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Wise Guys: How Best to Say Not Tonight Honey?

Tue, Feb 2, 2010

Advice, Wise Guys

photo by MigraineChick

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week a straight woman asks,How can I tell my man I don’t want to have sex without offending him? What’s the nicest way to tell him, “Not tonight, honey?”

Straight Married Guy (David Felsen): Let’s start with some things you shouldn’t say:

Not tonight, honey, I have to wash my merkin.
Not tonight, honey, Stephen Hawking’s on Charlie Rose.
Not tonight, thumb dick!
Not tonight, honey, my 8-inch vibrator already took care of me.
Not tonight, honey, I have a date.

(There’s a poem in here somewhere!)

I think if you’re honest about your reasons for refusing him his droit de seigneur — ie., I’m too tired, not feeling sexy, raging yeaster-bunny infection, etc — then he should respect your wishes and go jack it in the shower. Of course, he’ll take the “Not tonight” news much better if you give him a quick hand-job while you’re delivering it. But if stroking his unit is not something you want to do either, then at least stroke his ego by assuring him that booty will be forthcoming ASAP.

Gay Single Guy (Jay Dyckman): The delicacy in which one tells their partner that “tonight’s not going to happen” depends largely on how long you’ve been with your suddenly horny-yet-disappointed mate.  The first time it happens is the big one.  A good excuse is imperative.  And it goes down a lot easier if cuddling or other non-sexual attention is also lavished.  Otherwise, declining sex sends the unmistakable signal that you are just not that turned on by the person.  So if that’s not the case, and you really do have a headache or some other legitimate distraction, you better go overboard communicating that.  And if you’ve been together a while?  Totally different rules apply.  At that point, feel free to kick your partner in the shin and mutter something along the lines of “touch me and I’ll cut it off.”

Straight Single Guy (Tyler Barnett): This is the biggest cause of argument among my friends in relationships. After all, you are in a relationship together and he is trying to initiate the most intimate act possible between two people. Respect that he is attempting to strengthen your relationship in a healthy way. Or maybe he’s just horny. Either way, being turned down by someone you love hurts — not physically, but emotionally. As tough as we men are, we have feelings, and this is a very sensitive topic. Simply saying something like “Not tonight honey” seems a bit controlling and one sided. It’s essentially saying, I don’t care that you are feeling aroused, it’s all about me. One of my best girlfriends told me when she doesn’t feel like having sex and her boyfriend does, she just goes down on him; I of course told her she’s the perfect girlfriend. If you really just don’t feel like it (admittedly, not something I can comprehend), then try starting off with a compliment such as “I love having sex with you more than anything but…(insert reason here).”  A guy who isn’t completely self-absorbed should understand the reason, whatever that might be, and seek an alternative solution.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is NY writer-comedian David Felsen, our Gay Guy is Jay Dyckman, an LA copywriter, and our Single Straight Guy is Tyler Barnett of Tyler Barnett PR in LA. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

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9 Responses to “Wise Guys: How Best to Say Not Tonight Honey?”

  1. Jay Jay Says:

    Maybe I’m a traitor to my gender, but I have never turned down any of my boyfriends for sex when they wanted it. In my mind it’s NOT all about me, and ultimately, throwing ‘em a quickie takes a fraction of the time the fight/dispute/”talk”/ego-kill consequence inevitably will.

  2. Doug Says:

    I think the best way to turn anyone down for sex, because sometimes guys aren’t in the mood either, is to be clear that you aren’t turning them down for no reason. I have once turned my girlfriend down for sex when it was super late, we had finished having sex about an hour ago and she wanted to go again but I was too tired. She became distraught and began to cry, so I explained as best I could that I loved her, I wanted her more than anyone else, and I couldn’t imagine being with someone else, but I was just too tired for it. Nothing exaggurated, and without the (demeaning in my mind) “pity sex.”

  3. Johnny Says:

    Oh, pshaw. Girls often turn down sex for a variety of reasons.

    Try being a guy and telling a woman it’s not happening tonight.

    Guys get a bad rap sometimes for being sexually aggressive, pushy, not respecting womens’ boundaries… but have you ever seen how a woman gets when she’s denied sex!?!? They’re HORRIBLE! They’ll pout, they’ll rub other guys in your face, they’ll call you gay, they’ll threaten to cheat… Awful!

  4. Madamoiselle L Says:

    I don’t turn him down much, but at 50 he certainly takes it better than he did when he was younger, yeah, he was a pouter.

    As of late, if he sees the ice pack on my head, he KNOWS a raging migraine (REAL, I get them very very badly) is in progress and will actually suggest a back or neck rub instead of sex. (By the time I get to the ice pack and painkiller stage, it is too late for an orgasm to halt the headache in progress.)

