Dear Tell All: After putting it off for years, I finally made an appointment to have a vasectomy. But I got cold feet at the last minute after going online and reading horror stories about all the problems people have had post-V. I know there's lots of crazy stuff on the web, but in the wee hours of the night, the crazy stuff starts to sound reasonable. So I canceled my appointment. What do you think? Do I have anything to worry about, or am I just being a coward?
Dear Bashful: You have to be careful about believing what you read on the Internet. Remember the infinite monkey theorem? It claims that if you give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, they will eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare purely by accident. That's a very difficult theory to disprove, for obvious reasons, but the Internet comes close. We've given Internet connections to over a billion people - a good share of whom are smarter than your average chimp - and what have they produced so far? A lot of questionable crap and an infinite number of porn sites.
Which brings us back to your willie. I can certainly understand your apprehension about putting your little buddy on the chopping block. The mere thought of a vasectomy makes most men whimper.
Maybe it will help if I describe the procedure in simple and unscientific terms, so you'll know exactly what to expect. A doctor you barely know is going to fondle your testicles (some men rather enjoy this) while several other strangers watch (again, many people find this exciting). Eventually someone is going to whip out a scalpel and lop off a few random bits.
Does that help put your mind at ease? No? Perhaps I should try a different angle. Vasectomy procedures have improved significantly over the years. Newer, gentler techniques leave less bruising and swelling than traditional vasectomies, and heal faster. One of the more popular techniques is called no-scalpel. As the name suggests, scalpels aren't used at all during the operation. Instead, the doctor relies on the precision of the tried-and-true weed eater.
Okay, so I may be a bit fuzzy on the details. But seriously, you have nothing to worry about. Doctors perform nearly half a million vasectomies every year. The procedure is considered very safe and nearly 100% effective. A vasectomy will not decrease your sex drive, your ability to have an erection or the quality of your orgasm. And the vast majority of men have no side effects other than mild, temporary discomfort. The horror stories you read about, like men's testicles swelling up like cantaloupes, are from the idiots who don't follow their doctor's orders. Instead of lying low after their procedure and resting with a bag of frozen peas and several Love Boat DVDs, they go out and do something stupid, like run laps of hurdles naked.
So relax; you and your boys will be fine.
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