What’s So Great about “Shooting Blanks”?

Among the top ten things my husband has done to demonstrate his deep love for me, vasectomy is on my list.

After we had our two children, we knew that we didn’t want more. Not only we were financially and emotionally good with the two we had, my pregnancy complications made me less willing to conceive and carry another child. Two seemed to be the number we were destined to have, so we decided to call it quits.

Now there are plenty of ways to deal with a desire to cease having children — everything from family planning to contraception to surgical intervention. Given our circumstances, we chose the permanent route.

Having read up about the alternatives of having my tubes tied or him getting a vasectomy, we were both convinced that vasectomy was the way to go. And frankly, I’d been through enough with my reproductive organs with three pregnancies, one miscarriage, one regular birth, months of bed rest, weeks in the hospital, and one C-section. It felt like a breath of fresh air for my husband to say to me, “I got this one.”

What's So Great about Shooting Blanks?

What does a vasectomy involve?

A vasectomy is simply a couple of snips to the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the ejaculatory duct. Translation: The pipes between the Sperm Factory and Distribution get severed. The man still makes sperm, but it gets absorbed in the body rather than shooting out with ejaculation.

And yes, he still produces semen. It’s just spermless semen. Everything feels the same. All that’s different is that your gun’s barrel no longer shoots bullets but blanks.

How invasive is the surgery?

I didn’t have the surgery, so I’m talking strictly from the wife’s point of view. But it was scheduled with a urologist as a day surgery, and my husband was out of the doctor’s clinic by afternoon. His was a conventional vasectomy with a scalpel, but there is such a thing as a scalpel-less version.

The soreness lasted a couple of days, and he simply medicated with a few Ibuprofen and kept a frozen bag of peas handy to ice down the area. Then he was back up and at ’em, with no lasting consequences. Well, other than…hey, blanks!

What about my masculinity?

I already know that some of you guys out there are clutching your groins at the thought of a scalpel coming anywhere near your sensitive jewels. And blanks? Certainly, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood never shot blanks in their westerns, right? What studly guy wants to shoot blanks?

Without getting into details, let me assure you that my man is still all man to me. Nothing has changed about his sexual performance, his masculinity, or our level of intimacy.

Actually, maybe it has a little. The idea that he would do that for me? That he would take the burden of birth control off my shoulders? Made him seem even more manly to me, because he was playing the role of leader and protector. He was taking charge of something I needed him to take charge of. That, I have to say, was sexy to me.

So if you’ve been considered a vasectomy but you’re worried about your masculinity, maybe you can talk to your wife and/or speak to other men who’ve had the surgery. These honest discussions might quell your concerns.

What’s so great about shooting blanks?

Once you have all the children you plan to have and you shut down concerns about getting pregnant again, it’s Open Season on sex. This isn’t only true for my marriage, but I’ve heard from others who say their sexual frequency increased after they got permanent contraception.

Of course, this is no guarantee, because that all depends on your wife, your marriage, and you. But if the concern about getting pregnant has played a restraining role in the past, then getting that vasectomy can free things up. You might be shooting blanks, but you’re getting to fire your gun more often. Just sayin’, men.

Is vasectomy the way to go?

I don’t know. I can’t speak to your specific situation. You have your own physical situation, marriage relationship, and conscience issues to consider. But if you’re on the fence about it, I can honestly say it’s been a positive for my marriage’s sexual intimacy. And I know others who’d say the same.

Talk honestly with your wife and your doctor. Look up information for yourself. Pray about your decision. And then decide if it’s right for you.

Now asking my readers: What experiences have you had with vasectomy? Or other permanent contraception options?

Source: Urology Care Foundation

69 thoughts on “What’s So Great about “Shooting Blanks”?

  1. libl

    My husband shooting blanks increased his sex drive towards me and away from secret solo masturbation because he was no longer dead scared of me getting pregnant again. He also wrongly suspected me of trying to get pregnant again and would refuse me sex. Now that we have an almost 100% chance of never getting pregnant, he is happy as a clam to have sex with me when he wants it.

    We chose vasectomy because it is less invasive and more fool proof than tube tying. If I were to have a c section with my last, I was going to have the tube tying done with it, but our last came naturally, so hubby had the big V. Also, hubby is quite a bit older than me and genetically and circumstantially more likely to pass away before me. He wanted me to be able to choose to have children with a second husband if I were widowed young. He knew if I went before him, he didn’t want any more children.

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  2. Ron Sutler

    I had mine done in 1984 on a Friday, and was out of work until Wednesday. Doc said no action for a couple weeks, but I didn’t listen and winced in pain during the not-so happy ending. After recovery, nothing major to report, aside from about once every ten years or so I get a painful infection in my testes that the doc says is not uncommon for men who have had the procedure. A couple of days of antibiotics and we’re good as new for years. Note to any guy considering this: make sure your car is an automatic. I had a pickup with 3 on the tree, and I had to run for milk for the baby on Sunday since the bride didn’t drive a stick….Not my smartest move :/

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  3. Brent

    I had a vasectomy after my wife and I had out 10th child (12th pregnancy). I was indeed a tough decision, but the right decision for us. I was surprized at the number of people who raised an eyebrow or made statements that our faith was weak because we removed the possibility of pregnancy. But, no one knew our hearts, or heard the prayers we both sent to heaven — nor did they hear the confirmations my wife and I both had from the Lord.

