There are certain costs that are common to split in relationships: rent, cab fare, pizzas (if you're lucky). Why isn't birth control one of them?
It's no secret that the burden of birth control in heterosexual relationships tends to fall on the female partner. In fact, the typical American woman spends roughly three decades of her life trying to avoid pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Add in the cost of birth control — which can tally up to $600 a year for pills and top $1,000 for an IUD if you're uninsured — and that's a lot of money for one person to be shelling out on their own.
According to Susan Winter, a relationship expert in NYC, you're well within your rights to ask a partner to help offset the costs of your birth control. "Both partners should share responsibility in family planning," she says. But, like most things, there are levels to how and when you might ask the question. In other words, it may be difficult to ask the guy you've been dating for a month to go halfsies on a pricier birth control option that you're already on — like your Depo shot. But, if condoms are your main form of protection, then there's absolutely no harm in telling them you'd like to share the costs there. This goes for emergency contraception (a.ka. the morning after pill), too — it takes two to tango, so you should feel 100% comfortable asking your sex partner to pay up.
Winter says this discussion will probably go over best in relationships in which "you're sexually exclusive, identifiable as a couple, and/or living together." If neither of your short-term goals involve pregnancy, then it makes economic sense that your partner should split the cost of birth control — especially if you're going on it because the two of you have decided to stop using condoms. You should also feel free to bring it up if your birth control costs suddenly spike — whether your insurance changes, or you have to pick up two pill packs in one month ahead of a long trip.
At the end of the day, birth control benefits both partners when pregnancy is an unwanted possibility, so it makes sense for both parties to contribute to the cost. And most of the time, being direct with your partner is the best way to go about it. "Simply ask them if they'd be willing to share the cost of your birth control," Winter says. Chances are, if you've got yourself a good partner, they'll be more than happy to contribute to something that's keeping you both more in control of your reproductive destiny.