Sex in San Diego: Dudes, don’t delay that vasectomy

by on March 9, 2012 · 35 comments

in Culture, Health, Life Events, Popular, San Diego, Sex in San Diego

by Dixon Guizot

When I called in to schedule a vasectomy a few months ago, my health insurance company said I’d have to first attend a one-hour class at a Point Loma medical office.

I showed up to the class along with 9 other guys, and the woman running the class kicked things off by asking each guy in the room how many kids he had.

I was the last guy she called on. I was the only one who said this: “I don’t have any kids.”

Apparently it was unusual for the class to include someone who wasn’t a dad already, because the woman seemed like she didn’t know what to say. Eventually, she decided to crowd-source her response: “Do the rest of you guys have anything to say about that?”

For a few seconds, no one said anything. Then one guy finally piped up: “Want one of mine?”

A few weeks later, I was on an operating table at my insurance company’s facility in the South Bay, and the vasectomy was under way. Throughout the 10-minute procedure, the surgeon made conversation.

“So tell me about your kids,” he said at one point.

I couldn’t help but smile, despite the fact that my scrotum was under the knife. There was that assumption again.

My wife and I are in our mid 30s, and we aren’t interested in being parents for a variety of reasons. Neither of us has ever felt the urge. Neither of us feels we have the temperament. And due to some genetic drama, our offspring would face high odds of one or more difficult outcomes.

While I expect the preceding paragraph might have some readers headed towards the comment section, today I tend to be more interested in why it would be unusual for child-free men to get vasectomies. There are many men who don’t want to be dads, right?

Take my buddy “Zeke.” He’s in his 30s and says he is 100% sure he’s not interested in fatherhood. But Zeke hasn’t had a vasectomy yet — though he is in a long-term, sexually active relationship with a woman in her 20s.

I don’t know what birth control measures they’re using, but only abstinence works every time, so Zeke could end up causing a pregnancy, even though he doesn’t want to.

Plenty of unplanned pregnancies result in healthy kids and happy parents. But sometimes unplanned pregnancies turn out to be painful for everyone involved. So what’s Zeke waiting for? Why would a man who doesn’t want to get anyone pregnant delay vasectomy until it’s too late?

Maybe some part of Zeke does want to be a dad. That wouldn’t be surprising. NYMag.com featured an article a few years ago, The Hazards of Revealing You Don’t Want Kids, in which a young single woman says most men she meets do want kids:

“A lot of men have this idealized notion of their own childhood and family lives, even if their families are really messed up… Or they think they have these amazing genes that they should pass on. I dated a guy who claimed to be distantly related to Daniel Boone, and he thought it was incumbent upon him to spread those genes.”

Or maybe Zeke is concerned about other people’s perceptions. That same NYMag article also describes a young man who isn’t interested in children:

Rich, 32, a wildlife biologist, does not want to spread his genes; he checked “does not want kids” in his online profile. When he first went online, he did a search for women based on age and geography and got about 2,000 hits. When he narrowed it to women who didn’t want children, he got 19 [a decrease of more than 99%].

The article’s opening sentence declares “it is no longer taboo to be gay or unmarried, but if you don’t want kids, everyone looks down on you.” Here’s another anecdote about Rich:

Some women contacted him, and after exchanging a few e-mails, “they’d write and say, ‘I noticed that you don’t want kids. Did you mean it?’ I’d say yes, and they’d say, ‘I don’t want to date you.’ ”

Of course, women on dating sites are not representative of women in general. “I have more girlfriends who don’t have kids than those that do,” said the actress Cameron Diaz in a 2009 article about whether women who don’t want kids should mention it.

That may fly in Hollywood, but according to 2008 census results, less than 1 in 5 women across America reach age 44 without having at least one child. Of course, these results indicate how many women have children, not how many wanted to have them.

When it comes to Zeke, part of him might be harboring an urge for kids. Or maybe he’s worried about what women will think. Or maybe he’s apprehensive about the procedure, or maybe he’s just being lazy about getting it done.

