Birth Control and the Sexes: The Importance of Gender Parity

What does equality mean when it comes to birth control?

Birth Control and the Sexes: The Importance of Gender Parity

The condom is down and the pill is up, according to the latest research from the Centers for Disease Control. Between 2006 and 2010, condom use decreased by 4% overall; among teens, the drop was nearly 50%. In Africa and India, condom use is also down. The news prompted a response from the Gates Foundation, which launched a contest last year calling for people to create the "next generation" condom in hopes that men would actually want to use it.


Now a non-profit organization called the Parsemus Foundation predicts that a new form of male contraception will be available by 2017. Called Vasalgel, the method would require doctors to inject a solution into the male scrotum every couple months to prevent sperm from leaving the testicles. The procedure is reversible and requires another simple injection to allow sperm to once again swim freely. But would men actively seek out and use Vasalgel?

At the Guardian, Jessica Valenti wonders whether men will let a doctor inject their sex organs when they already can't be bothered to use a condom. And while some have praised the potential contraceptive as a way to create more equality in the birth-control realm, it forgets the role of the condom in preventing disease. While Vasalgel could prevent STDs caused by the exchange of fluids, it would not protect against skin-to-skin conditions like herpes.

What does equality mean when it comes to birth control? Valenti writes that "it seems unlikely that a new form of male birth control will herald some sort of birth control equity in the way the advent of the pill did for women." Rather than increase the amount of responsibility men take when it comes to making a child with a woman, making contraception easier rather seems to decrease it.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Weird science shows unseemly way beetles escape after being eaten

Certain water beetles can escape from frogs after being consumed.

R. attenuata escaping from a black-spotted pond frog.

Surprising Science
  • A Japanese scientist shows that some beetles can wiggle out of frog's butts after being eaten whole.
  • The research suggests the beetle can get out in as little as 7 minutes.
  • Most of the beetles swallowed in the experiment survived with no complications after being excreted.
Keep reading Show less

Stressed-out mothers are twice as likely to give birth to a girl

New research from the University of Granada found that stress could help determine sex.

Photo: Romolo Tavani / Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • A new study found that women with elevated stress before, during, and after conception are twice as likely to deliver a girl.
  • One factor could be that sperm carrying an X chromosome are better equipped to reach the egg under adverse conditions.
  • Another factor could be miscarriage of male fetuses during times of stress.
  • Keep reading Show less

    The cost of world peace? It's much less than the price of war

    The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.

    Mario Tama/Getty Images
    Politics & Current Affairs
    • Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year.
    • That's the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet.
    • Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs.
    • Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget.
    • Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.
    Keep reading Show less
    Surprising Science

    The evolution of modern rainforests began with the dinosaur-killing asteroid

    The lush biodiversity of South America's rainforests is rooted in one of the most cataclysmic events that ever struck Earth.

    Quantcast