Contraceptive underwear update

I did a little more looking for information on the use of special underwear as a form of male contraception. In particular I went and found the 1994 Mieusset and Bujan paper. Unfortunately for some reason McGill's subscription does not cover online access to the International Journal of Andrology, so I had to go down into the literally dusty bowels of the library. To give you some idea what I was dealing with, I picked this no-doubt fascinating book off the shelves at random:

Don't worry, the actual paper is rather less ancient, though it was in an obscure enough journal to be in the rolling stacks — gear handles and all. But find it I did, and while they sadly don't have a photo of the contraceptive underwear, they do have a diagram. Since it is conceivably NSFW, I'll put it below the jump.

from Mieusset and Bujan 1994, Int. J. Andrology
This isn't the clearest diagram in the world, but (a) simply illustrates the anatomical goal, on the left the startlingly cylindrical inguinal canals and on the right the testes being pushed up into them, or at least their lower ends. (b) illustrates their first attempt at keeping the testes in place, with a tight-fitting pair of underwear with a hole cut in it through which the penis and the scrotal skin, but not the testes, was pulled. This did not work well, so (c) added a soft rubber ring around the penis and scrotal skin. (d) avoided the underwear entirely, simply using a belt and cord to hold up the ring.

So there you have it, male contraception. Sorry, I just find this stuff hilarious for some reason. Perhaps it's the juxtaposition of dry science and elementary-school humour in phrases like "using the Wilcoxon T test for semen parameters". Perhaps it's the thought of all those straight guys who worry about women "trapping" them with children — let them explain why they don't do this. Perhaps it's the thought of getting dudebros to read up on drag queen advice sites. But in the end it's a real technique, that really seems to work.


daedalus2u said...

I remember reading about keeping the testes warm being used as a form of contraception in India. It was effective, but it caused such a reduction in male libido that it was not considered acceptable. Also, when testicles do not descend, they have a much higher incidence of cancer.

Anne M. Archibald said...

That's interesting - do you have a link for that? Was it long-term mild heating (e.g. special underwear) or short-term intense heating?

It seems that people whose testicles do not descend naturally are at higher risk of testicular cancer whether or not it is surgically repaired. I'm not sure whether this means that the increased cancer risk is related to the underlying cause of undescended testicles or that even a few years of heating raise the cancer risk.

The libido issue sounds like a question of decreased testosterone levels. All I found in my (cursory) literature review was articles saying that although testicular heating was expected to lower testosterone there didn't seem to be any sign of it. Of course libido is a complex thing, and the problem could be one of discomfort, embarrassment, or a feeling of emasculation. This sort of thing is reported after vasectomy, if I recall correctly.

Carolyn said...

OK, I am now distracted from my very serious work that I was really really doing, and reading papers about polyester-induced azoospermia. This might rival my "music education" papers binge.

Anonymous said...

Comprehensive review of 190 scientific sources on this here :

,Anne ,: it confirms your statement including cancer not necessarily linked to this.

,daedalus2u ,: no libido decrease in more recent studies:
" No modifications appeared among subjects during clinical examinations, with libido and sexual rhythm remaining unaffected. "