Maybe I should pass him this story from Dr. Stephen Johnson, author of an article about dangerous relationships:

One man said he met a woman in a bar and had sex with her in the bathroom after she lured him in and locked the door.  On their next date they had sex on his boat.  He had used protection. When he withdrew after coitus, he was shocked to see that the condom was not where it should have been. He remembered her hand working its way down toward his penis during intercourse. He realized that she had rolled the condom off during the act. Surprise: she wound up pregnant, and after she won the paternity suit and full custody of the child, he wound up with a ruling to pay a lump sum per month each year until the child was no longer of minor age.

That anecdote is extreme, no doubt. A more standard case might resemble that of Homer Simpson, who had lined up the perfect lifestyle for himself — and then had to change to a job he hated when he unexpectedly knocked up Marge.

“Everything in our lives is finally perfectly balanced,” Homer says, lying in bed after that fateful coital session. “I hope things stay exactly like this forever.”

Gents, don’t miss the moral of Homer’s story. Sex can pack some serious surprises, with pregancy at the top of the list.

So if you’re a guy who doesn’t want kids, do everybody a favor: get your testes taken care of before they take care of you.

Sex in San Diego, a column appearing every Friday here at The OB Rag, explores topics related to sex in America’s Finest City. To encourage openness while still respecting privacy, most authors will use pseudonyms.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar goBallistic March 9, 2012 at 10:53 am

Thanks for taking this topic. Its gonna hit some nerves and strike some chords as it does here. It took years to realize why one brief and former lover did not seem inclined to want to be boyfriend/girlfriend, and my friends who were advising me at the time just said I should be happy a woman comes over for a couple hours (one of those guys never wanted kids but wound up with two even though his wife assured him she was “on the pill”). Of course i love those kids but its been tough on that family. Real tough.

I hadnt thought about those days for a decade until reading your article but at the time something just did not feel right. While this is not your main point made, and it seems my own scenario must be rare, all my senses had told me to do “what it takes” not to chance a pregnancy with her, despite her “desire” to have sex. Even though i am sure, 100%, she only intended to get pregnant, it is difficult to say it aloud without seeming cynical. But maybe thats my problem, since some are probaly thinking, “dumb kid. Didn’t your daddy teach you anything?” For many the answr is “no”. My instincts were strong and I didnt have a child with her but hopefully your article will teach others that the examples range from my experience to Homers and everything in between.

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avatar john March 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

(one of those guys never wanted kids but wound up with two even though his wife assured him she was “on the pill”)

stop talking about me! hehe. just one though.
I was actually taking her to family planning and giving her the money for the ‘scrip! She was bailing out the back door of the hospital and taking the money to the bar with her girlfriend.
we divorced a few years later, she was seeing some other guy. she promptly went on welfare and then moved to Washington state because they don’t make welfare moms get jobs. while she co-habitated with another man who fathered two more children with her, she lied and said she lived alone and defrauded welfare for over a decade- of course leaving the gov’t to chase after me for AFDC offsetting payments, which I’m now in arrears with interest between 5 and 6 digits. I was jailed once for contempt. You tell me, should I feel a moral obligation to pay? I haven’t seen my child since 1998!

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avatar bodysurferbob March 9, 2012 at 10:56 am

christ! a penis on the front page of the rag! and then last week a shirtless woman in a video! what next? are you turning the entire website into a sex rag?

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avatar Lois March 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Well, then you need to check OB Rag “Facebook censors cupcakes.”

Have you read the book “Future Shock?” Supposedly when some part of the population becomes bored with things and people like shock jocks, they will push harder and harder to come up with more things to shock and entertain. Main ingredient sex. Is it beginning to make you feel like a voyeur? (peeping tom).

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avatar Joe Scott March 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm

The article is in English, but the illustration is in Spanish. Just whom are you trying to please? Can someone at the Rag please make up their mind?

