In the 1990’s Gerund loved Spleefer, his lhaso apso, so much that when it came time to have him neutered – he just couldn’t go through with it. He called up the vet and asked if the vet could perform a vasectomy instead. The vet looked it up in his medical books, thought about it and told Gerund he didn’t see why it wouldn’t be possible. So the dog continued fucking everything in sight and knocking up nothing. This surgery was performed by the same vet who told Gerund, when he had called him under duress, that the 50 grams of chocolate the dog had gotten into was “like coccaine for dogs”. Gerund, at that point turned to his dog and said, “Spleefer, how is it?”
That was the first time I heard about vasectomy, the surgery, and I equated it with castration and roman eunuchs. The second time I heard something about vasectomy was from a contractor who was not shy about sharing how great it was to be having unprotected sex since he’d had his vasectomy. I winced at the thought of having my nuts cut off, a natural reaction. But if we lived in a truly equal society where men took just as much responsibility for birth control as women. Vasectomies would be as common as female hormonal birth control, aka. The Pill. Important to note is that vasectomies do nothing to protect from STI’s and they are *mostly* irreversible meaning that if you want to have a child after a vasectomy there’s no certainty that your vas deferens can be reconnected. And, hey, you can always adopt. Eventually I learned the difference between castration and vasectomy.
To have a vasectomy you need to have already sired all the children you want to have, you still need to have protected sex if there’s a risk of STI, and you need time – 2 days of bed rest and a week of no heavy lifting. The surgery itself is relatively quick and simple, especially the “no-scalpel vasectomy” that is currently all the rage. Check to see if your health insurance will cover it. Most will pay 100% of the cost and you’ll only have to front the co-pay.
Funny things about having a vasectomy: you need to shave your balls and bring athletic support briefs for afterward. I brought two pairs: snug cotton briefs and synthetic athletic briefs for extra support. By far the most annoying part was the shaving because the stubble is just weird, abrasive, and potentially rashy for days afterwards. You shave yourself before the surgery. That in itself can be a yogic adventure depending on how flexible you are and you can always enlist the help of your partner or even have yourself professionally waxed. Check with your doctor first before doing that last one though.
After you’ve taken off your pants, draped a gown over your legs and are reclined on the operating table, you get a couple of injections of a local anesthetic which is a couple of sharp needle pricks – just relax you won’t feel much of anything during the surgery. The surgeon, hopefully a urologist you are comfortable with and trust, locates both vasa deferentia, makes a small puncture at the top of the scrotum, pulls them through, clamps them, removes a small section from each, cauterizes all four ends, unclamps them, stuffs them back into the scrotum and sews you up. Admittedly there’s a few other things that happen but that’s basically it. Some anti-bacterial ointment and a piece of gauze are all your left with as you now understand the necessity of supportive briefs or athletic supporter. For one thing, you can’t feel a damn thing down there and there’s still a little blood which will be slowly seeping out for the next 48 hours and for another you need to keep that piece of gauze in place. The urologist is really nice and writes you a prescription for Percocet but tells you, in earnest, “Ice or an ice pack will be your best friend for the next couple days.” Walking from the elevators to your car somewhat bowlegged and feeling like you just got done sparring, the local anesthetic begins to wear off. About halfway driving yourself home when the local anesthetic is clearly wearing off faster than the traffic, you start to curse like sailor. You have a pained expression on your face as you walk through the pharmacy to drop off the prescription and ask a clerk where the ice packs can be found. In a couple hours you’ll have wished that you’d waited for the prescription to have been filled and wish you’d purchased more sterile gauze pads and bacitracin or Neosporin. By the time you get back to the car with your ice pack the anesthetic is almost completely gone and you are encompased by the no-fucking-around type of pain you’ve only read or heard about. The kind that could make you drive poorly (too fast) to get home to the freezer. You are lucky as shit if when you get home there’s actually ice in the freezer that you jam in a ziplock bag, waddle to the bed and stuff in between your athletic support and your snug cotton briefs trying to freeze your nuts just as quickly as you can. That’s when your partner might turn to you as you are moaning and weeping and say, “Boo hoo. Now you have a small glimpse as to what it is like to have to deal with bleeding genitalia.” So you have a laugh. The pain is like a roller coaster and once the ice has melted and you’ve switched to the ice pack while you were re-freezing the water in the zip lock bag you take a chance and look at the small little wound on the scrotum. You put a little ointment on a new sterile gauze pad and hold everything in place while carefully putting on your two pairs of underwear with the ice pack between them and freeze your nuts once more, stifling the pain. After several hours the pain has subsided but the scratchy stubble of the shaving lingers and makes everything awkward. You keep changing the pad with new ointment every so often.
For two days you can’t bathe and should spend the vast majority of the time reclined. Good books, articles, movies and social media are your second best friends. You seriously bonded with that ice pack. You can not have sex for two weeks after the surgery and you have to wait about three months before you can have unprotected sex. It can take as long as three months (>30 ejaculations) to generate a sperm free sample that your doctor needs to test before you are cleared for launch.
The biggest and most re-assuring discovery I made before getting my vasectomy was that the hormonal system is not disrupted by the sectioning of the vas deferens. Hormones produced in the testes are distributed via the vascular system not the vas. This was the big ah-ha moment for me because I always wondered if a vasectomy would disrupt the hormonal system, namely by effecting testosterone levels. I also confirmed this with the urologist and during the surgery we joked with each other. He said, “Okay, that’s the second one” meaning he’d removed the small pieces of both vasa deferentia. I said, “Funny, I don’t feel like any less of a man.” The urologist, not skipping a beat, replied, “That comes later.” Everybody laughed. “That’s not funny” I said. A surgery during which the doctor, nurse and patient can all have a laugh at the patient’s expense? Greatest Elective Surgery. Now if we could only rid the world of STI’s.