Excerpted from Vasectomy or “Young, Hot, and Sterile on the Streets” or “You, My Friend, Can Call Me Sterile Daryl”

By John Gerken

A couple of years ago I got a vasectomy, and there has only been one momentary instance of second thought since then. When I realized that it had been a year since I did it, I got a little nagging doubt. Had I actually made the right decision, or was it something I would regret later on in my life? But I just thought about all the reasons that I did it in the first place, and remembered that yes, it was the right decision for me and not something that I will come to wish that I hadn’t done. There have been many more instances, conversations about unwanted pregnancies for example, when I have been overjoyed that I made this decision.

Many reasons brought me to it, after a friend got one and I thought, “Hey, why not me?” I never wanted children; when talk of future families came up on the grade-school playground, I remember saying that I would adopt if I wanted kids. I can’t imagine having the time, not to mention the money, to be a parent anytime in the future. And I doubt my ability to be a good parent. So why not make sure that it is a deliberate decision if it’s going to take place in my life?

Issues of overpopulation: the U.S. has the highest birthrate of any industrialized nation, and we use up a vastly disproportionate amount of the world’s resources. Control: The birth control options given to women are for the most part damaging to their bodies. They are created and marketed by huge pharmaceutical companies that have one thing in mind: profit. Women are forced with the responsibility of not getting pregnant and are blamed and punished when they do. Poor and women of color have been sterilized against their will in this country and in others. Women have been made responsible for everything from raising the child to men’s impotence to rape. The entire reproductive rights debate often comes down to restrictions on a woman’s sexuality.

After causing my share of pregnancy scares, and hurting people that I care deeply about in the process, I came to the decision to take responsibility for this thing I’m waving around. I decided to make sure that becoming a parent will be an entirely deliberate decision, and lust, carelessness, broken condoms or anything else will not cause me to potentially fuck up someone else’s life, along with my own. And I have not regretted it since. My libido and sexual performance did not change at all; the only thing that doesn’t get out is sperm, which is microscopic, so the amount and sensation of cumming is exactly the same.

I like kids, and have the utmost respect for all the people that are raising them. In a way, knowing that I’m not going to be having any opens up doors for me. I can only imagine having children if I was part of a community that I knew was going to be a stable environment for them to grow up in. Having no plans to have children leaves me much more excited to be a part of the community around my friend’s children. It leaves all of my biological parenting drives free for the kids around me!

Send zines to the Zine-o-File, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.