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avatar StopWhining March 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Wassup, Joe? Nobody’s interested in pleasing you today?
No comprendo or too busy pleasuring yourself?
Cant read a city map, either?

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avatar Lois March 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

That is funny as hell. I didn’t even notice it. Good to know you can get reliable facts. Maybe it means that only Spanish males will benefit.

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avatar Citizen Cane March 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm

And why does the graphic show the penis in limp mode? Doesn’t that send the wrong message to the Spanish-speaking patients?

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avatar Lois March 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Ho, ho! You guys are so funny.

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avatar john March 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm

The article and its author assumes the way you feel- your philosophies on life- will be the same for several more decades, and that your relationship will endure forever.
You would profess to be a bearer of wisdom, I think not.
At some point, probably your late 40′s, you will review your existence and the mark you’ve left on the world, and think of how there may have been more ways to give back to it.
Besides. who will be there to change your diaper?

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avatar Dixon Guizot March 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Let me be clear: like many men everywhere, I have made up my mind. I have made a choice, and I grow more comfortable with it every day. And I believe men in my position have an obligation to the unwanted unconceived to not bring them into this world, more than we have an obligation to gratify ourselves on the off-chance we do a complete 180 later in life.

As for rationale, “who will be there to change your diaper,” that seems both selfish and naive. I’m not sure what country you’re writing from, but in the USA, it doesn’t tend to be their children who care for the elderly. And raising kids costs money, so all else equal, if you have kids, you’ll have less money for those late-in-life bills.

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avatar john March 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm

All I’m saying is you’re in your mid 30′s now and in a relationship and it’s pretty naive to assert that you’ll feel the same way about all of this in 10 or 20 years, or know that relationship will endure. I’m 49 now, it’s amazing how much I’ve changed, for better or worse, in just 15 years. Why make an irreversible decision on it when there are less permanent means?
As for the changing diapers thing, it comes down to having young people around you who give a damn about you. Not sitting in an old folks home rotting away with nobody to visit you and nobody even caring if you’re dead or alive.
But you’re right you did make up your mind, can’t reverse that now. Was writing the article a form of validation that you’d made the right decision? I’m not so much trying to say it was the wrong thing for you as wondering why you’d want to convince others.
In the end I think my basic point is irrefutable, that you don’t know how you’re going to feel about all of this in 10, 15, 20 years.

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avatar goBallistic March 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm

actually, reversal is an option, of course adoption is a better alternative

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avatar Joe B June 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I object to a couple things in your comment:
#1. Nursing homes are FULL of parents who’s kids don’t visit and don’t care.
#2. How does anyone know that in 10, 15, 20 years they will still want to be a parent? That logic cuts both ways. Plenty of parents are secretly resentful at what their kids have cost them (time, money, dreams, sleep, etc).
#3. And I don’t think this article is “trying to validate a decision” at all. I think it’s a form of evangelizing and spreading the truth of that “Nobody is required to have kids if they don’t want them.”

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avatar john June 5, 2012 at 11:29 pm

1. Sure but don’t you think if you want visitors the odds are going to be a lot better if you had kids?
Let’s face it, after a certain age the only way you find youth is that in those around you. Ask any grandparent if they feel grandchildren are a burden or a joy.
2. No argument there. I guess each is a permanent decision you”ll have to live with, but there are less absolute ways than a vasectomy if you want to avoid parenthood.
3. This “truth” should be obvious. I see it as similar to purchasing decision validation by consumers, that’s all. You call it evangelizing.

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avatar Annie March 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I didn’t know that having children was the only way to give back to the world. Wait, given the world’s current population and its growth expectancies, NOT having children IS a way of giving back.

Also, you don’t have children so they can change your diapers when you’re old. The decision to have children should be a selfless one, and made only after careful consideration.

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avatar john March 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm

yeah but what if your child is a doctor, cures cancer, solves world hunger, any of that stuff.
I’m not talking about bringing a load into this world, or another Republican.

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avatar Dixon Guizot March 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Annie, I think there are lots of reasons why people have kids, and maybe not that many of them are selfless.

