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Sure, he might say he’s on the pill, but would you really trust him?

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Once again, there are reports of the male contraceptive pill being tantalisingly imminent. And, once again, a mental image occurs of a man and woman looking at each other, arms folded, as if to say: “Sorry, I don’t trust you a bit.”

A University of Washington study, involving 40 men, showed that sperm production could be disrupted with minimal side-effects and everything returning to normal once men stop taking the pill. Which all sounds intriguing, though it wouldn’t resolve the other major issue – the intrinsic lack of contraceptive trust between the sexes, which seems impossible to resolve, leastways to the point where the chemical baton could pass from women to men.

When previously considering the idea of the male pill, I’ve been sceptical, albeit with regret. Women have long borne the hormonal burden, sometimes with devastating consequences; still, how could a woman trust a man to take a pill? He might forget (as women forget, but they can’t get men pregnant). Moreover, a certain kind of man would say absolutely anything to make sex happen. To this inglorious list (“The world’s about to end”; “I’ve had the snip”; “Tell me more about feminism”; “I love you”), they’d be able to add: “I’m on the pill.”

Before men complain, some distrust women just as much, if not more. Look at the scaremongering about allegedly industrial levels of “sperm theft”, as though there were nightly platoons of female desperadoes barging into wine bars, intent on harvesting a poor chap’s swimmers against his will.

Whatever the scientific revolutions, some things always remain true. The barrier method of the humble condom is paramount – preventing pregnancy and STDs in a way no pill (male or female)........

© The Guardian