In one of the more bizarre things to come from Reddit this week, a man has created a spreadsheet noting the various reasons his wife rejected his sexual advances over a period of about six weeks.
It’s common for couples going through dry spells to feel frustrated. It might be a sign that your relationship is struggling, or it might simply mean that you have been working long hours, and you don’t have the physical energy when you get home for anything other than a glass of wine and an episode of Orange Is The New Black.
Some couples will actually talk to each other and try and figure out a way to spice things up. Some will vent about it to their friends. Some will cheat. Others will make an Excel spreadsheet noting the date, whether or not there was sex, and the “excuse.”
This is probably not the best course of action. Judging by how this man’s wife reacted — posting the spreadsheet to Reddit, and calling it “immature” and “inflammatory” — it’s safe to say that their sex life probably hasn’t improved.
As with most scandalous Internet happenings, the reader comments on this story are astute and insightful, shedding more light on the possible motivations for human behavior. I’m totally kidding.
Many readers seem to think the wife’s actions of posting the spreadsheet to Reddit are worse than the husband’s. “It’s hard to see how she should be proud of her spinster behavior,” reads one of the many gems posted to this story on National Post.
Another commenter says she is “cold as ice.” Many share the same sentiment—this woman deserves to be cheated on.
I’m going to take a step back and play devil’s advocate. I don’t think the spreadsheet is a bad idea. Perhaps the execution of his plan was tacky, and came at a bad time (according to the original post, he sent her the spreadsheet as she was driving to the airport on the way to a business trip). Perhaps if this man discussed the idea ahead of time it wouldn’t have seemed so abrasive.
If the spreadsheet had been consensual, it could be a healthy way of communication. Awkward? Absolutely. But it might work. Imagine if they took notes of their sex life over an even longer period, like six months. (Like any scientific study, the longer the time-frame, the more accurate the results will be.) They wouldn’t necessarily have to use a spreadsheet—they could go for the less clinical version, and write in a notebook. Some couples’ problems are so subtle, it might be hard for them to realize what the reason is behind their intimacy issues. Putting it down on paper would certainly help expose any underlying issues. If most of the excuses are physical—feeling tired, “gross,” or too intoxicated, this would indicate that the problem might be solved by getting more rest and eating healthier. If most of the excuses are related to distraction—wanting to watch a TV show, or getting back late from the gym—maybe the couple can solve their lack of lust by planning romantic nights in advance.
But in this particular situation, the spreadsheet is just obnoxious. The husband’s commentary drives home the message that this was not meant to be helpful, but accusatory.
“I won’t have time to shower and get ready for dinner” (we were 20min early)
“I just came back from the gym, I feel gross” (didn’t shower until next morning)
The vast majority of commenters seem to think the woman is to blame. This is troubling. If any of these people have ever had intimacy issues—and I’m sure they have—they would know that it’s rarely anyone’s fault. A couple’s sex life is complicated, and just because one person seems to say no more often than the other, doesn’t mean they don’t have a reason. Sex is not an obligation; it is a mutually rewarding experience. If one person is not feeling rewarded, they shouldn’t have to have sex. It’s that simple. The best a couple can do is communicate why they are having problems—in better ways than an Excel spreadsheet—and try to figure out a solution.
What we also should remember is that we have no idea who these people are. We don’t know if this woman loves her husband. We don’t know if this woman is asexual. We don’t know if she’s being unfaithful. We certainly don’t know, as one commenter so eloquently put it, if this woman is wearing “fuzzy slippers and grey sweatpants with a meatball grease stain on the leg.”
For all we know, this spreadsheet could have been made by a creative 14-year-boy who posted it to Reddit for shits and giggles.