In the incredibly heated debate about birth control there is a very central character which seems to be backstage -- namely the man -- and not the one in the political pulpit but the one in the bedroom. The issue is preventing unwanted pregnancies, and unless there are a whole lot of immaculate conceptions going on, it takes two to tango.
Cougars with hot pool boys aside, men are normally the ones who initiate sex so the issue of choice is front and center for them as well. Just once I would like to see a reporter ask the men who are trying to impede access to birth control, "Sir, have you ever had sex?" I'm going to assume that would be a yes. "So is it your intention every time you have sex that you wish to create a child?"
What's the future like with women's limited access to birth control? Let me be blunt -- with Sen. Roy Blunt's amendment which would override President Obama's contraceptive coverage rule and would allow any employer to refuse to cover any kind of health care service for religious or moral reasons, all bets are off.
Guys, as I see it you will have two choices: You can wear a condom or you can leave a check for $100,000 on the bed stand to support your potential child's non-ivy-league-educated life. In a "friends with benefits" age, the benefit isn't supposed to be a monthly child support check. Unless abstinence works for you, and every warm apple pie quakes when you walk by, you'd better start your sex savings account early. At 100K a pop you're going to see a whole lot more 40-year-old virgins.
Listen guys, I know, I know, you say sex with a condom is like eating a January tomato, it's just not the full flavor experience. Well you have to realize if you don't take responsibility your partner may or may not be protecting herself, and with DNA paternity tests there's no way you can say "Don't blame me 'cause the rabbit done died."
On the financial side of the equation women are paying more for sex than men, and that doesn't even include an American Gigolo. Regular gynecological check-ups, pap smears, birth control devices or pills, STD screenings, etc. are the start. If anything is amiss there is a whole secondary cost of treating any problem. How many men do you know who visit a doctor once or twice a year for their reproductive health and get screened for any STDs? Some wouldn't seek out a doctor unless their John Thomas fell off. This also means that women are carrying not only the health burden but the cost burden for their reproductive health and that of their partner.
Health insurance plays a large role for the 98 percent of women (including Catholics) who use birth control. The picture of the uninsured woman who needs to depend on places like Planned Parenthood for her reproductive health is broader than many may think. As an individual in New York, you are probably looking at $600 a month or more for health insurance with possibly a $3,000 deductible. I know many accomplished professional women whose only health insurance is high doses of Vitamin C. For women who are insured through their workplace, you would think their employer would want them to be as healthy and productive as possible.
You can't of course speak of the political issue without speaking of the politicians. It's a slippery slope for male politicians who are for family values and against access to birth control who are having sex with women who aren't their wives. Unless hypocrisy is a huge turn on for you, or you think Newt is irresistible in his skivvies (don't make me go there), call out the contradiction.
If not birth control, what are the options? Do we wish to regress to the rhythm method? If men can't even remember their anniversaries, how are they supposed to keep their partner's monthly ovulation calendar in their mind? (Although, there is an app for that.)
What we are facing is a double standard for men and women. It seems that in terms of what's covered under health insurance an erection is not elective. While many insurance plans cover Viagra and similar drugs, women's pleasure is often "out of network." I've never seen an ad for a woman's drug which warns against an aroused clitoris lasting more than four hours.
Unless we are going to be a nation of cuddlers, sex for pleasure and not procreation will still prevail. Sex isn't a bad habit our country wants to shed like those extra pounds. For consenting adults, safe sex is an intimate and loving part of their relationship. Women and men deeply love one another romantically. Until they both choose if and when to have a child, why not make sure that affordable and safe birth control is as available as possible.
And guys -- think of what you can do with that extra $100,000.