{living in sin} Who Pays to Play?

by Rachel on March 20, 2012

living in sinI realized a few weeks ago that my birth control prescription was about to run out. This is actually the first time I’ve needed a refill in 2012 (I went back on Seasonale after having my IUD removed in December) which makes this my first time refilling my prescription since I switched to a new insurance plan.

The new plan is a high-deductible HSA plan; it was really the best option I had, but it makes me nervous. After years of just paying co-pays, I’m now responsible for fronting the first $3,000 of medical expenses I have this year. While that can come out of a tax-free HSA, it’s still a very big change to my budget.

So I found myself sort of questioning what to do about my birth control, which wouldn’t be cheap. Should I wait until next month to refill it? I mean, I didn’t want to go off of it and use a non-prescription method, but could I really afford it right now? And then I had one of those “getting it” moments when I realized, Wait. This isn’t my problem.

I mean, it’s my problem, but it’s not only my problem. Because those pills? Aren’t just for me. They are for Eric too. Yes, it’s my name on the prescription, but I’m taking them for the team. Why was I the one stressing about how to pay for our birth control?

So I told Eric about my dilemma and asked if he’d be willing to split the cost of the birth control with me. While Eric doesn’t like to spend money when he doesn’t have to, he realized as soon as I asked that the situation was pretty unjust and that of course he needed to split it with me. And now that’s what we’re doing.

It was a huge relief for me and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. It’s probably because 1. my co-pays used to be affordable and 2. I’m not used to sleeping with the same person for this long, but it’s also because I never questioned why birth control has been my responsibility — and mine alone — for the duration of this relationship. It’s on me to call in refills, pick it up, and remember to take it each day. I’m the one worrying about the side effects. I’m the one who has to remember to pack it on vacation. That’s not his — or any man’s — fault, but it’s certainly something to be aware of. Rather than making things my problem simply because I’m female, I need to remember to just stop and ask, Is this only about me? With all the outrageous attacks on women’s rights that are happening right now, I feel like we need to remember that it’s not just our problem; it’s everyone’s problem.

I’ll admit though — I wonder if, by Rush Limbaugh’s definition, this means he’s paying me for sex. Does this make me a prostitute?

I think most men would respond the same way Eric did, but I’m curious about how many women have asked their significant other to pay and how many couples actually pay for birth control out of a joint bank account. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Do you pay for your own BC? Are you OK with that and why? Would you have done the same thing I did if you were in my situation? Let’s talk sex and money! 

{ 110 comments }

1 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat March 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I always paid for my own throughout all of my relationships. Just something I did to know I was in control.
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2 MSUBBucks March 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm

When my gf has asked me to help pay for it, I have. I dont mind paying for it, because your right its is our problem. I not paying for sex but paying to makes sure I dont have to pay for a kid. Lucy for me though my GF get tons of free samples from her doctor that takes most of the burden off of us.

3 Nic March 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I’ve always paid because I originally went on BC pills for period issues. That being said, the ‘serious’ BFs always offered to contribute to the cost. And now I am blessed w/a husband who, when I could no longer be on the pill and couldn’t get an IUD for a whole bunch of medical reasons and when we got tired of fretting about if the condom broke everytime I was late, offered to be the one to undergo a permanent solution (we are old enough to know we definitely don’t want kids nor is it medically safe for me to get pregnant).

4 Stephanie March 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

First of all, Thank you for writing this. I honestly have never even thought to look at the way I spend my money on birth control. I have kind of gone through the same thing, from having everything covered to a zero coverage (granted it is a little bit different up here in Canada). Even thought the cost of the birth control stressed me out at times and I am in a committed a realtionship it has never occurred to me to ask the boyfriend to pay for half. Why should something that is important to both of us be payed for out of my pocket only. This is a discussion I look forward to having with the boyfriend, and something I am sure has just never occurred to him as well.

5 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Woo! Glad to hear you’re going to talk to him about it — keep us posted on how that goes!

6 MelissaNibbles March 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Well, if you think about it that way, you’re splitting it, so you’re paying him for sex too.
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7 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Well, Rush decided Fluke was a prostitute if the government/taxpayers subsidized BC at all, so I assumed by his definition, even if the woman pays for part of it, she’s still a prostitute.

8 Alie March 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I stay on birth control whether in a relationship or not but I never even thought of asking when I was in a 4 year relationship (probably because he paid a majority of our household bills because he made more money). That being said, I had gone to the health department for BC because I didn’t have insurance and I only paid $60 for a YEAR’s supply of pills. And when I did get insurance they were going to charge me freaking $200 for 1 pack of seasonale! Crazy. I think it really depends on who makes more money etc and the cost of the BC.

9 Julia March 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Even though I just have a cheap co-pay my fiancé and I split that cost. It’s both of us that want to prevent pregnancy!

10 Melissa March 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I lived with a guy and he didn’t want to split the cost. So I went off the pill and made him wear condoms. As you may have guessed, there were a number of reasons why that relationship ended. (rolls eyes)
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11 Dori March 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm

This never once crossed my mind, but you are 100% right! I’m really glad Eric was so on board with it.
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12 erin March 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm

hmm that never occurred to me to ask my boyfriend/now husband to cover the cost of my pills at the time. nor did it occur to me to ask him to split the cost of the IUD, even though insurance covered a majority of it. but it’s nice having the IUD and not having to worry about it. Though if it were really that expensive, I’d probably ask him to split the cost with me.

13 Carrie March 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I’m on the Nuva ring, so I don’t have to remember to take it every day. I do, however, need to remember when to take it out, when to put it in (not only for my period, but also for sex) and buy. The maintenance part I’m okay with. I ALWAYS forget to pick it up though. So, as long as it isn’t last minute, he doesn’t mind picking it up. We pay for it out of our joint bank account.

14 Jenn March 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm

This is just such a foreign idea to me… I live in the UK and yeah we get stitched up a lot here for the cost of things but birth control?? That is crazy that you guys have to pay for that!! In the UK everything from the pill, to implants, to the injection, to even condoms are free! I couldn’t in a million years bring myself to pay for birth control! That’s mental! Out of principle I’d consider celibacy… And then fail miserably probably!

15 Jamie March 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I’m curious though (unless you’re being sarcastic) but don’t you realize you’re still paying for that? Just not directly? Unless the UK has money trees, it’s being paid for somehow and I’d have to guess it’s tax dollars. All that bureaucracy only makes things that much more expensive.. it’s just hidden from you when you don’t write out the check yourself!

16 jesse March 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm

In a sense though, you’re paying for even MORE waste when contraception isn’t available everywhere at no cost – since your tax dollars will still go to handling unexpected pregnancies and childcare. In the long run, no matter your politics, fewer children is cheaper.

17 Jen March 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

In the UK you can walk into any family planning clinic at any age, sex or employment status and get birth control. The clinics are run by the NHS which is state run and taken out of people’s wages, but the NHS is seperate to taxes. Technically you’re paying for it, but if you’ve never worked a day in your life you’d still have access to free birth control and even health care. I’d rather pay a couple of ££s a month out of my wages that get stuck for massive medical bills…. But that’s all I’ve ever known.

