full of between ovulation and your period, and pretty much overloads you with during the first trimester of pregnancy.

We all know progesterone’s no fun—hello PMS—but it’s kind of just part of being a woman. And we deal with it (even if it means we're simultaneously downing chocolate and lamenting that breakout that appeared out of nowhere). Of course, men are quick to give us a hard time for being overly sensitive that time of the month, but … at least we can deal with it.

And we now have definitive proof that they can’t.

So what does all this mean for the future of male birth control? Well, I don’t know about you, but I never held out much hope that men would be all that up for this anyway. I spent nearly 10 years on hormonal birth control and I know the side effects are no fun. I’ve spoken to countless women who have experienced far worse side effects than I ever did; everything from increasing bouts of depression to 40-pound weight gains. There is an entire subset of men that refuses to wear condoms because they don’t like how they feel. In what universe would we ever expect them to be up for enduring the hell that is progesterone for any extended period of time?

Now, to be fair, there were originally 320 men in the study. So 20 dropping out (that's just more than 6 percent) probably shouldn’t be seen as an automatic sign of weakness in all men. But then again, have you ever been around a man with a cold?

All kidding aside, maybe there will be some who handle male birth control just fine, without any side effects at all. After all, there are plenty of women who don’t seem to struggle at all on the pill. And maybe this will ultimately lead to another option for couples who want to work together in an effort to prevent pregnancy.

At the very least, it makes it harder for men to claim they’ve been “trapped” by women. If you’re that worried about it, bro, there’s soon to be an injection for that. And hey, you can always still wrap it up.

There’s no word on when, or if, this method of birth control will actually be available to the general public. Considering this study had to be cut short, it’s safe to assume there's plenty of further research to be done. But should male birth control ever become a viable option, don’t worry, guys—I’m willing to bet you have a few women in your life who can give you tips on how to deal with the side effects.

Starting with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

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