“Men are just weenies,” medical ethicist Art Caplan said in an interview with Boston Public Radio Tuesday. “They are unwilling to do anything that might either make it less fun, or put them at any kind of risk when it comes to birth control. We like condoms, but we don’t really expect men to wear them too much.”

Men are just weenies

Of the 320 participants, aged 18-45, approximately 96 percent were able to suppress a sperm concentration of 1 million per millimeter or less within 24 weeks. This means the method was 96 percent effective, at least for the users who stuck with the study. Four pregnancies occurred during the study’s ‘efficacy phase’— when other contraception was required— and a total of eight men (2.5 percent of the study) were not back to “normal sperm counts” one year after the hormonal shots were discontinued. According to the study, the most common side effects were acne, injection site pain, increased libido, and mood disorders. An external safety review recommended the study be terminated early.

According to Caplan, it makes sense, historically, that men would abandon ship following the first distress signal. “The history of birth control has almost always focused on women, whether it’s barriers, IUDs and diaphragms,” he said. “It’s reflected in the science, which is dominated by men.”

Back in 1954, during the first birth control pill trials, ‘mood swings’ were hardly a concern. Birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger asked scientist Gregory Pincus to work on a birth control pill, a highly controversial project that would need to break a few laws. Fortunately for Pincus, he ran into colleague Dr. John Rock, a obstetrician and gynecologist who was already testing progesterone on women, under the guise of fertility research.

These first trials tested an experimental oral contraceptive on women without asking permission— Pincus merely asked for the consent of the patient’s relatives. These trials, set in Boston, were going well, but Pincus and Rock came up against cultural, legal and religious opposition to a large-scale human trial. The answer? Take the experimental drug to Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, a housing project just outside of San Juan with no birth-control laws and a dense population of poor, uneducated local women.

After a year of tests, scientists found the pill to be 100 percent effective, but 17 percent of the participants experienced intense and sustained nausea, dizziness, headaches, stomach pain and vomiting. Dr. Edris Rice-Wray, a local doctor, warned Rock and Pincus that the side-effects made the drug unacceptable, but Rock and Pincus dismissed these warnings, arguing that patients in Boston hadn’t experienced the same reactions. They also argued that bloating and nausea were minor, and the benefits outweighed the harm. Three women died during the trial, and links to the study were not investigated.

They argued that bloating and nausea were minor, and the benefits outweighed the harm. Three women died during the trial, and links to the study were not investigated.

According to the study, 20-30 percent of women experience depression associated with the pill. In the male birth control study, three percent of men experienced depression problems.