John, I agree that a man who might change his mind should wait on vasectomy. I don’t mean to convince that guy. I wrote this for the “Zeke” in the article, guys who risk fatherhood though they know they aren’t interested. Not sure how many are out there, but definitely some.

I also agree it sounds nice to think of offspring playing a pleasant role in our senior years. I wonder what percentage of parents end up obtaining that? ;)

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avatar dmdavereid March 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Interesting article, interesting topic. I like that the world we live in that doesn’t force people to follow anyone else’s path but their own.

I would like to offer this comment from my own experience, and please don’t read it as anything else other than, this is how it happened for me…

As a young man in my late 20′s, I’d surfed my whole life, participated in various other sports, both after work and heavily on the weekend, traveled, been reasonably successful in my career. Never pictured myself as having the patience or temperament for being a parent, and I certainly couldn’t imagine giving up my precious after work and weekend time. Not to mention traveling with my lovely wife, dining out, movies together etc.

Well eventually in her mid-30′s my wife’s thoughts moved to having a family. I didn’t really like this idea because what I viewed as my great current lifestyle (and I still do view that lifestyle as great and fun). Well, after a lot of thinking about my wife, her desires, whether I thought I could handle it, I gave in and agreed.

Our kids are now 9 and 11, and there were plenty of difficult times along the path, and I’m sure tougher ones as they move into their teen years, but there were also thousands of moments that I said to myself “I’m so glad we decided to have our daughter and son.” Although I thought that I would hate being a parent, and hate what my life would turn into, it has turned out to be hands-down the best, most amazing experience of my lifetime. If I hadn’t decided to concede to my lovely wife, and have our kids together, I would’ve missed all of those moments, and worst of all, I would have never known what I missed.

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avatar Annie March 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I find it sad and telling that Dixon had to attend a one-hour class before he could go through with his vasectomy, but the decision to become a parent takes no thought process at all.

Thanks for the article; I look forward to more.

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avatar embo March 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Touche

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avatar Trisha March 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Or, you can do as my beloved did, and find a woman who’s had a hysterectomy. He loves my three, but sees no need to ever propagate his genes; and thankfully we never have to worry about it.

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avatar OB Mercy March 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Great article. I’ve always admired people who know they don’t want children and do not fall prey to societal pressures to have them. Yes, there is always the possibility that you might change your mind later in life…but I bet/hope not.

I also believe in Zero Population Growth, or at least limiting people to one child. Radical I know, but we’re depleting earth’s resources enough as it is. 7 Billion people hanging onto the globe these days and growing.

My husband and I had one kid when I was 24, he was 27. A few years later, we agreed on him getting a vasectomy. Little did we know that after 23 yrs together, we would be divorced one day. We’re still great friends. He married another woman 17 yrs younger than him, and….she wanted a baby. He tried to get it reversed….didn’t work. They had to do Invitro…with someone else’s sperm. I guess he changed his mind. It can happen!

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avatar Citizen Cane March 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I’m one of those people that gets all teary eyed when I watch Zombie movies, because it makes me so happy to see the human population suddenly drop to sustainable levels. I got fixed in my early twenties while I was still single. I still think overpopulation is the #1 problem in the world. I must confess that the ecologiclal benefit of my vasectomy was offset by having pets instead of children. I think that issue would make an interesting study.

My counseling session was private, and I think the group class is terrible policy. People shouldn’t have to surrender their medical privacy just to satisfy the health insurer.

As people applaud Rick Santorum for having seven childeren, there are women in our country being forced to pay for sonograms in order to have an abortion. Land of the free…ya right.

http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_RFU.pdf

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avatar john March 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm

well you DO realize that the insanity driving the Roman Catholic church to continue banning contraception is tied to their race with Islam and Judaism to be the world’s number one disease- err, religion, right?

