Not tonight honey

Two weeks ago a male colleague of mine shared a “joke” with me. It was about the very old and boring joke of the husband giving his wife two paracetamol tablets after having dinner, to which the wife responds: ‘I don’t have a headache’, leaving him with a smirk on his face and the words, ‘Good, then you have no excuse’. I was instantly irritated by this “joke” and my aggravation did not dissipate as the days rolled on. At first I thought it must be because I regularly heard a very different story during couple’s sessions in my practice, as it is often the man and not the woman who is avoiding sex in a marriage or longstanding relationships. However, my uneasiness continued and this “joke” kept forcing its presence into my thoughts.

After two weeks I eventually decided to deconstruct my discomfort and agitation about this joke. It then dawn on me why this “joke” alarmed me to such an extent. It is because this joke is based on the general discourse that, firstly, most men have a higher libido than women, secondly, that sex is something that it done TO women and not WITH women and thirdly, that sex is often only seen in terms of penile penetration with the sole purpose of a male climax. I realized that neither the teller of this joke or the listeners thereof, asked, if ever, why do women often refuse sex or try and find “excuses” not to have sex. It then immediately left me with the undignified question: Why should a woman present an excuse not to have sex? Underlying to the ‘having to give an excuse’ is the mindset that women are supposed to give sex as it is their duty and what they are made for! In other words women are there for men’s sexual pleasure and not that men and women are equal partners who should enjoy sex with each other for both partners benefit.

Moreover, why do especially men not respond to this “joke” with the question: Why is it that women supposedly often do not want to have sex with her husband or partner? Does it not say more about him as a lover and how he engages in sexual play than about her libido? Furthermore, is it not because of the way in which he treats his wife/partner? May it be that due to how we understand and live gender roles in our homes and relationships that women are often totally overworked and just do not have the energy for sex, especially late at night? Anyway, who would like to be intimate or share pleasure with someone who treats you as being less than him or expects you to do the majority of the work around the house?

A smile slowly spread over my face as I realised this joke was actually on men. However, very few men will actually think this far or ask themselves what this joke is about. Maybe it is also not only indicative of many men’s short-sightedness but also of women internalisation of the idea that she is a sexual commodity. This joke is not only a dig towards women, but actually also towards some men and their inability or unwillingness to treat women as equals. By treating their wives and partners as inferior to them, they do not get to enjoy WITH their wives and partners the joys of the intimacy and the pleasures of the flesh!

This joke is not an impeachment against sexual unwilling wives, but about the unimaginative, boring, predictable, monotonous, inexperience, selfish, dismissive and unexciting clumsy sexual approaches and love play of men who don’t get it! They do not get it because they don’t get it on a physical, emotional or gender equality level!


10 thoughts on “Not tonight honey

  1. Nicki,

    Tx for this site. Well needed conversations about stuff that matters. Why is it that sexual jokes coming from woman have this “bite” to it? In reading your essay I understand more of it. My question is just for you, and any female reader out there: What is the point in shaming men who cannot live up to the “standard” female climax? Who says men wants sex that way? Who says that all men are OK of being portrayed that way and it should be accounted for as truth?

    Just look at the following jokes, on the website, “bashing men jokes”

    What is that insensitive bit at the base of the penis called?
    The man.

    Why is psychoanalysis quicker for men than for women?
    When it’s time to go back to childhood, he’s already there.

    What do you call a handcuffed man?

    What do a clitoris, an anniversary, and a toilet have in common?
    Men always miss them.

    Why are men like commercials?
    You can’t believe a word they say.

    Why are men like popcorn?
    They satisfy you, but only for a little while.

    I met a guys a few years ago who was bitten by a dog between the legs where he lost his one testicle. He had a public job and when the started do work again, people, especially woman, started to send jokes around as well as a lot of gossiping. it was women who was the most curious about how his sexuality was affected. He was brutally, emotionally damaged by society driven through gender jokes going on for months. In this whole scenario it was only men who supported him through it.

    If that same case happened to a woman’s breasts or her vagina, what do you think the response would have been form society?

    I think it is also time that men start speaking up against verbal violence and bashing of men by woman as well. Men are also very much aware of the destroying power of gossip and sexual jokes and it is killing their characters.

    • Dear Sarel, I fully agree with you. Neither men nor women should ever be portrayed in such ways! Any act, word or thought that are based on gender ridicule are unacceptable.

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