Splitting contraception costs: why it makes sense (and having that talk)

By Lea Rose Emery

Being a woman is expensive. It’s too damn expensive. Not only do we get totally screwed with products that cost more than the male version, just for the privilege of a pink handle or something, not only do we have to pay for our tampons, pads, and cuts every month— and the totally nonsensical tax that often comes with them—  there’s another major cost that a lot of women deal with. And that’s birth control. Whether you have a daily pill to take, an implant, a shot, or just good old condoms, that sh*t gets expensive. 

When you’re in a relationship, two people are benefitting from birth control

But why is it just the woman’s role to pay for birth control? Sure, if we choose to buy expensive face masks or running shoes for ourselves that’s one thing — but birth control is a medical need. And it’s one that, when you’re in a relationship, two people are benefitting from. Sure, I’m not saying that if you have a fun one night stand you should be asking someone to chip in for 1/30th of your pills for that month but, in a long-term relationship, this is a two-person responsibility. The thing is, it’s not always an easy conversation to have. So educate yourself as to why the costs should be split and don’t be afraid to bring it up to your partner. 

splitting contraception

Why It Should Be Split 

CostFirstly, let’s just look at how big the cost is. The pill can cost up to $113 a month if you don’t have insurance. An IUD may be long-lasting, but you could need to cough up over $800 upfront to cover the costs. Some condoms are over five dollars a pop, but even the bargain ones at 30 cents each in a multipack can really add up if you’re having sex regularly. So we’re talking up to hundred of dollars a year, depending on your insurance status and your method of choice. 

Emotional and medical burdenSecondly, birth control often already puts an unfair burden on the woman— and not just a financial one. There can be so much emotional upheaval that comes with hormonal birth control. You may find one pill makes you feel totally not like yourself, suffer through an emotional rollercoaster, and then have to go through another until you find the right fit. But even if you, like me, choose to go the non-hormonal route, it’s still not easy. Not only did I go through the pain of having the coil put in (fucking ow), I then had to deal with the pain when my vagina expelled it over a number of days. There is no perfect, easy birth control method. And women bear the burden of finding the best option and dealing with the side effects. 

You both benefit from preventing unwanted pregnancies. Finally, you’re both using it. Birth control keeps both of you from unwanted pregnancies. Some of them, like condoms, also keep both of you free of STIs. The unwanted pregnancy that could result from not using birth control would be both of your responsibilities. Two people are involved in every part of the benefit— why shouldn't they be splitting the cost? 


How To Ask For It 

Even though the facts are clearly in your favor, I know that it’s not always easy to bring up. So make sure you pick your timing correctly. You don’t want to do it when you’re angry or if you’re in the middle of a really stressful conversation about money. Instead, try to bring it up when tempers are running a little cooler. 

You also need to take into consideration what kind of birth control you’re using. If you’re using the pill or condoms, then it’s something you can bring up casually after sex or when you’re taking your pill one day. But if it’s a major upfront cost, like an IUD, you’ll need to set some time aside to have a proper conversation in a more serious way. 

No matter what birth control you have or want to have, make sure to explain the reasons it should be a split cost. Firstly, talk about how much it costs you. Make sure to explain why you chose this method of birth control and bring them into a conversation about how complicated it is to find a good one. That will help make them feel a part of the process and give them a better understanding of how frustrating the current birth control options are. They need to see what you deal with. Then, even though you shouldn’t have to, you can remind them how much you both benefit. The more you can make the conversation be about the “we” and the “us”, rather than feeling like you’re trying to convince someone in an adversarial way, the more likely they are to understand.

And if they refuse? Well, you may want to have a think about the relationship. If your partner chooses not to listen to you and makes you feel bad when you ask for help— are you sure this is a person you want to be dating? It shows a lack of compassion and an avoidance of responsibility, both red flags. 

Nothing about birth control is easy— from finding one, to using it, to paying for it, it can feel like a struggle every step of the way. But getting your partner on board shouldn’t be. You’re a team. If it benefits them, they should want to cover their half. 

Image Source: Lucy Mail

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