    In all candor, I actually had a positive experience — the nurse and doc were funny — they got me prepared (isolated my soon to be disconnected jewels — much like a dentist would isolate a tooth to work on it), then they disappeared with a spot light shining on ole faithful…. then they came back in the room — sparked the cauterization tools, while wearing thick black gloves going … mwahahahahh!!! … There were other humorous moments as well.

    The method I had was very non-invasive. A puncture was made in my sack, and the tubes were pulled up in a loop, the loop was clipped, clamped shut, then cauterized. It was not the painful “feel your guts and nuts yanked out of you insides making you feel like you have been racked by a 2×4” that guys here about. I took it easy for a couple of days — but I as very blessed and had virtually no issues with pain at all.

    My wife had the most difficult time because of the emotional side of closing the chapter on our child birthing years. She was mischeivious too though — after the procedure, she wore short nighties and attractive panties — “Oh … I’m sorry sweetie — is this too revealing — … g’night hon :)”

    In the end, with prayerful consideration, I highly encourage this form of pregnancy prevention. We did not go back in to ensure I was shooting blanks — we figured that if I was not, then so be it. Amazingly enough, my wife stopped her cycle about a year after I had it done.

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  4. Mike

    My wife had preeclampsia and our doctor said, “no more children.” We had two daughters, I wanted a son, but we stopped at two for her health. We actually gambled and had unprotected sex during that time. It was foolish of me, but the Lord protected her (I was a jerk at times).

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  5. Anonymous

    I had my “V” over 25 years ago. I had it done in my doctor’s office. It was much easier for me to do this procedure than to have my wife’s tubes tied. I had very little pain afterwards. It sure took away my fear of pregnancy! However our sex life did not improve…still sex-starved all these years… 🙁

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  6. Steve

    I’ve never regretted my vasectomy. My wife explained to me what the long-term effects are of consistent birth-control use on a woman’s health. That is a subject that I was clueless about and I’m guessing that many men are. The healing process is not that bad relative to other minor surgeries and afterward everything still works just fine.

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  7. Brandon

    If you believe God is in conplete control, why would you then go and neuter yourself, or push to have your husband neuter himself? It does not add up no matter how you try to justify it. What the problem really appears to be is one if faith. Taking matters into your own hands is not the answer. Perhaps what needs to change is your view of God.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      When I posted this, I figured I’d get at least one comment like this. Not surprisingly, I wholly reject the charge that I would “neuter” myself or “push to have [my] husband neuter himself” (by the way, I “pushed” none at all; he volunteered) due to some lack of faith.

      My God is all-powerful but believes in free will. He gave me reason, a partner to reason with, and a desire to care for the children I have to the best of my ability. And for me, that means not having a whole bunch of children I couldn’t conceive, carry, and raise. Others will make a different decision, according to their conscience before God. But mine is absolutely clear.

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      1. federoff9

        My issue isn’t against how much “Faith” you have.

        If I go to the dentist… something is wrong with my mouth that needs to be “fixed.” If I go to the doctor, I expect him to “fix” what is wrong also.

        But if my reproductive organs are working (as God made them to), why would I want to break them so they work more conveniently for ME…. instead of doing what God intended them to do.

        I take medicine when I am SICK. My reproductive organs, functioning healthily, are not SICK… and thats the message sterilization and contraception send. That the way a HEALTHY body works is WRONG (and inconvenient) to me.

        I wish more people would learn fertility awareness methods and work WITH their bodies, instead of treating health like its a disease.

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        1. a. nony

          We use FAM, and I couldn’t agree more that more people should be informed about it — it’s reliable, cheap (or free), flexible for conceiving or preventing pregnancy, and doesn’t require a doctor’s visit. I also strongly agree that fertility is NOT a disease and I share your frustration with a medicalized, pill-based approach.

          But I’m not at all comfortable with a one-size-fits-all approach to stuff like this. It’s far too personal. If using modern technological advancements is an open-handed issue when it comes to cars and computers, why wouldn’t it be an open-handed issue when it comes to vasectomies? Or, to look at the other side of it, I know a few people who are only alive because of artificial life-sustaining devices and technologies. Should Christians refuse to be resuscitated because it’s working against their bodies?

          I do think Christians should think carefully about the attitude they have to these things, and consider whether or not they have an unbiblical attitude toward children, or are putting their trust in a pill rather than in the Lord, but I think that sword cuts both ways. Christians who use natural birth control or none at all can have an unbiblical attitude toward children, pridefully believing that a bigger family is evidence of a bigger faith, or that their method of birth control makes them holier. It’s a heart issue. I think once Christians settle the questions of, “Do I agree with God’s word that children are a blessing?” and “Do I trust the Lord with my life?” there’s a lot of freedom for them to make decisions based on the wisdom they have from God.

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          1. Brent

            There are plenty of examples in which we alter perfectly functioning physical parts of our body — not as a “fix” … but maybe a prevention, or something else.

            Have you or your children had teeth pulled? — They were likely perfectly healthy — but, room was needed to move other teeth with braces. But why were braces needed? In many cases, crooked teeth function fine, but we alter something that works fine to reduce the risk of future issues, circumstances, or pain.

            Do you have Boys? Are you a male? Are they, or you, circumcised? (no need to really answer!) — If so, Why? The foreskin is perfectly functional — no logical reason at all to remove it. Maybe risk of hygiene issues in the future? Religious tradition? — if for religious reasons, then that would validate that altering a perfectly functioning piece of your body is acceptable to God.

