Men should worry about birth control, too

In this election cycle, there has been a lot of discussion about women’s access to birth-control prescriptions, but men should take note, too. “Remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty” was a bumper sticker aimed at industrial smoke stacks. This was at a time before all those loving couples we see in the Cialis and Viagra ads that run during the nightly newscasts.

Back in 1873, the Comstock Laws made sex very dirty. Religious zealots saw to it that full federal and state power was used to suppress it. Condoms were “sold only for the prevention of disease” and every one in a pack was stamped with those exact words. The generic name for them was prophylactic and that was the name on the box. We didn’t know the word “condom.” Men asked for “rubbers” by one of two brands: “Trojan” or “Sheik.” And men walked to the back of the drug store, where the druggist took them from an out-of-sight drawer. This was an intimidating procedure for the male member of a married couple and a real challenge for a teenager bent of ending his virginity.

Fortunately, condoms were made fully legal by court actions in 1965 and 1972. Finally, parents practicing a loving family relationship were spared all guilt and, perhaps, they also relaxed a bit knowing that their unmarried sons and daughters using advice gained from friends and peers, would know enough to use “protection” if, heaven forbid, a sexual encounter were to occur.

When I was born, in 1925, there were fewer than 2 billion people exploiting the limited resources on this planet. Now, there are more than 7 billion of us. Condoms are part of a healthy sexual attitude, good for strong families and a sustainable Earth.

William Hendrickson