Sexcuse Me, Please: What Women Do to Get Out of Sex

Love and Sex

Sexcuse Me, Please: What Women Do to Get Out of Sex

Illustration: Akshita Monga

As a woman and a half-hearted adult, sex poses a weird dichotomy: I want it and I don’t want it. I don’t have a low libido, I’m not a prude, I don’t have a bad body image (I have great self-esteem, in fact). Maybe I’m plain tired, exhausted, and I really don’t feel like “werkin it”. So here’s a secret. Sometimes women just don’t want sex and there’s absolutely no good reason other than the fact that they don’t want it. Capiche?

I have my own sisterhood of the travelling I-don’t-feel-like-taking-my-pants-off on WhatsApp. The worst part of “no mood, no sex” is having to tell the guy that you’re not interested in a good romp without damning his sense of self and sending him straight to therapy. Men are fragile like that.

Or maybe it’s just the men I meet. When sex comes calling, it comes calling, for some reason, in the shape of mopey, small boys, who seem to fancy me an awful lot (borderline obsessive). And it’s at this point that I find myself in the ridiculous position of not being horny and making up an awful lot of reasons to get away from sex.

What’s a woman to do if “I have a headache” excuse went away with the ’70s? The headaches have gone, but the insistent demand for sex has not. I’ve used the good old “got lots of work” ruse, but it never does the trick. “Writing can be done in the middle of the night,” they tell me, “after all the endorphins have been released. Wink wink.” They don’t know it, but the “wink wink” sends the sex drive into first gear.

I have learnt it the hard way that the list of reasons for not wanting to have sex has to be crazy. Always. It’s the cardinal rule. And this is not just my rule, by the way. A lot women swear by it because “no means no” isn’t taken seriously by Love Me Tinder boys. They pull an all-nighter with the “what ya, come on ya”. What’s a girl to do? Go the Love Actually way and show up at their doorstep with a series of placards declaring: “NO I DON’T WANT TO HAVE SEX TONIGHT. MAYBE ANOTHER TIME?”

It is for this reason that women have, over the course of history, invented a “weird excuse jar”.

Am I a horrible woman? Probably. But I’m better than the guy who told me that I owed him because I’d left him with “blue balls”.

The No 1 excuse used regularly by my girlfriends and their girlfriends and their cousins and their friends – periods. Have I disappointed you? You go like, “Periods are normal and natural, and let us celebrate female fertility.” Wrong! To the Tinder/OkCupid boys, me being on my period means there’s a crime scene unfolding in my pants. And trust me, it works until once in a million blue moons, the guy you’re about to get it on with, will turn out to be a bloodhound, an Edward Cullen. He’s even ready to go down on you, blood and all, and is like, “Periods are bloody cool.” Let me say in many different ways… you are f**ked, in which case you need to look for some stronger excuse, girlfriend. And my mantra is, after getting down, get dirty and disgusting.

I have, on more than one occasion, used a wholly imaginary vaginal rash as an effective excuse. Nice boys get very apologetic and then faint, after gently backing off. Since you are now sure that you are okay with never seeing them again, go for the kill and provide details: “I’ve had it before, but this time it’s accompanied with white discharge, sometimes like curdled milk or cottage cheese.” Ah, the blessed silence that follows. I could write a poem about daffodils at that moment. Am I a horrible woman? Probably. But I’m better than the guy who told me that I owed him because I’d left him with “blue balls”. (Backstory: I was recovering from the flu, felt too tired to continue, and went home to get some sleep).

But a lot of my friends daintily bypass gross. An acquaintance, a devout Christian, who happened to find a rogue boyfriend in college (God does not judge), had the best way of getting out of sex. She doesn’t believe in abstinence, but wants to get married to have sex. I gather she and Rogue were going the “everything but penetration” way. When push came to lots of shoving, she’d close her eyes and moan, “Jesus is watching.” And Rogue would go soft faster than a popped balloon. Of course, the relationship ended before the semester did.

My best friend, a Jedi in the art of relationships, tells me about a pious Hindu classmate whose alibi is: “It’s rahu kaalam now, let’s look for nalla neram (auspicious time), please.” She then switches off her phone and goes to bed. God is still hard to top for door-closing excuses.

Another young chirpy friend gives me what I think is the best excuse yet. “I just did some self-service, so I don’t have an orgasm left for you.” She might be on to something and I think in her case, practice truly has made her perfect. If the boy refuses to dissipate, she says, “I just had a proper session: four full orgasms. Talk to the hand, son.”

There are many many such beauties in the weird jar. Everything from “You look too much like my paediatrician,” to “Your dog is watching!” has been used by the sisterhood of the travelling I-don’t-feel-like-taking-my-pants-off and each time a new gem is introduced, we lapse into the tears of joy emojis, waiting to use it one day.

So sexcuse us, please.