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What Do You Know About Vasectomies?

22 Jun

While shooting the breeze at work yesterday, vasectomies naturally came up.  Okay, sex came up (of course), and then methods of birth control, AND THEN vasectomies.  Whatever.  Anyhow, it turns out that my coworkers and I have absolutely no idea what happens once that tube is tied (or cut or whatever). Being the researching hairpin that I am, I’ve compiled a set of tidbits about this procedure for your viewing pleasure.  As always, this shouldn’t replace extensive research and communication with a doctor for those of you considering this procedure.

What is a vasectomy?  Basically, it’s a procedure where the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis is cut and sealed so that sperm can’t reach the ejaculate.  (Sorry for all the gross words in that sentence.  Tube? I mean really.)

Does anything come out when he comes if there’s no sperm?  Yup.  Only a small part of the semen is actually sperm to begin with.  The rest of that goo is actually produced by the seminal vesicle and the prostate gland.

Will my man-friend’s balls explode because the sperm can’t get out?  Nope. The testicles will actually just reabsorb the sperm they produce.

How soon can we start bangin’ without protection?  Depends on the dude, actually.  It takes a while for the sperm on the other side of the cut to make it’s way out.  Count on at least a couple of months and even then you need to have his cum tested to make sure it’s free of any baby-making juice before you throw out those condoms.

Is it reversible? For all intents and purposes, no.  There is an incredibly expensive surgery (you’re looking at around $10,000 out of pocket) to reverse the procedure, but even if it works there’s not a great chance of getting pregnant afterwards and it may only last for a couple of years.  The two ends of the cut tube VERY rarely grow back together of their own accord once they’ve been sealed.  What occasionally does happen early out is that a particularly athletic sperm will escape one end of the tube and make it’s way to the other, hence why it is important to get your partner’s semen tested for sperm after a couple of months.

Will he still want to bang me? I don’t know.  Infertility affects everyone differently, psychologically and emotionally.  I didn’t immediately come across anything that suggested a loss of sex drive would be imminent after the vasectomy.  It looks like you’ll have to wait at least a week or two before he’ll be ready to bone you, though.

What are the alternatives? Condoms! Okay, just kidding. There are actually a few alternative procedures out there, but from what I can glean they’re still in the clinical trial phase.  The Intra Vas Device (IVD) seems to be farthest along.  This procedure involves the insertion of a device that would block the flow of sperm, removing the necessity of cutting the tubes.  It could also make reversal more possible.  Check out this website for a great overview.  I included this AMAZING, reversible option in a previous post.  It’s also still in the clinical trial phase so I’m trying not to get too excited (but it’s awesome).

There are a lot of resources out there for dudes considering a vasectomy.  I found this one easy to navigate and understand, but a little googling can point you in your own direction.  Good luck with whichever contraceptive path you choose and always remember to watch out for those pesky STIs.

Something to add? Email me at


Contraception Babble

21 Jun

I’ve been whining about the lack of non-hormonal birth control methods since I turned 18 and my mom took me to my first annual pelvic exam.  Barf inducing cramps and a voracious libido made me a prime candidate for the pill, but my mom wisely didn’t allow me to fill that prescription.  I later found out how much higher my risk of stroke would be if I were taking high doses of estrogen (the pill increases everyone’s risk for stroke, but if you smoke or have migraines with aura, your risk doubles).

Five years later, I’m a proud diaphragm user.  It’s not particularly hip or hands-off, but if it was good enough for Carrie Bradshaw and Betty Dodson, it was good enough for me.  The biggest problem with the diaphragm is that it needs to be used in conjunction with spermicide.  Contrary to what was widely believed in the 80’s, this slimy, sperm killing gel DOES NOT protect against STDs.  In fact, the main ingredient of spermicide, nonoxynol-9, has been shown to cause sores and strip the vaginal lining, increasing the risk of contracting certain STDs. I’m still wading through a few studies about diaphragm use without spermicide, but I don’t have enough to share with you all yet.

So, what about the IUD?  Well, I don’t have one yet partly because I can be a chicken shit and it’s supposed to hurt, but also because the hormonal method (Mirena) is, well, a hormonal method, and the copper IUD (ParaGard) could potentially increase my already mind-numbing cramping during menstrual bleeding (I refer you to the “chicken shit” comment).  The IUD really hasn’t been popular in the U.S. since the infamous “Dalkon Shield”, a dangerously poor design that resulted in a number of fatalities back when the technology for this form of contraception was much  more primitive than it is today.  I, for one, am beginning to think we need to move on from all that and start looking at the IUD as a viable method again. This dense, but fabulous article agrees.

Oh yeah, I haven’t talked about hormonal methods.  I don’t really want to, so you should just go read In Our Control.  Okay, okay, in short the pill just isn’t as good for you as everyone wants to tell you, but it’s a lot more profitable to sell you a pack of pills every month than it is to explore alternative methods of contraception.  That may sound a tad bitter.  Oh well.

Now for the cool stuff.  CONTRACEPTION FOR BOYS! YEEEEES I’m serious.  No, I’m not talking about condoms.  Check. This. Out.  Okay so it’s not approved yet, but it’s an awesome idea.  For more on The Parsemus Foundation, go to their website and poke around.  They are truly fabulous.

And for those of us who like to kick it old school, a condom I will probably never be able to afford.

Know Your Lady Bits

14 Apr

In the last few days, I’ve thought about my vulva more than any normal person should.  I don’t mean that I’ve been obsessing about the way it looks (A lot of women worry about that. Don’t).  I’ve been thinking about touching it.

Masturbation is a healthy part of sex and while I’ve never had a hard time touching my clitoris, I’ve never been comfortable or aroused by putting my fingers inside my vagina.  In fact, up until recently I found it slightly gross.  Don’t get me wrong, the sensation of having it done to me is excellent.  But when it came down to doing the deed myself, I balked.

How could a sexually liberated woman who is almost completely without boundaries have trouble putting her fingers inside her vagina?

It’s simple: I never had the need to.

Condoms provided me with a birth control method that kept my cervix and I amicably separated.  Pads kept my uterus from causing mayhem and enabled me to deal with the blood once it had been separated from my body.  But when I switched my birth control method to the diaphragm, I suddenly had an incentive to get comfortable with my vagina and quick.  Inserting my diaphragm correctly is an integral part of not getting pregnant, and it takes a bit of finesse.

Am I crazy for having worried that a tampon could get lost up in the labyrinthine recesses of my insides? Maybe a little.  But realizing that I can reach up and touch my cervix has been like uncovering the rest of the map in a video game;  I know where the boundaries are and I can start to explore what’s going on in there for myself.

So take a minute and get to know your vulva if you haven’t already.

Has anyone else made some recent discoveries about her vagina?  Bought a new sex toy? Found a new way to masturbate?  Leave it in the comments or shoot me an email!  Maybe you’ll help someone else get a little more comfortable with her lady bits in the process.