            Now, here is a real practical concept, that actually fits in line with your line of thinking: It is my belief that my wife and I are one-flesh, and we are inseparable till death. I have a responsibility for her health; she has a responsibility for mine — and health is more than physical, its mental and spiritual as well.

            My wife’s body has endured 12 pregnancies and 10 births, at 43 her body was broken (I too had my own forms of broken-ness, but it was less physical and more psychological). If we conceived another child, her life — literally — would be at risk. So, when considering a vasectomy, the real physical risk my wife would encounter with pregnancy became part of the decision. So the physical “fix” for “our” (my wife and I’s one-flesh body) was for me to alter the body I have governance of. And honestly, convenience did factor into the decision as well. But, the “convenience” was not to “get more sex” or to “upgrade to the sport model” (I joke that way at times with my close friends) .. but the true convenience was in knowing that we would not have be concerned with how we would prevent conception when we wanted to be intimate. If any others are willing to take on that task of preventing conception differently, then that is between you and your wife and God! — I and others, offer our experience, part of our story, and most of all — support.

    2. John

      Whenever i hear something like this about birth control from someone, i always ask them: Do you go to the doctors? Dentist? Do you take any medicine or perscriptions? Do you have life insurance? Car insurance? Home insurance? A bank account? Savings? 401k? Stocks or bonds? College fund for your kids?

      If they say yes to any of these, then I ask, I thought you said God was in complete control. Is your faith lacking that He will not protect you or not provide for you or not keep you healthy? If God is in complete control and you do any of the above you must not trust Him.

      They usually blubber after that because nearly every person does at least one of them. I say do what you want to your own beliefs, but don’t dare question mine without unequivocal biblical evidence to the contrary.

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      1. J Post author

        Thanks, John. I think it’s perfectly fine for someone to say they felt God’s leading to have many kids. That’s great — good for them! But, like you, I think it’s overstepping to question my belief that God is in control because we didn’t feel that calling. As you point out, I make all kind of decisions daily, weekly, monthly that seem wise and good for me and my family. For us, the vasectomy was one of those decisions.

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    3. Anonymous

      If “God is in control” and thus changing the possible outcome of things is a sign of weak faith, then perhaps I should stop wearing my seat belt. Perhaps instead of planning vacations and buying airline tickets in advance, I should just show up the airport and try to get on any random airplane. Since God loves me and is in control, and only wants good things for me, obviously he will have prepared the way and arranged for my flight, right?

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      1. J Post author

        I thought things like this too. I think some people believe it’s different when it comes to having children, who are indeed a blessing. As I’ve said, if others feel God calling them in that direction, fine! But as you point out, it’s not a lack of faith to decide otherwise, as we and plenty of others have done.

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    4. Brent

      “God is in complete control” ….
      So … what is he in control of? If we use the Bible as our guide, he rarely *controls* the actions of people, the only reason I say rarely is that I know and 100% believe that in his sovereignty he could — after all, he fed the multitudes with a few fish, he controlled Mary’s body to have a virgin birth, he could stop the earth from rotating on its axis. In his sovereignty he could indeed control anything. But if He did control everything, including our actions, then why would the bible teach us to be self-controlled, love your neighbor, and choose a path in life that honors God. God would have no need to teach us anything, if he controlled everything. It is my thought that he creates processes and watches them unfold — he used the 7 days to create heaven, earth, etc … and human life. (He gave us dominion over much — why would he do that if he controlled everything?). During this creation he put the process of everything in play — the weather, environmental processes, the process of creating human life through making love, everything is a process that he designed to be self sustaining. Again, in his sovereignty — He can indeed control anything! But that free will thing J speaks of is real — and our intimacy with God helps us choose in life what honors Him when decisions requiring great conscientiousness and care need to be made. So with that, you have have chosen to let your bodies remain in a state that allows the process of creating humans because you feel it honors God. Where as my wife and I, and many others, have chosen to halt that functionality because it honors God. The reasons for the alteration vary, but as for me and my wife, our decision honored God and it was by our deep faith that we made it. Just as we may decide to have a surgery to alter our bodies in other ways in order to honor God with our lives. I do believe that your decision is indeed based on your faith and your given circumstances. Please do not be prideful in your assumption is the only correct one. Also, please reconsider your assumption that others made the decision to prevent the re-productive process with selfish motives or a lack of faith as it is truly not the case.

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    5. Tony

      [Note: I wanted to go ahead and publish this comment to add this information to the conversation, but I did some editing to avoid what I considered personal or irrelevant attacks. For more more information, see my comments policy.]

      I believe God CAN control, but God doesn’t always control. […]

      I had a vasectomy for ME. I’ll admit it.

      After my unfaithful ex-wife got custody simply because she was the stay-at-home mom. Because the church, instead of using Church Discipline (Matthew 18) to try to convince her to end the affair and return to her marriage asked what I did to force her to have an affair.

      After all of this, I was convinced that while scripture may tell us what is best, God doesn’t force anyone to do those things. […]

      So I decided I wouldn’t go through that pain ever again. I’d make sure I never fathered another child.

      If God is in total control, as you suggest, and wants me to have another child, not even my vasectomy would prevent that.

      […]

      BTW, it was the best $100 co-pay I ever paid. It was relatively pain free. Had it done on a Thursday, back to work on Monday. A few samples were taken to ensure I was really shooting blanks.

      No big deal. I recommend it to any man or couple who is interested in/lead to no longer having children.

