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Vasectomy: Fixing What Already Works

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Vasectomy: Fixing What Already Works

Seeing that one of my favorite meals was a welcoming plate of spaghetti and meatballs, my father opted for a metaphor of the most familiar variety. “You see it was very much like a plate of spaghetti and meatballs,” he explained, “instead, in this case, the spaghetti was inside the meatball, and so they had to cut open the meatball to cut the spaghetti.” This was my father’s clumsy but winsome way of explaining away the particulars of his vasectomy. I was about six years old, so I took the whole spaghetti and meatballs analogy a little too literally and inquired about whether or not the surgeon ate his metaphorical meatball. He reassured me that everything was still there, but just the connections had been severed: connections that were to insure my standing as the youngest child in the family.

As an adult male, father of one (hoping for another) the concept of a vasectomy is a difficult one to generate a lot of enthusiasm for. I mean, by god, it is elective surgery on a part of the anatomy that is host to all sorts of male fears (and desires). However, the main impetus (and the only one I know of) behind wanting a vasectomy, is chiefly wanting to avoid impregnating anyone. A vasectomy, in its most elemental definition, is a fairly minor surgical procedure resulting in sterilization of the male, where a man’s vasa deferentia are cut and sealed by tying, stitching, cauterization (burning), or otherwise clamped to prevent sperm from entering the seminal stream. From what I have read, and been told, the side effects are fairly minor (although there are plenty of exceptions, as noted by this anti-vasectomy website) and the desired result is worry-free carnality for the remainder of your (sex) life (this obviously does not address STDs).

The decision to sign up for the ol’ snip-snip is a highly personal one; ideally consisting of careful consideration and possibly some level of meaningful conversation with a partner or a friend (with or without benefits). This is not likely to be an issue that is highly political by nature, but more about personal responsibility as well as personal freedom. Still, as pragmatic and dispassionate as some men can be, I would imagine the decision is a difficult one with some degree of resonance. For those that go under the knife, is the residual feeling liberation, or loss? Has anyone out there had a vasectomy only to find themselves moving through feelings of regret or uncertainty after the fact? Do you have future plans for a vasectomy, and if so do you have any philosophical insights to share? Anyone altogether opposed to the idea of a vasectomy?

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


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11:44PM PDT on Oct 7, 2012

@April P.

Instead of "reversible" it was explained to me as "They can usually reverse it, but don't count on it." Heck, I've gotten to the point that I can't even reverse my haircuts anymore ;-] On the other hand, if you don't want children now, how likely are you to want to take on the 18 year+ project of raising a child from infancy later in life? And it's not like there aren't plenty of children in need of a good adoptive or foster home.....

@Patricia A.

A vasectomy, taking place just under the surface of the skin instead of much deeper in the body, is much faster, safer, less invasive, less expensive (even if much/all of the actual monetary cost is borne by the government or an insurance company), and requires much less recuperation than a hysterectomy. My partner and I considered the same choice, and chose a vasectomy for exactly those reasons.

You can assure him that he will still enjoy sex at least as much, and neither of you will be bothered by the ongoing hassle (and possible worry) of dealing with other contraceptive measures.

It was the best decision I ever made.

11:33AM PST on Dec 17, 2010

Vasectomies, like all contraception, needs to be heavily funded by the best cities and towns from their existing environmental budgets.
Please read my petitions advocating municipal environmental contraception funding, which is increasingly politically realistic due to The Big Sort in more and more towns, and helps women's right's, quality of life, and school taxes as well as being at least 5 times more cost-effective than any other environmental effort.

12:26PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

Vasectomy is one of the easiest, safest solutions to the problem of human overpopulation available at this time. Every male of reproductive age should make use of this option in order to take a vital step towards saving the human species from the worst consequences of overpopulation. Those who desire children should adopt.

11:54AM PDT on Mar 25, 2010

I just looked it up and cleared away my only concern about vasectomies , wondering if a man still had ejaculate after the surgery . He does in case you're wondering .

11:51AM PST on Feb 24, 2010


6:18AM PST on Feb 22, 2010

Thank you to everyone for your thoughtful comments on the subject of vasectomies. More to talk about here than I anticipated. And to answer a lingering question, yes, they are reversible, but with some possible complications.

Thanks again,

Eric Steinman

4:52PM PST on Feb 21, 2010

i always heard that they where reversible is that true???????

6:20PM PST on Feb 20, 2010

great post

8:10PM PST on Feb 6, 2010

woah now i dont like the sound of the procedure

10:48AM PST on Feb 6, 2010

thank you

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