Sexual intercourse between a male and a female human can lead to pregnancy. Being aware of that might lead to a certain level of anxiety, especially when there is no wish to become a parent (yet).
Pregnancy anxiety is caused by the inability to trust oneself, the partner or the protection that is used when having sex and exists in both women and men – the body of literature focuses mostly on women. In this blog, however, we are focusing on men.
For men, other than for women, at present, there are not many available choices when it comes to contraception:
- a permanent vasectomy, a ‘male sterilization’
- total withdrawal from sex.
Vasectomy is irreversible and only an option in case a man is really sure that he will never want to become a parent in his life. Condoms for birth control are never 100 % safe. However, they are particularly effective and in case of an ‘accident’, there would be the morning-after pill option available. Condoms should be used anyway when having sexual intercourse at all times – not only to prevent pregnancy, but also to prevent STD (sexually transmitted diseases).
Some men are so afraid that they will get their partner pregnant that they avoid sexual intercourse entirely.
Taking your penis out of your partner before ejaculating is not listed above as a method of contraception – the reason is that sperm can be released before ejaculation at any time during sexual intercourse and thereby still cause pregnancy.
In general, it is normal to have some pregnancy anxiety. Often it helps to speak to friends you trust or family members about it to feel more at ease and be able to enjoy your sex life. Also, your doctor can provide information if needed. Don’t be shy to address your thoughts and feelings.
Very important is to openly discuss birth control with your sex partner to reduce the fear of getting her pregnant when having sexual intercourse. In many cases, men do not fully understand how the female body or birth control actually work. If you feel that there is a lot more to learn, be curious and ask your questions to gain understanding – information centers, doctors and also your counsellor might be able to provide some reading material, furthermore there are many reliable sources on the internet. Understanding more how pregnancy actually happens and in which way different methods of contraception work, will help you deal with your pregnancy anxiety.
In very severe cases we call the fear of getting pregnant ‘tokophobia’ – which can occur in both women and men. This phobia is often related to the partner’s and child’s health and safety and the future in terms of labor, finances, medical treatments and decision-making.
Counselling/psychotherapy offers a possibility for you to address your concerns and explore the underlying reasons. Often extreme pregnancy anxiety is related to an obsessive-compulsive disorder or there might have been a pre-existing depression or anxiety disorder.
If you feel that your fear of getting your partner pregnant is interfering with your life and holds you back from enjoying sex in general, talk to a mental health professional. You are not alone.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Franziska Richter is a transcultural counsellor with Willingness Team, offering counselling sessions to individuals and couples. She is particularly interested in trauma, addictions, migration, sexuality, and eating disorders.