      Reply
      1. J Post author

        My heart goes out to you with your situation. I have a friend whose wife left him and took their three kids, and it was devastating to him to lose that daily contact with his children. I pray that you can still be involved as a father, find ways to heal, and pursue the best for your life. The God I know is a God of comfort, and I long for His people to be there for you in this difficult time. Blessings.

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        1. Tony

          My daughter is now 17, almost 18 and now lives with me most of the time.

          You just have to be the best dad you can be and hope your child will make good choices.

          Already accepted to her first choice college. Will graduate high school with both high school diploma and her Associates degree, so a good head start on the BA and then grad school.

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  8. Anonymous

    My husband just had his vasectomy done about 5 months ago. His doctor did the first side, but then on the second side accidentally shot the lidocaine into a vessel instead of tissue, which ended up giving him a seizure. You better believe I can’t convince him to go in and have the second side done now.

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  9. Allie

    I had my tubes tied well before I married, because I have a high risk of passing on a genetic cancer to any child I’d have. Many believers took shots at me for my lack of faith, but like someone else on here said, those people didn’t hear my fervent prayers about the issue, God’s confirmations, or feel the peace I’ve had ever since it was done. The cancer risk is the only reason my OB/GYN agreed to do it when I was so young…I was 22. If that had not been the case, my husband said he would have done the V himself, but he doesn’t have to since I’ve already gone through a permanent procedure. I know it’s a bit different than your post. I know tubal ligation is more invasive, but I didn’t have a lot of the problems I hear many women have as a result. My recovery was relatively quick: surgery on a Friday, and I was back in college classes Monday.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I have a friend who also decided against children because of the extremely high risk of a genetic disorder for any children she conceived. Thankfully, she married a wonderful man who supported her, and they were a terrific family — just the two of them.

      Many blessings to you and her husband. I’m glad your surgery and recovery were smooth sailing.

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      1. Chris

        If you get married with no intention of ever having children then you are profaning the sacrement of marriage. If you dont want kids just don’t get married. But to get married without embracing the fecundity of marriage profanes marriage.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          How is that “profaning the sacrament of marriage”? In 1 Samuel, when Hannah was unable to conceive, her husband said, ” “Why are you crying, Hannah? Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me — isn’t that better than having ten sons?” There was nothing illegitimate about their marriage or their faith.

          I know couples who have married and chosen not to have children for health reasons or to devote themselves more fully to ministering elsewhere. Perhaps they became house parents at a children’s home, took on mission work in foreign countries, supported charities through their finances, or selected other grace-filled endeavors. And they did so more effectively by having a life partner who shared their vision and commitment.

          While I believe that reproduction is a major reason for God’s gift of sex, it isn’t the only one. I’ve personally been blessed by Christian couples who married and did not have children, and I would never suggest they were profane in any way.

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          1. Chris

            A key difference: they were trying to have children and could not. Why could they not? That is up to god. As christians we believe in an omnipotent god. God can do what he wants when he wants for what reasons he wants. If god decides that a married couple shall not have children, then thats the way it is. But to enter into marriage with no intent of allowing life is disrepecting gods physical design. I have enjoyed this blog for a while and i am trying to be respectful to J, but i just disagree. Sterilization, birth control, abortion, whatever, it is all fruit from the same tree. Medicine takes that which is broken and repairs it. Birth contol and sterilization take that which is given to us in gods design and breaks it. I want to stress that I fully respect J and her blog, i just disagree.

          2. J Post author

            Thanks for the compliments! So glad to have you as a reader. But clearly, on this one, we simply disagree. Blessings!

        2. Brent

          God’s design for marriage is companionship and intimacy. And I can think of nowhere in the bible (always eager to learn!) that indicates NOT exercising the ability to reproduce is an affront to the marital union and disrespectful to God and his design.

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    2. Tiffany

      I have a daughter who at age 12 is an 8 year cancer survivor. We were told she wouldn’t be able to have children. But since then I have met women who had cancer as children and were also told they couldn’t have children but were able to. My biggest concern is that if she can get pregnant did the chemo damage her eggs so much that she has a much greater chance of having a child with severe birth defects or major chronic problems. When you know that is a very good possibility it does make you seriously think twice about having children of your own. When she’s older I will express my concerns. There is always adoption and donor eggs (if you are ok with science helping out). What she does with the info is completely up to her. I will support her no matter what.

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    3. Annie - nonimouse

      One of the things God has given us is wisdom. If ya ain’t got, best ask for it!
      I would much rather be “neutered” than go through the pain of losing a child/ children to cancer. Thank you very much

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  10. Trent

    I had my vasectomy when I was 26 years old, not quite 30 years ago. We decided it was easier for me to have it done then for her to have her tubes tied. We chose vasectomy because neither of us were comfortable with the long-term effects of oral contraceptives or the side effects of the hormones in them. Neither did we like the IUD or condoms. We had planned that I would have it done about six months after our second child. If we wanted more children afterwards, we would adopt, just like I was.

    I was in and out about an hour. Before my appointment a guy came out in biker pants all padded, packed, and bulging saying “no sweat guys.” Now it’s my turn. First comes the uncomfortable and embarrassing experience of being shaved by someone. Now everyone is different, making the incisions was no problem, but as soon as the first incision was made, something contracted and my vascular tubes retracted, so the doctor had to go digging. It felt as if my tonsils were being pulled out through my scrotum. This procedure, the doctor actually cuts like an eighth inch piece out of the tube. He does one side and then on the other I hear him say “oops”. OOPS WHAT? Don’t say that to a guy with his legs strapped down and his junk numbed. The piece of tube cut out fell into the incision and after a short time of trying to retrieve it he finally stopped digging. (Body would absorb it.) The following night my wife wears a tiny black leather miniskirt and takes me out dancing with our friends. Of course she’ll deny it now.

