The latest news about male birth control comes with a healthy dose of side eye: Scientists have started clinical trials to test out a new gel-based male birth control, which lead investigator Christina Wang told Gizmodo has been in the works for 10 years. Funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the experimental gel-based birth control is called NES/T and is applied to a man’s back and shoulders—in other words, the birth control is administered via massage. The gel itself is a combination of progestin (which suppresses sperm production) and testosterone (to maintain a normal sex drive). Wow, how nice of them to consider a man’s libido when creating this…*insert aggressive eye roll here*.
Reports say that 420 couples from around the world are set to participate in the trial, which will last a few years. Men will apply the gel every day for 20 weeks and their partners will still take another form of birth control. After 20 weeks, couples will be asked to rely exclusively on the gel for an entire year. After that year, they’ll stop taking the gel for six months to make sure sperm production returns to normal.
Many women are grateful that there might come a day when we can stop taking hormonal birth control, or at least not be the sole group responsible for it, but let’s just say that many women were also a bit “Hold up, what?” about learning this male birth control comes in the form of a gel and a back rub.
Others are wondering why we can’t have a gel form as well.
A lot of women, however, are more than happy to give their partner’s a back massage if it means we never have to get an IUD inserted ever again.
The trial will end in 2022. There will be other studies, of course, and it still needs FDA approval, but it’s looking like a future of shoulder massages might lift the reproductive burden off women—and we’re here for that.