A few days ago there was talk about vasectomies again on my timeline, partially because of recent developments on US abortion law. I mentioned that I had meant to write about my experiences, so here goes.
I wrote part of right after getting the procedure, and some of it now, about a year afterwards. Back then I was lucky enough that someone in my environment recently had it done, so I got to talk to him and ask questions.
This helped me know what to expect, which did take my anxiety down a bit. So… I figured for those of you who might not have that opportunity I’d write about my experiences here.
For the TLDR crowd, here is the summary:
- There was no pain during the procedure itself, just some mildly unpleasant tugging.
- I was bruised afterwards, but nothing too bad.
- Orgasms still feel exactly the same.
- Don’t believe the crap some people write on the internet (but definitely believe my crap, I’m trustworthy 😉)
OK, so… For those of you still here I’ll dive a little deeper into the process and how it was for me.
What is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure where the vas deference (sperm tubes) are cut and tied. This means that your testicles will still produce sperm, but it won’t be added to your semen anymore. You’ll still ejaculate as normally, since most of the semen fluid is generated by your prostate, but since your semen will no longer contain sperm cells you cannot impregnate your partner.
It is often said that the procedure is reversible, and in theory it is. The vas can be re-attached and sometimes it will heal enough to allow sperm to added to the semen again. The success rates of reversal are not too good though, so I would not put faith in being able to reverse the procedure.
Getting the ball rolling
I knew for a while that I didn’t want children, and my nesting partner has a copper IUD which gives her a fair amount of issues. This leads to some talks between us where we concluded that me getting a vasectomy would be the best solution.
I started the process with a call to our family doctor. Normally this would have been an in-person consultation, but with Covid the whole thing was done on the phone. This is where I got the first weird surprise: my nesting-partner and I are married, and it turns out that this means she actually needed to give her consent to the procedure. I’m still a bit surprised that this is how it works in the Netherlands. We also had to answer a bunch of questions about how long we’d been together, honestly this part felt a bit invasive.
EDIT: A number of people told me that this is in fact not standard procedure in the Netherlands, so I think my doctor was just being weird here.
I got an e-mail and the procedure was scheduled.
The days before
A few years ago I met someone who swore to me that his erection issues were caused by his vasectomy. I never really took it seriously, but it was still in the back of my mind. I also read the brochure that the hospital sent me, which mentioned 22% of men having pain afterwards. None of this made me feel too great, and about a week before the procedure Reddit very helpfully brought /r/postvasectomypain to my attention. I stayed away from it as much as I could, but I saw enough to boost my anxiety.
The day itself
I shaved my pubes completely the night before the procedure and slept pretty OK. That morning I was stressed to the gills though, very sensitive to sounds and generally miserable. I packed an extra pair of boxer briefs and some loose sweat pants for after the procedure, got in the car and went to the hospital.
I first had a little talk with the doctor, where I got to ask some questions about the things I had read. My main concern was the pain mentioned in the brochure and she explained that this was generally just a matter of being sore to the touch and that it happened to roughly a quarter of men.
I got on the table, and they covered me with a cloth with a nice big round hole in it where my penis stuck through. This felt weird and exposed… I can tell you that I had never imagined a situation where 3 women were around a table touching my penis could be so far from sexy!
The procedure itself was pretty simple. They first swabbed my scrotum with disinfectant, which burned because I’d been asked to shave the night before. The nurses commented on that that was actually a pretty mean thing to ask, but the jokyness lightened the mood a lot.
I got a shot of local anaesthetic, and they gently poked me with something sharp to check if I still had sensation. I did, so I got a second shot. This numbed me completely, so when they started the actual procedure I didn’t really feel anything.
Since I was feeling so anxious I kept a running conversation with the doctor and nurses, and they were very kind to me. The doctor told me what she was doing, and when she was manipulating the vas deferens (essentially your sperm tubes), I felt a tugging sensation in my groin which was mildly unpleasant but easily tolerable.
Both sides went pretty easily, and to my surprise I didn’t get any stitches. The holes were so small that they weren’t needed.
The next few days
The next few days one side of my scrotum was pretty bruised and blue looking. It was also very sensitive to touch. I had to keep some sterile gauze pressed to wounds, which came down to have 2 folded pieces of gauze in my underwear.
I didn’t really bleed though, beyond a few single drops.
I wasn’t allowed to orgasm for 4 days after the procedure, and I made sure to keep to that but on the 4th day I had a huge orgasm. I wrote about that in another writing if you’re interested.
It was a big relief to being able to cum normally and to discover that it didn’t hurt or feel different at all.
3 months later
You’re not immediately infertile after the vasectomy, since there is still live sperm in the ducts. After 3 months I had to give a sperm sample to the hospital, which meant I had the fun experience of trying to cum in a jar at 9 in the morning, and then rushing to the hospital while trying to keep the sample at body temperature. Great fun.
Luckily it showed no live sperm any more, meaning that the procedure had been a complete success.
A year later
Most days I’m not even aware any more that I’ve had the vasectomy. My sex life is the same as it was before. What I do still have are two sensitive spots on the side of my testicles. These are where the vas was cut, and you can kind of feel them knotted up under the skin. Those spots are sensitive to the touch, so I’ve had to warn partners who were cupping my balls too enthusiastically to be careful with those 2 spots.
I’m very happy I had this done. It gives me a lot of peace of mind that if a condom does break, the worst that will happen is that we’ll both need to run an STD panel.
So, if you have a penis and you’ve decided that you don’t want (more) kids: just get snipped. It’s quick, it’s easy and it just eliminates a whole category of risk.