Just say the word “vasectomy” in front of some grown men, and you can see them start to squirm a little. For some guys, it hurts to even think about what might happen down there.
But even though we are talking about a procedure on a very delicate part of the male anatomy—with sharp objects, no less—a lot of guys base their trepidation on a whole lot of misinformation and things they just didn’t know about vasectomies. It’s vasectomy fake news, if you will.
Right now, vasectomy may be giving you 100 percent of the jitters, but these surprising facts about the procedure may just change your mind. Let’s separate vasectomy fact from fiction.
- You won’t be able to ejaculate after a vasectomy. FALSE
While a vasectomy keeps sperm from entering semen—by snipping the vas deferens in the testes—it does not interfere with the production of semen, which comes from your prostate and various glands. In fact, sperm makes up only a small percentage of semen (1 – 5 percent). So in other words, it’s business as usual in the orgasm department.
- Vasectomies require a huge recovery time. FALSE
Even though it’s surgery and you want to find a board certified urologist to perform it, vasectomies themselves are pretty quick—about 30 minutes, tops—and don’t call for a lot of downtime afterwards. Most doctors recommend you spend a day or two off your feet and to keep those bags of frozen peas on hand to keep down the swelling. In fact, some guys like to take advantage of being laid up for a few days by scheduling their vasectomies around NCAA tournaments or the Masters golf tournament. What better excuse for sitting around on the couch all day watching television?
- A vasectomy will make you feel like less of a man. FALSE
Lots of dudes worry that a vasectomy will affect them in the sack. They’re afraid they won’t feel in the mood that often or achieve orgasm or—the worst—won’t be able to maintain an erection. Chill, dudes! Sex post-vasectomy will be the same as it ever was and at least one study reports that it gets even better. Apparently, knowing you’re dodging any kind of pregnancy bullet, and not having to worry about using any kind of contraception (if you’re in a monogamous relationship) can lead to even greater sexual satisfaction. And your testosterone, which helps you get your sexy on, keeps on flowing, despite getting snipped.
- Vasectomies do not increase your risk of cancer. TRUE
Although at one time, about 20 years ago, there was a study linking vasectomies to an uptick in prostate cancer, those results have been challenged by more recent research, which shows no link between the two. There’s also no threat of being at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, or hypertension.
- A vasectomy is reversible. TRUE
If you suddenly have a change of heart post-vasectomy and would like to try to have another child, you have options. However, unlike the initial procedure, undoing a vasectomy is a much longer, more complicated procedure, and costs a lot more. It’s also not covered by insurance. But sometimes it’s just nice to know you haven’t painted yourself into a sterile corner with no options for escape.
- You’ll never need to use any form of contraception after a vasectomy. FALSE
Here’s the thing: although a vasectomy is just about 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, you’re still are at risk for getting an STI. If your partner is infected, or you’re not sure of their status, you must use a condom.
- You are not immediately sterile following a vasectomy. TRUE
Sure, you’ve gone through the whole thing—the surgery, the sore junk, the lousy bag of frozen peas but you still need to use some form of birth control when you’re ready to have sex again. What’s the deal? It takes almost 3 months (or 20 ejaculations) for all the residual sperm to get cleaned out of your system. To prevent an unwanted pregnancy, you’ve got to use some form of birth control and be sure to check your sperm count several times before enjoying contraception-free sex. SpermCheck is an easy-to-use kit that can help you determine the effectiveness of your vasectomy in the privacy of your own home.
Once you’re armed with the facts, it makes it easier to determine whether or not a vasectomy is right for you and your partner. And instead of squirming, you just might be the one setting everybody straight the next time vasectomies come up in conversation.