Updated: May 4
For centuries, women have been held responsible for fertility, unwanted pregnancies, and abortions, despite the fact that men are 50 times more fertile than women and have complete control over their ejaculation (thus their fertility). Additionally, men have easy to access over-the-counter, low-cost contraceptive methods, further exacerbating the inequality in the burden of reproductive responsibility.
The reasons for this gendered imbalance in reproductive responsibility are complex and multifaceted, but they can be traced back to cultural and societal norms that prioritize male pleasure, choice, and power over women's autonomy, health, and safety. AKA: Patriarchy. This is not to say that men are solely responsible for perpetuating these norms, as they are deeply ingrained in our system of patriarchy which at first glance, benefits men, but actually hurts everyone - women, men, children, families, communities.
Additionally, unlike men, many forms of contraception require women to take a proactive role in managing their reproductive health, such as taking birth control pills daily or scheduling appointments for long-acting contraceptives like IUDs. These responsibilities can be time-consuming, costly, painful, and often have many negative side effects.
In contrast, male contraceptive options such as condoms or vasectomies are easier, more affordable, largely over the counter and out-patient, and have fewer side effects. However, these options are not as widely used, partly due to a lack of education and cultural stigma surrounding male contraception and responsibility. Furthermore, when unintended pregnancies do occur, women are often blamed and shamed for not taking adequate precautions, even though in nearly every instance, a man irresponsibly ejaculated. This blame and shame can contribute to the stigmatization of abortion, which is seen as a "woman's issue" rather than a man's failure to be responsible and caring. This further supports the monitoring and controlling of women's bodies, lives, health, and wellness.
The fact remains, 99% of unwanted pregnancies could be eliminated by men ejaculating responsibly - every time.
To address these inequalities in reproductive responsibility, it is crucial to promote comprehensive sex education that includes information about male contraceptive ease and emphasizes the fertility differences of men. Men need to be prompted to take 100% responsibility for their ejaculations, fertility, and any unintended consequences. Additionally, we must work to dismantle cultural norms that prioritize male pleasure and power over women's autonomy, health, and safety. This includes challenging toxic masculinity and promoting healthy relationships based on mutual respect, appropriate responsibility, and consent. Only then can we hope to achieve any semblance of reproductive justice.
For more info, read the book Ejaculate Responsibly by Gabrielle Blair. It is a fabulous and important read! You can also find the amassed research here: www.workman/ejaculateresponsibly