    Only lately does he on occasion turn me down. I’m a woman, I’m not in my 20s (eh ehm) anymore and my drive is actually getting stronger, he’s getting older and although his drive is still VERY strong, he sometimes doesn’t “feel like it.” WTF? I am not used to that. If he’s funny about, “I don’t want to play Sex right now, I’m really tired, OK?” “No, No, Nympho Queen, I cannot take any more of your torture right now!” is OK. But just a while ago, we’d gone about 2 1/2 whole days, he actually nearly yelled “NO” when all I did was put my hand on his leg, and he was saying NOTHING, while I was hinting (ug, he’s a man.)

    It finally came to tears {me) and raised voices {him) when I confronted him with “ignoring” me and “taking advantage” of me, as just a few days before we were at it like rabbits as usual, and now I was upset because I felt ignored (and horny) and he was upset BECAUSE I was crying (as per usual, in man/woman relationships.)

    Turns out he was having a nasty case of what was probably Jock Itch, and he was in actual pain. WHY didn’t he SAY something? I have NO idea. (Why didn’t he do what I do when I have a yeast infection and take care of HIM with my panties on, as to reinforce “none for me, thanks” ? No idea, either. This is new for us. We are going to have to learn how to work with this stuff.)

    It’s really better if we both communicate. As he gets older, I fear this may happen more often (I don’t see my drive as going anywhere South any time soon.)

    Men don’t pick up on “signals” or “clues” well, like “ice pack” means I really really have a headache which sex isn’t going to cure, or I’d be right there, or heating pad and my back turned in bed means “Cramp Emergency, back turned in bed means “not the kind of cramps that sex would help. You missed that window by about 6 hours.”)

    So, as women we have to do two (maybe 3) things. 1)Let him know, why you don’t want to(Not with a LOT of explanation, guys hate that. The facts and nothing but the facts, ma’am.) and 2) NEVER EVER fake a headache or cramps, if you don’t have them. Dishonestly will get you nowhere. If you “just don’t want to” offering a blow job, or a hand job, or just watching him and giving moral support, while he is taking care of himself is always an option. and 2) (Do I have to say it?) Sex should NEVER be used as a reward or a punishment or as part of a scheme to get what you want or to “teach him.” Also, investigate your “just not feeling like it” usually if you get started, you’ll enjoy yourself.

    It’s amazing how much people can HAVE sex and how little they TALK about it. It’s really important to talk about it, often.

  5. nick Says:

    i think that there are two sides to it.
    on one side, you should be honest about why you are turning down sex letting them know that you are not rejecting them or rejecting the idea of sex, only rejecting the specific timing.

    on the other side of it. the person who is interested in sex needs to be aware that sometimes people will find themselves uninterested in sex for reasons that have nothing to do with their partner, and not to take things personally when someone is not feeling well, or is mentally, emotionally, or physically tired or distracted.

    it’s a two way street of understanding.

  6. J Says:

    Sorry, but I think the straight single guy’s advice is terrible. If you’re not into sex that night, the worst thing to do is to feel forced into any sort of a sexual situation. And implying that your partner owes you something because you’re aroused is an unnecessary pressure.

    When you’re in a relationship, it isn’t all about you. But it isn’t all about the other person, either. When you privilege either person’s desire for sex over the other’s just not being in the mood, you create a very unhealthy dynamic that takes away the right of either person to say no.

    Obviously you have to balance each other’s needs when they conflict. But at the end of the day, I’d rather have a relationship where sometimes I don’t have sex rather than feel entitled to something, no matter what, even when my partner isn’t into it.

  7. LoveHoney - Carly Says:

    So, what we’ve gleamed from the Wise Guys is that ‘gently gently’ is the key. Then offer naughtiness at a later date!

    Sure as hell beats the tried-and-tested “Not tonight, I’m reading about molluscs!”

  8. Jenni Says:

    Huh. My boyfriend has not been in the mood before and I took it alright. Meaning of course that I punched him in the dong and took what was rightfully mine. Er…just kidding! Seriously though just say you’re tired and unable to be aroused at the moment. Boy or girl, it should work. If it doesn’t then have a serious discussion about why either of you is feeling insecure in the “boom-boom” department.

  9. Wendell Says:

    Jenni, I was glad to read your sensible, simple, straightforward comment after going through the others. Everyone feels insecure sometimes about sex, but come on people! (Huh huh.) We’re adults, so let’s act like it.

    For a slightly different angle:
    http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/i-cant-say-no/


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