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The question

We have three young children, but do not feel like we could sustain a fourth, either financially or in terms of our work schedules and general levels of energy. So for the past couple of years my wife has been pressuring me to get a vasectomy. But the whole idea makes me nervous. My male friends seem to think it’s a big mistake. But my wife is starting to get upset at how long it’s taking me to do it. The truth is, I secretly don’t want to do it at all. It seems so permanent! What if I change my mind? Should I suck it up and just do it or can I somehow get out of it?

The answer

I say: Suck it up and just do it – with a couple of crucial codicils/asterisks.

Men are so irrational about that part of their anatomies. I have several male friends who’ve had as many kids as they want to have, don’t want any more, but at the same time are all like: “Forget it, no one is coming near my junk with a scalpel or laser. That is not gonna happen.”

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Which is totally fine, and each man’s decision in the smithy of his soul.

All I can say is: I did it and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

After our third kid, like your wife, my wife urged me to get one, but like you I dragged my heels unconscionably, to the point where my wife said: “Oh, for God’s sake, I’ll just get my tubes tied."

But that’s a major procedure, which tends to require full anesthesia – and around that time I read that Olivia Goldsmith, author of the book First Wives’ Club, went in for a chin tuck, which for some reason necessitates full anesthesia – and came out in a body bag.

So I asked the man in the mirror: “How big a jerk are you that you’d put your wife at risk of death because you’re too chicken to undergo a relatively minor surgery?”

I will say: If you do do it, keep your eyes pinned to the ceiling. I did that, babbling incoherently to the doctor, then made the mistake of looking down – to see a puff of black smoke rising from my testicular area.

Not, obviously, something you want to see.

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On a more positive note, it is a ticket to a lifetime of worry-free sex. Which is hard to argue with.

You’ll get a lot of “Ooh, you’ve been neutered, you’ve been emasculated.” Point out to these wags and pundits that that is a canard. A vasectomee continues to produce sperm, it just no longer shoots out the end of his Johnson.

In fact, some of us vasectomees believe it may actually super-size your mojo, because the sperm is absorbed into your abdomen.

But now comes the codicil/asterisk: There is a scenario, which my non-snipped friends are constantly citing. Let’s call it the “Trophy Wife Scenario”:

Your wife breaks up with you, you somehow pull the pieces together, then meet, say, a beautiful 28-year-old poetess, for whom having kids or not is a deal-breaker and you have to tell her: “Sorry, darling, barring an expensive, painful and not always successful operation, I can no longer impregnate the women of the world.”

And she moves on.

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Which is why I always say a vasectomy is a greater gesture of monogamy than marriage.

So you have to ask yourself: “Will I always be with the woman I am with?” If you don’t think so, then actually, no, I wouldn’t do it.

But if you can be reasonably sure you will stay together, then, yes, as I say, suck it up and make it happen.

P.S. They tend to do them on Fridays, so you have the weekend to recover. Me, I watched numerous macho movies (like Snatch, which is all men insulting each other, fighting each other, trying to kill each other and ripping each other off: very male) with a bag of frozen peas on my crotch, to soothe it.

Afterwards, for fun, I challenged my friends to eat a bowl of peas from that bag for $100. No one took me up on it.

Are you in a sticky situation? Send your dilemmas to damage@globeandmail.com. Please keep your submissions to 150 words and include a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.

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