Recently, my wife was fortunate enough to see an endocrinologist ahead of her scheduled appointment on account of a cancellation. She told me about it afterward and remarked on a part of the conversation she had with the doctor. She had been prescribed a medication to help with her PCOS-related gallbladder symptoms, but they were also giving her other problems as well. She told me how the doctor was fantastic, and after going through her test results, was able to give her some definitive answers about her diagnosis. And with that, she prescribed my wife with new prescriptions that would treat her PCOS without the nasty side effects her last medication gave her. So, yay for competent healthcare!
The funny part was when the doctor gave my wife the warnings about the medicine:
Doctor: “You should know: this will start your ovulation up again.”
D: “And your file says you stopped taking birth control shortly after your symptoms appeared…”
D: “… Well, you’ll be at risk for pregnancy again.”
W: “Oh, that’s ok. My husband had a vasectomy procedure already.”
D: “Oh, OH! Ok, then. So I don’t need to explain any of this to you.” 🙂
We had a nice laugh at the little anecdote and talked about how most people don’t consider vasectomy as a form of birth control, and how it always ends up being the role of those with vulvas to take care of that issue. That’s when my wife said it’s all because of the many, many horror stories out there about what came after. How some people lost sensitivity, lost their sex drive, their energy, were no longer able to ejaculate, etc.
Not only are these scare stories inaccurate, but they also paint a terrible picture of what male birth control really is, and deters those who could actually benefit from it, like me. So I wanted to tell you at least one positive story about how a vasectomy procedure has actually made life better for myself, as well as my spouse.
The day of my procedure
My wife and I arrived at the clinic, and I was definitely nervous. My face was filled with blood and I could feel my heartbeat in my ears. This is normal. We checked in with the receptionist, and half an hour later, I got to meet with the doctor. He spoke English, which was a comfort for me as I live in French-speaking Quebec, and my French wasn’t as good as it is now. He was very considerate of my fears and explained how the procedure would work in a way I could understand without too much medical jargon. He explained how long the procedure had been performed, how it would be minimally invasive, and how my body would simply reabsorb my sperm. He answered my questions like a professional, but kindly. By the end of it, I was feeling a bit more confident about the whole thing.
Ten minutes later, I was on the operating table. The doctor had come in with a nurse to assist, and he checked in to make sure I was ok and assured me this wouldn’t take too long. I was awake for the entire procedure, and only local anesthesia was used. It was some kind of solution that “froze” my nerves so I couldn’t feel the pain. Two small incisions are made at the sides of the testicles, and the ducts that carry the sperm are essentially snipped and sealed. I only really felt one particular ‘snip’, and it sent a shockwave of hurt through my whole body, but I kept still and the doctor added more anesthesia so I wouldn’t feel it again. Other than that, it was mostly painless.
During this whole procedure, I was given a stress ball to squeeze, and the nurse kept checking on me, telling me “Respire.” Which, for those of you who don’t speak French, means “Breathe.”
It was over in about 25 minutes, after which I was practically diapered with cotton balls and gauze. I was instructed on what my limits would be for a while, and to be careful of how I walk for the next few days. Yeah, I had to walk myself out of there right away.
After the surgery…
The bandages had to stay on for a few days, and I wasn’t allowed to masturbate or have sex for at least 2 weeks. The weird thing was: during this recovery period, I have never wanted to masturbate so much in my LIFE!! Just a few days felt like a 3-month dry spell. I remember doing a quick check online and found that this was a normal occurrence for people post-vasectomy.
For the first three months following, I had to continue using condoms as the last of the sperm in my seminal vesicles died off. Then a trip to the hospital to test my semen before I was declared sterile and cleared to stop using birth control altogether. It was a damn good feeling to know that it was finally complete, and I would be able to have risk-free sex with my wife for a one-time payment of, I think it was 435$. When you add up the months and years worth of pills, condoms, contraception, and other spermicidal products you buy to try and stay safe, it makes a huge difference.
Don’t you feel like less of a man?
Hell no. I’m still exactly the same person I was before. My wife and I had already made the decision not to have any kids, and to simply live for ourselves. The notion that the measure of a man is based on his ability to reproduce is not only ludicrous, but it’s also damaging to the zeitgeist of modern society, and the roles we play in it. Don’t lower yourself, and especially the rest of us, by equating reproduction as the peak of personal potential.
Don’t you feel a loss of sensitivity or sex drive?
Not at all. However, I did find that the reason for this horror story is based largely on the average age of men who elect to get this surgery. In their forties and fifties, sensitivity and sex drive are already beginning to decline. However, these are simply coincidental in timing. I got my surgery at 31, and I’m still just as perverted as I was before I went under the knife. I still desire my wife constantly and we have sexual intercourse on a semi-daily basis.
There are so many risks, and there are a lot of people who have to deal with permanent damage.
Of course, there are. This will be true of nearly any medical procedure, and most types of medication have a long list of possible side effects. Should this really be enough to deter you? Consider the list of problems women and vulva-owners have had to endure over lifetimes due to contraception side effects. Mood swings, breakouts, weight gain, permanent nerve damage, infertility, illnesses, and sometimes even disabilities all in an effort to be safe from unexpected pregnancies. I know that’s not the only reason to take birth control, but it’s the one we’re focusing on at the moment.
Five-hundred thousand vasectomy procedures are performed each year and the number of published horror stories numbers in the hundreds. It’s very unfortunate for those who now have to deal with permanent damage as a result of their procedure. However, with those statistics, this is still exponentially safer than any other form of birth control. Isn’t that ultimately worth the risks?
You shouldn’t be scared into thinking this type of surgery will only be harmful to you in the long run, nor should you believe that something is being taken away from your masculinity. I won’t tell you what to do, but I will tell you that since my operation, my sex life is still just as active as it ever was, and my wife and I can have the comfort in knowing we can get intimate unhindered and be able to live in the moment without any preamble to sex. I consider that a win, and I will continue to sing the praises of my surgery to any who would hear it.