Several excuses are always less convincing than one.
—Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point
Another version of the need for patient impatience occurs with more established couples. It was not so long ago that both professional and lay commentators on the social scene remarked on a very common marital dilemma: the husband’s desire for sexual intercourseexceeded his wife’s desire. As a consequence, she showed considerable ingenuity in creating circumstances in which she could tactfully avoid his advances. Wives who were not sexually inclined had a lot of headaches. They had to finish the ironing. They were concerned about the possibility of waking the baby or of being overheard by older children. When all else failed, they were simply too tired.
Not tonight dear. I have a headache! (Photo credit: jbguess)
That was then.
Today, with a new and heightened sexuality being a characteristic of many young wives, it may happen that the husband must protest that he is too tired. Or that he has a headache.
The truth is that when and if the feeling is there, desire conquers the tiredness. In fact, being tired—or fevered or ill or anxious or worried—can add its own sensuality. Lovemaking under such adverse psychological conditions
may not be as focused or as intense, but it can be consoling. It can provide, at least, a temporary distraction from real problems.
When sex is working well between a couple, then having sex is not just one more damn task to be done before the day’s work is over but a reward and consolation. If you do have a headache, at least, perhaps the rest of your body can feel well or, if not well, at least better. This, of course, does not apply to real illness or to very serious distress. Headaches, maybe, but not migraines. Fevers, maybe, but not fevers of 104 degrees.
One kind of man to regard with some skepticism is the lover who can make love or who wants to make love only under the most ideal conditions. He must not be too busy, but not too bored; not too tired, but not too manic. It must not be too warm and not too cold; not too bright, but not too dark. There must be some wine, but not too much; some serious conversation, but nothing too heavy. And so on.
Such ideal conditions are, of course, desirable, but all possible combinations of what is ideal do not come along very often. If a man really savors your body, he will do so in spite of other distractions rather than using the distractions as an excuse.
A man with a headache one night is unfortunate; a man with a headache seven nights in a row is trying to tell you something. He is transmitting the same message of indifference and/or rejection as is the proverbial housewife
who covers herself with cold cream and goes on ironing relentlessly until two in the morning when she feels it is safe to go to bed because she can hear her husband snoring.