Everyone Pays for Sex

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How we spend our money says as much about our priorities as the people we choose to share a bed with, and often, those two decisions are hopelessly intertwined. Sex, dating and relationships are expensive: flowers, hairdos, clothes, contraceptives, lube, cabs, texts, dinners, (breakfasts?) — how much does it actually come to? Is being single really more expensive than being in a relationship? Are people who make $20,000 spending as much as those who make over a hundred grand?

We asked nine people to spend one month diligently tracking every dollar spent in pursuit of sexual gratification — everything from trolling the bars to getting off solo to full-blown romantic intercourse. Some of the results were surprising, but numbers don't lie, baby.


The Subjects

Indie Scenester Husband-to-Be and Indie Scenester Wife-to-Be started dating a few years ago after a "friends with benefits" epoch. They live together and are getting married next year. Indie Scenester Husband-to-Be is a twenty-eight-year-old software architect. Indie Scenester Wife-to-Be is twenty-seven-year-old web designer/programmer. Their combined annual income is $120,000.

Granola Sunshine is a bisexual twenty-nine-year-old freelance writer who makes around $50,000 a year. She is single and dating, and favors a distinctly outdoorsy romantic life.

Twenty-nine-year-old TV editor Coffee Yupster is a straight male who recently got out of a long-term relationship. He earns $55,000 a year.

Biology Babe, twenty-nine, is a science research assistant earning $38,000 a year. She's straight, single and doggedly proactive, her objective being more about finding a man for the long haul than random one-nighters.

I Love the Nightlife is a gay male administrative assistant in two open relationships. He's twenty-four and earns $28,000 a year.

The Long-Distance Cougar is a thirty-year-old female freelance writer who earns about $25,000 a year. She's dating a twenty-two-year-old guy.

A twenty-two-year-old journalist (not, however, the Cougar's boyfriend), The Dude is single, straight and earns $20,000 a year. He has cerebral palsy and a serious porn habit.

Mom of Two is thirty-four, has been with her husband for a decade and was so busy working (as an editor, earning $50,000 a year) and chasing after her kids that she barely had time to turn in her diaries.



Commentarium (14 Comments)

Sep 29 08 - 10:56am

A cougar. At 30???? Are you high?

Sep 30 08 - 12:28am

Amount spent on Nerve: $0. Thank god!

This sucked worse than usual.

Sep 29 08 - 2:25pm

Confusing, including the graph at the end that should've summed everything up. Funny idea, very bad execution.

Sep 29 08 - 7:34pm

It was interesting but.....I mean, I dunno...the Indie Couple has unusual sexual taste (not that that's a bad thing), so their whip and nipple clamp doesn't really speak to a vast majority of people when they calculate their own expenditures. Also why did the Mom of 2s haircut count? She didn't say "I got this to get laid" unlike who was it the Hippie who wanted to look good...presumably the Mom got it just because she had to get her hair cut. Also...what was up with the text message costs? Does this girl not have some kind of unlimited basic plan? If she has that sort of plan I really don't think it should count, but I'm gonna assume for the sake of the article that her lover had a different cell phone plan or something else. But yeah, that graph at the end was uber confusing...

Sep 29 08 - 7:54pm

Do these people all live in NY? Those salaries are pretty similar to what we make here in North Carolina.

Sep 30 08 - 8:42am

Who's most efficient, getting the most bang for their buck? That would be a great addition to the article!

Sep 30 08 - 11:44am

Actually living in NY is really really hard with those salaries. It's fucking expensive! This article was nice because it validated that I am not the only broke one here.

Oct 01 08 - 10:52am

You would be shocked how many people really have what you would call,
unusual sexual taste. Having sex with someone for the first time, and pulling out a leather paddle has gotten me the response of 'you think that's rough?' or
'what else have you got?' more than once. Making the experience good, and interesting is definitely an expense that should be accounted, since it can help with a follow up date and such.

Oct 03 08 - 10:58am

The chick who's constantly at the gym "for him" really turns my stomache. This is one screwed up chick but she probably looks hot. Men beware! This woman is in for hell once she "hooks" a guy. You have to work on yourself for the benefit of you, because you like yourself. Not "for him".

Oct 14 08 - 12:41pm

This should have been better. The premise is fascinating though, will try to get folks I know to keep track of their sexual expenditures.

Oct 30 08 - 7:56pm

whew - i couldn't get through it. and i'm an accounting major.

Nov 01 08 - 5:44pm

Here in 2008 dating and sex is expensive...I am 66 and recall how cheap it was to date in San Diego 35-40 years ago when I worked at Convair and had plenty of money for dinners, drinking and dancing (including at the beautiful Hotel Del Coronado) with cocktails for a buck in La Jolla. One could live in La Jolla in a nice clean furnished cottage for under $160 a month up the street from Windansea Beach and the Surfers Shack! Paying for sex? I moonlighted in beach liquor stores for several years and it was a single mans' Eden. Women, good God! More than I could handle, although forbidden fruit (as in separated, but not divorced women) led me into a few jams.

Oct 01 10 - 10:47pm

Your writing is simple great, Especially for beginners!

Feb 17 11 - 11:56pm

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