Sedated masculinity: the use of anaesthesia during vasectomy in Israel

Noga Friedman, Yael Hashiloni-Dolev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Vasectomy is considered a permanent form of contraception for men that can help reduce reproductive inequality. Its underutilisation in the context of the threats it may pose to perceptions of traditional masculinity has been closely investigated, but the lived experience of the procedure itself has been largely overlooked. This paper examines the experience of having a vasectomy in Israel, focusing on the recommended form of anaesthesia. Drawing on 15 semi-structured interviews with Israeli men who have experienced vasectomy, we found that the choice of anaesthesia has a significant impact on the meaning and experience of vasectomy. Unlike the widespread use of local anaesthesia during vasectomy in other countries, vasectomy in Israel is performed almost exclusively under twilight sedation administered intravenously. Based on our findings, we argue that framing vasectomy as an operation that requires sedation is related to views of masculinity and reproduction. Our data suggest that vasectomy in Israel is constituted as a potentially traumatic event, and anaesthesia is employed to protect patients from feelings of embarrassment and discomfort. We conclude that the prevailing method of sedation perpetuates the silencing and marginalisation of vasectomy as a contraceptive method, and consequently, its very limited accessibility in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • anaesthesia
  • contraception
  • Israel
  • masculinity
  • reproduction
  • vasectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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