Can a vasectomy improve the quality of marriage?

A randomly selected sample of 145 couples were seen at the time of a vasectomy request and a year or 18 months later, regardless of whether the vasectomy had been performed, to assess the quality of marriage before and after vasectomy. The sample was seen by 10 different doctors and studied in a seminar at the Cassel Hospital, Ham (UK). All doctors had had training in dealing with psychosexual problems. As part of each interview, the marital pattern was assessed using the following scale: 1) joint, warm, reciprocal, rewarding, showing loving concern; 2) fair, strains but a bearable modest success; and 3) real strains, contained but with difficulty; 4) major strains for both and marital war or major apathy; and 5) impending disaster (breakdown, illness, break up, divorce, or other cause). Using this scale, it became apparent that the majority of marriages improved in quality following vasectomy. This was the case in all age groups. It also appeared that the majority of requests came from successful marriages (score 1 and 2), in some of which strains apparent before vasectomy were not observed afterwards. 90% of the youngest age group had only minor strains whereas in the oldest group 56% had minor strains and 44% major difficulties in the marital relationship. The 94 successful marriages showing only minor strain hoped that vasectomy would prevent further pregnancies and would remove the need for contraception. They felt that they had reached the limit of parenthood and must have absolute protection against pregnancy. Following vasectomy, these marriages improved. Minor sexual problems disappeared, and tensions were eased. The exceptions were couples who had colluded; 3 couples were about to separate and hid their problems. 2 couples hid the husband’s history of previous depressive illness. Both the men became severely depressed afterwards. The 37 marriages showing difficulties had also hoped that vasectomy would prevent further pregnancies and the need for contraception. Many also believed that it would improve their sex life as well. Others saw vasectomy as part of the in fighting in marital warfare. Those engaged in longstanding marital warfare remained unchanged as did those with severe sexual difficulties, especially when the husband had believed his wife’s frigidity would be improved. Lesser degrees of sexual difficulty seemed to improve especially when these were based on such extreme fears of pregnancy that impotence or frigidity had resulted.

Source: “The quality of marriage before and after vasectomy.” from Br J Sex Med. 1979 Sep;6(52):13-4, 57.

Best book I’ve ever read about the subject of marriage is by Stephanie Coontz, “Marriage, a History.”

I haven’t seen a very definitive book on being single and this one isn’t terribly relevant for guys.

Some stats on weddings are here. And once you get married, you may ask yourself whether it will last. You may also want some tips on how to stay together.

And if you’re really curious as to whether you’re headed for a divorce, ask Visa.

It seems all sitcom marriages are based on this one. Maybe that’s because it’s still a great show.

If you’re interested in the science of how relationships work and how to make them better you might want to check out the work of John Gottman. Malcolm Gladwell featured him in the bestseller “Blink.” Gottman does have detractors, however.

Related posts:

Things you didn’t know about marriage and relationships

What you should look for in a marriage partner

We know conflict can hurt a marriage – how about boredom?

How to quickly and easily improve your marriage:

Is a marriage worth more to a man or a woman? By how much?

How important is physical attractiveness to a happy marriage?

Does Marriage Kill Sex Drive?

Does parenthood make marriage worse?

Is marriage a good idea for handsome men?

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