Intro from Male Contraceptive Initiative Executive Director Heather Vahdat :
Since joining Male Contraceptive Initiative (MCI) in 2018, one of my dreams was to establish a Youth Advisory Board (YAB). The seed of this idea was first planted when I was introduced to YTH, an organization that I now have the pleasure of calling close colleagues. I was immediately impressed by YTH’s deliberate and outward-facing commitment to youth. It occurred to me that the inclusion of youth perspectives in sexual and reproductive health research, programs, and policy should be a best practice for all organizations. In the case of MCI, I believe it is a critical practice given that today’s young men and their partners will be the first beneficiaries of non-hormonal, reversible, male contraceptive methods that are currently in development.
MCI Youth Advisory Board member Connie Dean sat down with her male partner, Riley, to talk though male contraception, unequal contraceptive burden, and what to do about it.
Whenever I first mention my work with MCI or even the notion of male contraception to my female friends, I am met time again with the same statement, “Oh men won’t take that, I don’t trust it.” I get it–we’re college students with our lives ahead of us, so this fear of pregnancy is self-preservation. Whether it’s individual experience or internalized social norms that conjure this fear and consequent knee-jerk rejection, the data shows that men would take contraception if it were available, and in fact they want it to be. Now, statistics are one thing, but in my quest to assuage the worries of my friends, I sought to humanize this side of the argument: I sat down with my (male) partner, Riley, to talk it through.