Promising Male Contraceptive Patch Could Soon Give Men the Freedom to Slut It Up

For so many years, we ladies have benefitted from the freedom that whore pills give us to prance about town and enjoy our vaginas without a care in the world. But, of course, we are selfless creatures, and we've so longed to be able share this joyful hormonal liberation with our male friends. There have been lately been some very encouraging developments in the area of contraceptive medicines for men, but now a new study has shown that a skin patch that delivers a combination of two hormones is quite effective at reducing sperm production in men. So, is this the blessing we've been asking for?

This magical patch uses a combination of testosterone and Nestorone, a new synthetic version of the hormone progestin. Previous studies have tested a testosterone-progestin combination in men in pill, implant, and shot form, but there have been adverse side effects like acne and changes in cholesterol levels. (Those don't sound so bad compared to some of the scary things that lady pills can bring on, but whatever.) This new combination does a good job or suppressing sperm production but doesn't have any of the negative effects that the other progestins had. How nice for everyone, but mostly how nice for men.

So how well, exactly, does the patch work? The study looked at 99 men who were given three different versions of a patch and were told to use it every day for six months. One delivered testosterone plus a placebo, and the other two used testosterone with a dose of either 8 or 12 milligrams of Nestorone. In the end, 56 of the guys completed at least 20 weeks of wearing the patch. Of those men, just 23 percent of the men who used the testosterone-only patch had low enough sperm concentrations to ensure "very low pregnancy rates." The patches that used the testosterone-Nestorone mixes were a different story entirely. They both resulted in 88 to 89 percent of men having very low sperm counts. In fact, both doses of Nestorone resulted in significant percentages men having a complete absence of sperm.

This patch does have some considerable advantages over other male contraceptives in development, according to Dr. Christine Wang, the lead researcher on the study. For one thing, there's the low number of side effects. There's also the fact that men can use the patch themselves at home—no pesky doctors visits to get injections or implants or vasectomies are required. Of course, "very low pregnancy rates" doesn't inspire total confidence. If there are still some sperm still floating around, might trouble be just around the corner? But these are only preliminary studies, and further fine-tuning could result in even lower sperm counts. Unfortunately, we'll just have to wait until more studies are done and all sorts of other hoops are jumped through before we'll be able to know for sure and possibly live the dream of slapping these onto the skin of every gentlemen who wants one.

New hormonal gel combination shows promise as reversible birth control for men [EurekAlert]

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