At first, I was afraid, I was petrified…
thinking I could never live without you by my side.
On January 06, 2017, I got a vasectomy.
(If this level of sharing is too much for you, you may want to back out of this page now.)
For better or worse, whenever I have to make a major decision, I instinctively Google the topic. Before I made the decision to have my male parts partitioned, I searched for vasectomy reviews, posts, and blogs. I didn’t find any from black men. I know, biologically, men are 99.9% the same, so a procedure on non-black nutz would be the same as one on black nutz, but I needed to hear from some brothers. This was not an All Nutz Matter moment. I needed to know, are black people actually doing this or is this like hummus (a good idea, but something black people are just not feeling)? This post is for black men out there (and those who love us) who are hoping someone would open up about being opened up. Below are some of my reflections on the process.
Eugenics vs. Ego
As I said, I was extremely hesitant about it all. Eugenics, the horrid history of genetic determination and population control imposed on marginalized groups, worried me. African-Americans and other groups have been targets for attempts at "perfecting" the American genetic makeup. Like James Baldwin wrote (and Jay-Z repeated recently at the start of the "Family Feud" video), "The [dispossessed] of the earth do not become extinct; they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply; life is their weapon against life. Life is all that they have." I didn't want to give up my weapon! (Baldwin's words, not mine) Even more, my ego was under attack. What would it say about my manhood if my semen could no longer make babies? Was I still a man? I know, biology and gender identity are not the same, but I still felt I was giving up a defining part of my masculinity at the relatively young age of 34. Many men (and particularly this man) have fragile egos. Will I lose my sex drive? My powers and abilities? Can people tell by looking at me? Being honest yall, this is how I was thinking.
The deciding factor for me was my wife Ashley. She has an auto-immune condition that flared up when each of our two children were born. She became so weak she could not lift our children, had prolonged double vision and struggled to speak and swallow. She also did not need to endure another surgery or medication. That raised the stakes for me. However, even beyond her medical condition, as a woman, Ashley had carried, birthed, and nursed our children. She had physically endured enough. In a true partnership, both people sacrifice. Was I willing to give something physically? I resolved that sterilization would be my responsibility.
Pro-creation vs. Recreation
Now that my wife and I were on board, I decided to move forward. But not before I dared to reveal my plans to some other black men. Many of them shocked me by saying they’d had or were considering a vasectomy too. I found that I wasn’t doing anything taboo at all, I was just taking a step to transform sex from a matter of pro-creation to one of recreation. This was liberating! I was not out of the fraternity of Scrotum Phi Scrotum and my wife and I could have baby-making sex with no baby-making! After a year of reflecting, researching, and talking, I was sold.