Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Price of Sex

No, this still isn’t the post about the going rates for prostitutes. It’s another dispatch from your war correspondent at the frontlines of the battle of the sexes. This is one of the more outrageous money arguments that I’ve ever heard of a couple having.

A friend whom I'll call "Janet" was dating a guy named-- oh, let's say "Peter." It was not a long-standing relationship, and she had doubts about him-- there were some gaps in his life story which later turned out to involve incarceration, so her instinct was correct. However, as she confided in us, he was great in bed and, to be frank, spectacularly well-endowed.
But his endowments were only physical, not financial-- this was one of the guys I had in mind in the other posts about income inequality in couples. The guy did have some pride and picked up a lot of tabs, but as things went along, he started to resent the fact that he was doing it on a teacher's salary while Janet worked on Wall Street. Janet liked spending time with him and was happy to pay for things, but here's a bit of pillow talk that made her draw the line:

Peter: "Uh, you know, since our sex life is something we, uh, both mutually enjoy, uh, I think we should share the cost of condoms."
Janet: "What?!? I already pay for my own birth control pills!"
Peter whines: "But these things are expensive! I have to buy Extra-Large, and they cost more!"

Yes, it’s true: sometimes penny-pinching can be penis-pinching.

Anyone who has heard this story unanimously and immediately agreed that Peter was a cad, no matter how expensive the condoms were. I tried to ask one of my closest male friends how much more extra-large ones really cost but he had to admit he was not so fortunate as to be an authority on the subject. However, a quick look at my local drugstore indicated that the price difference is maybe 10 or 15% at most, no more than the premium you'd pay for mint-flavored, or "super sensation" or glow-in-the-dark varieties-- but I can't promise total accuracy on this as I did not really want to stand there scrutinizing those shelves for too long.

The moral of the story: Pay for your own protection, Peter.


Anonymous said...

Lucky for us, we met in college, where the condoms were free an plentiful.

Of course, we actually profit from getting birth control these days...

Dwight said...

You're right on the premium today--10% to 20%. But that is because there are more brands carrying the larger sizes. Before, when you were lucky to have one brand, the premium was at least 30% to 40%.

Or so I've been told...

Dwight said...

As an aside, to someone on the "front lines," I can highly recommend the recent book "Self-Made Man: One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back" by Norah Vincent.

I started reading it, my wife picked it up, and now I'm not allowed to read it until she finishes. So I guess that is two thumbs up from this couple.

An aside that doesn't do much for your post, but I did want to recommend it.

Anonymous said...

I get yelled at to pick up 'our' birth control pills on a monthly basis... We certainly never fight over the price of such things, they are priceless! ;)

It's nice to see that they are using double-protection against pregnancy though.

Madame X said...

Given that the guy turned out to be an ex-convict, the protection was probably wise for a variety of reasons!
The postscript to the story is that he disappeared one day without explanation. Months later he tried to get back in touch with her but by then she had a much nicer new boyfriend.

Chrees, thanks for mentioning that book, it's on my list of things to read someday.

Dawn said...

I just finished that book "self-made Man"- It was an interesting eye opener. I have to say I listen better to the guys at my work because of the book

Mrs. Micah said...

It's disgusting how the whole thing is seen as the woman's business. She has to get the protection, use it, make sure the man wears it (if it involves a condom), and deal with the pregnancy if it doesn't work (ok, that part can't be helped biologically).

There are, of course, great guys out there who are responsible. I have been fortunate, myself. But the whole cultural attitude frustrates me.

I'm looking forward to the male pill.