By Mir
February 23, 2009

So, um, I guess we are getting to be People Of A Certain Age.

I realized this recently because:
1) A friend of mine told me her husband was getting a vasectomy,
2) The husband knew I knew,
3) I told MY husband,
4) The next time we were all together my husband mercilessly ribbed my friend’s husband about it.

There was a time when such knowledge would’ve offended Otto’s delicate sensibilities. I mean, there was probably NEVER a time when it would’ve offended ME, but we already know that I am largely without shame. Still, brazen offers of frozen peas and scotch delivery in mixed company seem a bit beyond the pale.

Of course, a vasectomy is a simple medical procedure, right? No one would think twice about saying, “Sorry, I can’t make it, I’m having a mole removed that morning,” or “Actually, I’m having a root canal then.” On the other hand, its implied connection to S-E-X makes it a somewhat racy topic by default. You probably wouldn’t tell someone you couldn’t attend that meeting because you were having a new IUD inserted, or because you had to go buy condoms.

And I’m sure it goes without saying that my friend and I are having a LOT of fun at her husband’s expense, because here we are—women who’ve given birth a couple of times, and therefore not exactly unfamiliar with PAIN and physical SACRIFICE—trying not to crack up over the universality of men being protective of their nuts. We try not to laugh while they’re LISTENING, anyway.

I mean, I’ve yet to meet the guy who doesn’t seem to feel that submitting to a vasectomy is tantamount to leaping in front of a speeding train. They don’t just want the TLC they feel they deserve, post-operatively, they want pomp and circumstance related to their BRAVERY.

Anyway, the fact that Otto knew about this and had even participated in some joking around about it meant that it was a valid topic for conversation. OR SO I THOUGHT. But, you know, sometimes I am OH SO WRONG.

I initiated the topic right before bed, because apparently I like to end the day by completely perplexing the love of my life.

Me: So would you have a vasectomy, if I asked you to?
Otto: [looks at me like I have three heads]
Me: I mean, if I hadn’t had a hyst, and we needed birth control? Would you have been willing?
Otto: Why?
Me: I’m just curious.
Otto: Why?
Me: I don’t know! Because it seems like such a BIG DEAL, like it’s a question of a guy’s very manhood, or whatever. I’m just curious to know if you would’ve, if it was an issue for us.
Otto: It’s not.
Otto: But it’s totally moot.
Me: YES IT IS. I notice you’re not actually answering.
Otto: I think you’re trying to get me in trouble.
Me: No, I AM JUST ASKING. Does that mean you WOULDN’T?
Otto: Are you going to blog about this? You’re asking me because you want to blog about this.
Me: No! I was just CURIOUS!
Otto: Sure.
Me: Well I’m totally going to blog about it NOW.
Otto: That was your plan all along. I know when I can’t give the right answer.
Me: No, I had no plans to blog about it until you got all squirrelly. Now I’m going to blog about your ‘nads and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT.
Otto: Oh my God.
Me: You love me. You love me SO MUCH.
Otto: [after a long pause] Yes.
Me: But you’re not sure why.
Otto: [after a long pause] No.


  1. Alicia

    What, no “but I knew this guy…” horror story? Mine brings up an aquaintance with a botched down-there surgery as ammunition everytime we bring it up. The funny part is the surgery he mentions was for something else entirely and not elective!

  2. Kate

    I never thought about it, but vasectomies are a very open topic of discussion in our group of friends. In fact, we all openly call a dad at school, who happened to be the doctor who performed so many of the procedures on our hubbies, “Dr. Snippy.” I wonder why they don’t socialize much.

    In the weeks leading up to huz’s vasectomy, he kept saying, “I’m having surgery.” How do you not mock that? He assures me that I will burn in hell for laughing every time he said it. (yes, I know complications can happen…but they are more likely with an ingrown toenail.)

  3. The Mother

    I did make my hubby get a vasectomy. The doctor (who was actually a friend of ours) reminded him, a father of FOUR, that it was permanent and he couldn’t have anymore children.

    We got a good laugh out of that.

    I got another one when I ended up with a hyst a year later. The last laugh, if you will.

  4. Sherry

    When my husband got his, I had to sign a paper saying it was okay with me if he had it. WTF? It isn’t my body. Why do I have to give the okay?

  5. exile on mom street

    My husband is quite grateful that my hyst made it a non-issue in our marriage too.

