Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The Man Who Couldn't Stop Talking About His Nuts
I wrote about my vasectomy over at The Heat Lightning because it gave me an excuse to draw awareness to the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Not so much because I support their cause - although I agree most of the earth's problems can be traced to overpopulation - but because I think the idea of VHMT is so peculiar. Finding them on the internet one night was like getting lost in a strange city, stumbling into a theater, and seeing a show which you're not sure is madness or genius. The verdict is out, but in the meantime you hand out directions to that theater.
I've never given the procedure a second thought in almost seventeen years. I got it for myself, because I didn't want to bring another child into the world. If I adopted one day, that would be another matter.
When children came up in conversation - and when you're in a committed relationship for a number of years, children come up often - we'd get around to my vasectomy sooner or later. People refused to accept "there are enough humans in the world" as a reason. For me, it's that simple.
Soon, I started telling people that I'd gotten it done because of my ex-wife's health problems. No children for us - haven't you ever seen what happened to Shelby in Steel Magnolias? We can't take the risk. My ex backed me up. We told that lie so often that I believed it.
Then, I tumbled upon VHMT and ended up doing the math; my ex wasn't diagnosed with IGA Nephropathy until after my vasectomy.
How much of my decision to surgically never have children came not from what was best for my partner's health, but from personal guilt? I'd entrusted two different women to handle birth control for our respective relationships, and both women ended up pregnant. This was two or three years apart, in high school and college. I couldn't blame my girlfriends; I'd taken no responsibility for myself, after all. They both decided to get abortions (and I don't care what anyone says; the "father" is a bystander in that decision), so early fatherhood was not in the cards for me.
I became a staunch advocate for condom use, giving birth control lectures around Syracuse University as part of the Peer Sexuality Program, my station wagon decorated with fun slogans for National Condom Week. At 22, I also became voluntarily sterile.
I'm sure the abortions factored into my decision, but it doesn't feel that way. Maybe it's the gloss of hindsight, but I've always been proud to have done my part not to bring another child into the world. I'm also a firm believer in teaching boys responsibility for their own bodies and sexuality, from masturbation to condom use to getting an enthusiastic yes from a prospective sex partner. So many unwanted children and unwanted abortions could be prevented with a little love and understanding.
But as far as the chop? Je ne regrette rien. All these years later, I'm still a firm believer in adoption. I just hope adoption believes in me. From what I hear, it can be very difficult.
As Becky says, one thing at a time.