Gustavus Commissions Nationwide Survey on Attitudes Toward Male Contraception

The new survey was commissioned in anticipation of the 53rd annual Nobel Conference, "Reproductive Technology: How Far Do We Go?"
Posted on September 14th, 2017 by

As Gustavus Adolphus College prepares to host the 53rd annual Nobel Conference October 3-4, the College has commissioned a nationwide survey to gauge the public’s thoughts on male contraception. The Nobel Conference, “Reproductive Technology: How Far Do We Go?,” will explore the science and ethics behind topics such as in vitro fertilization, CRISPR/Cas9, mitochondrial transfer, and the future of male contraception.

The results of the nationwide survey on male contraception indicate that men are generally interested in using hormonal birth control methods, but some of those polled are concerned that such usage would make them seem less masculine. The survey also asked about male contraceptive usage in short- and long-term relationships, as well as whether male hormonal birth control may be more appealing than traditional prophylactic methods.

The key findings of the survey are included in the release below. To see the more information about the results, please visit the survey PDF.

Majority of U.S. Men Say They’d Be Likely to Take Pill or Injection as Male Birth Control, But Many Express Concern Over How They Would Be Perceived by Women

 New Gustavus survey explores attitudes toward male contraception as part of the College’s 53rd Nobel Conference on reproductive technology

MINNEAPOLIS, September 14, 2017 – A majority of men (65%) say they’d be likely to take a hormone pill or injection as a means of birth control if they were in a committed, long-term relationship. What’s more, 57% of men say they’d be likely to do the same if they were in a short-term relationship.

On the other hand, three in 10 men (29%) say that taking an oral or injectable male contraceptive would make them feel less masculine, while only 10% of women would perceive their partner that way. The proportion of young men (18-34) who say that they would feel less masculine if they took a male contraceptive jumps to 52% (versus 20% for men 35 years or older). Young men (18-34) are also twice as likely to be concerned that women would think less of them if they took male contraceptives (44% versus 21%, 35-54 years old).

Those are among the findings from a new Gustavus Adolphus College survey to gauge the U.S. public’s attitudes toward new male hormonal contraception. The survey was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in advance of the school’s 53rd annual Nobel Conference, to be held Oct. 3-4 on Gustavus’ Saint Peter, Minn., campus. The theme of this year’s conference: “Reproductive Technology: How Far Do We Go?”

One of the Gustavus survey findings actually could have potential widespread public health consequences. A majority of men and women agree that they would be less likely to continue using condoms if male contraceptives were introduced into the relationship (74% men and 69% women) – and this is especially true for younger men (83%, 18-34 years old).

“This means that our survey respondents appear to be more concerned about guarding against pregnancy than sexually transmitted diseases,” stated Yurie Hong, Gustavus associate professor of Classics and chair of this year’s Nobel conference.

“During our October conference, we’ll explore the science and ethical implications of new reproductive technologies such as male contraceptive methods, genome editing and mitochondrial transfer,” added professor Hong, “We undertook this survey to better understand both men’s and women’s attitudes toward managing reproduction. The results will enhance the rich discussions planned during our two-day agenda.”

Other findings from the Gustavus study include:

  • Only 30% of women would trust a man to take an oral or injectable contraceptive if they were in a short-term relationship. On the other hand, 80% of women would trust their male partner to take the contraceptive when in a committed, long-term relationship.
  • Women are much more likely than men to support the idea that health insurance should cover male contraceptives (78% vs. 66%, respectively); while men are more than twice as likely to oppose that idea (24% vs. 11%).
  • More than half (58%) of the men surveyed would want their female partner to continue using their existing form of birth control as a backup if they were to start taking a male contraceptive. In comparison, the proportion of women who say they would continue using the pill, IUD, diaphragm or other form of birth control if they had a male partner who was taking a male contraceptive, jumps to seven in 10 (69%) women.
  • Nearly half (49%) of men and women surveyed admit they have concerns regarding the effects of new male contraceptives on a man’s sexual performance – including most men (64%), younger adults (63%, ages 18-34), parents (58%) and college educated adults (51%).
  • Men are significantly more likely to say they would not be willing to tolerate any side effects as a result of taking newly developed oral or injectable birth control methods (30% vs. 21%, women). Women, on the other hand, are much more likely to think men would be willing to accept side effects such as an increased libido, injection site pain, and weight gain.

About the Gustavus Nobel Conference

Reproductive technologies have long raised a host of scientific, social and ethical questions. The 53rd Nobel Conference, open to the public and held Oct. 3-4, 2017 at Gustavus, will bring together an interdisciplinary panel of scholars and scientists from around the world to address not only how far we can go, but how far we should go. For more information about the conference, visit

About Gustavus Adolphus College

Gustavus Adolphus College is a private liberal arts college in St. Peter, Minn., that prepares undergraduate students for lives of leadership, service, and lifelong learning. Gustavus was founded in 1862 and is the oldest Lutheran college in Minnesota. Fully accredited and known for its strong science, writing, music, athletics, study-abroad, and service-learning programs, Gustavus is internationally recognized for its annual Nobel Conference.

About the survey

These are the findings from an Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted on behalf of Gustavus Adolphus College, conducted July 7-11, 2017. For the survey, a sample of 1,872 adults over the age of 18 from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English. To qualify for the survey, respondents had to identify as being straight/heterosexual. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ± 2.6 percentage points for all respondents surveyed.

Tickets are still available for the Nobel Conference. To learn more about the schedule, speakers, and topics, visit the Nobel Conference website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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