    Although he SAYS he would’ve done it, I don’t entirely believe him…

  6. ikate

    I don’t get why some guys get so freaked out around the talk of vasectomy…my hubby can’t wait to get his (after we conceive and birth another little hellion). He never really thought about it until 19 months of breastfeeding put the responsibility of birth control on him…funny how that happened!

    Most guys I know who have been snipped turn it into some macho thing – as guys tend to do – “I can go out and sleep with as many women as I want without worries!” This said by the men who are more devoted to their wives then you can imagine. And my coworker had it done to line up with the college basketball finals last year then took the WHOLE WEEK off – claming he needed it to “recover”– what a wuss!

  7. tara

    My hubs was ready about 3 years ago and I didn’t want him to. Now I made it clear he can go ahead any time now. I don’t know what he is waiting for. I guess I should have let him when he wanted to.

  8. KathyM

    We have a tradition in our group of friends that when a guy’s about to get his vasectomy, the guys go out for a big steak dinner the night before like the last supper or something. And also…the guys have inflated the number of times you need to “do the deed” to make sure the surgery worked to astranomical proportions….for the last guy it was 80 times in 20 days. Thankfully none of the wives have fallen for it.

  9. Karen

    Oh, that is funny. My husband offers to give himself a vasectomy with a rusty pocket knife, regularly. Usually, whent the children are making him crazy. I might add that all of our children are adopted since we have never been able to get pregnant. He thinks he’s such a hero.

  10. Kristy

    I just wanted to delurk to say they should make the wife sign off. My ex-husband got a vasectomy without my knowledge. I still feel he had that right…to decide for himself, but it was wrong to do that to me and I’m sure it was the spoke in the bike that led us to divorce.

  11. elizabeth

    this seems to be the topic of the month or something, cropping up a bunch of places recently.

    I had this conversation with my husband just last night – I think he decided to be pick the “right” answer for me. it took him a while to answer that he would have resisted unless I’d pushed the issue.

    moot point for us too: after my second child I knew I was done; had my tubes tied the day after he was born. (much worse than the actual childbirth if you want to know.) it just never occurred to me to ask him. it was me that decided I was done, not him.

    everyone has to come up with the solution that works for them and their family. I just find it interesting to hear the debates in other’s houses.

  12. Dragon

    My Dh just last week told somebody at work that three kids was enough and we weren’t having any more. The other person asked him, “So you’re getting snipped?” Which caused great hilarity for DH, because our three kids are all quite obviously adopted. And the other person knew this but had had a brain fart and forgot.

    I told DH we’re having an “adoption vasectomy”. We’ll snip up the paperwork. The good news is, it’s completely reversible and has no side effects whatsoever.

  13. Amber

    When I visited the gynecologist’s office recently (to have an IUD inserted, yes, I said it) they had a vasectomy brochure. Which surprised me, considering it’s an OB/GYN practice and they definitely don’t cover that neighbourhood, so to speak. Anyways, I picked one up because I was curious, and we’ve agreed my hubby will get the snip when the time comes. As I was reading it to him later, he got a bad case of the squirmies. He said something about how he will have it done, but he does not want to HEAR about it, or THINK about it.

    And suddenly, the reason that they hand out brochures at the OB/GYN came clear. Because no man is going to pick this thing up and look at it, but his wife will.

  14. bob

    I thought I had better step up for the male population here. I volunteered to have a vasectomy – I wasn’t asked by my wife. It was the only sensible solution to our birth control needs. We both decided that we had had all the kids we wanted. All forms of birth control other than surgery weren’t 100% effective – abstinence was not an option. Similar options to a vasectomy for women (tubal ligation or hysterectomy) are major surgery and so the decision for me to have a vasectomy was a no-brainer. the other men I’ve talked to that have had them felt similarly. I think that a lot talk by men about vasectomies is just that – talk.

    That being said, Men are protective of their reproductive equipment – after all, they do reside on the outside of our bodies and are sensitive to external stimuli (take that as you will). You can’t kick a woman in the ovaries. But just mention or watch a man seeing someone else getting nailed in the nads – and you’ll see our gut reaction, hands shielding our nuts along with assuming a protective crouch. Yes, a vasectomy is a simple, outpatient procedure that a cold compress and an easy weekend can ease, but we are conditioned from birth that our scrotum and knives are not meant to meet.

    So, It is true that some men go way overboard when the topic is discussed. I didn’t – and still don’t – but I can understand why some do.

  15. meghann

    My husband had one, because we had 4 kids, and it seemed like the thing to do. He had a hard time of it, because he got the stomach flu a week later, and all the vomiting caused his incision to re-open.

