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July 1979

Behavioral Response to Vasectomy

Author Affiliations

From the Program Development and Support System, Michigan Department of Mental Health, Lansing.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(7):815-821. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780070093011

• This article reviews the literature concerning the behavioral and psychological response of men and their wives to the vasectomy operation when used as a contraceptive technique. The data suggest that two primary changes may frequently be observed postoperatively. Individuals who have experienced anxiety in conjunction with intercourse because of a fear of contraceptive failure or pregnancy tend to report a decline in anxiety and a disinhibition of sexual arousal postoperatively. Also, test results suggest that behavior patterns within the marital dyad are altered in some cases when the men adopt stereotyped masculine behavior, presumably to deny any suggestion that they are less masculine because of the operation. Ramifications of these findings as well as numerous other speculations, are considered, along with the suggestion that prescreening and postvasectomy counseling may help reduce negative response to the operation.