18 Claire March 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

This is really interesting. I’m on Seasonale, too. It hadn’t occurred to me that he could pay for half, but I think it all evens out because he’s paying for condoms while I pay for the birth control (which is super-cheap under my insurance). What I would appreciate is if he’d contribute by picking it up or making the call for a refill; I asked him to do it since I was busy last week and he acted like it should be my problem alone. Thanks for bringing up this issue!
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19 Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe March 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I have always paid for my birth control while in relationships. Do be honest, it’s not something I really even thought about. However, I live in Canada and have very good medical coverage, so it only costs me about $125 out-of-pocket per year to pay for mine – the rest is covered by my plan through my employer. You raise a great issue though! Definitely something to think about.
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20 Jamie March 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm

It never dawned on me to ask my now-husband to pay for my BC, I’d be more likely to ask him to pick up something else for me than my prescriptions but I don’t know why! Although I have been paying for mine out of pocket (with money in my HSA) for awhile now. I initially talked to my doctor about it to make sure I was on the generic which is only $40 a month. My previous co-pay was $30 so when you figure out the pre-tax part of it, I think it’s a wash. That’s an idea if you haven’t done so already!

21 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Interesting! I’ve recently been thinking about this sort of thing. I take regular BC but extend cycle, so it works the same as Seasonale. I would never stop taking it (um hello, 4 periods a year!!) but have also never had to pay much for it, because of school pharmacies and now good co-pays. I’m pretty lucky, I know, and I’m grateful.

But I do think that men often underestimate the responsibility involved with taking BC, and don’t give us enough credit. We buy them on time and make sure to take them at the right time each day. We deal with side effects, and the fact is we are putting drugs into our bodies every day. For us, but also for them.
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22 Erica March 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

This has definitely happened to me! I go to a Jesuit grad school that doesn’t cover birth control. So I have been hiking out to Planned Parenthood to get my NuvaRing. I used to get them for free because I’m a broke grad student, but now I pay $15 (not bad still!). However, one month, my Planned Parenthood was out of rings to my horror! I had to hike up to a neighboring one and pay $50 a ring! My bf and I are both grad students, so we’re both broke. But I was so upset I almost went off of it and went back on the pill. But he stepped in and offered to pay half. I haven’t asked him since, but its good to know he’ll be there.

23 melissa March 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I recently switched from a generic to a new brand of pill that won’t come in generic for 9 years (wtf), and now my BPC went from $10 for $3 months to $75 a month. I have jokingly mentioned (while at CVS) how ridiculous the cost is, hoping by bf would offer to split the cost. So far, he hasn’t taken the bait. But I think splitting the cost makes all the sense in the world.
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24 Laura March 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Good point Rachel. I have always been on birth control for medical reasons and luckily right now it is only costing me $40 per 3 months, but you are right that guys should pitch in if things get expensive because they are getting the benefit of it as well. My guys pays for a lot of stuff for me, so I don’t mind picking up the cost, but I just asked him if he would if it got expensive and he said absolutely.

25 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Glad to hear he so readily agreed!

26 emily March 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I love that you wrote this! I had always treated the pill like my responsibility. When I was newly dating my husband (well, he’s my husband now… you know what I mean), he offered to split it with me! I was so impressed. Not only did he see it as our joint responsibility, he offered all on his own. I hadn’t expected that much from men before, I suppose.
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27 Megan C. March 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I think guys should help cover the cost once you’re in a more serious relationship because my guess is they want you on it too.

When my husband and I first started dating I took care of paying for my birth control and he took care of paying for condoms. When we moved in together we split the cost of my birth control by having whoever picked it up pay for it. Now that we’re married the military covers it and when my husband is in the country we alternate who picks it up, otherwise I pick it up.
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28 Lindsay March 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I’ve never asked a guy to split the cost with me. Mostly because since I’ve been on birth control, I haven’t been in a long-term relationship (funny how that works out), and mine is also fairly inexpensive with my new insurance. I do have a friend who was worried about affording hers, and I suggested to her that she ask her boyfriend to pay part of it. She was only on it because they started dating, so it really made sense to her (though she’d never thought of it before). I tend to want to use birth control and condoms at least for the foreseeable future, so I’d be OK with the guy buying condoms while I pay for my Rx. (Condoms are also expensive, I recently learned.) I think if I were to get something with a large, upfront cost, like an IUD or something along those lines, and my insurance didn’t cover it, I’d definitely ask my boyfriend to chip in.

29 Laura March 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I know that BC is for both of you, but without a joint bank account, how would you handle splitting the cost like that? Ask your boyfriend to write you a check for half the cost every month?

30 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Maybe you could alternate paying for it each month? He covers the full cost one month, you cover the full cost the next? Or he could just do cash/check/PayPal!

31 emily March 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm

We just traded off months, like you suggested. Easy. (As an aside, we still bank separately even now that we’re married… scandalous, I know. But it works for us. I’d love to read a living in sin post about other money issues too!)
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32 Meghan March 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I second that! I would love to see a post about joint accts vs separate accts and how expenses should be split. I make more than my boyfriend so I pay for more of the overall monthly household expenses but groceries, entertainment, unexpected household expenses go back and forth. We’ve talked about getting a joint acct but never taken the plunge. How much of your income should be considered “shared”?

33 Rachel March 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm

It’s coming! I have been waiting to write about it until Eric and I had been living together for a while, just so I could speak to what worked for us and what didn’t. Our Living in Sin one-year is quickly approaching so expect more posts on fun things like money, pets, chores, living together before engagement, etc. And definitely let me know what you’d like to see in this area!

34 Stina March 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I’ve always footed 100% of the bill for my birth control pills. The idea of having my partner split that cost has crossed my mind but I’ve decided against it in the past for two reasons: 1) It’s alway been extremely affordable at $10 or less per month except for a brief stint between college and employment benefits kicking in when I was paying around $30 through Planned Parenthood, but I wasn’t in a relationship at the time anyway. and 2) I started and continued taking the birth control for myself not any of my partners. I suffered from EXTREMELY bad cramps and the birth control kept those at bay. I also stopped taking birth control for me about a year ago when I started getting severe migraines which I eventually traced back to the pill. (We did discuss it, and he told me it was 100% my decision and he was on board with whatever choice I made.)

Now that we’re using condoms we more or less split the cost depending on when/ where they’re pruchased. I typically buy everything that comes from Target because I have their credit card and get the 5% discount so if we pick them up there I pay for them, but he picks them up at other time. I don’t know that it’s a 50/50 split, but we both take on part of the cost.
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35 Caitie March 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I take BCP non-stop because I’m really only semi-functional without it..so regardless of how much sex I’m having (or not having, as the case may be). Plus- good health insurance (go canada!), I am taking and paying for my own. But in a long term relationship, where condoms are no longer part of the equation…then, yeah, why WOULDN’T the guy pay half? It’s not “your body, your problem”- it’s “OUR chosen birth control method”. Plus, you are the one dealing with potential side effects, so the LEAST the guy can do is pony up for the added pleasure of not having to wear a condom. That’s how I see it, anyways, and I don’t know that I could seriously date someone with a different opinion.

Also, Rachel- can I ask your thoughts on the reproductive rights shenanigans down there? I’ve grown up with “you’re so lucky to have been born in Canada” and reading what’s going on all over the US has made me realize “holy crap I am SO LUCKY to live in Canada”.

36 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Dude…I don’t even know where to begin with what’s going on right now. I spent a huge chunk of my weekend reading all about what’s been going on and just feeling incredibly disheartened. Part of me is still in denial that this shit is actually happening. I keep thinking, “Wait, but someone’s going to step in here and tell them this is wrong right?!” but this weekend I realized, well, given that some of this shit has already passed — and passed in my state now — I’m losing faith. I feel very angry, very sad, very hopeless, and very helpless and I’m not sure what to do. I didn’t get into it in this post, but when I say, “It’s not just our problem, it’s everyone’s problem” I really do mean that about everything — contraception, abortion, pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy, etc. I sort of feel like maybe if we start making these things everyone’s problem more regularly, even in small ways, like paying for BC, then maybe more men will realize how scary and real this stuff is and at least join in the conversation more passionately. (I’m not saying all men are apathetic, but I think that sometimes men just sympathize with us but they don’t see a real need to take action.)

