Vasectomy or Affair?

Nice recovery from my friends at The Economist.

The New York Times latched on to the curious vasectomy trend, though I found NYT’s Leslie Alderman less entertaining and thoughtful on the subject than CNN’s Ms. Park (the Basketball theory – c’mon, that is funny).

Vasectomy’s are not the final word, it seems.  Men are conflicted.  Curious.

Apparently, business at online dating sites is booming.  At OkCupid (aimed at ‘a … casual, youthful crowd), there has been more than a 50% spike in registered, active users since April 2008.  At (20 million paying subscribers), a recent study found that ‘25% of women said stress about the state of the economy made them more inclined to seek a long-term relationship’.  Also, visits to the website jump on days when the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls more than 100 points.


1.  As the economy slows, people have more time to devote to private lives.

2.  Uncertain times increase the desire for companionship.

3.  Living alone is expensive – find a mate and split the cost.

In the spirit of microeconomist Steven Levitt at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Mr. Freakonomics), The Economist article proposes a fourth, less naturally intuitive possibility:  the boom is neither a nesting instinct nor desire to save money, but a desire ‘to do something that makes <people> feel better about themselves’.

So says Noel Biderman, who runs, a subscription-based business model that arranges affairs (as seen on Dr. Phil and Larry King, per the website splash page, and also offers a 100% Affair Guarantee).

Apparently, ‘never before have so many people been looking for a bit on the side’.

A $49 subscription to is less than the average co-pay required for a vasectomy.

Linda finds all this less amusing, though I apparently get a 2 for 1 – have an affair and get a vasectomy, though those were not precisely the words she used.