Clean Sheets Pill

Person lounging in a crisp clean bed

Project Summary

Please note: This is an archived project that is not currently being updated.

The Clean Sheets Pill is an on-demand, non-hormonal contraceptive that works by blocking the release of sperm while still allowing ejaculation. It has the potential benefit of reducing transmission of HIV. It works by causing the longitudinal muscles that run along the length of the duct system that carries sperm to relax, but allows the circular muscles of those tubes to contract and clamp down on the longitudinal muscles. This prevents the passage of both sperm and semen. The semen remains in the tubes and is naturally recycled by the body. Even though no semen is ejaculated, the same muscles still contract –  resulting in a “dry” orgasm. The research on the Clean Sheets Pill has ended due to a lack of funding. Should studies resume, we will provide an update.

Contraception with protection from HIV

This quick-acting male contraceptive pill is exciting because of one feature: it could potentially reduce the male-to-partner transmission of HIV. But would men accept the mechanism of action — a semen-free orgasm — even if it feels exactly the same? Many policymakers say men would never go for this, and that there’s no point in bothering with the research. Are they right?

We’ve run a small attitudes study in the U.S. to start answering the question. The result? Among low- and moderate-income young men in the U.S., about 20% say “No way;” about 20% say “Yes, please, when can I get it!” and the rest say “It depends” on knowing more about safety, side effects, etc. That number of men who would consider it may not sound like much, but 20% is a higher percentage of men than use condoms! Another sign that people are interested: A TechCITEMENT article came out about the “clean sheets pill” in March 2012 and was viewed by more than half a million people. We thought it was at least worth giving this research a chance to prove its stuff.

The project has unfortunately stalled due to lack of funding for continued research — a common situation for many promising new male contraceptives. 

Want to know more?

To read more about the Clean Sheets Pill and how it works, see and the Calliope database. And for more info on the team’s results, here’s the Poster presented at the Future of Contraception Initiative conference in Seattle in October 2011.

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