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avatar Anna Daniels March 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm

So I turned to My Beloved last night and said “I wish you had gotten a vasectomy.” I had read this article, the comments (thanks guys!) and looked back at a 40 year old relationship in which there had been a mutual decision not to have children.

In addition to a mutual decision about not having children, a mutual decision was necessary about our fertility. Smart, loving partners, we discussed all of the possibilities, including a tubal ligation for me and a vasectomy for him. Neither of us felt comfortable with an intrusive procedure that would stamp a finality on our future lives.

So I took birth control pills (1971) , suffered the side effects and was concerned that I had possibly thirty more years of hormonal tweaking before me. Decided upon an IUD- the Dalkon Shield (1973) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalkon_Shield Almost forty years have passed, yet that time still conjures up the worst pain& suffering that I have ever experienced. The Dalkon Shield sucked big time, the lawsuits didn’t surprise me.

I have used Basel Body Temperature, and we have used sheepskin condoms. And I was so friggin’ happy to hit menopause and not to have to deal with the fertility stuff anymore.

When I said to My Beloved that I wished he had gotten a vasectomy, he repeated what we had said so many years ago, that there was a troubling finality about that. But he had clearly listened to me recount the kind of decisions I made about my body and their effects, particularly the terrible memory of the IUD. When he came to bed that night, he said “I wish I had a vasectomy.” I wish he had too.

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avatar Rick Chalmers March 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm

You make the best choices you can at each moment in life. What comes later has to be dealt with then.

After a unsuccessful reversal 10 years afterwords, my second wife and I adopted.

My only regret is the expenditure lost in the attempted reversal. I coulda got our car transmission rebuilt instead.

I have not read anyone mention the idea of freezing sperm as a hedge against the permanency of a vasectomy. Wish I’d done that.

Rick

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avatar Anna Daniels March 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Rick- I think you are quite right- we make the best choices we can at each moment of life. And I know that it is impossible to see the future. My sister died when she was only 52 years old. My brother in law is in a new relationship, and has a two year old son ( and he got a vasectomy shortly after his son’s birth!). Significant others die, relationships dissolve; life goes on.

And I did think about the cost of fixing your transmission vs reversing a vasectomy. I truly believe that your remark was ironic and funny and even graceful. And I would also say that this is complex stuff, so I hope you will talk to me.

Here are the male contraceptive options & costs that I see, and please jump in if I didn’t get this right:
coitus interruptus- a freebee!
condoms- on going, cost dependent upon quality and fun colors and tickly stuff ( and women buy them too, just in case their partner forgot!)
vasectomy- one shot expenditure

Here are the female contraceptive options:
the pill- monthly cost, maybe your insurance pays for it, maybe it doesn’t ( Affects a complex hormonal system.)
IUD- one shot expenditure
morning after pill- pretty damn expensive, if you can get it from your pharmacy
tubal ligation- one shot; much more expensive than a vasectomy

There are all kinds of costs when it comes to dealing with how we approach our fertility when we want to have sex and control pregnancies. Both men and women want to have sex. The reality is that coitus interruptus, condoms, and vasectomies don’t result in tender breasts ( as in dear god don’t touch ‘em), weight gain, and severe cramping and excessive bleeding.

So I return to my initial response. I think you are right Rick. & I think it is a complex subject.

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avatar Anthony March 13, 2012 at 12:45 am

Wow, what a great topic. I made the decision to have the operation in my early 20s. I had to go to 4 doctors before one of them agreed to perform the desired procedure. I have not regretted it at all. I have no kids, don’t want any kids and I don’t really care what any woman feels about my decision. The world is over populated and I believe it is just selfish to replicate yourself in a world where half the population is on the government dole because they are one step away from being broke. I am not alone, a good friend of mine also had the procedure in his early 20s and he is also thrilled about his life. Babies are dream killers. Women that have babies by using trickery when their mate does not want children should be euthanized. Rather than having to worry about a whining brat and all the problems that go along with children for 20 plus years I went on to be a productive human being. I graduated from college, started a business, got married to a woman with the same views as I regarding the snot nose little rug rats. We became very wealthy and retired very young with enough cash to adopt 200 kids if we wanted later in life. We do what we want when we want without the drain of another human being that only would create that much more traffic on the freeway for others and waste more resources that others may need in this already crowded ant farm of a planet. Go ahead and get angry with me for my opinions. Im the guy that has all the fun playing like a kid while all of you parents are dealing with anxiety from the little varmints.

