Wise Guys: How Best to Say Not Tonight Honey?

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 Comments on "Wise Guys: How Best to Say Not Tonight Honey?"

5 years 7 months ago

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:

5 years 7 months ago

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.

5 years 8 months ago

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!”

5 years 8 months ago

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.

5 years 8 months ago

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.