Getting the V-Mod
by Michael Love
For the first time in the 8 years we’ve been ethically non-monogamous, I’ve encountered a partner who is fertile, and not on any kind of contraception. While we usually use condoms for most play, we occasionally will enter into fluid bond agreements with people (fluid bond situations can be negotiated with marginally increased risk, but we will save that for another conversation). It made me realize that I’ve had it pretty lax with not having to worry about pregnancy scares because I’m packing what I call a “sport model” or a V-mod. My vasectomy allows me to engage in play without concern of accidentally getting one of my partners pregnant. I’ve often questioned the sanity of men who engage in the non-monogamous lifestyle while still fertile. It seems to me like a socio-economical disaster waiting to happen. Sure… we all practice safe sex and use condoms ALL of the time…. Right? And condoms never fail… Right? If I were a fertile guy, I feel like I would be living in constant fear of becoming a father… again… which is something at this point in my life that I’m glad I do not have to worry about. I will come back to this later… let’s talk about you for a minute…and I’m speaking to the guys here…
So what is stopping you from getting the V-mod? If you’re a young man, and think you might want to have children in the future, a vasectomy is probably not a good solution for you. While they can be reversed, it’s an expensive process, and reversal success rates widely vary 30-90% depending on certain factors.
Perhaps you’re like me, and the idea of someone carving on your business is a bit unnerving. Fear of the knife is a very real thing, and it is what prevents a lot of men from taking this precaution. Maybe the story of my vasectomy will help ease your mind.
As the birth of our 7th child (hers, mine and ours) grew near, we decided it was time for a more permanent birth control solution. My wife and I debated for a hot minute which one of us would “go under the knife” but in the end, I could not argue her points. A vasectomy is much less expensive, much less invasive, with a much quicker recovery time and less chance for complications. It was the fear of the knife that made me quiver in my shoes.
By far, the worst part of the whole process was the three days before my procedure. I nearly backed out… my wife kept reminding me “A lifetime of condoms”… she knew just what I needed to keep me in the game.
Well aware of the “nerve factor,” my doctor prescribed me a single Valium to take the morning of my procedure, to get me nice and relaxed. They gave me another when I arrived at the clinic, and then gave me an injection of something that put me in an even more relaxed state… I was fully awake and aware, but didn’t really care about what was going on.
The rest of the procedure was part circus sideshow (they let my wife watch) and part routine day at the doctor’s office. They numbed the area where they would be making the incisions, and set to work. I’m laying there, not really even knowing what was going on except they would tell me everything they were doing… “Ok Michael, we’re going to make the first incision” and “you’ll feel a little pressure” but the best part was when they gave my wife the anatomy lesson, “See here? This is the vas deferens… we’re going to just cut this here and here, and then cauterize it, then just tuck it back inside…” Just tuck it back inside???
I couldn’t feel anything… and honestly, I was flying high on whatever cocktail they gave me… I didn’t care. I need more of that stuff…
Later I learned that the incisions they made were tiny. Just large enough to stick what looked like a tiny crochet hook in to snag the vas and pull it out where they could section and cauterize it. They didn’t even require a stitch to close them up… just a tiny round band-aid, the scars are almost completely invisible.
Once I got home, I followed the doctor’s instructions to the letter… they gave me a prescription for a pain reliever, but told me to only take them as needed, preferably only the first day. I had set my appointment for the procedure on a Friday morning so I only had to take Friday off of work. I spent the rest of the day Friday sleeping on the couch with a bag of frozen peas on my groin, waking up only long enough to switch the bag out when it thawed. I spent Saturday and Sunday on the couch watching TV… By Sunday evening, I was still a bit sore… but tolerable, and figured I was ready to go back to work on Monday.
What I haven’t mentioned was that back then, I drove a dump truck for a living. My sadistic dispatcher decided to assign me an offroad job that day… the constant bouncing and jarring in the truck sent me home early with Tuesday off too, but if I had a more understanding dispatcher who could have assigned me a highway job, or a job that didn’t involve climbing in and out of a truck all day, I would have been fine to return to regular work duties on Monday. Either way… less than a week later, all soreness was gone.
So now I’m ready for sexy time… right??? Wrong! Immediately following a vasectomy you still have millions of live swimmers on your team. Depending on how sexually active you are, it takes about 3-4 weeks to clear them all out. Your doctor will have you come back in about 3 weeks to give a sample, and then again a couple of weeks later to ensure that you are free of those pesky little baby makers. My wife showed her gratitude for me getting the V-mod by being extra exhuberant about helping me clear the chamber, even though she was not yet cleared for sex… 3 weeks of blow-jobs wasn’t such a bad deal… When I went in for my first sperm check, I was totally cleared for active duty.