And I agree — if Eric hadn’t agreed to this, we would have had a REAL problem.

37 Caitie March 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I’m terrified on your behalf….my mind is literally blown by the stupidity/ ignorance. I agree with you that I think dudes are just ignorant about the female reproductive system and that largely stems from educational failures (hey, abstinence only sex ed? I’m looking at you!) BUT it seems to be stemming from a pathological need to control and/or subjugate women. Too much to get into in the comments of a blog, for sure :) But- if you’re interested, check out how Scandinavian countries run their health systems and do sex ed and provide abortions and you’ll find that they have the lowest rates of teen pregnancy and abortion in the developed world!

So in conclusion:
Come visit in Canada, y’all! we have universal health care! And legal abortion! AND gay marriage!

38 D March 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Actually I feel like it is “my body, my problem”.

Because then if you start saying “it’s OUR problem” then your body becomes “OUR body”. I don’t know about you, but that does not appeal to me in a relationship.

39 Stina March 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

There’s a difference between what the original poster said vs what you’re saying:

She said it’s our chosen method of birth control not it’s our problem.

I think that difference is pretty key to her point. Our chosen method implies a relationship and communication and that you have agreed on birth control pills rather than condoms, (which are most typically paid for by guys.)
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40 Stina March 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Also, I don’t necessarily disagree with the point you’re making, but I felt the difference between the original comment and your counter was noteworthy.
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41 Jacki March 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Interesting! I’ve never really thought about asking a partner to help pay for BC for several reasons. Before I got married to my ex-husband, I had an IUD placed before college graduation/getting kicked off my parents’ insurance. When I had the IUD removed we used condoms, and after that, I always used condoms with casual partners till I got into a longer-term situation with someone and went on BCPs. My copay was $10/mo. so I never thought about it much.

I’ve been off BCP for about 6 mos. now and whoever thinks of it buys the condoms so I guess Matt and I are technically sharing the cost of safe sex for now! If I go back on the same BCPs (which I loved, and miss terribly), I’ll probably pay the $10 copay myself again, because it’s so cheap and they bill me directly, no biggie.

However if my birth control wasn’t affordable I’d definitely ask him to split the cost with me! If we end up married eventually then we plan to combine finances so it won’t matter, I guess.

I will say, if a guy balks at the suggestion or refuses to contribute, that would seriously bother me. It seems like the kind of behavior that would go hand-in-hand with other douchebaggy boyfriend behaviors, you know?
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42 D March 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I think I am the ONLY comment so far that disagrees!

Having access to the pill was a huge milestone in the women’s rights movement and it symbolises freedom and liberation. I know that some backlash has developed along the years with people asking this exact question – “why should contraception be the woman’s responsibility?”…but I think most feminists will agree that having access to this contraception still symbolises that a woman chooses what to do with her body and how to do it. So, that said, I happily and proudly take the ‘burden’ of the pill into my own hands. By asking a partner to share or foot the bill (of course I think it’s different if you are married and there is a joint account), you are essentially giving them 50% of the input on what you put into your body.

What if your partner decides he suddenly doesn’t want to pay anymore? Do you really want to not be able to afford your own birth control? And maybe the pills aren’t “just for you” but you are the one taking them and it should be your responsibility- and you should take pride in that. If you can’t afford birth control then you should a) use condoms b) rearrange your finances or c) spend time advocating for women’s rights rather than cajoling your BF into chipping in for your pills! There shouldn’t be such a high cost for BCP in the first place! THAT is the issue here.

And this is clearly an unpopular view, but unless Eric requested that you go on the pill, then he didn’t make this decision with you and he shouldn’t have to feel obligated to pay for it (especially if you don’t share finances in other ways). Imagine you always rode a bike to work. It’s kind of inconvenient and a pain in the ass but it’s always worked for you and it’s safe and reliable. And then your BF buys a fancy SUV that he can’t afford the monthly payments on but he insists on giving you rides anyway…and then decides to make you pay half the payments. You might see the value in helping him since the car technically benefits you too, but woudn’t you be like “Uhh…what? Either don’t choose a car you can’t afford or just suck it up and use an inconvenient (but ultimately reliable) bike!”

43 Caitie March 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Totally, totally, disagree.

In a relationship where a mutual decision has been made about birth control- both parties need to contribute to that birth control, whether it be a pill or condoms. So he didn’t say “I think you should go on the pill” but at some point, you both probably went “eh, condoms are kinda gross and a bit of an inconvenience”- that’s a mutual decision. Both parties contribute. End of story. Both parties pay rent even if you move into “his” or “her” apartment. Right?? You pick an apartment that you can both afford to contribute to, or a mutually owned car you can both afford to keep.

Like I said, I can afford my own BCP and I pay for it because I need it for a medical condition. But if my long-term boyfriend wants unfettered, condom-free, baby-free access to my fun spots, he’s paying to play or he’s not playing at all. Casual sexing/dating or a new relationship? Different considerations apply.

Please don’t try and claim that it’s unfeminist to ask a man to pay for birth control pills. I’d argue that it’s unfeminist NOT TO. Because birth control isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a health issue.

44 D March 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm

You just said that if your boyfriend wants sex with you then he needs to share the costs of your birth control. Really?

And they didn’t make this decision together – Rachel is a grown woman and (as she said in the post) has been dealing with birth control decisions for a long time.

45 Caitie March 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm

If my long term boyfriend won’t share birth control costs? He’s no longer my long term boyfriend and you can have him then.

I’m also a grown woman. I’ve also been taking birth control for a long time. I happily take and pay for it myself right now (not that I’m having any sex anyways, but okay). But yes- in a long.term.relationship. Birth control should be mutually beneficial. And that means shared burden, as far as I’m concerned.

46 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm

@D Actually, at this point, we were sort of making this decision together, which was pretty new for me. After I had the IUD removed (which I also discussed with him because leaving it in could affect my fertility permanently and since we plan to have kids together, I felt he had a right to know that, even if I chose not to respect his wishes), I felt like it was sort of starting over when it came to BC decisions. I was suddenly thinking about BC in the context of this relationship, and it’s not the same way I thought about it in college. I was also thinking about it in terms of my current income and insurance, and that’s not the same way I thought about it a year ago or three years ago. So at this point, it made sense to me to include my partner in the conversation.

47 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I totally get what you’re saying and I’ve definitely thought about a lot of these things. Men feeling like they have a say in what women do with their bodies seems to be like the crux of a lot of these issues, so it seems dangerous to encourage that. I think that, for me, I’m cool with having other people have a say if I have a choice about who those people are and who those people answer to. For example, you’ll often hear that this stuff should be up to a woman and her doctor (meaning her doctor can provide an “expert” opinion). I’m OK with that because (for now anyway) I get to choose my doctor and (for now anyway) I trust my doctor. In the same way, I chose Eric and I trust Eric.

While he didn’t ask me to go on the pill, he did sort of ask me to stay on it. When I presented this to him, I said, “Do you think I should continue to take it?” because I was, to use your example, thinking of trading in the SUV for a bike. I wanted his opinion because it ultimately effects both of us. He could either help pay for the nicer rides or he could ride on my bike (and we all know that riding a bike can be sort of a pain and uncomfortable).

