My Sex Don’t Cost a Thing

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Dear Tender Buttons,

I'm a hetero female in a great relationship with a great guy. He treats me with respect, and after some pretty bad experiences with guys at the 5Cs, I've come to understand that he's worth keeping. I guess my question is financial: How do we split the costs of sex? He doesn't like the free condoms in Student Health, and we both require some lube to get us started. We come from similar economic backgrounds, but I've been noticing that he supplies a lot of the condoms, and he will generally bring the lube that he uses to masturbate. Should I feel bad about not contributing to our sex fund?


Financially Independent Sexy Times

Dear FIST,

I'd like to thank you for your letter, FIST. You draw attention to a widely known but rarely recognized condition: Sex costs money. Generally, unsexy guardians of prudish morality will throw around the phrase “the cost of sex” like an ungainly hammer, smashing the horniness of nearby teens with images of clinics, viral diseases, and Bristol Palin. But we forget that there is an actual price one pays to enjoy healthy and safe sex, whether you spend on condoms, oral contraceptives, lubrication, or toys. Please be conscious of your considerable privilege in being able to make these purchases, and donate to organizations like Planned Parenthood whenever possible.

You need to assert a more proactive role in the financing your sex life, FIST. I do not know if you split the cost of dinners or late night Yogurtland trips—if you do, that's fantastic. If not, cough up, and stop pretending that you're a princess. Let's live up to the work of Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex: your receptive role in intercourse should not construct the entirety of your relationship. That is to say, you are not “the passive one” because your boyfriend penetrates you. Binaries like “male/active” versus “female/passive” are as false as they are damaging. However, that is the sort of sexist language that circulates when someone like FIST wonders if she should pitch in for contraception. FIST: It's your body. Why is this even a question for you?

FIST, the consequences of you ceding condom/lube purchases to your boyfriend extend beyond turning Ms. de Beauvoir over in her grave. Be selfish, and think about your own pleasure. He has preferred condom/lube selections, but do you? Lubrications vary wildly in texture, heat, and sensation, and I hazard a guess that you have not done as much sampling as your boyfriend. Furthermore, condoms should feel nice to both partners, not just the phallus-wielder. My ex once rolled on a “ribbed condom” recommended to us by a few naïve breeders. Post-coitus, I checked the wrapper to make sure “ribbed” wasn't a fancy word for “NEEDLESS AGONY.” In other words, it's fantastic that your boyfriend discovered a condom that works for him, but have you?

Oral contraceptives, on the other hand, should be a conversation you have only between you and your doctor, FIST. Your boyfriend's hormones will not change. Hormonal contraception will impact your body, not his. And if he suggests you take the pill, don't be too hasty—see your doctor and consult your insurance provider.

Oh, and congratulations on finding a fantastic 5C guy. You kids have fun.


Tender Buttons

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