"Why isn't there a birth control pill for men?" is the latest "Ask A ScienceBlogger" question. I am sure my SciBlings will rise to the occasion and explain both the biological and social barriers to the development, production and marketing of such a pill. I will be more light hearted, with a brief look at alternative methods proposed over the years intended to make guys temporarily infertile. Let's start with this delightful, funny, yet informative, movie:
Perhaps this quack had a point after all! Would you mind getting mildly electrocuted so you could have unprotected sex for a while?
One of the factors often invoked to explain the decrease in male fertility in the developed world is the fashion of wearing tight jeans (didn't work for me - look at my kids!), which increases the temperature in the scrotal region. Perhaps we can learn from the dolphins and devise ways to do exactly the opposite: kill sperm by heating the testes. People have actually tried this, sitting in hot baths for hours every day, with some anecdotal success.
Or we can infect men with norovirus. There is no way they will have sex at all if they are spending their time in the bathroom, trying to make the tough decision of which way to turn when projectile ejection of liquid is happening simultaneously at both the cranial and the caudal ends of the body.
Finally, going to the chemicals, there is an unwanted side-effect of some anti-depressants: Though there's no problem with getting an erection (for hours!), they make it almost impossible to achieve orgasm or ejaculation. Perhaps we can study the underlying mechanism of this effect and devise a complex time-release pill that would work sort-of like this: first, Viagra gets into the system, ensuring erection; then, the drug mimicking the effects of anti-depressants kicks in blocking ejaculation; and finally, after a prescribed time, an anti-Viagra compound is released, effectively ending the show with no damage done.
What do you think, would guys go for it?
Or should they (as the movie above suggests) just blog around the clock?
It's like I always say: Any suitably large pill can be an effective male contraceptive, depending on where you insert it.
What about the tried-and-tested method of thinking about baseball? Always works in a pinch.
Could a strain of Wolbachia be engineered to infect human males? Or what about parasitic castration by rhizocephalan barnacles! hmm....