Here’s my Sunday Times column from 25th January. Hope it presses all the right buttons.
SEX CONTROL – By Paige Nick
Journalists are tough. Some risk their lives daily in war zones. Others go to desperate lengths to give a voice to the marginalised or the abused. And many dedicate their entire lives to fighting for truth, freedom and justice. We put our lives on the line every day to keep you informed. I say we, because I’ve just spent some time on the front line, researching and testing what’s currently available on the market in the form of birth control. Including flavoured, scented and ombred condoms and watching how-to videos on YouTube. Brave, I know. I expect a purple heart any minute.
The nice thing about living in such a technologically advanced age is that we have options. If you were alive hundreds of years ago, your choices were to either wrap a pig’s intestines around your willy, or to wrap a lamb’s intestine around your willy. There was no vegetarian option. And women could make a concoction of crocodile dung, honey and sodium carbonate, which worked as an old fashioned spermicide. They’ve since removed the croc poo.
Fast-forward a few hundred years and the choices for women are vast. There are things you eat, implant, inject, and wear, to stop the onset of parenthood. But after all this time, men basically still only have the same three old choices; condoms, vasectomies or abstinence. Yup, so it’s really just the same two old choices.
Giving men a couple more options doesn’t just make things more fair, but would also be a blessing for all those rich and famous basketball, football and soccer players, One Direction members and Justin Bieber, who struggle to protect their semen from gold-diggers and claim stakers.
Besides the options, another thing I really like about the future of birth and STD control is the gender bending. An Indonesian college has just secured a patent to produce a male contraceptive pill. It’s derived from a local Indonesian plant called ‘gendarussa’. Which translated literally means, ‘about time the pill was the guy’s responsibility’.
Indonesian locals have been boiling this plant’s leaves and drinking it half an hour before sex for decades. It works by weakening sperm so they don’t swim as well. In clinical trials they’ve found this new pill to be 99% effective, with one billionth of the side effects the women’s pill causes. Thank goodness. If man-flu is anything to go by, I don’t want to live in a world where men get sudden weight gain, mood swings, sore breasts and swollen ankles.
But the problem is, I’m not sure I’m up to the challenge of trusting a guy to remember to take the pill every day. I’m not even sure they all remember to shower every day. Will men ever be as motivated as women are to keep all eggs unfertilised?.
Sure, the consequences of conceiving are severe for men, but somehow women mostly seem to end up with the greater responsibility. Also the guy’s role in the whole thing doesn’t involve nine months of alien gestation and then the act of squeezing a bowling ball out of their wee holes. Which works as a fantastic daily pill reminder for most women.
In another gender bending twist in the world of modern birth control, there’s the female condom, or femidom. Which works just like a regular condom, except it’s fitted inside the woman instead of on the man. But this has already been around for a few years. It’s 2015, where’s the wild science and crazy breakthroughs? What will the flying car of birth control be?
Excuse the pun, but it’s coming. Scientists predict that by as early as 2018 women will be able to turn their contraception on and off using a wireless remote control that activates a minute microchip implanted in a woman’s body.
Viagra has given us the remote controlled hard on, so why not remote controlled birth control too? But a word of warning for the early adopters; don’t let your partner get it confused with the TV remote control, you know how guys like to flip through the channels.