Everything You Need to Know About a Vasectomy

by Nadia

on 13 Sep 2022

The world of contraception can be confusing. Most of us are familiar with the most common types such as birth control pills, IUDs, and condoms. But what if you are done with having children or simply don’t want any at all? In this case a vasectomy may be a good option.

Everything you need to know about a vasectomy

What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy, also known as male sterilisation, is a permanent form of contraception that is 99% effective. It is a small surgical procedure that cuts and seals the sperm-carrying tubes in the scrotum so that your ejaculate no longer contains any sperm that could fertilise an egg.

Reasons for a vasectomy

Whether to have a vasectomy or not is very personal. You need to be certain that you do not plan to have any (more) children now or in the future. Consider that your circumstances may change and what this would mean for your decision. It is also important to discuss this with your partner if you are in a relationship. Ultimately, the decision is always your own.

Ask yourself if you might feel different about your decision if your financial situation were to change or your relationship were to break down. Would you want to father children with a new partner one day? You need to weigh up the possibilities before deciding. Your doctor may recommend counselling if you would like more time to be extra sure.

The pros

  • Vasectomies are 99% effective. They are a permanent solution, so you won’t have to worry about birth control anymore.

  • A vasectomy doesn’t affect your sex drive or performance in bed. You won’t be able to tell the difference once you have fully recovered.

  • This procedure is safer and easier to perform than female sterilisation, so it may be a more suitable option for couples who know they are done with family planning.

  • The good news is that side effects are rare and usually temporary.

The cons

  • Reversing a vasectomy is rarely successful and costly as this isn’t covered by the NHS.
  • Until your doctor has confirmed there are no sperm in your ejaculate, you will have to use another method of contraception.
  • While a successful vasectomy prevents pregnancy, it does not prevent STIs, so condoms are essential if there is a possibility of infection.
  • There is a chance that the tubes reconnect themselves despite being cut, although this is rare. For your own peace of mind, you can ask for additional semen analyses, but you will need to pay for these.
  • As with any medical procedure, there is a small risk of complications such as an infection of the incision site, swelling, haematomas, and bruising. Lasting side effects are rare.

What Lovehoney forum members have to say:It hasn’t changed our sex life in any way and everything is the same for him, it just means I can be contraceptive free after nearly 20 years of taking the pill.k8xxx

Will a vasectomy affect my ability to have sex?

Understandably, one of your greatest concerns may be whether a vasectomy will impact your sex life. But rest assured, your libido remains unaffected, you will perform just as well as before the procedure, and both the quantity and texture of your ejaculate will be the same as you were used to.

What Lovehoney forum members have to say: _“_Everything stills works as it did before Daisy1982

The only difference is that after a successful vasectomy your semen won’t contain any sperm anymore, but you won’t be able to tell by the look or feel of it. In fact, knowing there is no chance of pregnancy can be very freeing and open up new possibilities.

What Lovehoney forum members have to say:“As far as sex drive and volume goes, there have been no changes on my end. If anything, my drive has increased as there is no longer a concern about accidental pregnancies. With that inhibition out of the way, it opens up a lot of opportunity to be spontaneous. I highly recommend it to anyone that is thinking about getting the snip.” MsD

Vasectomy diagram

What happens during a vasectomy?

All in all, you can expect to be in and out of the clinic within an hour. The procedure itself only takes 10-15 minutes and is performed under local anaesthetic (in rare cases general anaesthetic may be offered). Before the procedure, you will have a final consultation to ensure you are ready and sure about your decision.

The vasectomy itself should be painless, but you may feel a tugging sensation now and then. Your doctor will use one of two methods:

Conventional vasectomy: This procedure is conducted with a scalpel. Two small incisions in the scrotum allow your doctor to cut and seal the sperm-carrying tubes. Their ends are cauterised with heat and the incisions will be closed with sutures that will dissolve on their own.

No-scalpel vasectomy: With this method there are no cuts. Only a small puncture is created through which your doctor will carry out the same procedure as in the case of a conventional vasectomy. Due to the small size of the wound, you will heal faster, there are no stitches, and there is very little blood.**

What Lovehoney forum members have to say: “Procedure itself was a breeze - just a little local anaesthetic and it was over before I knew it was even in process.” LRLRL

After the procedure, you will spend roughly half an hour in recovery. If you haven’t already, this is a good time to take some painkillers as the anaesthetic will begin to wear off. Enjoy the tea and biscuits on offer and be proud of what you have done today!

Make sure to arrange a lift home as you shouldn’t drive after the procedure. Once home, sit back and relax, have painkillers on hand as well as ice to reduce any swelling. It’s recommended to rest for at least two days, so this is the perfect time to break out the box sets or play video games.

Post-vasectomy care

Take it easy for 1-2 weeks and avoid working out or manual labour to give your body time to heal. Wear tight underwear for support (your sexy underwear will have to wait, I’m afraid) to prevent your boys from jostling about. You will have been given supportive dressings to keep the area clean and immobile.

As mentioned earlier, painkillers and ice packs are a good idea in case you need them to ease any discomfort.

Follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure that everything goes smoothly, but let them know if you have any signs of infection such as hot swelling or a fever.

How soon can I have sex after a vasectomy?

You should avoid any sexual activity for at least a week. If it doesn’t feel comfortable yet, wait until you are ready. This varies from person to person, so there is no need to worry if it takes a bit longer. You may want to be more gentle than usual as you test the waters either alone or with a partner. Just go with what feels good to you.

What Lovehoney forum members have to say: “My first time after the snip was a little nerve-wracking. The sensation of cumming literally felt like something wasn’t connected up in my scrotum and it was a bit discomforting but after the second time it was business as usual.” CaptainTightpants

It may come as a shock, but rest assured that it is perfectly normal for your semen to contain a little blood the first few times. There is nothing wrong and the blood will clear gradually.

It’s important to keep in mind that even though you have had a vasectomy, you will need to keep using contraception until tests confirm that there is no sperm in your semen anymore.

Now, this is where the fun part starts! To clear the tubes, you will need to ejaculate regularly. A lot. Usually, it takes around 20 ejaculations over 12 weeks before you will be asked to submit a sample for semen analysis, so this is a great time to make things interesting. Whether you play solo or with a partner, take this opportunity to get raunchy and maybe spice up your life with masturbation, hand jobs, blow jobs, new positions, and toys that really get you going.

Switch It Up For More Post-Vasectomy Fun

How do I know if my vasectomy has been successful?

A vasectomy has been successful when tests show that there are no sperm in your semen. It is possible that you will need to supply more than one sample before you get the all clear. Until then you will need to continue to use contraception to avoid pregnancy.

However, even after a successful vasectomy, you will need to use condoms to avoid STIs if there is a risk of infection.

Is a vasectomy reversible?

A vasectomy should be considered permanent. While a reversal is possible in some cases, it is a complicated procedure and not covered by the NHS. You would have to pay for it yourself and there is no guarantee that it will have the desired outcome. What’s more, the more time has passed since your vasectomy, the lower the chances of a successful reversal.

You never know what the future may bring, which is why it is so important that you think carefully about whether you want a vasectomy.

What Lovehoney forum members have to say: “As things worked out, I split from my partner a decade or so later, so I used to have to explain to subsequent girlfriends that whatever else I might be for them I wouldn't be the father of their children - this is an awkward thing to have to bring up at an early stage in a new relationship, believe me. I never regretted having had the vasectomy, however.” Sensuous58

My partner wants me to have a vasectomy, but I don’t. What do I do?

It is important to remember that whether to have a vasectomy or not is your own decision entirely. Don’t feel forced to do it.

If your partner wants you to have a vasectomy, but you are not sure about it or entirely against the idea, it is crucial to communicate openly with each other.

Discuss why you both feel the way you do. This may be the time to explore all contraceptive options together to find something that works for you in the long term. The burden of ensuring birth control often falls on women and people with vaginas, which can be stressful. For that matter, not every option is suitable for every person, so you may need to try different contraceptives — hormonal or non-hormonal — before you find something you are both happy with.

If you and your partner can’t agree or you feel forced to get a vasectomy, counselling may be the best option to help you find a solution by exploring why each of you feels the way they do. What are the underlying reasons for your partner wanting you to have a vasectomy? Can their fears be alleviated? A therapist will be there to support you.

But what if you have already started the process? Don’t be afraid to say no if you change your mind and decide a vasectomy isn’t for you. You can say no at any time before the procedure, even if you are already in the room and prepped for your vasectomy. What happens is entirely in your control.

Because it is such a big decision that will affect the rest of your life, you will be asked throughout the process if you are sure you want to go ahead. Remember that the clinic is a safe space for you. At various steps in the process, from your first consultation up until the beginning of the procedure, you will be asked if you want a vasectomy of your own free will. So, if you feel coerced by anyone at any time, let your healthcare team know and they will be able to help you. You do not have to explain if you don’t want to. It’s entirely up to you. This is about you and your wellbeing.

How do I get a vasectomy?

Your first port of call is your GP who can refer you to a specialist for your vasectomy.

You can choose between a vasectomy on the NHS or you can go private. The NHS waiting list can be long depending on the services available in your region and local demand. While private vasectomies are quicker, they may not be affordable for everyone.

What Lovehoney forum members have to say: “I had a telephone appointment with my Doc. But once that was done, he referred me to a company who worked for the NHS and from then on it was plain sailing. I had a choice of dates and even times for the op, it was done in my own doctor’s surgery and was absolutely the easiest thing ever. In and out in 25mins, no pain, bit bruised for a few days - 12 days on now and everything normal. I’m a total wuss for anything medical, so glad I hadn’t read some of the bad stories before - but I came out and was fine and glad I’ve had it done - wish I’d done it sooner!” AJandLM

For more information and advice, contact your GP or local sexual health clinic.

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Written by Nadia. Lovehoney Editorial Team
Nadia has been writing about all things sexy (and crafty) for Lovehoney since 2015. When she's not thinking about sex, she knits socks because, according to a study, warm feet increase the chances of having an orgasm.

Originally published on 13 Sep 2022. Updated on 13 Sep 2022