Is Steeping Your Balls the Future of Male Birth Control?

Coso is a new male contraception prototype that could provide a form of long-acting reversible birth control for men

Image shows two tea bags steeping in clear mugs
Dunk those balls, boys.
Darren Robb/Getty

It’s no secret that men still have relatively few options when it comes to preventing pregnancy, and even fewer in the way of reversible, long-acting birth control methods. It’s also no secret that men have proven relatively unwilling to deal with the side effects of the birth control options that are or could become available to them, but perhaps steeping their balls in a James Dyson Award-winning ultrasound device to temporarily turn off their fertility would be a more attractive alternative.

Designed by German design graduate Rebecca Weiss, the male contraceptive device called Coso uses ultrasound waves to temporarily halt sperm regeneration. To use the device, which is still a theoretical prototype, Coso users would fill the cup-like device with water, which will be heated to “operating temperature,” per the Dyson Award website. The user then “spreads his legs and sits down to place the testicles in the device. The ultrasound process continues for a few minutes.”

While dunking your balls in hot water like a couple of teabags may not sound like the most pleasant experience, you wouldn’t actually be submerging your testes in scalding water. Rather, the device uses ultrasound waves to “heat up your balls from the inside,” as MEL Magazine put it, which frankly still sounds pretty harrowing. Still, research backing use of this kind of ultrasound technology as a form of male contraception dates back to at least 2012, and has proven effective on animals.

First-time use of the device would be overseen by a medical professional, who would determine the appropriate water level based on the user’s ball size. Use of Coso would be effective at preventing pregnancy for up to six months beginning two weeks after the treatment, though it is recommended users repeat treatments every two months for best results. Full fertility would theoretically return by the end of the six month period, meaning Coso could become a rare form of male birth control that is longer-acting than condoms but less permanent than a vasectomy.

The device is still in the theoretical prototype phase and has yet to be tested on humans, so it will be a while before Coso sees the light of day, let alone becomes a readily available birth control option for men — if it even makes it that far, which few novel forms of male contraception have. Perhaps, however, a little hot tub for your balls is exactly the long-term, reversible solution the world has been waiting for.

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