The excuse game singletons play

Contrary to the idea that singles are out (or in, actually!) heating up the bed-covers with unbridled passion, comes the wet blanket: A recent Tinder survey that says 71% of Indian singles are making excuses not to have sex. Who woulda thunk! There’s more... the excuses range from the most popular at 45% “Too tired working all day” used by men and women across age categories, to the tried-and-tested “Severe headache” used by more women than men and the “Too busy” predictably used more by the latter. Then there are also more creative ones such as “Someone can hear you”.

Point is, why are our happy-to-mingle singles making excuses to avoid something that’s desirable, intimate and pleasurable? And if they do have genuine reason for avoiding it, would it hurt so much to tell the truth?

Apparently, it would... “In the India subcontinent particularly, communication about sexuality is very limited,” points out Dr Shefali Batra, Psychiatrist. “Couples find it odd to talk to each other about sex. If one partner is irritated with the other for some reason, they don’t speak about it but feign a headache or even their monthly period to avoid having sex. They make excuses because they are unable to tell the partner, ‘Hey, you just had an argument with me, spoke rudely to me on the phone, you’ve come home from work, haven’t even showered and then you expect sex’. Technically, these are genuine reasons and if you communicate positively, the other person would probably do something about it, and it will be better the next time around. But no, because we lack the ease of sexual communication, the excuse game comes in.”

And we are evidently experts at this game. “The inability to have sex could be caused by discomfort and embarrassment associated with the act. Very often people are uncomfortable talking about their inability to perform in the bedroom,” echoes Dr Aman Bhonsle, Psychotherapist and Relationship Counsellor. “There could be moral reasons, physical reasons and uncertainty especially in a country like India where the conversations about sex and contraception is just opening up. For a lot of youngsters, discussing sex is not something they can touch upon with their elders because of the sheer cultural underpinnings of it,” he reminds. Excuses are so much safer, no?

Avoidance is something most of us resort to when there is a possibility of being embarrassed or falling short. “Today there is a lot of tiredness among youngsters and occasional stress which can even cause erectile dysfunction. This makes them fearful of the next time, leading to avoidance and this becomes a vicious circle. This refusal affects the other partner’s self esteem, too,” opines Dr Kersi Chavda. He believes another important and unfortunate factor is the easy availability of porn on our phones. “Many get satisfaction from self-stimulatory, masturbatory techniques rather than via one’s partner.”

This is a point seconded by Dr Aman, who reveals that many of the youth he works with watch pornography and adult rated films where sex is usually had between very attractive people in perfect lighting environments in exotic locations. “Also, there is a certain mythos associated with sex. Sex is as natural to us as eating, sleeping, walking; yet the conversation around it is as if it’s some kind of urban legend, something only the truly worthy are able to engage in. And that is why the expectations that one might place on oneself and one’s partner might be unrealistic or might not have solid foundation based in logic and realism. One may expect one’s partner to perform like some Greek god or expected oneself to perform as someone who is really liberated. Truth is, sex can sometimes be awkward, infuriating and also a testing of your patience. It requires practice, good communication, sensitivity to each other’s needs and your own needs.”

Partners need to get comfortable talking about sexuality even before they get into bed. “They should have the ease and comfort of being assertive with the partner, not judging nor being judged by the partner. A level of sexual assertiveness and sexual communication can really avoid these lame excuses and achieve more truthfulness and honesty in our relationships,” vouches Dr Shefali.

In order for that communication with the partner to take place, we first need to start communicating better with ourselves, to understand fully well and with honesty what one really wants from sex. “Is it just physical gratification or is there an emotional bond that one is looking to form? What does sex mean to you in that moment and how would you prefer to approach the act? These are some very personal decisions and your choices need to be communicated as well with the partner. Honesty is in understanding that the other person is as vulnerable as you and thus opening up a discussion on the topic might be doing a great service to the relationship and the foundation on which it stands,” Dr Aman points out.

“Eat better, sleep enough, get an evaluation by a psychiatrist if there is a problem, rule out conditions such as low testosterone level, improper thyroid functioning,” recommends Dr Kersi.

Who needs excuses then!

Also Read: Twins may live longer than singletons: study