    The end result is that there has been no negative impact to our sex life because of it. I feel the same, my desire is the same if not more so, and perform the same. If anything, it has improved over the years, but that may be because we’ve grown closer and more in love.

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    1. Rachel

      Wow, Trent, I’m sorry, but I had a giggling fit over your story where the doctor said “oops”! What the..?! I’m glad you survived!

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    2. Jim

      Ha ha. When the doc finished with me he said, ‘ OK, time to clean up.’ It was then that I started to get up and see him wiping blood off the wall next to me. Let’s just say that I was glad I was lying down.

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  11. MJ

    I had mine done almost a year ago to the day. I had the “scalpel less” procedure done. I’ll tell ya, it was much better than going to the dentist for a filling. I had no problems at all. It was a great decision and so glad I had it done. Also, This is very important, after the procedure go get retested!! l went back twice for testing to make sure there was no sperm in my fluids. My wife would help me shoot it in a cup they gave me, l immediately took it to the lab, and they called me with the results, l did this twice 6 weeks after then 8 weeks after the procedure, before l got the all clear. Just because you have it done there is still sperm present, dont have unprotected sex untill your Dr gives you the all clear!! A friend of mine had it done, but never went back for follow up testing….yep his wife got pregnant, they now have a child who they dearly love, but they thought since he had a vacectomy it was safe, it’s not safe until you get tested and the Doctor says it’s safe!!
    Anyway, I was hoping it would improve my sex life with my wife but it didn’t, but thats another story.

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    1. Eliza

      A friend of mine’s husband also had the procedure done, but got pregnant after a ‘test run’ 😉 I would definitely recommend getting the ‘all clear’ from your Dr before having unprotected sex!

      Reply
  12. JAMES WITTER

    After a few years of talking about it Wife and I decided to have me go in and get a vasectomy.. Yes I was nervous and scared but it went smooth and with no problems.. There is times now that if I go any length of time without an ejaculation sometimes I get a sharp pain in the one ball when I am making love with the wife but it soon goes away…. The cure has been to not go long periods of time without ejaculating.

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  13. Tiffany

    I’m so glad your husband was totally on board and ready to take this on for you. Mine wasn’t. He balked and whined and asked me why I couldn’t do it, have my tubes tied. At this point we had four children in 4 1/2 years, I had been pregnant or nursing or BOTH for six years straight. I explained how a tubal is a major surgery with several days in the hospital and six weeks of bed rest/recovery for a woman and for a man it was sitting on the couch for a few days with an ice pack. I was so scared to have sex. Our first child was conceived the one night we didn’t use a condom. When we decided to go for number two I got pregnant the first month, number three took two months to conceive, and by number four we were using TWO, yes two forms of birth control and that little sucker was still determined to connect with one of my eggs. So I was petrified I would have another baby and with four preschool age and younger I would go insane. So I put my foot down, no sex until he went to the doctor. He had an appointment in three days. Men, buck up and do this if your wife ask. It’s a huge way to show her you care when you know you are done having children. But be sure to go back and get cleared by the doctor. While the chances are low those little tubes do occasionally grow back together.

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  14. Anonymous

    It is good to hear this dialogue between two sides of the aisle so to speak on birth control… As a wife wavering between let go, let God and being overwhelmed with four soon to be five…

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  15. Eric

    My wife was home two days after giving birth to our 4th child, and a tubal ligation the next day. No long recovery period at all; and this was 39 years ago (she was nearly 41, and she just had her 80th birthday).

    We had three kids in our first five years of marriage, then after three more years (and a lot of birth control) we tried again, but her pregnancy ended early in a miscarriage. Three more years and more messy birth control (foam), and we decided to go for number four the summer she turned 40. We both had a great night w/o the foam, and the following spring came child number four–and a tubal ligation–same hospital visit for both. Nothing major, except for the result. And no long recovery.

    We’d talked the options over. I was 38, and if she died I might marry a woman who wanted children, so the idea of a vasectomy wasn’t good. DW, at 40, could have menopause in a few years, or it could be 15 years. So she talked with her OB/gyn, and she agreed to tie the tubes right after the baby came.

    So we’ve had 40 years of sex with no pills, no condoms and no foam. I did get one good laugh out of the birth-control issue. I was the substitute for a couple of days in a sophomore sex ed class in a public high school. A kid with a streak of smart aleck in him asked what my wife and I did “for protection.” I drew a circle on the board. I pointed out that marriage is a closed circle, and we both stayed inside that circle. The class laughed, and there were a few approving comments from girls.

    So one great thing about “naked and not ashamed” is not having to use “protection”!
    Eric

    Reply
  16. Michael

    I’m 25 with no kids and am trying to get a vasectomy before i get married that way my wife and i don’t have to risk unwanted pregnancy. Most doctors won’t perform one because “you’re too young” or “you might change your mind later”.

    Any ide where i can find a doctor who will do one?

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Unless you have a health reason, you might have a difficult time finding a physician to perform that surgery. If you’re that concerned about risking pregnancy, you can double-up on birth control to provide additional protection. Talk to your doctor about alternatives.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Unfortunately birth control is not an option for my wife-to-be and myself. She takes medication that would not mix well with birth control (I refuse to force my wife to be sick or have health complications so that we can have sex), and I’m not going to trust a condom to prevent something as life changing as having children from occuring.

