Measuring a relationship by ‘cost per orgasm’ could be the most degrading approach to sex yet

But it does sadly reflect a wider truth about the materialism of our relationships

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There’s an animalistic new approach to sex to make it as degrading as possible (and not in a a fun way). It’s called "Cost Per Orgasm".

Dating coach Dawson Stone dreamed up this repellent equation to help men work out “what sex is costing you.” The economics is as simple as its author: you work out how much you have spent on the woman during the course of dating her and divide that amount by the number of times you have sex.

It’s intended to point out the folly of "traditional" dating and help men avoid being manipulated by women for money. "By way of example," he writes, "if you are a traditional beta male, you buy a woman three expensive dinners at around $200 each, and try to close her on the third date. If you were successful and had sex twice, your CPO would be $300 ($200 * 3 / 2)."

This magnificent monetary policy is published on Return of Kings, which describes itself as “a blog for heterosexual, masculine men.” The site’s raison d’etre appears to be as offensive as possible in order to bask in the inevitable clicks. The Daily Life, a news, opinion and lifestyle site for women owned by Fairfax Media, has already torn the blog apart.

It’s easy enough to do that. Stone’s post drips with sexist analogies that frame women as valuable in terms of how thin and young they are. Marriage is described as men “buying the cow for an obscene sum of money when they could easily have the milk inexpensively or even free.”

Yet what is remarkable about Stone’s post is that once you strip out some of the language, his concept is remarkably mainstream, especially considering Return of Kings is a niche and nauseating blog.

Both men and women can be ruthlessly materialistic when it comes to dating. I wish it was as simple as cost-per-orgasm. Actually it's much more of a jungle out there. If you’re single you need to be prepared for these brutal hinterlands. Competition is stiff and the stakes are high, both emotionally and physically. It's unremitting and unpredictable. Someone could know your most intimate details one week and then be gone the next. Is it any wonder that people like Stone try and minimize risk?

In order to recover from rejection, whether it’s a broken heart or injured pride, people try and look for the benefits. Yes, you may have tried to build a relationship with a person who wasn’t right for you, but it can't have been a complete waste of time.

The most obvious of these benefits are going to be material. When some women's partners turn nasty, they console themselves with knowing they had at least had a few nice dinners. Some men might assuage themselves with memories of licentious nights. So might some women. It’s a kind of “well at least the sex was good” subterfuge: something that helps you justify wasting the last six months of your life with someone who didn’t love you.

When my friend broke up with her boyfriend at university, he was so hurt he decided to invoice her for the cost of their relationship. A confetti of bundled receipts for dinners and nights out appeared up in her pigeon hole a week after they had exchanged their last tearful goodbyes.

She was outraged, and in her wild irritation decided to invoice him for all the times they had sex at the rates a "high class" escort charged. Her point was that this wasn’t how relationships worked. This turned out to be a bad idea, as he ended up showing it to all his friends as "proof" she was a prostitute.

Dawson Stone’s cost per orgasm equation is symptomatic of a desire to try and protect yourself from the reality of love. It’s a stupid idea that comes from a place of hurt most of us will know too well. Relationships are chaotic, wonderful and sometimes disastrous emotional journeys that are a vital part of life. You can’t shield yourself by making sure you had sex at a "value" rate.

Similarly, a nice necklace means nothing if you’ve had your heart ripped out. As humans we desire order. We try and reduce contentment to a “formula for happiness”, a beautiful landscape to mathematical proportions. You just can’t do it for love. As Tom Stoppard writes in his play Arcadia, the disruptive influence sex plays on our lives “is the attraction Newton left out”.

Of course, if you’ve read the the cost-per-orgasm blog and you're still seething, there’s a simple way to kill Stone’s equation at the first hurdle: split the bill. Stone seems to forget that women are actually able to pay for their own drinks these days. And their own vibrators.

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