My wife keeps saying 'No sex tonight': the spreadsheet that lays it all bare
A spreadsheet with three columns headed "Date", "Sex?" and "Excuse" went viral after Reddit user throwwwwaway29 posted it on the site. Her husband emailed it to her as she left for a business trip, choosing this moment to detail her reasons for declining his advances over the previous month, with some notes on her rebuttals: "'I'm watching the show' (Friends re-run)" and "'I'm trying to watch the movie' (fell asleep 15min later)". Two writers give their thoughts on this approach to gender relations.
His view: Maths is on the husband's side
As his data shows, this man's wife has, quite rightly, got her way on all of the 27 occasions that he suggested sex with her during the study period. He got his way just three times, when she consented. Such undying hope in the face of an 89% failure rate is the stuff of Hollywood movies.
Besides his physical frustration, the husband is also undergoing a cruel mental torture. As we see from his wife's many excuses, in a marriage sex is always rescheduled rather than refused. I want to have sex with you more than anybody else in the world, he was expected to believe on 11 July; it's just that I don't want to right now, and I haven't wanted to at any time during the past 14 days.
And he may feel, and he may be justified in feeling, that her most common sexcuse contains a logical fallacy. "I feel sweaty and gross," she says on 4 June, and cites this "gross" feeling on a further four occasions. Yet this overlooks the fact that he has just propositioned her – proof that, however gross she may be, he considers her still attractive enough to have sex with. (Indeed, her own restriction of his sex life may be what lowered the bar.)
Are the man's sexpectations reasonable? According to her account, until she started going to the gym, "We averaged 3-5 times a week I'd say? Including a non-reciprocated blowjob thrown in here and there." If we assume a rate of four per week, that's a 42-hour frequency, even if you disregard the blowjobs.
During the study period, the husband proposed sex 27 times in 44 days, suggesting that the mood takes him, on average, once every 39 hours. One might imagine he is proposing sex more often because his desire is not being met, but the data shows that even following his three successes (10 and 27 June, 12 July), he propositioned her again, on average, only 32 hours later.
This demonstrates that he is only trying to continue the sexual frequency of their former life. The wife concedes that their sex has "tapered", but that term hardly seems adequate to describe a drastic reduction from once every 42 hours to once every 352. In my view, the man has a just grievance, and his spreadsheet proves it.
Her view: This man's head needs examining
As with so many viral internet sensations, the backstory here is far more compelling than a mildly amusing list of disappointments. You could spend a long time adjudicating on the infrequency of this couple's coitus and the woman's apparent lack of interest. But the inside of this man's head needs exploring with a torch and several notebooks.
Even before the month of judgment began, even before he sat down at that laptop, straightened his back and set about naming the columns on that XL spreadsheet, he must have climbed into his side of the bed each night, comforting himself with the thought of the trap he was about to lay as his wife pretended to already be asleep. Boy, would she get a wake-up call when she saw her cruel indifference laid out in undeniable black and white.
And she did, but not the kind he intended. Given that a woman is allowed to refuse sex and a man is allowed to be frustrated by those rebuffs (or vice versa), what part of the marital contract did he misread as "neither party must ever say what they're truly feeling"? At what point did the bad feelings inside regiment themselves into a neatly paginated plan of action? Sure, Ross – I can't help picturing him as David Schwimmer in Friends – keep it to yourself a while. Far better to ferment this stuff in some secret shed of the mind until that resentment is really frothing and pushing against the door and oozing through the keyhole. It'll have far more impact if you let that sucker blow when it's had a chance to really expand.
And, obviously, when your wife is several miles away and won't be back for 10 days so you can't see the look in her eyes that says her connubial apparatus has just fused shut for all time. According to her accompanying post on Reddit, the woman's attempts to call him were ignored. Another masterstroke: refuse all olive branches even though she will be desperate to have sex with you now.
Stay strong, Ross. She needs to know how this feels. It's his bracketed comments that really hammer home the inner darkness. Like Iago whispering asides to the audience as Othello overlooks him for promotion again he snarks: "Didn't shower til next morning." So much bile encompassed by each pair of brackets, the text should be highlighted in green. Such was his determination to win with solid data that he didn't see the sexual desert that now undoubtedly spreads before him.