        At least in this point in time, it would seem like the only way to avoid pregnancy is to not have sex at all which is obviously not anywhere close to ideal.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          Oh, actually I wasn’t suggesting oral contraceptives. Personally, I prefer barrier methods. Would a diaphragm be an option for her? (Although I understand those are harder to get now, for reasons I absolutely do not understand.) And are you considering vasectomy for her health reasons? Because that should be information your doctor gets.

          Reply
        2. alchemist

          I recently got married and we very much did not want to get pregnant. The reason? We are two graduate students, so obviously our financial and time situation is not anywhere close to ideal. But more compelling, I work in an organic chemistry lab. Today I did mostly computer work and was still exposed to massive amounts of methanol, acetic acid fumes, diethyl ether fumes, some lachrymators and I was about to set up a reaction to make a very potent herbicide. Obviously we very much do NOT want a baby exposed to that.

          We do use two methods of barrier birth control. Condoms and a diaphragm. They have a new one out called Caya. You should check it out. It’s made out of silicone and you don’t have to get fitted for it (they’ve re-designed it so it’s fits most women). I told my doctor, she wrote a prescription and I picked it up at Walmart 3 days later. The only contra-indications is if you are very prone to urinary tract infections. If you are even more concerned you can pair it with a spermicide. You now get newer ones that’s basically just vitamin C (instead of nonoxyl 9, which is known to cause irritation). The pregnancy risk from the combined birth control (perfect use) is like 0.12 %, about the best you can get (except for abstinence or vasectomy of course). It is worth noting that vasectomy the chance of pregnancy is still not 0 %.

          We’ve been very happy with it (8 months and no babies).

          There are a lot fewer non-hormonal birth control options, but they are there. If your fiancée’s health will make pregnancy very dangerous for her, maybe you can both go to the doctor together and explain the situation. They might change their minds then.

          Reply
  17. alchemist

    I don’t think I’m comfortable with the idea of permanent birth control. I get that some people really don’t want/ can’t have more kids, but I don’t think it’s something I’d really ever consider. I wouldn’t want my husband to do it either. There are just so many unknowns in life.

    We are very much not looking to get pregnant right now. My work environment would be potentially lethal for a baby. There are teratogens in large quantities in there. Not the mention the acute toxins, the carcinogens and other assorted hazards.

    We use the Caya diaphragm (which is fantastic) and condoms. The diaphragm is really great. It’s very easy to use, you don’t feel it at all and there really aren’t any side-effects. It might increase your chances of urinary tract infections. (I drink cranberry supplements and some pro-biotics to prevent it). The only potential problems is that it’s so comfortable that I sometimes forget to take it out (oops). But since it’s made out of silicon, the risk of toxic shock syndrome is negligible.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      The diaphragm was my favorite form of birth control. I wished I’d known about and used it sooner than I did.

      Reply
    2. Brent

      “There are just so many unknowns in life. ”

      And as we age, we take steps to limit those unknowns — like having a vasectomy! 🙂

      Reply
  18. ted

    I had mine done after our last child of seven was born. I was pretty conflicted at the time, over the whole God is in control issue, but decided to do it, because as my wife says jokingly (now), we have a child for every form of birth control we tried. I was even more conflicted when apparently the first one was botched and had to go have it done a second time, but went ahead anyway. For years after, firing my gun so to speak was a little painful, in recent years I discovered that over the counter supplements to boost testosterone have helped that. My wife is thankful we did, even so we still wonder sometimes what would ave happened if we hadn’t. For us the decision was to use birth control or not. I was always going to be the one if we did. It just made more sense all the way around.

    Reply
  19. Anon

    My husband and I knew from day 1 in our dating life that we didnt want kids. He was 22 and I was 23. We used a condom the first time but didnt like that method for long term. I wont take oral contraception because of the added hormones. We then switched to the “pull out” method. We loved it. There was always a small fear that he might not pull out it time or something would go wrong and we definitely didnt want a baby. After a month of marriage, we called a urologist and made the appointment for a vasectomy. My husband was completely on board. The Dr had no problem with his age, (23). We choose the non scapal way also. Ill never forget my husband laying on that table watching tv on the ceiling with a dumdum in his mouth as his junk was being fixed lol
    After a few months my husband maiiled in his sample in an RX bottle and we got an all clear text message shorty after. I highly this to anyone.

    Reply
  20. G.

    I hated the diaphragm, honestly. When I finally did get it in right, I couldn’t get it back out and my Dr had to retrieve it. After much soul searching and prayer, we decided oral contraceptives were the best option for us. We haven’t yet discussed what to do when we’re done having children, but fingers crossed that hubby will be willing to have a vasectomy.

    Reply
  21. IntimacySeeker

    Many women face significant health risks with pregnancy. My OB said it took an average of 3 years after birth for women to feel like themselves again. Add the 9 months of pregnancy and we’re talking about considerable sacrifice. When she’s not pregnant or breastfeeding, she’s having periods that may cause pain, exhaustion, anemia.

    I’m very thankful my husband offered to have a vasectomy after our third child. As J expressed, it was a loving, protective act on his part and I admire him for it. He made a quick, full recovery and we’ve never regretted the decision.