    The irony of it all? It’s two years later, and now we wish we could have another baby.

  16. Susan

    Even though my husband volunteered to have a vasectomy, he was just a little too relieved when we learned I needed a hysterectomy. Men.

  17. Michelle

    LOL. Josh said he’s totally willing to get one after we have a couple kids. He doesn’t want muchos babies, and neither do I.

  18. Angela

    We spent a year talking about and finally he decided to bite the bullet and get it done. Took a month to heal and at one point we totally thought his insides were healing on the outsides. It was not your typical recovery. Anyway to make it 10000x worse about 4 or 5 weeks after surgery I got told I needed a hysterectomy. And a few months later I had it. I just felt so bad for the guy. Heck, he totally proved his love!

  19. Jenn

    Dear god – one of our friends RUINED vasectomies for the rest of us. His got infected and his junk swelled to the size of a bowling ball. Now every time the subject comes up all the men run away clutching their pants. Sigh. . . boys are so weird.

  20. cindy

    oh Otto, where are you …….

  21. Ani

    Slightly off-topic but seriously funny.

    We went to a childrens’ science museum recently, and my kids were fascinated in the hall that had all sorts of medical displays. There were skeletons, and various X-rays and MRI’s to view, and it showed how the organs fit in the body etc etc etc.

    Great! Awesome! Informative! Cool! (ok the plastic fetus at several stages of development was creepy)

    And then I stopped chasing after the 3-yr-old and noticed my 8-yr-old was watching surgery on a tv screen. And the body part didn’t look particularly familiar. But there was a father standing behind his daughter (also watching) and he was cringing. And it dawned on me. They were showing a REAL VASECTOMY. Up there on screen was some poor guy’s scrotum with a surgeon fishing around for the tube and showing how he cut it. And I turned to the guy and asked…um…”Is that what I THINK it is??” And he turned purple and left.

    And my son could not for the life of me figure out why…so he asked, loudly, “Mom, what’s a vasectomy??” And all the men cleared the area. And I promptly hit some other button so they could watch someone’s hernia being repaired instead. :-)

    That night he asked his dad if he was going to get a vasectomy. And what the surgeon was cutting. And why he did it.

    And my husband made me promise to do bedtime duty every night for the next week.

  22. Cindy

    This is a fun topic! My best friend used to be married to a guy with absolutely no personal boundries whatsoever. He got a vasectomy after baby #3 because other birth control was out of the question for them. Ya’ll, he showed EVERYONE his scar, along with a detailed step by step description of what the doctor did. Because he watched the entire procedure.

  23. Heather

    My best friend’s husband actually had two surgeries because the first one didn’t take and since he never went back to be tested – they had baby number #3. They were absolutely fine with #3 once they got over the shock. However, to ensure that there was not #4, my friend went and witnessed the surgery the second time and personally took her husband to the doctor for his tests.

  24. annette

    Have you ever wondered why they call it getting “fixed” when actually what you are doing is breaking it? Thanks Meghann for your post:)

  25. ImpostorMom

    Interesting that we had a similar conversation this weekend. The talk of a second child has come up and I know that when/if that happens I’ll be having a repeat c-section so my plan is to just have things on my end taken care of while they’re in there removing that second child.

    Otherwise I would fully expect my husband to do the deed. He made a face when I told him this of course, said something about being neutered. I figure if I carry two children, give birth to (including major surgery) to two children, AND breastfeed two children, really isn’t it the least he can do. Lucky for him I have the whole repeat c-section thing to look forward to. :|

  26. Beth

    Don’t let your husbands talk to mine! Mine felt the same way as Bob. He was ready to be done and willingly went to have his surgery. Only thing is, his body is slow to metabolize drugs. I told this to the Dr, and the nurse, and the front desk lady and asked them to make a note of it. They smiled and nodded and ignored the crazy lady who is not a Dr and shouldn’t be telling them to how to do their jobs. Sooo… my husband not only had the pleasure of being awake to see it all, but he got to feel every bit of it too. The Dr also had the pleasure of realizing, “Oh sh**, this guy really can feel it,” as tears ran down my hubby’s face.

    Needless to say, if his was to ever fail, he would not be going back for another try. And I wouldn’t ask it of him.

    I just wish Drs would listen to us, we’ve know about this problem since he had to have a hernia surgery in high school and ended up not waking up for several days afterward. Drugs are slow in and slow out with him. He’s also had the pleasure of feeling a complete root canal since the Drs don’t listen.

