30 December 2010


Vasectomy, that's the V-word if you haven't figured it out.
  1. When people have sex, but don't get pregnant, lots of the time there is something artificially, chemically going on. All these perfect families with 2.3 kids are not what nature intended. Nature intended:
  2. Women get pregnant, often lose their children in pregnancy or at a very young age and often die in the process. This is nature's way of reigning in the population.
  3. In the modern world, you have a couple of choices: do something to stop from getting pregnant or try to live a life that is ultimately unsustainable in our society with five to fifteen kids. 
We live in a world where you have to do some sort of birth control. I'm fine with this, for the most part. It makes the world a much better place in a lot of ways. But, and this is a big but, it's not the way it naturally is. And any time you fuck with nature, things happen. Dealing with the problems that come up from family planning, then, must be put in prospective: it is a problem you are creating for yourself. Don't want kids? Don't have sex with someone of the opposite sex. Problem solved.

Well, that solution is not likely going to work for me, so it's time to think about alternatives. Our family is (or soon will be) complete. Three kids is the cap in both Yoko and my mind and now we are looking to the future in which a) we intend to still occasionally have sex, but b) without wanting to get pregnant. Anyone who has followed my life for any regular period of time knows that getting pregnant for us has never been a struggle. It happens without much work. And that is, all things in common, a really good gift.

If we want to stop procreating past 2011, something is going to have to happen. After looking at all the options, it seems that for people who don't want to ever have any more kids, the vasectomy is really the easiest, simplest option. All the chemical solutions for the ladies have side effects that are not really desirable and press against my belief that life starts when there is a new set of zeros and ones in the room with you and your partner (and no, I don't want to argue about that, and yes, whatever you think about it is fine, and no, I don't think you should have to agree with me).

So the vasectomy. Very effective in the long run — very few side effects. Well, very few, but one significant one that has me pausing: about 2-5% of men who have a vasectomy develop chronic testicular pain. There are differing levels of the pain and if the pain is chronic and you reverse the vasectomy, the pain goes away for a large majority of the sufferers, so we're talking about potentially a very, very small subset of people.

Still, if you are unlucky enough to be one of those guys, I suspect it isn't a lot of fun. As a person who is interested in statistics and numbers and probability, I can accept a 1 in 30 chance of having this problem. As I said to my sister, we live in a world where pain is remarkably mediated. The thought of having occasional testicular pain would probably be something that a person living in 1740 dealing with a fifth miscarriage would gladly take over going through another failed pregnancy.

Me? I am selfish. Why do I have to do it? Why is it my responsibility? I like my testes the way they are: pain free and happy.

The other bits of the vasectomy that trouble men in general (feelings of loss of manhood, lack of clarity about wanting more children, getting your balls cut up) don't really bother me at all. I opted out of the 'I'm a man's man' game after I gave up little league football and I am more than happy to never have another child. I've seen some discreet video of the surgery on the Internet too and it seems pretty non-invasive. Well, as non-invasive as these things can be.

I need some new words to write about this too: scrotum is too medical, nut (ball) sac(k) is too juvenile. We need better words to talk about our junk (better than junk, for sure).

So I have my initial consultancy this next week and then it should happen pretty quickly, within a couple of months, I imagine, although I will probably wait until I come back from the States in February. It's not very invasive, so you go home when it's done and have to 'take it easy' (whatever the hell that means) for a couple of days. And when I'm done, I will be shooting blanks and not worrying about having a fourth Pihlaja, hopefully pain free.

2010 Recap coming later today or tomorrow, if it's in the stars. I think it is. Had to get this one out of me first.