A German carpenter has spent the last 20 years working on a male contraceptive switch. Or rather switches. He says it rides on the vas deferens and is the size of a gummy bear (terrifying in German: Gummibär). And, unlike most vasectomies, it has an on/off switch making it completely reversible.

Forget that it looks like the mouthpiece of some kickstarter-only Vape device. All medical devices are gross. This €3,000 one is a little different. It’s probably that switch that I can’t get over. Not that it is a good or bad idea, but I’ll put it this way: I’ve lived in the same house for 10 years and, of the two switches in my bathroom, I still can’t tell you which is the light and which is the fan.

Since college I’ve had female friends complain about contraception. It isn’t fair. I get it. If men could get pregnant, etc. But then you ask, “Would you trust a guy who said HE was on the pill?” And the answer is no.

Easter is coming up. Do you really want those Gummy Bears so close to your Cadbury Eggs?

Why? For the same biologically unfair reasons as always. I have heard of female friends who are happy to go to bed with a guy who’s had a vasectomy. But that is a treat for men of a certain age. Would you really trust a college sophomore who claims he’s had one?

Most alarming, of course, is that it can be armed and disarmed by the user.  What the hell is the point of that? Please show me one guy who wants to impregnate one woman and also have unprotected sex with others. Nevermind. Don’t show me. We won’t get along.

Easter is coming up. Do you really want those Gummy Bears so close to your Cadbury Eggs?


Serious questions:

  • Does the switch have a safety? Most guys have woken up after sex facing the wrong way on the bed. What if the just one switch does that?
  • Since it is surgical, wouldn’t you rather hold out for this reversible procedure which does the same thing but with spermicidal blockage?

Here’s the root of the problem with male contraception: medically speaking castration (gonadectomy) is any action—chemical or surgical—that removes the use of the testes. Psychologically speaking, castration anxiety is a fear of losing masculinity from damage to or loss of the penis. So when it comes to men losing their manliness: your own anxiety has got you by the balls.

Conceivably (oof, sorry) this would be great for young dudes—reversible castration for curious, inexperienced and quick-on-the-draw teenagers. But teenage dudes need to practice using a condom the right way and, more importantly, learn to talk frankly about sex. They don’t need to act like a couple of Apollo 13 astronauts switching to manual override.


Can you imagine adding that anxiety to the first time you have sex? “Is it on?” “Technically, it’s off.” “Let me see.” “No! You turned it on!” “You mean off’?” And then you’d have to figure out how to restart the damn thing.

And let’s be honest: Women are just better at this stuff. Exams, devices, artificial on/off fertility switches. It is us or them. Women win this round.

Oh, and yeah for you scolds out there crying, “What about STDs?” First of all: The year is 2016 and the term is STI. The STD/STI fear-mongering that most of us were taught in middle school was just one more way for uptight people to shame us about sex. Find a partner you trust, make good medical decisions and keep watch over your health. Here’s our friend Adam’s excellent TruTV segment about gross, nasty, disgusting, never-talk-to-that-person-again Herpes—a disease that 90 percent of the planet carries:

Also, maybe this is an awkward time to say it, but congrats on getting renewed next season, Adam!

Meanwhile, we’re gonna pass on this German carpenter’s steampunk sack dongle and let him get back to making cuckoo clocks. Or whatever else he likes to do on the weekend. And we’ll leave it at that.

Okay, final thought: I’ve had a lot of bad ideas since 1995. But I’ve never coached a surgeon through four procedures to test out whether my arm/disarm switch would work. Using local anesthetic, the inventor talked a urologist through/into it. The thing works. He has clear spermiograms. But approval will require 25 volunteer men to test it out first.

Fear not, you Netflix war doc buffs, for once the Germans have a lot of castration volunteers. 200 of them. And I’m just gonna go ahead and say those are the only 200 men on the planet who want their nuts to have an iPod-style “hold” switch.

It’s enough to make you just wanna pull out.