Once you’ve had your vasectomy, and been declared sterile, your doctor may advise you to return again in a few months to ensure that recanalization has not occurred. In rare cases, a vasectomy may fail when pathways through the tissues allows sperm to reconnect resulting in the possibility of pregnancy again. This happens in about 13% for non-cauterized procedures and 0% for procedures with thermal cautery so be sure to talk to your doctor about your procedure to ensure you’re getting the most effective procedure.
Since I was, at the time, in a monogamous relationship, it didn’t seem terribly concerning to get it re-checked since the rate of recanalization was so low. It became even less a priority a couple of years later when my wife had to have a complete hysterectomy.
This brings me back to my original story… I had a new partner, a nice young lady who is still fertile and due to complications has had to get off of birth control. This increased risk potential made me hyper-aware that I never had a follow up after that first sperm check. In the interest of being thorough, and the fact that I didn’t want the responsibility of raising yet another child, I decided to make an appointment with Planned Parenthood to get my V-mod re-confirmed.
Now, when I had my original vasectomy… 15 years ago… they gave me a sterile container to catch my sperm in and then I just had to run it down to the lab within an hour so they could take a look. I didn’t really realize just how convenient this was until I called and made my appointment. I asked, “Do I need to come down and pick up a container?” “No sir, your appointment will be in Portland, and you will just give a sample there”… Uh, ok… my mind starts conjuring up a special procedure room with dim lighting and soft porn playing on a television in the corner. Boy was I in for a surprise.
When I arrived for my appointment, I checked in with a nice young lady, who was VERY professional… If it was as awkward for her as it was for me, she certainly didn’t show it. She checked a few “procedural” things and then took me back to give my sample… In a Planned Parenthood bathroom. You’re hearing me right? This is about the unsexiest place to do something I think I might have done once in 5 years… this is going to get dicey… and to top it off, I’m tying up a much needed bathroom! Once I was almost there… when someone wiggled the doorknob… “Oh shit, did I lock it?” Yes, I did… fuck… now I have to start over!!!
After a fashion, I managed to get there (thank god for mobile devices and Ellie Porn) and I managed to squeeze out the tiniest amount… Good god, is that what 50 years old gets you? I swear to god I could spit more saliva in the cup than what I was able to produce… I don’t know if it was stage fright or nerves, or dehydration, or the mere fact that my partners had been self soothing on my business for a couple of days, but… it’s just gonna have to be good enough, because I definitely did not have another one in the tank!
After I put myself back together, and gathered what tiny bit of composure I had left, I went out to the waiting room, stopping long enough to let the receptionist know I was ready to “see the doctor…” (code for, I’ve given my sample and she can put me in a room to see the doc) I sat there staring at my phone trying to convince myself that everyone in the waiting room wasn’t staring at me knowing that I’d just done myself in the bathroom. (Stop it, Michael… they don’t know, don’t care… besides you’re sex positive right? Don’t make this awkward!)
After a bit, they take me to a room, and I wait for the doctor, fully expecting them to come in and tell me that I didn’t give enough and I was going to have to do it again… (Oh god please no!) Pretty soon I hear the knock at the door and the doctor comes in and sits down, and gives me a look.
“Mr Love,” she says to me, “Why are we seeing you today?” So I told her the whole bit… 15 year old vasectomy, never re-confirmed, new partner fully fertile, wanted to be sure that I’m still shooting blanks… I could almost detect a smile as I go through all of this, trying to be cute, but feeling nervous as hell. Finally she let me off the hook… “Well, you’re good to go… zero swimmers.”
Then my dumb ass asked her… “Oh good, there was enough? I wasn’t sure if there would be.”
“Oh yes… there was plenty… we don’t need that much” and kind of chuckles as she leaves…
Reading back, I’ve made my experience sound like it was a less than amazing experience. The reality is, it is mostly a funny story (it is written as much to entertain as it is to educate)… while my process was awkward at times, every part of it was necessary, and critical to making sure that my vasectomy was still in working order so that I don’t go creating more Love babies.
The staff at Planned Parenthood were wonderful, professional and friendly as always. I love how there is never any shame, they treat you with respect and kindness always.
You may not realize it, but your reproductive rights are under attack like never before. Planned Parenthood does so much more than just provide much-needed confidential family planning and care to those who might not otherwise be able to get access to it. They are also taking the fight to the courts to stop laws and actions that are already protected by law. Religious activism groups and other anti-reproductive health activists are lobbying to make access to quality and confidential reproductive health care harder and harder to get, by blocking access to your right to make choices with your reproductive needs and by blocking funding to organizations like Planned Parenthood. You can help in the fight by donating to Planned Parenthood, and help make a statement that we are not going to sit still for having our personal rights taken from us. Everyone deserves health care that’s free of shame, stigma, or judgment. Together, we say: Get your bans off my body!