I do resent the use of the word “cajoling” though — I didn’t cajole him; I simply asked and he agreed. I don’t disagree that BCP should be less expensive, but I also don’t feel like I’m wasting my time by asking women to talk to their boyfriends/husbands about it. If the high expense of BCP was more people’s problems (i.e. women’s and men’s) then I think that would result in more people who would be fighting to change that.

I don’t quite know what to do about my conflicting feelings about women, men, and contraception, because I do have them. On the one hand, I agree that we don’t want to concede 50 percent of our bodies to men. On the other hand, I do feel like when money, sex, and children (or lack thereof) are involved, it makes sense to me that you at least consult your partner when it comes to big decisions. It seems to me like a man who is personally involved is allowed to have an opinion and should want to have an opinion. But I can also see how this say could be used to hurt women; we’ve seen this before in domestic abuse, spousal rape, etc. I definitely struggle to understand what true equality looks like and how that factors into this.

Anyway, you know I love your dissenting ass so I’d love to have more conversation on this!

48 D March 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Okay, interesting points! I see more where you’re coming from than I did in the post.

I like the notion that if we make it everyone’s ‘problem’ then more people will want to advocate for better/more accessible healthcare. I think the thing that stuck out about the post was that, to me, instead of coming across as “this was a joint decision about choices that affect both of our lives” or “we talked about our plan for babies/health/whatever and decided this was a good decision for both of us”, it came across like “so I discovered the BCP is pretty expensive now…and then I remembered I have a boyfriend for stuff like this!” you know?!

I think if I were engaged or married then it would be a different issue but I think until that point I’m still happy with the pill being my decision and my money. A lot of these comments rub me the wrong way for two reasons though:

1) I never said that a guy who refused to help pay if you asked isn’t a douche! I just emailed my boyfriend this second to ask his opinion and he said he would pay. Now, I have no plans to ask him to. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give him the side eye if he said no. I would definitely think it was a red flag, and I can still think it’s a red flag even if I have absolutely no intentions of having him pay.

2) Tons of these comments are like “Uhh well this benefits him too” and “Well he wants me on the pill so he should be happy to pay”. Since when is it up to your boyfriend to get to have an opinion on what you do with your birth control and your body? I don’t know about anyone else here but my boyfriend doesn’t have input on my body. I choose birth control pills FOR ME. Does my boyfriend benefit from, say, not having a baby? Yes. That does not mean that this decision still isn’t 100% for me. It is my decision FOR ME because I don’t want a baby. Sure, my BF doesn’t either…but that’s not the point! If a woman doesn’t want a baby or want to use condoms then that should be reason enough for her to go on the pill, REGARDLESS of what kind of “benefit” her boyfriend is getting from that. If your boyfriend said “No, I don’t want you on the pill because I only like condoms” – would you listen to him? Would you do what he wanted if it were the other way around?

And just because I love analogies – my boyfriend seems to appreciate the fact that I shower. He appreciates that I smell nice and I’m clean. But I sure as hell don’t ask him to chip in for my body wash and shampoo and razors. Yes I like to be clean when I am in his company, but I want to be clean and smell awesome regardless, so whatever he is “getting out of it” is irrelevant to my decision to take a damn shower. And if I can’t afford a $30 body scrub, I find another option that works. I don’t say “Babe, you know how you LOVE when I smell like lavender? Well how about you start splitting the cost at Sephora with me?”

49 emily March 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm

This statement is concerning for a couple of reasons: “By asking a partner to share or foot the bill (of course I think it’s different if you are married and there is a joint account), you are essentially giving them 50% of the input on what you put into your body. ”

1. Splitting a cost is not the same as allowing them to have input. If my s.o. said “no” to that request, I’d still use a form of birth control. But probably, I’d be sleeping with someone else. I’m still in control here. And if my preferred brand of pill was unaffordable on my own budget, I’d ask for a different brand (in fact, I’m on High Deductible too, and I absolutely changed brands to save $$). It sounds like Rachel *could* afford her pill but would prefer to split it, and that sounds fair to me.

2. “of course I think it’s different if you are married”… as someone who happily lived in sin for years, I take offense at that kind of off-hand statement. For a long-term, co-habitating couple, getting married is often a formality or a social gesture… with no bearing on my ability to communicate with, share expenses with, or procreate with my partner. Keyword: partner.

Spending time advocating women’s rights is a great idea; sadly, it doesn’t keep me from getting knocked up in the short-term, though. I don’t really understand why it’s distasteful to you that some women choose to handle this by communicating with their long-term partners and sharing the expense.
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50 Katie March 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Hey Rachel–I am kind of dissappointed in this post. I clicked over from facebook after seeing the title and I was hoping/thinking that this would be your take on all of the things that are going on right now with the “war on women’s rights”–especially in the state of Texas! I know you have some interesting thoughts but I feel like it has been a long time since you have let your readers in on them. You kind of alluded to some of your feelings when saying birth control is everyone’s responsibility but I felt like it was kind of overhwelmed by the rest of the post where you are worrying about the cost and who is paying for it (in your relationship).

Maybe this is just the new direction of your blog (more life-casting), but I feel like there are SO many other, more important things to say on this topic. Not trying to be harsh, but asking your boyfriend to pay for half of your birth control is far from empowering/revolutionary, IMO.

51 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm

You’re right — the cost of the BC is just the tip of the iceberg. The reason I only alluded to it in this post is because I didn’t want to get into it in this post. I thought about it, but I realized that it’s way too big of a topic to cover here. And that’s partially because I don’t know how to write about it yet. I mean, I think you know what my take is; I think everyone does…it’s that this is horrifying. But I have yet to find a way to talk about it that, I guess, really says something? I feel like I’d be preaching to the choir and I wanted to do more than that. Trust me when I say I want to write about it and I’ve been thinking about how for the past few weeks. I just don’t feel like I’ve figured out what to say and how to say it quite yet, if that makes sense. I was honestly hoping that this post and the comments would be a good starting point for going deeper into the subject!

52 Emily Susan March 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Obviously this is an empowering/revolutionary post from the numbers of responses and the debate that has ensued. Rachel could have written from a political piece, and I hope she does, but post is much more real life, everyday strategy to dealing with problems that are effecting us RIGHT NOW. Not only is she empowering women to find ways of dealing with the high cost of birth control, she is sharing ways to communicate with your partner and create a balanced relationship.

53 Katie Cummings March 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Wow! I had my comment all written in my head, and then I read the comments. In college I took a class called Sex, Power, and Politics so we did cover this topic to some level. (I would love to take the class again with everything thats going on right now).

I personally pay for my own birth control, however if I was cash strapped, or didn’t have insurance (my bf does not at this moment) then I would ask him to step in and help out. And actually I wasn’t on any bc at the time that we started dating, which was convenient because then we didn’t have sex right when we started dating.

Thank you for posting on the subject. I think its great to open peoples eyes to an issue. However I do think it is important for everyone to find what works for them. Thankfully Planned Parenthood is out there and can help people, and I know in Minnesota we have a program (forgot what its called because i don’t qualify for it) that also gives out free birth control.

In response to your actual questions: yes I pay for my own birth control, and yes I’m okay with it. And yes, if I needed assistance and my bf was able to provide it, I would ask. However, if he wasn’t, and I wasn’t, I would look at other available resources.
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54 Mel March 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Great conversation! Ask a Dude on Hairpin did a question about this a while back and the response was pretty much as positive as I see here. (http://thehairpin.com/2011/02/weight-gain-birth-control-orgasms-and-everyone-hates-my-boyfriend) I think splitting the cost makes a lot of since since you both seem to share the other household responsibilities.