  27. SoMo

    Well, considering that my husband is protecting the dog’s nuts I won’t even ask him about his. I mean I have in the past and his answer is “Well, they are going to cut you open, anyway, to get the baby why not just take care of it”. My response, because I always take care of EVERYTHING. I get my revenge by laughing when a baby or toddler kicks him in the nads while playing. Sweet, sweet revenge.

  28. tara

    ha, i must be the same age, this is the second vasectomy conversation i’ve run into in 3 days!

  29. Amy-Go

    ROFLMAO at that last part. Blogging about ‘nads! *SNORT*

  30. Catherine

    LOL Considering i’m on the way to labor and delivery to have my first child…my DH and I have been discussing BC…and I told him..well you alerady have three kids, you don’t want go do it…yeah..his words man will touch his nads…umm yeah…alrighty..

  31. tj

    Poor Otto :)

  32. Kevin

    My wife forwarded me this post. I’ll contribute another guy’s perspective on this topic.

    After my wife’s second C-section, the doc told us that it would pose a significant health risk to my wife if we were to have a third baby. We agreed it was best for me to get the “snip snip.” I went willingly because I thought my wife had been through enough with two C-sections.

    I was amazed how quickly Bethesda Naval Hospital was willing to accomodate this request. I figured I would call, they would schedule an appointment to tell us about the procedure and the risks and give us some time to think it over and schedule a pre-op appointment in a couple of months and then do the surgery some time down the road.

    Oh heck no.

    The answer was more like, “How’s Tuesday morning look for you?” (…this was on Monday afternoon.) No questions, no pre-op, no “are you sure about this?” I suppose the Navy figures the sooner you do it, the less likely your wife will get pregnant with another baby for which the Navy must pay for medical benefits.

    So we go and check in at the urology clinic and the receptionist tells me to have a seat. Next thing I know, a drop-dead gorgeous 20-something young lady (Navy corpsman) with long blond hair calls my name and escorts me back to the dressing rooms. I got undressed and put on my hospital gown. Super-model corpsman girl has me lay down on the operating table and proceeds to lift up my gown to prep me for surgery and starts to gently tuck gauze around the operating area… ahem… uh… thinkaboutfootball-thinkaboutfootball-thinkaboutfootball-thinkaboutfootball-thinkaboutfootball… Thankfully, I made it through the preps without uh… anything embarrassing happening.

    Then the doc came in. Although much more senior in rank to the corpsman who prepped me for surgery, the doc was also a pretty darn good looking woman. This is getting cruel.

    Then her trainee comes in.

    Yeah, they initially told me the procedure normally takes about 15 minutes. In my case though, it took about 40 minutes because she was doing everything very slow and methodical and explaining each step to her trainee. “Lift here… okay… cut there… NO NOT THERE!! Down here…” (Aside: When you’re getting free medical care on the Navy’s dime, then the Navy gets to use you however they see fit for training or testing.)

    But hey, I got out of shoveling snow from the driveway that weekend because I was in bed with the ice pack between my legs.

    Fast forward six weeks later…

    My wife had heard the “horror” stories of husbands getting the vasectomy and not doing the TEST afterwards to verify the surgery was successful, then VIOLA surprise baby #3 comes along 9 months later. So I had to go in for the tests. Of course, it’s like a 45 minute drive to Bethesda from our house, and the sample has to be delivered to the lab within 30 minutes. So I had to go to Bethesda to “obtain” the samples.

    I checked in at the counter. Next thing I know, drop dead gorgeous 20-something corpsman with long blond hair calls my name. I must’ve been three shades of pink when she handed me the sample bottle and showed me into an exam room and left me to my business.

    I’ve heard stories about fertility clinics and civilian places having some magazines or videos to help with… uh… gathering the sample.

    Not at the Navy hospital.

    Yeah, it was just a standard medical examination room… with a HUGE poster on the wall of some 80 year old lady with blotches on her face and warnings about sun exposure leading to skin cancer.



    That was SUPER helpful. (not)

    Anyway, to make a long story short(er), the tests showed the surgery was successful.

    Well, if you’re still with me, thanks for reading. Sorry, I thought about posting this on my own blog, but thought it might turn some of the grandparents’ hair white. So thanks for providing me this outlet to share my story. :-)

  33. Brigitte

    Everyone’s stories are too funny! My husband is a complete wuss and wants me to get the tubal ligation, despite the increased risks and costs. Even though all the neighbor hubbies have had it done and survived.