    Reply
  22. Bill

    Different story but probably a similar outcome. I was spared the V as – after the third child – it became medically advantageous for mom to have the ‘baby factory shut down (partial hysterectomy). But she kept the rest, and boy what a difference. No longer worried about the consequences, she was much more available ‘for love’ and consistently more ‘engaged’ in our intimacy (think newlyweds) 🙂

    Knowing what I know now, I would highly recommend ‘permanent birth control’ if you are at that stage in life. As J implied – she’ll ‘thank you’ for it.

    Reply
  23. Frankly Speaking

    OK, I retrospect this should have been a no brainer. Before the 15 minutes and the smell of flesh being cotterized I was worried about the effects it would have. Will it affect my drive or my pleasure or other thing yet unknown. The only side effect was more sex and I can live with that. Any man who makes his wife get her tubes tied is selfish and insensitive unless there is a really good reason. Frankly, I can’t think of any but maybe some exist.

    Reply
    1. Anna

      Some definitely exist. My mother was one whose husband pushed a tubal. Luckily, her doc asked her if she was SURE that she wanted it done and her husband then acted innocent saying ” are you sure you want this done?” My mom told him “YOU KNOW, I DON’T” so luckily, she didn’t have it done. She had just had a csection and was on the operating table. She had one more baby after that abd she said she felt at “peace” with getting it done. With this story this is what i’m looking for if I ever have a tubal. I want to be at peace with it. As of right now. I’m pregnant with baby #3 and definitely not ready. My husband and I discussed 3 children in the beginning of our relationship but at this point I can’t make that decision to not have any more. I also really don’t want to have my tubes tied. But i don’t want to take birth control either. And we hate condoms. Used to use the pull out method but decided i felt cheated because it feels better and goes longer (feels more intimate) when he finishes inside of me. So right now i’m at a loss at what to do but try Natural Family Planning Method again. I am not sure my hubby would have a vasectomy done… He won’t hardly even go to the doc even if he is sick.

      Reply
  24. Bob Dierdorf

    Had my vasectomy after our second son was born. Very little pain, more discomfort than anything. Declared sperm-free about 6 weeks later. Three humorous side lights: The nurse who shaved my scrotum was a woman, first time any woman other than my wife touched my balls. A few days later, walking (somewhat gingerly) through a mall, our older son, then three, proceeded to point out to someone we met that “Daddy got cut here” and patted my crotch. I was wincing in pain and embarrassment. (My wife just laughed.) Lastly, the urologist’s name was Dr. Dickey.

    Reply
  25. J_the_guy

    Just a thought about trusting God with the number of kids you have: getting sterilized can take just as much faith as not doing so. My wife and I actually had this discussion just a few weeks ago. Something that struck me is that if God does want me to get a vasectomy, I’d have to trust Him about essentially burning a bridge.

    Just because doing something (e.g., having children) CAN glorify God doesn’t mean that you should try to do it. David wanted to glorify God by building the temple, but God said no. And if God does say no, it’s disastrous to recklessly proceed “in faith,” like the children of Israel trying to take the promised land after God declared they’d wander in the wilderness for 40 more years. While I do believe that God calls some couples to have many children, I wonder how many of those couples that choose to not use any form of pregnancy prevention ever are actually glorifying God, and how many are tempting God by acting in self will and presumption. Trusting in God’s sovereignty doesn’t mean doing what we think is best and trusting God to work everything out; it means doing what He says even when it doesn’t make sense or goes against our preconceived (but nonbiblical) ideas.

    BTW, we decided to hold off for now. We don’t particularly want any more kids (three already), but we believe God doesn’t want us to burn that bridge yet. It’s not off the table for the future, though.

    Reply
  26. B

    I must say I am kinda surprised at the number of responses to this post. Men, especially. I never would have guessed you have so many male readers, as I’ve never seen this many men comment before. As a woman, I would love to hear more about what men think, especially in the areas in which I’m insecure, and especially since I think my husband often tells me what he thinks I want to hear.

    Anyhow, I’m also shocked at how controversial this is, and how judgemental some people have been in their comments. My husband has not had a vasectomy, although he has offered, because i didn’t want to take away his ability to have children with another wife if I should die. He doesn’t really like my train of thought, but he won’t make himself an appointment to see a doctor if he is violently ill, so I really doubt he’s gonna make an appointment to go see a doctor for elective surgery.

    Anyhow, nobody can know anyone else’s situation. I only have two children. But those two children are blessings indeed! In our homeschooling community I feel as though I am looked down upon and seen as “less than” by some of the mothers who have 5, 6, 7, 8+ kids. We are definitely the anomaly. So the judgemental attitude of some doesn’t surprise me, but it’s very disappointing, especially amongst fellow Christians. Our decision was based on a very traumatic hemmoraging situation in which the doctors advised us further pregnancies would be unwise. I wanted to stick around to raise the children God gave me. If God has other plans, then His will will be done. If He wants me to have more children, then I will, regardless of what I do. Case in point, my husband’s friend’s wife had her tubes tied after their twins were born. About a year later, they welcomed baby number four! Somehow she got pregnant anyway. It happens.

    I was quite interested in most of the comments and perspectives on this post.

    Reply
    1. Bob Dierdorf

      I’m one of the men who enjoys sites like this because it helps me understand my lovely wife. Truthfully, women are a mystery to men, that’s part frustration and part fascination. Anyway, as a student of my wife, it help me to get a feminine perspective on things.

      As far as my vasectomy goes, I received no criticism from anyone. Now I didn’t exactly go around advertising “I’ve had a vasectomy” 🙂 Also, it’s frankly nobody’s business. The decision was made my me, with my wife’s support, and I’m accountable to God only. I am bothered by the attitude that I ” should just trust God more” and leave it in His hands. Nobody has lived my life or walked my path, and sometimes such well-meant advice is rubbing salt into wounds the speaker never suspects.

