As sexual equality skulks reluctantly upon us, not yet here but at the very least foreseeable, an oft forgotten issue has reemerged with the news that a contraceptive gel for men achieved a 100% success rate when tested on our simian cousins.

This revelation comes after studies “using hormone-based jabs designed to lower sperm counts” were abandoned late last year when only 75% of the trialists expressed satisfaction with the results. Side effects included depression (amongst other mood disorders), acne, an increased libido and muscle pain – essentially the same miserable price woman have paid in return for sexual freedom since the 60s, minus the increased threat of blood clots and breast cancer.

However, this isn’t to downplay the casualties of the hormone jab trial. Of the 20 who withdrew from the 320 man study, there was an intentional paracetamol overdose, a bout of depression, an irregular heart rate, and perhaps most tellingly, four pregnancies at a rate of “1.57 per 100 user”, a spike of over 50% on the woman’s contraceptive pill.

So, as the male contraceptive gel prepares to move up the evolutionary ladders final rung, why does the prospect of effective, widely used male cyclical contraception, feel more distant than ever? The problem lies in the fragility of the male sexual image. While routine body hair removal, spray tans and jeans tighter than jeggings have men increasingly feminized, the importance of maintaining a front of unimpeachable machismo is steadfast; all that’s changed in the era of the spornosexual is the definition of masculinity.

For those whose walls feature more shirtless Cristiano Ronaldo than topless models, adopting their idols aesthetic means pulling more women, and pulling woman trumps any suggestion that their aesthetic is effeminate. Rather, they are “The Man/Boss/Don” or whatever other variant of nightlife regality is typically bestowed upon lads who have a lot of sex.

Problematically the male contraceptive gel seemingly performs as a temporary vasectomy, and in the mind of the Sex Don, this impinges on their all-important sexual virility. There is an unmistakable shame associated with infertility, regardless of its permanence, and many young men will recoil from a product that removes their power to impregnate, whether they are seeking children or not. The current climate of woman bearing all responsibility suits them too well for modern lads to consider sacrificing sexual vigor for the sake of empathy and equality.

Before Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugh Hefner enjoyed an unparalleled reign as the bachelor’s bachelor, and unbeknownst to many played an important role in the legalization of the female contraceptive pill.  Alhough the success of his efforts were universally beneficial, his motivations in doing so, namely reducing woman to carefree sex objects, have permeated the psyches of his philosophical descendants.

For this reason I believe any male pill, gel or jab, should be initially reserved for men in relationships, at least until the bachelor blueprint considerably matures. If a man in a committed relationship veers from his prescribed contraceptive cycle, the ramifications will affect him in a manner that can’t be escaped from so easily as giving a wrong number after a one-night stand.

The fear of taking a mystery drug should therefore be shared between couples, and if men are perceived to be too disorganized to take on such responsibility, they’ll soon learn the hard way.

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Charlie Navin-Holder

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