Arizona is the sexiest state in the nation today. That’s because its local lawmakers are debating House Bill 2625. The Democrats don’t like it because it requires that women provide their employers with proof that they are taking contraception for reasons other than to prevent pregnancy in order to get reimbursed for their prescription. (“Here’s that TPS report, Roger. Oh, by the way, I take the pill to control ovarian cysts. See you at Rachel’s going-away party.”) The Republicans like it because it would allow employers to opt out of covering birth control or other forms of contraception in their insurance plans if they have religious objections to it.
All this sexy bedroom talk started a couple weeks ago when every news outlet in America got all hot and bothered by the Rush Limbaugh brouhaha. You remember when AM radio’s Sexiest Man Alive called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” for testifying before Congress about why health insurance should cover birth control. Then last Friday, President Obama released his administration’s new birth control mandate stating that religious organizations do not have to sponsor contraceptive services.
Notice anything missing from the birth control debate? I sure do: Men. Aren’t we half of the whole birth thing? Why isn’t anyone calling us names or trying to smear our reputations? And why aren’t we asking Uncle Sam to contribute to our Durex fund?
It’s not like men have it easy, you know. We can’t ask for birth control in the privacy of a doctor’s office, or have it quietly handed to us in a nondescript paper bag at the pharmacy. We have to walk to the back of a drugstore, pick up a glossy, neon-colored box, and suffer public humiliation in the checkout line. I oftentimes buy extra items so it seems like I’m a well-rounded person, not some pervert with a one-track mind. For example, I’d prefer that people look into my shopping basket and say, “Oh look, he likes green tea, uses teeth whitening strips, and has a healthy love life. What a gentleman.” Instead of saying, “Oh look, that guy only cares about sex. Gross.”
But here’s the real reason we’re not part of the debate: We’re hiding from it. Heck, we’re barely showing up at home, much less Capitol Hill: One out of three American children live in a home without their biological father. And we wonder why (as I discussed here) that the sperm donor stereotype persists: Mom is the tin of warm, cinnamon-y muffins; Dad is the raw powder in the Betty Crocker box. In the most fundamental, biological sense, women hold the power to decide the fate of their offspring. And because women ultimately control the birth, birth control is their topic to tackle, right?
Wrong. Men should be right up front, fighting to be slandered and insulted. If Rush Limbaugh wants to persecute the promiscuous, I know plenty of dudes who fit the bill. I lived in a fraternity house for two years. You couldn’t throw an empty bag of 2 a.m. takeout without hitting a male slut. Rush Limbaugh should have broadcast live from Sigma Chi’s White Trash Bash.
If you want your condoms paid for, if you want to have a rightful say, you’re going to have to work for it. You'll have to take some licks, stare down the picketers, get heckled by cable news talking heads, and fight like warriors alongside the women. It’s not a coincidence they’re called Trojans.