My girlfriend and I have found the side-effects of the female pill unsatisfactory, and the failure rate of barrier methods (4-8% per year) seem pretty high to me. With this in mind, I'd suggested, not too seriously, that I'd go on a male pill if only there was one available, so when we saw the advert for the trial in the family planning clinic it seemed too good to be true. With the exception of pulling on a condom, all other methods of contraception make women responsible, and I'm keen to do my bit.
Although I don't wish to discuss this too widely amongst my offline friends and family, I thought I'd share my experiences with this with the semi-anonymous masses of K5, knowing you all to be a discreet and scientifically curious group of people.
The pill itself contains a dose of an artificial version of progesterone, the same hormone used in the female pill, and which occurs naturally in small doses in the male body. The doctors assure me that previous trials have shown the pill to be largely without side effects, although some participants have experienced changes similar to those experienced on the female pill (some weight gain, mood swings, acne, tiredness, loss of libido). To counteract some of these, especially the change in libido, I will also be injected with slow-release testosterone every month or so. After all, it'd be a shame to be safe for a year but just not to be in the mood!
The practicalities of the trial are none-too-pleasant, although a doctor-fetishist might disagree. The screening was, shall we say, somewhat invasive (any women reading: do you remember your last smear test?), and the blood tests are a bit much for a needle-phobe, but I've only got to do it all three more times over the year. No problem. And abstaining from sex for two days a month before providing a "sample"? A minor inconvenience!
So, what do you all think? I'm so excited about it I can scarcely think. If it wasn't for having a relationship I'm totally committed to, I'd be looking forward to chatting up women and being able to say "don't worry, I'm on the pill"! Will this be the beginning of a second sexual revolution? Or will men continue to expect women to take the responsibility for contraception?
Anyway, in the name of science, I hereby commit myself to keeping K5 up to date with my progress at least once a month for the course of the trial (assuming I pass the screening process), so if you're interested, keep your eyes open for my diary.