Thursday, September 14, 2006

A third way

In today's Dear Prudence column, there was this question:
Dear Prudence,
My husband and I have been married for just over a year, but have been in a loving and monogamous relationship for 16 years. We're in our mid-30s. We don't want kids. We work a lot, enjoy traveling often, and don't like kids (although he is very good with them). All these years, I have been in charge of birth control (pill for 16 years and almost always one or two other forms—condom, spermicide—just to be sure). I think the pill could be responsible for my lack of sex drive. Recently, I brought up the idea of a vasectomy. To me, it seemed like the most logical thing to do: It's an in-office procedure, I could get off the pill, maybe I'll get my sex drive back, surgery for the woman is much more complicated, and it's a lifetime free of birth control. But my normally understanding, intelligent, fact-oriented husband freaked out. He accused me of wanting to "cut off his balls," and continues to do so every time I try to (gently) revisit the subject. I am very hurt because it seems like it's his turn to be in charge of birth control and a permanent solution makes so much more sense. Also, it has lowered my sex drive even more—after all, why should I risk getting pregnant if he won't even discuss alternate birth control options with me? Am I being unrealistic? Is this just machismo? Can he be talked into it?

—Sick of the Pill
Typical of the new Dear Prudence (Emily Yoffe) fashion, it was suggested that sthe writer acquiesce to her husband's fears despite the disproportionate burden it would require her to take on in service of a goal both of them wish to achieve.

Aside from being characteristically insensitive to the burdens of womanhood, I think Prudence is not thinking big enough.

So that her husband doesn't have to rule out his chances of procreation in the future, he could simply take several sperm samples before having a vasectomy, and keep them frozen until the moment he finds himself in need of them. He keeps his ability to impregnate, and she doesn't have to take the pill to keep from getting pregnant. Seems pretty win-win to me.

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