Thought experiment: 50-50 chance of either gender getting pregnant

… Solution to rampant teenage pregnancy?

The premise is that - what if - conception in humans was a fifty-fifty toss up between the woman, or the man, being the one to potentially become pregnant and carry the fetus to term.

Imagine teenagers screwing in the back of a car or something: maybe she’ll get pregnant… Or maybe HE WILL. Imagine how much more careful the guys would be. Imagine the ramifications for birth control research. Imagine how differently we’d handle maternity leave in the U.S.

Thoughts? Reactions?

I’ve never been other guys and other guys don’t talk to me much.

I think IF there were good birth control that was readily available and that did not require one to stop and insert or don or otherwise apply it, people of any and all sexes would use it, assuming they were adequately informed of its existence and how to obtain and deploy it.

Male-bodied people don’t want to become parents unintentionally. I felt even less able to control the outcome than I considered my female partners to be in that situation. Other male folks’ mileage may differ.

This is quite similar to the thought behind The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Leguin.

You could buy the Morning After pill for $1.50 from a gas station, truck stop, Walmart, Target, etc.

If either gender could get pregnant, the two genders would have to be identical (or nearly so). In that case, what would be the rationale for saying there are two different genders?

Um, do you live in 1965 or something? It costs $49.99 from Walgreens & Target, and $52.99 from Walmart currently. Although yes, of course it’s much cheaper than the cost of raising a child, it’s still not exactly cheap for people on a budget (like young people in particular, which the OP is talking about).

This is all missing a point.

Young people (teen-agers mainly) are notoriously lacking in good judgement. It’s commonly attributed to some not-quite-fully-developed parts of their brains. OP’s premise would probably not make much difference. It’s like trying to teach teen-agers to drive safely – they just don’t understand that it’s for realz.

Agreed - they know it can happen - they just don’t believe it’s going to happen to them.

The OP’s scenario might change things in some way, but it’s not going to automatically imbue sound judgment of risk upon teenagers.

I’m not RivkahChaya, but I’m pretty sure she was saying that IF either sex could get pregnant equally easily, the morning-after pill would be available everywhere very cheaply.

Guys might be a little bit more careful, but still not a choosy as women. Testosterone is a hell of a drug. :o

I’d imagine the average maternity leave would shrink, since half of the time she is not having the baby.

The average paternity leave would definitely grow.

Now, if men could have babies I think the abortion issue would be a little different.

I’m a woman and while I have not had a child myself but it’s very hard for me to reconcile the flippancy of “well, she should just have the baby” like it’s no big deal, and my friends’ descriptions of their pregnancies and their children’s births. (“It cost $95,000 because of my diabetes” “My husband almost passed out when he saw my insides on the table” “The baby was stuck in the birth canal” “I almost bled to death.”)

Clearly there are women who have gone through tense pregnancies & births and are still pro-life, and men who have seen their wives go through it and are still pro-life, but…I dunno, to see a fancy-haired male politician imply that carrying a baby and giving birth is as easy-peasy as changing a tire, so women should just do if they become pregnant, really makes my blood boil.

Er…off my soapbox now. Carry on.

Sheri Tepper did this thought experiment also in her book The Fresco, although she did it with adult men (specifically politicians) instead of teenagers. Her premise with it was a mixture of “see how YOU like it” and general distaste for ultraconservative politicians.

Given teen birthrates per 1000 in Canada have dropped from 24.4 to 10.1 (1990-2014) and even the US has seen a decline from 57.1 to 24.1 what rampant baby making are you talking about?

Well, for starters, what does maternity leave have to do with teenage pregnancy?

Easy solution guys, just have sex half as often.

Yep, pretty sure that math works.

Exactly. If men could get pregnant, they’d be women.

I do sometimes wonder about the sexual behavior of a hemaphroditic species. Because even if you can produce both male and female gametes most such species just put as much energy into both types, and the issue sorts itself out because reproduction just means dumping your gametes into the water and hoping for the best.

But suppose you have placental mammal style internal gestation of the embryo. That means acting as a female has higher costs than acting as a male. So when two individuals come together to mate, they could both act as females, or one could decide to only act as a male, to preserve their options. So I imagine every sexual encounter is like a wrestling match, with each individual trying to force the other into the female role, while trying to avoid the female role themselves. Imagine all the male-male combat for mating privileges that animals do, only at the end the winner rapes the loser. And that’s a pretty disturbing mental image, and I’m sure there’s plenty of gay porn with that storyline.

Anyway, the end result of this sort of evolution is that if you’re an obligate male you never have to pay the penalty of gestating the young, and so the setup isn’t evolutionarily stable. Obligate male cheaters ruin things for everyone. Except if everyone tries to be a male that makes the advantages to being female greater and greater, and so you have the typical 50-50 sex ratios common to most species.

Ah, my mistake. It already is available pretty widely. Just not quite so cheap.

The premise seems to be that teenagers only have sex because boys want to. Which isn’t true; plenty of girls are choosing to have sex despite the risk of pregnancy. So there’s no reason to think that dividing up that risk would change anything. Boys would be just as willing to risk pregnancy as girls are.