The Science Behind Brosectomies®

Cheers to the Topic article on Brosectomy® that demystifies for all time the “unorthodox” idea of having men do vasectomies in groups. Brilliant the way they got under the skin of why men might actually hesitate to get their wings clipped, or why they consider the snip as a “second puberty.” At the heart of it, it’s more than just a procedure: it’s a cultural issue.

Keith Haring art about buddies
Keith Haring, Best Buddies. (Courtesy: Keith Haring Foundation, NY, NY)

The real question is whether there is any science behind the Brosectomy® idea. I began to offer these procedures based on the concept that buddies are nice to have close by when life gets intimidating. One example of this for me is when surfing in big water. But is there any science backing what I have seen in practice that men are calmer during their vasectomy, heal faster and use fewer pain pills afterwards, and get back to the stuff of life sooner?

Together Again

Berkeley researchers recently published a study on rat bromance that has relevance to this. With the theory that in times of stress, social support can buffer things, promote prosocial behavior and enhance resilience, paired male rats were stressed and studied. After being immobilized for 3-hours (far longer than a vasectomy for men) cagemates exhibited “social support-seeking behavior” and shared their water, demonstrating decreased aggression and rank behavior. In other words, and unusually, they cooperated with each other.
A Japanese study of rat bromance got into the weeds a bit more with partnered rat behavior. Neuroscientists feel that it involves changes in cortisol release governed by the brain’s paraventricular nucleus. How’s that for cocktail conversation!

How About Us?

I’ve always believed the military has good reasons for its training methods and approaches, as lives are at stake. Integral to military philosophy is the “buddy system,” referred to as “Wingmen” in the Air Force, “Battle Buddies” in the Army and “Shipmates” in the Navy. Tried and true, the buddy system in this setting has been shown to be an effective and efficient way to provide support, encourage clear communication, monitor and reduce stress, stimulate learning and reinforce safety. Roger that.
So, it appears that there really is a science behind the Brosectomy®. And behind the science lives something incredibly fundamental to many living species: the need for camaraderie and friendship. In the words of Thoreau: “The most that I can do for my friend is to simply be his friend.”

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