    Especially as he has to have hernia surgery soon, seems like they could just slip in the big V then!

  34. mama speak


    You need to go read Danny’s post on this at DGM. He wrote the most hilarious (I think it’s funny, but I would guess maybe he doesn’t) blog entry about his experience. I would NOT recommend any guys reading it! It’s pretty graphic and after reading it, I’m the one whole told my hubby, “I’ll just get an IUD, honey.” I’m not telling him why in case I decide he should go get it done (He’s of Irish decent, I’m Hispanic decent, we make babies real good, it’s what we do. In an earlier time I would’ve had 20 kids I have no doubt of it.)

  35. Megan

    Dude – Kaj VOLUNTEERED -as in brought it up himself, suggested it, insisted upon it. It was, he said, invasive surgery for me vs. relatively small snip for him. AND he didn’t insist on special treatment before and after (got it though) AND he thought it was funny AND he made the best jokes about it the whole. darn. time.

    To be fair, he did find two things a bit… difficult:

    a) Cauterization. As in wisps of smoke and smell of burning flesh. THAT burning flesh. THERE.

    b) the, ahem, before and after tests. Was raised with the belief that getting jiggy with your bad self was definitely Evil (I mean, by then he was well over it, but something about the clinical setting brought back some rather interesting memories to say the least!)

    Still – definitely saint-like, don’t you think?

  36. crockpot lady

    oh I want to post something.

    but I erased it 3 times.


  37. Randi

    You know, this is coming from left field probably, but I’ve always felt kind of upset that Scott can still have children and I can’t. Part of me feels like he should have a vasectomy so that we’re both in the same boat. I mean, if we ever did separate, he could have more kids and I couldn’t. Plus i went through 2 c-sections, 2 miscarriages, and 1 ectopic – he deserves a little bit of pain.

  38. Erika

    My husband was perfectly willing to have the snip. I just wanted to have my tubes tied. I knew that I did not want anymore children. I had to make sure that I couldn’t.

  39. Sara

    After my first two kids (14 months apart before I was twenty!) my hubby and I discussed different procedures and he said he would get a vasectemy because we didn’t think we wanted anymore kids. However, because we were so young doctors told us they wouldn’t do the procedure until we were over 25 or had three children already. Well after two miscarriages (that I got pregnant on birth control!) and then having my third son last year in June, I was adamant. My doctor specializes in a non-surgical tubal ligation and since hubby had taken no steps towards getting the vasectomy that he’d said he would I opted for that. It was comperable to getting a vasectomy as far as pain and such, there’s no cutting, no scars, and about 3 days of discomfort! I love all three of my boys very much, but I’m done worrying about getting pregnant!

  40. Lulu

    We had one son, and I had to BEG my husband for a second child. I didn’t care if we had a boy or a girl, just that we had another one. I told him I wouldn’t “trick” him into more. Following 2 miscarriages, and a very difficult pregnancy, we finally welcomed a daughter. While pregnant with her, he asked if he could get snipped, and I said “no” because of my history of MC, the difficulty of the pregnancy, I still felt like something could happen to her, etc. After she was a year old, I scheduled the appointment. When the paperwork arrived, he just said, “They want to do WHAT to my WHAT?” C’mon honey, you knew these things. So, we cancelled the appointment. 3 months later, he decided that we should have a bigger family. After another miscarriage, our 2nd daughter was born 14 months after we decided to try for #3. Since all of mine are C-sections, I had a tubal while I was on the table with #3. The doc looked over the curtain after she was out to confirm, “No more babies?” Right, no more babies. We have great kids (tho #3 is fiesty and I tell hubby that if she were the first, she might be the only!!) and sometimes even now I think about having just ONE more.

    So, now when people ask if we are having more, I tell them I am spayed, so NO. :)

  41. mamalang

    First, Ani’s Children’s museum story had my eyes tearing from laughing so hard.

    Second, I had a tubal when I had the (surprise!) third baby…and 6 months later, he had the vasectomy. When my Ob went through the warning talk, I stopped him mid sentence and told him he was having a vasectomy. He said nothing more and slid the paperwork over to me.

    So, you know, we are doubly covered. I always say if I get preggo, we will be rich.

  42. jennielynn

    The running joke in our circle of friends is my husband going in for a second vasectomy and my insistence that since I have given birth three times, he’ll need to give it at least one more try after this. Then, and only then, will it be my turn again.

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