I don’t think I’m there yet in my life – between the LDR, the fact that we definitely don’t split everything 50/ 50 (per the LDR) and because for now, I kind of ride an empowerment high when it comes to purchasing things for the bedroom.

Ps. With your other coverage of women’s rights being taken away: I’m sincerely hoping this is fake. http://bonosrama.newsvine.com/_news/2012/03/01/10538635-rick-santorum-tampons-promote-sexual-behavior
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55 Di March 21, 2012 at 8:15 am

What scares me is that I think that article isn’t all that far off…even if it is just satirical at the moment.
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56 Jen March 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I’ve been in a relationship for two years, and I pay for my own birth control. If we were to move in together and begin really sharing financial expenses, then I would definitely ask him to pay half. You got it spot on: it’s “our birth control.”

57 AC March 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Has anyone here considered just not using hormonal birth control and using condoms instead? Condoms are cheap (often free) and if used right are just as affective as any pill.

I haven’t been on birth control in years, and it’s working out great for me. I feel so much better without the hormones, this option is affordable for me, and it hasn’t been an issue for my boyfriend of 2 years at all. Sure it takes a little more discipline to pause in the heat of the moment, but the pros outweigh the cons.

I know this suggestion isn’t for everyone, but I can’t be the only one?

58 melissanibbles March 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Also, why aren’t more people using both? I get that you’re in relationships, but I don’t know, I still worry about STD’s. It seems like AIDS isn’t a big deal to people in their 20s like it was when I was. It’s very weird to me.
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59 D March 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm

My boyfriend and I use both and I 100% agree with you. Are STDs not a concern? Personally I think a boyfriend/partner that is unwilling to stop for a few seconds and grab a condom, or doesn’t have the self-control to do so, is WAY more concerning than a guy who doesn’t help you pay for the pill.

60 Chrissy (The New Me) March 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm

My boyfriend and I have been together for nine years and we only use birth control pills. We’ve both been tested and I trust him, which sounds naive, I’m sure, but there you have it. If I were in a short-term or non-monogamous relationship, though, I would be using condoms every single time, no exceptions.
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61 Julia March 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I’m in my twenties and my fiancé and I use both. STDs are no joke and combining two methods further increases pregnancy prevention. I would rather pause for a condom that get pregnant.

62 Lindsay March 20, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I use both, too. Even if STDs weren’t an issue, I really, really don’t want to get pregnant. I know that the pill or condoms are both really effective, but a lot of things can go wrong. I doubt every woman who has accidental pregnancy isn’t using anything at all.

63 Di March 21, 2012 at 8:17 am

I use both. I have had guys try to convince me we don’t need condoms if I’m on the pill, and if they refuse to use one, I’m out. “I swear I’m clean” doesn’t fly with me.
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64 Cat March 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Speaking of non-hormonal birth control, you can also get an IUD that is non-hormonal. It’s made of copper, called the ParaGard. I have one and got it specifically because I didn’t want to take the pill and have all the hormones. I really, really <3 it. Better efficacy than the Pill.

65 Caitie March 20, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Your point is reasonable, but OMG IT PISSES ME OFF SOOOO MUCH when people are all anti-hormones and anti birth control. I’m not implying that you are inherently anti-birth control and I’m glad you’ve found a method that works well for you, because I have friends who’ve had unpleasant side effects with hormonal contraception.

However:

If it doesn’t work for you? Cool. Don’t take BCP. Figure out something else with your doctor and sex partner(s) that works well for both of you. I take the highest dose of hormones available because I have pathologically bad cystic acne and BCP are the only thing that makes it go away. I also have incapacitatingly bad cramps, and have suffered near-fainting spells when off the pill due to heavy blood flow. I’m not kidding when I said above that I’m really only functional if I’m taking birth control. And I’m okay with taking it because for me, the pros outweigh the cons.

It just gets me really aerated when people who don’t even know me are all “but why are you poisoning yourself with artificial hormones? it’s not naturalllllll” etc. I made a decision about what works best for me with my doctor, thankyouverymuch. Also, you know what else is natural? smallpox. We (women in general) are not dumbasses and we all recognize that there ARE effective alternatives to hormonal birth control. But there are MANY MANY good reasons why women choose this method, and it’s really kind of silly to be all “well, did you ever think of condoms??”. Yeah, I did, actually, because i’m not stupid. I came to this decision with my doctor because this is what fits my lifestyle/needs,
but thanks for the suggestion, I guess.

Also: when do you STOP using condoms? I’m genuinely curious: I’m pretty paranoid and all about safety but I can’t see myself using condoms indefinitely in a monogamous relationship. There has to be a balance between safety, respect, and trust, and I think at a certain point it’s reasonable to consider that maybe you don’t need to be using a barrier method anymore.

Oh boy, novel-esque comment, this one is.

66 AC March 20, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Catie,

I was trying to be sure I didn’t sound preachy in my original comment, or imply that any one is stupid because they haven’t considered going off the pill. I know that the birth control pill can be useful for a lot of women in so many ways other then just to prevent pregnancy. When I was a teenager, I was on the pill for acne and it worked wonders. As I grew older, though, the hormones started affecting me negatively, and I decided to stop – after doing my own research and speaking with medical professionals (I didn’t have a family doctor at the time). But I also know that as ignorant and naive as my friends and I were as teenagers and into our early 20s, we NEVER considered going off the pill. It was unheard of, and too dangerous, even for the girls that were not sexually active or those in monotonous relationships. (It’s kinda of embarrassing to think how little thought we put into the subject. We just took this little pill everyday because we assumed that’s what women our age do.)

Your question of when do you stop using condoms has left me thinking – a lot. I’m not sure I have an answer for that, personally. Hmmm. I’m sure at some point, but…?

67 Caitie March 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Don’t worry, you didn’t come across as preachy at all! I’ve just bumped up against that preachy, judgemental attitude (including from a couple of men, which was like ‘wtf? do you have a uterus?’) and it annoys and confuses me to no end.

68 Lindsay March 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I have taken hormonal birth control on and off. I personally don’t like it because the possible side effects (like blood clots, etc.) worry me, but I don’t really care if other people choose to take it. I sort of have the opposite problem. I have trouble finding a doctor who will respect my decision not to use it. Eventually, they usually give in and acknowledge that I could get an IUD, but not without acting like I’m a moron for being worried about the risks.

69 AC March 21, 2012 at 11:44 am

My former family doctors treated me like a moron too for not being on birth control. The one pushed it on my sister relentlessly, despite the fact she was nearly hospitalized because of side effects of the pill. Luckily I found a new, male, family doctor who doesn’t push the issue at all.

70 Katie March 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I agree–it is so horrifying that I find myself having a hard time forming coherent thoughts about it as well. I often find myself wondering if the whole women’s rights movement even happened or if we have forgotten about it. Do some politicians really think that women cannot rationally make decisions for themselves? It is completely mind-blowing.

Anyway, it has been great to see some of the comments and to see your opinions coming through in the comments as well. I hope to see more about this in the future!

71 Katie March 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Oops meant to reply under my original comment but got caught up in reading the other comments! Sorry!

72 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 7:03 pm

No prob, I knew what you meant!

