And then there’s vasectomy (also called male sterilization): a quick, simple, outpatient procedure where a doctor closes off the tiny tubes in your scrotum that carry sperm, so sperm can’t leave your body and cause pregnancy.
Vasectomies are safe and almost 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. It’s also meant to be permanent, so it’s not for people who might want biological kids in the future. But if you’re totally sure you never want to cause a pregnancy, vasectomy is a great option.
Vasectomies aren’t as popular as other methods of birth control, including tubal ligation (also called female sterilization) — even though vasectomy is much cheaper, faster, safer, and less complex than tubal ligation. Part of the reason for this is because there’s a lot of misinformation and myths about vasectomies. Let’s talk about some of the most common concerns:
Do you still ejaculate after a vasectomy? Does your semen look the same?
Yup! After a vasectomy, you’ll be able to ejaculate just like you did before, and your semen (cum) will still look, feel, and taste the same. It just won’t have microscopic sperm cells in it, and you won’t be able to get anyone pregnant. You’d have to look at your semen under a microscope to notice a difference.
A vasectomy cuts or blocks the vas deferens — the small tubes that carry sperm to join with other fluids from the seminal vesicle and prostate that eventually form semen. A vasectomy only blocks sperm, not the other fluids in semen. Your body will keep making sperm cells, but they get absorbed back into your body instead of coming out in your semen.
Think of semen as a river and sperm as tiny, invisible fish swimming in the river: you’ll still have the river, but no swimmers. And no swimmers means no pregnancy.
Will I be able to have erections and orgasms after a vasectomy?
Totally. Vasectomies do not change your ability to get an erection (get hard) or have orgasms.
Do vasectomies cause cancer?
No. There are no studies showing that a vasectomy causes cancer or increases your risk for cancer.
Will a vasectomy affect my testosterone levels?
Nope. A vasectomy only blocks sperm cells from coming out in your semen — it doesn’t affect testosterone or other hormones at all. Your testicles will still make testosterone normally after a vasectomy.
Will a vasectomy affect my sex drive?
Not at all. Vasectomies don’t negatively affect your sex drive or desire. In fact, many people find that it actually improves their sex life because they don’t have to worry about pregnancy anymore. Vasectomies can make sex more spontaneous, more pleasurable, and less stressful for both partners — you can focus 100% on feeling good instead of thinking about birth control. Remember though: vasectomies don't protect against STDs, so using a condom is still a great idea.
Can a vasectomy be reversed?
Not always. There are vasectomy reversal procedures that try to reconnect the tubes that carry sperm, but they don’t always work. Reversing a vasectomy is way harder than doing a vasectomy. It can also be very expensive, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to cause pregnancy again. After vasectomy reversal, only about 55 out of 100 partners get pregnant.
That’s why vasectomy isn’t a good option if you're unsure about having kids, or are relying on getting a vasectomy reversal in the future. But if you’re 100% positive you never want to get someone pregnant for the rest of your life, it can be a really great birth control method.
Learn more about vasectomies. If you’re interested in getting a vasectomy, contact your nearest Planned Parenthood. Many Planned Parenthood health centers do vasectomies or can refer you to a provider in your area.