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avatar john March 13, 2012 at 9:20 am

No I could never be angry, in this case I am surely not alone in saying I applaud your decision and am thankful you chose not to procreate. :^p

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avatar OB Mercy March 13, 2012 at 11:12 am

Hahahaha John, you are NOT alone, I could not have said it any better myself!!

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avatar Joe B. April 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I had my vasectomy done at age 27; It was the best choice of my whole life!! I haven’t regretted it for a second. :-)
#1. I think it is incredibly selfish to expect your kid to take care of you in your old age. What, you’re breeding yourself a caretaker??
#2. People say “you might regret that decision someday…” Really? Having a child is equally permanent and equally life-altering!!! Can you just return your kid to the store if things don’t work out?

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avatar anthony April 1, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Joe B, it is great to find some sane men out there other than myself.
Good for you. All you other guys out there that just want to hear goo goo gaga
from some little turd for the rest of your life better stop and read Joe’s post over and over. You cannot return them. Some women have tried by drowning them in cars etc. but that is not the solution. Just don’t have any!!!

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avatar Abe G June 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

Great article, great debate. Thanks to all.

Like all debates, it’s exchanging opinions. But, this one should be focused more on what’s right for each individual rather than opinions about society. In other words, someone choosing not to have kids doesn’t affect society (ironically, choosing to have kids does slightly affect others). The point is that exchanging what works for each individual helps get our thoughts organized, and can help see that others feel similarly and that can be comforting (none of us want to feel like isolated freaks).

I’m strongly debating a vasectomy myself, for the same reasons in the article… I have a bad gene pool and am not arrogant enough to assume that my brilliance and awesome-ness would change a pattern going back several generations. The world is very, very full already. I also love my current life, with frequent traveling and lazy Saturday mornings sleeping in. I get to give back to the community because I have time and resources to volunteer with disadvantaged youths. If I change my mind, I can try a reversal. If that doesn’t work, I could adopt. Or foster several youths.

I had a girlfriend get pregnant and hide it from me, trying to wait until there were no other options other than to have the child. I thought I could trust her, but she thought I was “reluctant” but would be happier if forced into a situation because that’s what “normal” people do and in her mind this was a normal way to do what’s best for others. She had a late-stage miscarriage, and it opened my eyes to the risks of not having a vasectomy. Since then, two girls I dated were trying to get pregnant, something that I wouldn’t have noticed had it not been for that one experience. I mentioned this to several friends who have said that they suspected the same but weren’t sure until hearing that other guys had similar situations.

My now long-term girlfriend and I accidentally got pregnant. (I used the plural sense intentionally.) We had an open discussion and made a difficult decision. I love and trust her. I don’t want to go through that experience again, or to contribute to someone else going through it. The only reason that I haven’t had a vasectomy is nervousness, fear, and the feeling that I must be an anti-social freak for wanting to close that door. Articles and discussions such as this help me come to peace with decisions. Thank you.

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avatar T June 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm

You should be concerned about corrupt women that try to trap you with a baby.
Great if you want one but if you don’t it is a life changer.
Yes the world is full. You are correct.
Tom Leykis did a great piece concerning having a vascectomy. Click on the link below to hear it.
I had one. Never looked back. It was not painful and after seeing all of my friends in misery with their little ankle biters re confirms the great decision I made. I love kids, they are fun but at the end of the day they belong to someone else and are not my responsibility.
Audio 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J14rIt0np0
There are links to the other 3 audios from that link.
Again, any woman that lies and deceives by having a baby in order to trap a man
should be sterilized permanently.

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