73 Sarah March 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I was just having this conversation the other day! For me, it’s a matter of not wanting to be the only one taking responsibility. Many times society holds women and only women responsible for sex, while men get a free pass to behave as irresponsibly as they choose without judgement. Men get the fun parts, but all the responsibilities associated and most of the negative consequences that could result are placed on women. Men do not spend nearly as much time thinking about birth control. No one ever slut-shames a man. Often, men are not nearly as affected by unplanned pregnancy.

I don’t want that sexism anywhere near my relationship. Splitting the cost of safe sex (be that pills, condoms, whatever you need to do) means that both parties are taking responsibility. I want my guy to own it.

74 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I’m so with you and I think that by splitting the cost and responsibility of prevention, that changes the conversation we have about the consequences. Like you said, society holds women responsible after the fact, but I wonder if we held both men and women responsible before the fact, if we’d have to hold both parties responsible when an unwanted pregnancy happened.

I guess I look at getting men involved in conversations with their girlfriends or wives about birth control as a positive thing; if they feel like they are involved/responsible from the get-go, then maybe they’ll stop treating this bullshit legislation like it doesn’t affect them.

75 Sarah March 21, 2012 at 2:54 am

Absolutely yes! Most male partners (the good ones) respond like Eric did – they hadn’t thought about it before, but sure it makes sense to them to be a part of the responsibility. By having these conversations, we are taking the first step and letting them think about it.

Once male partners do start thinking about it, many will realize that attacks on women’s rights, especially where health and birth control are concerned, are absolutely their issue. I think that this blog post has started many of those conversations, which will hopeflly open some doors. Thank you!

76 Bridget March 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm

My BC was recalled the other month and NO ONE TOLD ME. My doctor, my pharmacy, no one. I had to read about it online on a site that i happened to stumble across. I called my pharmacy and they originally told me it wasn’t my prescription….then I called back to say yes, I think it was and the person was like “oh yeah I guess it is”. I asked what I should do and they said “well you could try a different pill”. It took SO MANY tries to find one that worked for me without making me nuts-I have PCOS and have been on it for awhile. I was OUTRAGED that no one even told me, let alone didn’t have a solution. It would be alot more expensive for them to pay for a baby that I was due to recalled BC. I thought about making my boyfriend pay for it, but I am very lucky to have great insurance.

77 Rachel March 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Wow, that’s really awful! What IS protocol when a medication gets recalled? Who is responsible for informing patients? And is that different somehow with BC? I’d really like to look into that because that’s probably valuable information for women to know!

78 Bess @ I Dream of Greenie March 21, 2012 at 9:59 am

That’s interesting because I got a call from my Pharmacy, a letter from my pharmacy AND a letter from my insurance company about a birth control recall that they were 99% sure didn’t affect me but that listed all of the information I would need to see if my batch had been recalled.

Fortunately, it hadn’t been recalled BUT I was really pleased with all the due diligence they did. I’m sorry to hear you did not have the same experience.
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79 AC March 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm

As a teenager, I was put on this one brand of birth control pill. Years later, it was in the news that that brand of pill was never approved as birth control in Canada (where I live), and that it was supposed to only be prescribed as a low-hormone acne treatment. I was so pissed! How could something like that go unnoticed for years?

It’s so disheartening to hear stories like this where the medical professionals completely drop the ball.

80 Morgan @ Morganshines March 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm

A year ago I had a Paragard IUD placed and paid $525 out of pocket…my boyfriend would have gladly paid for half or more but I decided to pay on my own. I think a serious, committed relationship can mean splitting the BC bill…

Funny enough though…after having the IUD in place for a year, I found out I am pregnant and now expecting a little one this November. I had to have the IUD removed ASAP obviously but now we are both like, “Hey doesn’t SOMEONE owe us $525 in diapers????!!!!”

81 Kali March 23, 2012 at 8:38 am

I’m going to go ahead and thank god that I was born in a place with free contraception. $525?!

I’m of the opinion that free* contraception should be a basic human right in any society that is wealthy enough to afford it.

*free in the sense of freely available to all and paid for by the NHS or similar body.

Regarding the who-pays decision; I can see the point, that it’s your/my body, and (general) you don’t want to sell the rights to it. That said, I think if you’re in a committed relationship in which you expect your partner to have a role in your future fertility decisions, then they have duty to take equal responsibility. Obviously, all women retain the absolute veto on what does or does not happen to their body, and all conversations should take place with that assumption firmly in place.

As for Limbaugh’s idea, that women who don’t pay for their own contraception are prostitutes…that makes every woman in the UK, and it also makes organisations like the Brook, Planned Parenthood, and Daughters of Judith, pimps. You have to laugh when someone comes out with something that stupid.
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82 Chrissy (The New Me) March 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm

My boyfriend (now fiancee) have been together for nine years and we pretty much split all the bills, BC included. I add up our shared bills and expenses each month, split the number down the middle, tell him what his half is, and he forks it over.

As I said in an above comment, if I were in a non-monogamous or newer relationship, I would be paying for my own BC and making sure my dude was also wearing condoms. Since we have been together so long and have been living in sin for seven years, I feel like splitting BC costs (which is something we both directly benefit from) is a no-brainer. And he agrees, which is convenient.

He has also gone to the store solely to buy me tampons and wine. I’m pretty lucky. :)
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83 Leigh March 20, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I am on the pill not only for birth control but also because I have endometriosis. That, combined with my low low co-pay, makes it not a big deal for me to pay for it. (I’m also single at the moment) However, all the guys I have dated have always paid for condoms…just how it worked out, we never had a formal talk. I’ve also been lucky enough to date guys chill enough to pick stuff at the pharmacy for me. I’m not sure what I will do next time I am in a serious relationship. Hmmm…

84 Nikki March 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I joint checking that shit. End of discussion.

85 Ashley @fromashleywithlove.com March 20, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Thanks for writing this Rachel! Honestly, before my boyfriend & I mutually decided on how we wanted to avoid pregnancy, there was some irresponsible decisions made without protection.. and because I didn’t know him so well, I got the morning after pill the one time that happened.. When he found out I did that without telling him a week or so later, he felt so bad and offered to pay for it, because it was essentially both of our problems. I said no because we were barely dating at the time, but now, 2 years later, my monthly birth control is the best method and my $5 copay doesnt break the bank! If it ever does though, my experience with the morning after pill tells me he’ll probably be okay to split the bill, ha..

86 Kali March 23, 2012 at 8:50 am

This reminds me of one of my exes, in that he was the exact opposite.

I had an IUD, but it expelled and had to be removed right before our first date (literally; like half an hour before we were due to meet). We used condoms, which are available free from any doctor’s surgery over here, though we’d often run out. He’d generally be in charge of getting ahold of them, since we were normally at his place. If we were at mine, we’d use my stash.

Anyway, on the evening after his uni graduation, we got very drunk and had sex without a condom. Afterwards, I reassured him (and myself) that it would be okay, that this was my least fertile time of the month, that I’d sort out getting the morning after pill, and it would all be fine. I didn’t want him to worry on the day of his graduation.

(I am aware that we were equally irresponsible at this point; I certainly don’t intend to put the blame on him!)

The next day was a Saturday, and I had to work. It occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to visit my doctor or the Brook (like Planned Parenthood) on a Sunday, so I was starting to worry. I called my two best friends, and asked if they had any ideas. One suggested going to a chemist, where she’d been able to obtain the morning after pill on a previous occasion, after filling in a form. The other suggested the a&e department of a local hospital, where people had been able to obtain it years previously.