      We were oldish parents, and having two sons on a teacher salary, and having gone through the trauma of a difficult pregnancy that ended at home in a miscarriage (I think my wife actually handled it a lot better than I), a vasectomy was a very attractive option. I think if anyone had had the effrontery to tell me that I wasn’t trusting God enough, I would have punched him in the nose.

      I’ve never regretted my vasectomy, I enjoy the sexual freedom it gave us, and I am not condemned by God.

      Reply
    2. Brent

      I am one of the men who read this regularly as well. One of main reasons I read is because I often don’t know how to express my thoughts on sexuality very well and I often speak in a way that sounds like a cave man — which doesn’t bode well with my lower drive wife. So, J (and many others) help me to form words and thoughts that are first and foremost Godly and second express my needs, wants, and desires in the way a woman can understand. Honestly, I have visited J, Sheila (To love honor vacuum), and Bonnie (Oysterbed7), with the goal of “I will find something to support my thoughts and tell her xyz, the way women speak” — and found out that it was me who needed to adjust a bit more than I wanted to! (ie: difference between a need and want — I *wanted* something, but what I really *needed* was the affection I felt I would get with satisfaction of the want) — and then shared what I learned and how my wife and I can grow and fulfill *needs*, first — then often *wants* will follow! — woo hoo!

      Reply
      1. Bob Dierdorf

        Ditto to Brent. Understanding better how the female mind and feelings work, has caused me to do some personal re-evaluation and make adjustments necessary to better intimacy of mind, heart, and body. Thanks to you and all the women who have been giving us men a good education.

        Reply
  27. RC

    Just wanted to add a data point here… There are some pretty significant potential long term complications related to both male and female sterilization that are downplayed by the medical community. Google post-vasectomy pain syndrome or post-tubal ligation syndrome and prepare to be shocked. They are not rare and are often not even mentioned during pre-sterilization counseling. There are online support groups dedicated to people with these really unfortunate conditions.

    I am not anti-sterilization and think people should have options, but think about this… if you are a woman and “nudge” your husband to get the Vas, how are you going to feel if he ends up in the % of men with chronic genital pain, often exacerbated by intimacy. The American Urological Association states that 2% of men will have chronic pain that impacts their quality of life. 5% will have pain bad enough that they undergo a 2nd procedure. 20% will have mild to moderate chronic pain. This is from the doctor’s own outreach group. When you read real men’s stories about “impacting quality of life”, prepare to be heartbroken. Can’t play with kids, ED, surgery after surgery in hopes of pain reduction, in the worst cases even lifelong disability and castration. Even when there is nothing obvious that the surgeon did wrong. Would your marriage survive this?

    Tubal ligation is not much better on this front. The stories of women with chronic pelvic pain, low libido, and eventual hysterectomy are not rare.

    I bring this up because you are unlikely to hear it from your doctor. Most people are fine. But if you are unfortunate enough to be in the category of those who have problems, the outcome for most people won’t mean much to you. Sterilization is one of those areas where the collective societal wisdom doesn’t line up with true outcomes. Jusr make sure you can live with these potentialities before signing the consent to sterilize form.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I’ve talked to a lot of spouses about this procedure, and found very few who had issues. I’m not doubting the American Urological Association statistics at all, but if you Google about health issues, be prepared to find all kinds of stuff — some supported, some not. And oftentimes it’s the people who had issues that are most motivated to complain online.

      But I agree that anyone considering permanent contraception should discuss health risks and potential side effects fully with their doctor. It’s always advisable to make a well-considered choice.

      Reply
  28. Anonymous

    My hubby had an awful time with his vasectomy. The first side was easy just a snip, no big deal. The second side was not. He lifted weights in high school and college and the urologist said that causes torsion of the vessels which made it almost impossible to get to the area he needed to cut. He ended up taking his testicle out of his scrotum and the procedure took almost 2 hours. He was in a lot of pain for almost a week and since has had some issues with swelling. Everything works fine but I think psychologically it changed something for him. He makes comments about being “neutered” and not good for anything in that department anymore. I’ve tried to tell him there is no visible difference but he isn’t sold. Maybe because of the trauma?? The only difference I notice is I don’t have to deal with birth control anymore, we can have sex ad lib and maybe a little less fluid when he ejaculates.

    Reply
  29. Salina

    I am all aboard the vasectomy train! Lol! But in all seriousness, it was the best decision for my husband and me. We have two little girls. I got pregnant with my first at 32. It was an uncomplicated pregnancy, doctor even said textbook pregnancy. Sure, ok. Labor and delivery a completely different story. Extremely traumatic for me and I know contributed to ppd. I had it bad for almost a year. We had really considered her being the only child. After about 15 months, with thought and prayer, really felt it in my heart to have another. So we got pregnant a second time, again, uncomplicated pregnancy but I was in a lot of pain through the end. Praise God though that labor and delivery of her was a breeze! God knew I needed it. We knew that 2 was going to be it for us. I do absolutely believe children are a blessing but I also know my limits. So the fact that my husband said, hey, I’m going to take on this responsibility of contraception, really lifted a weight off my shoulder. I did not want to do hormonal bc for the remainder of my reproductive years.
    So as many have pointed out, it’s not a one size fits all type deal, but it certainly was the best choice for our family.

    Reply

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