I tried both, since both were within three minutes of my workplace. At a&e, I found out that they didn’t do that any more. At the chemist, they were able to sell me the pill, but not give it to me on the NHS. Buying it would have sent my bank account overdrawn, and cost me three times as much in fees. Since it had occurred to me, at that point, that I could get another IUD fitted on Monday, if worst came to worst, I decided not to take that option.

Eventually, I found out that the NHS walk-in centre near my home was open Sundays, and I knew that they’d be able to give me the morning after pill. Relieved, I called the ex to tell him it was all sorted.

He blew up at me. He accused me of lying to him, when I told him it would be okay, and I’d take care of it. He said I should have told him I was worried, and I shouldn’t have let it happen. He asked why he always had to be in charge of getting condoms (as I said, I assumed our arrangement of his condoms at his place and my condoms at my place was fine. I have since learned my lesson not to assume!). He said I should have bought the pill from the chemist, despite not being able to afford it, and made no offer to pay for it at all. He sulked for days, and blamed me the whole time.

Sadly, we stayed together for another four months, until he cheated on me.:/
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87 Miranda @ Biting Life March 21, 2012 at 2:17 am

I didn’t realize the birth control could be so expensive! I pay a $5 copay per month right now for mine. I’ve never asked a boyfriend to contribute, because (a) what am I going to do – ask him to cough up $2.50/month? That’s ridiculous! and (b) Even though it is a mutual responsibility, I always just felt like it was more “my” thing for some reason. I guess that’s just how society has made it seem. I know that if my birth control was to get more expensive and I asked my serious boyfriend to contribute, he definitely would.

88 Carol March 21, 2012 at 2:41 am

I only started on the pill when I was about 3 months into a serious relationship with my boyfriend (now my husband) and from the very first prescription he paid half. I didn’t want to take the pill particularly but I also didn’t want US to get pregnant and for both of us it felt like the most secure method for US not to get pregnant. I highlight the word ‘us’ because sex is a team effort, pregnancy is a team effort and birth control within a committed relationship is a team effort. For me it was never an issue. We spoke about it together , which method we’d use, we decided the pill was probably the most secure, and so we invested in that together.

89 Carol March 21, 2012 at 2:44 am

I should point out that birth control is expensive where I come from. It is 50euro ( about 70 USD) to go to the doctor to get the prescription. THey will only give you a prescription for 6 months worth and that 6 months worth costs about 60euro (80 USD).

90 Mish March 21, 2012 at 5:05 am

There are so many things that make me go “Thank GOD I live in Australia”.

To answer your first question..I switched from a pill here, in oz which was 15.00 for four months..that right!, to the NuvaRing. It was 34.00 a month..so I asked if we could split the costs. My BF said…sure. It’s a dual cost. If they’re not gonna pay, then they should take you out for a swanky dinner each month.

This brings me to another sickening reality in America. What the hellz bellz is a 3,000 coverage. That’s insane. I’m a foreigner in Australia and my health insurance is 200/month and it covers EVERYTHING! (acupuncture, chinese medicine, pysch, physio, etc). It’s disgusting as an American seeing American woman dealing with this crap. My nuvaring in Australia is 34/month..in America my friend was paying 85/month. It’s the.exact.same.thing. (rolls eyes). I feel bad for Americans especially women. The reality is that this movement to not pay for anything is disgusting.

Maybe just go to Canada or Cuba…lol. Or I can bring some back for you in August ;)
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91 Lola March 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

Going to Canada won’t help you any. I pay $45/month for pills here and the quote I got on NuvaRing was pretty high. Only the cost of seeing a doctor/hospital is covered under our health care (and even then there are conditions), we still pay for prescriptions and services.

92 Di March 21, 2012 at 7:59 am

I never thought of having my (now ex) boyfriend split the cost. Nor did I ever think of having my (now ex) FWB split it with me. Then again, I pay $56 a year for birth control, so I guess that’s why…it never seemed like a big expense.

Definitely an interesting and thought-provoking post, though, and that’s great that Eric’s willing to split the cost with you–especially since it’s going to be quite the expense!
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93 Lola March 21, 2012 at 8:52 am

Rachel,
I read your blog all the time and I adore it and you!! You write about so many things that I think about but am not able to express so clearly. I definitely had to comment on this one though.
I’ve been dating the same guy for over 6 years. When we first met I was a poor student struggling to make it on my own and he was living with his parents who were paying for his education (and thus in a much better position financially). When we became a “regular” thing I asked him to help me with the cost of birth control and he absolutely refused. He said it was the woman’s “problem”, We’ve argued a lot about it over the years but in the end I settled for paying for it myself (but have always felt that it was a very unjust situation). The fact that Eric is willing to help you with something that is so clearly both of your responsibility makes me so happy for you and proud of him as a man.

94 Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans March 22, 2012 at 11:57 am

I’m sorry but your BF realizes that a BABY would be his problem right?? I just don’t understand how a man could look at the situation like that?! You didn’t mention it and maybe its none of my business, but does he wear and purchase condoms? Because if not, his response is just plain unfuriating!!!!
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95 Kali March 23, 2012 at 8:54 am

Oh my god.

I had another ex (different from the one mentioned in a previous quote!) who, when I tried to discuss contraception with him, put his hands over his ears and went “lalala”. Literally!

That relationship lasted about six weeks. He also tried to explain to me, in all seriousness, that “women can’t expect to enjoy [sex] every time”.

(to clarify, he was talking about a lack of orgasms, not anything worse).
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96 Chelle March 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Not to be rude but your boyfriend sounds like a jerk.

97 AshinMT March 21, 2012 at 11:34 am

Totally legit (as always) and great conversation in here!
My boyfriend (now Fiance’ or whatever, but i kind of hate that word) responded the same way Eric did when this came up years ago. After I (we) struggled to find the right birth control for me (4 different kinds, FML) i finally was happy with Yaz and at 100$ a month it was just way to expensive for me at the time. I dont know that we ever really sat down and talked about splitting it, he just sort of realized it for himself. I am the type who never really asks for help so he didnt even really ask me… sometimes i just come home and he has already picked up my RX. It is not only awesome that we split it, but also that he takes the initiative to pick it up. We as a couple firmly beleive that its “our” problem, which i am greatful for- but i feel like its so much bigger than birth control. When i was miserable on other pills, he urged me to quit taking them and we would dillagently (sp?) use other methods- because obviously my unhappiness= OUR unhappiness. It feels like not only are we taking responsibility for prevention purposes but because sexual health is important in relationships, and it feels good to be supported and commended for taking one for the team ya know? ramble over….

98 Diana March 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm

AMEN sister! It drives me crazy how birth control is essentially 100% the woman’s responsibility, as are the consequences of birth control failures. Particularly after reading this article on women’s health insurance costs this very morning: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/20/opinion/greenberger-health-premiums-gender-gap/index.html?hpt=hp_bn6
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99 jasmine March 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Well, as far as Rush Limbaugh is concerned, you are already a whore for being educated and having your own mind, so whatever you do regarding sex is just icing on the cake that you seriously should be baking in the kitchen like a good little woman.

Something I loved about Ryan is that he always referred to birth control as “our protection,” even when we were dating. I exercised incredible self control in the early months of our dating, and waited long enough that we both felt safe only using pills, which meant that protection was always up to me. He paid for it several times and even picked it up at the pharmacy sometimes for me, and once we lived together, all of our finances were tied together, so we shared the expenses until 2009 when we got married and quit protection altogether.

I love that about him.
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100 Julann March 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Interesting prespective that I am sure so many woman have never thought of before. I for one never even considered asking my partner to assist in the cost of my pills, yet have had many a man expect me to have condoms. Why as woman do we take the burden of the birthcontrol? Kudos for Eric for stepping up without hesitation! We need more men like him!

101 Christine March 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm

starting to think I might be willing to pay for a boyfriend but that’s about all I can contribute to this conversation.

102 K @ The Chic Teach March 21, 2012 at 8:16 pm

WOW. And THIS is why I’ve stuck around for this long, reading your blog! Such a real-life, important issue, and I’ve never thought about it. Very thought-provoking.

I’m not in a relationship, but if I was, I think I’d have a hard time asking for help for this. Maybe it’s the way I was raised, but I wish I’d have the gumption to ask. I just don’t know if I would! The way to explain it, it makes perfect sense.
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103 Elle March 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I am LOVING the discussion this has generated! I have two different opinions on this– On the one hand, when I was single I quickly learned that you can’t always expect the guy to have a condom, so I made sure to always have some on me. If I wanted to have sex on my terms (SAFE, and with whoever I wanted, dammit!), at least I had the tools to make that happen, right? While I agree that sex and potential pregnancy are both people’s problem, during this particular phase of my life I found providing my own birth control to be empowering, and very much took on the responsibility single-handedly.

On the other hand, I am now in a long-term, committed relationship that does not involve having sex with unsuitable men, and so things are different. For a long time, my boyfriend and were doing the condoms AND birth control pill thing. I would pay my 5$ copay for the pills and Boyf would pony up for condoms…his&hers birth control, if you will. I figured that we were spending roughly the same amount per month, so it was even. (Condoms can be pricey!) However, I have since gone off birth control and we are using condoms only, and now we alternate buying them so it’s fair. Just as it wouldn’t be okay for me to be paying for the pills on my own, if that was the only method we were using, I don’t feel comfortable expecting him to be the only person who has to spend the money on condoms. I hate to break it down to a power balance, because no one wants to think of their relationship like that, but why purposefully throw things off by giving only one person the responsibility?
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104 Summer March 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I’ve never asked a boyfriend to pay for any portion of my birth control. I’ve been on the pill for over 10 years straight; I never go off of it whether I’m single or not, so I guess I feel like it’s my own thing. Sure, he might benefit from the fact that he doesn’t have to wear a condom, but ultimately I’m taking the pill entirely for myself. I never want kids – ever – so I’m extremely anal about taking it regularly and ensuring that my RX never lapses. I’ve been paying $25 for 3mo worth, so I guess $100 for 12 packs? Not a massive expense and I would pay more than that if need be. BC pills are absolutely a priority for me so I would sacrifice in other areas of my life if necessary to stay on it. I also don’t ever ask a guy to pick it up for me and I sure as hell never let him come to the doc with me.

If I want financial help from a guy, I’d rather he chip in more towards groceries or cover an extra bar tab or something of that nature. I also tend to be extremely private about my “privates,” so having a conversation about my BC choices is not high on my priority list. I’m not looking for anyone’s input and I really don’t care what a guy thinks about my decisions in that department. My #1 priority in life is not getting knocked up.

105 Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans March 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I’m late to the party but I wanted to add my two cents;
I think it is absolutely reasonable to expect the men in our (love) lives to contribute to preventing an unwanted pregnancy, whether its financially or by simply reminding us every morning to take the damn pill! This has nothing to do with a woman depending on a man and everything to do with recognizing that both parties are responsible every step of the way. If men view prevention as someone else’s problem then how can we ensure that they will view the consequence- mistake or otherwise- as something they should accept as their responsibility?? It’s MY body but we are both engaging in the behavior tht may ultimately lead to the unwanted (as of right now) result and should both be prepared to take the measures to avoid it.

Ad as other commenters said, the more men involved in the process (and hitting their bottom line will sure get thm involved!), the more overall influence we have as a society to make BC an affordable and available option for everyone.

Thanks for getting us thinking about this!!
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106 Olivia March 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Well usually the guy pays for condoms, but yeah, when I went on birth control and we stopped using those, it was on me. However, my mom would just pay the after insurance price, since she does them through her insurance, but I have paid for them on occasion. I just hope I have good insurance that will cover them mostly too, or I’ll investigate other options!
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107 Rachel March 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

This is one of the first things I thought when I went on BC over four years ago when I got into a serious relationship, and I’m honestly surprised other women don’t think of this! At the time, I didn’t ask my boyfriend to pay for half because it was only $10 a month and I needed it anyway for menstrual issues.

This year, I switched health insurance plans and now my regular BC isn’t covered. I switched to another BC and holy crap did it mess up my skin. Being a tad vain, I decided I’d rather pay out of pocket for my normal BC to get my skin back under control (which btw, it has not fully recovered from six months later). Now that I pay nearly $40 a month, I would definitely have my boyfriend split the cost. The only reason why I haven’t asked him is because he is in law school, meaning all of his expenses are covered by loans. I, on the other hand, am working and have a steady income. We have agreed, though, that this is a joint expense and a joint responsibility. Who pays will depend on our income levels, not on our genders.

This long story and this discussion leads me to a point about the recent debates about birth control coverage that is going into effect in August. Like the left-wing, I am for birth control coverage. But it kills me — KILLS me — how the left-wing frames their argument. Every argument that I have heard in support of BC coverage points out that we have to support “women’s health” and that women should be allowed to control their bodies. But this is not a women’s issue — this is a PEOPLE issue. Birth control is about preventing unwanted pregnancies, which means it’s about preventing TWO people — a man and woman — from having to take on the huge responsibility of raising children before they are ready. By saying that we need to cover birth control to “support women’s health,” we imply that pregnancies and raising children are only “women’s problems.” Men are just as responsible in caring for kids (and this goes beyond financial support) as women. If more men paid for birth control on a regular basis, I think this idea would be much more ingrained in our society, and there would be very little debate about covering birth control.

108 Nicki March 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I’ve always had ridiculous side effects from BC so made a choice a few years ago (after having tried three different ones and lots of discussions with my Dr) to just use condoms. My last boyfriend was totally okay with this. We went through my stash and then he bought them so we were evenly split…but then broke up after three months so we didn’t get into any “long term” BC discussions. Recently, guys have only stuck around for the same amount of time or shorter so condoms have been it – but each of us buying our own stashes seems to work well. It’ll be interesting once a long-term boyfriend comes along but this is definitely a conversation I will be having with them!

109 Leigh May 14, 2012 at 9:36 pm

When I was in college, I actually had zero co-pays or anything for my pills, which was AWESOME. I’m on a consumer-driven health plan now the cost of birth control definitely adds up. It’s hard to measure exactly how much it costs me though since my employer pays part of my deductible, I pay the other part, and then when I hit it (it’s not that high with how expensive my birth control is), I pay 10%.

I think I would definitely have that conversation with a guy if things lasted say > 6 months though. It seems unfair for me to pay for it 100% when he doesn’t want a baby right now either. Good on you for having that discussing with Eric!
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110 Bummed November 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm

My gf of one month, two hotel stays I booked, just asked me to pay for her $100 depo injection. She hadn’t had sex in 2 years and was so psyched about me that she got the shot right after meeting me online three months ago. Now its effectiveness has worn off. Should I foot the bill? I think it’s an outrageous request. Money is an issue. Even the $100 hotel splurges are excessive for me. We’re 100+ miles apart and aren’t exactly compatible to begin with. FWB thing for me.

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