Saturday, November 19, 2011

Guilt, Sex, and Arguing 102


This blog contains some stuff about sex.  Some of it is graphic, although the graphic stuff does not involve me, I keep the details of our sex life private.  I get that some people are exhibitionists and/or like to talk about different things they do, but I don't.  And if you are one of those other people, I feel certain there are no shortage of websites that will allow you to do so, as the internet seems to be 97% porn, 2% Netflix ads, and 1% other.  Just putting the warning out there in case you are someone close to me who really does not care to hear me or read me writing about genitalia.  Or who, despite my being married and having a kid, would like to maintain the idea that I am a 31 year old virgin and don't engage in that sort of thing.


So Ben's been listening to a lot of Dan Savage.  If you don't know who Dan Savage is, he's a writer and has a podcast and is behind the "It Gets Better" project, and I think he's a pretty cool guy with some great ideas.  He is also gay, in a long-term relationship, and his writings and podcasts get very graphic and he gives level-headed advice.  Today I heard one about a mom who discovered her son's large collection of urine-related porn, and wondered if it was healthy.

He pretty much gave the answer that I would have given, which is that some people just like to be peed on, and unless a porn obsession is about kids or animals or something damaging or illegal, you really don't want to talk to your mom about it.  Personally, I don't plan on going into Henry's room after he turns nine, and I'm teaching him to do his own laundry lest I run into "the sock".  And if you don't know what I mean by that, I'm not explaining it, because sexually I'm fairly repressed.

Anyway, Ben was listening to his podcast, and some of it has to do with more mainstream, less pee-related stuff, like being in a marriage where you don't have lots of sex.  Or you used to, and you don't anymore.  Or your partner has just brought up something they're really into and you're thinking "Holy hell there is no way I'm dressing up as the Hamburglar for this guy, I don't care how long we've been married."  But it did bring up an issue we have in our marriage, which is pretty infrequent sex.

If you're not married and/or don't have kids yet, let me introduce you to the main arguments you will run into.  Even other arguments generally devolve into or evolve from one of these main issues.  I'll try to present both sides of the argument, because there generally are two sides to them, unless you're one of those couples where one person can say "Hey, this happened or this drives me crazy" and the other can say "Ok, I see your point, I'll work on that" and that's it.  In which case, congratulations and also I hate you a little.

So here they are.
1.  We're not having enough sex/Stop poking me in the back with that thing when I walk in the door/am doing dishes/bend over for any reason/am sleeping.

2.  You don't do enough around the house/You don't tell me what you want me to do so when I get home I play XBox and have two beers and also you're a nag.

3.  You don't help with the baby enough/You think you're the only person who can take care of the baby correctly and you don't let me/trust me to take care of the baby.

4.  I get no time to myself/You never ask for time for yourself so I don't know that you need it.

Anyway, we were running into all four this week.  We went to couples therapy a few times and the counselor pointed out that guys are retarded (he didn't use that word but he might as well have) and that we women need to point out where and when we need help, because a guy won't automatically jump in and do the dishes or take care of the kid or whatever.

One,  I think this is kind of bullshit.  If you are sitting at your house and your kid is crying and you can't get to your faucet because the dishes are piled to overflowing and your wife is looking at you like she's deciding which part of the crawl space your body would fit into, then you KNOW that some action is required on your part.

But I do accept that Ben will not come home in the same frame of mind that I do and think "Ok,  let me feed the baby and do the laundry and wash these dishes and then there's lunch for tomorrow and I have to iron something and study and...."

He more thinks "Hey, I'm home!  I"m going to have a beer and look at the internet and see if Megan will have sex with me."  Actually, I don't think he so much actively "thinks" that as that's what the lizard part of his brain makes him do.

Guys also don't seem to experience guilt in the same way as women do.  I have desperately needed some time to myself lately, to remind myself that I have interests and needs and I'm not just a faceless toddler mom who is around to meet everyone's needs but my own, only to totally snap one weekend and go on a wedding bender that results in unexplained bruises and a three day long hangover (not that this happened recently or anything).

I tried to explain the guilt to Ben-that I'm away at work so much, it's really hard for me to leave Henry because I feel that the time I have that's free, I should spend with him, and that I"m a bad mom if I don't.  Again, here are the opposing thought processes.

ME: "I am a terrible mom because I am letting him watch King of the Hill while I fold laundry and he eats Cheerios and goldfish off a tray on the floor.  We should be interacting and laughing and running through a field of flowers and making memories and this TV is rotting his brain and he should be having a balanced meal and....."

BEN, upon walking in to the same scene:  "Mmmm, Cheerios for dinner!"

It makes you start to believe the Mars/Venus thing a bit.

Anyway, if you take anything away from this rambling post, let it be this.  Moms, it's ok to leave for a Saturday afternoon and go and get your nails done, or see a movie, or talk to a friend, or read a book.  Trust me, when your husband has his non-family time, he thinks about you, he misses you some, he probably comes home earlier and drinks less than he would have when he was single, but he doesn't feel guilty.  That time to be an adult and to not be reading "Green Eggs and Ham" for the fortieth time that day is important.  You will be a better mom and wife for it.

Guys, a piece of advice.  If you don't already do this, SUGGEST that your wife take some time for herself.  Schedule her a massage, organize a surprise night out with her friends, buy tickets for her and a girlfriend to a movie that you really don't want to get dragged to, anyway.  You will most likely be repaid in a genital-involving manner.  Don't make her ask for everything she needs.  Because even if she is asking, chances are she's only asking for a fraction of what she needs from you.

And who knows, you may start to feel like the sexy woman you are, and the next time you get poked in the back while drifting off to sleep, you may just go for it.

I'll warn you, though, that can set a dangerous precedent.


  1. :O) Megan, you are fanfuckingtastic :) Go out and have some fun. At least twice a month, preferably four or MORE!
    To a degree, James and I have the reverse problem. He refuses to make time for himself and I have to do it for him. Which is kinda annoying that I have to take care of myself, the kid, and him. But sometimes if I don't just plan it for him, he'll go months with very very little time to himself. Which makes him a grumpy, resentful guy. Which in turn makes me resentful and frustrated. I feel far less guilt when I go out than he does (daycare is a whole other situation, plenty of guilt to go around). But I know without a doubt that if I do not make time for me, I won't just be resentful - I'll be a fucking mean ass bitch to him and Corin. That is a situation no one wants and makes us all feel awful. So I work pretty hard to avoid it by regularly checking my emotional inventory. That said, I still lose it plenty, so god knows what I'd be like if I really isolated myself!
    Anywho, much love to the family dear. Happy Turkey eating!! :O)

  2. Clare makes a good point in that in a lot of relationships, the gender roles are reversed in all ways, or maybe just in some. If it helps you to read this as "partner" and figure out how it applies to you, have at it. But I write it as it applies to me.

    I'm not trying to imply that all moms are like me and all dads are like Ben, because that isn't true. I just don't like taking a lot of time to clarify because part of me thinks that's overzealous PC bullshit and part of me is kind of lazy.

    Mostly the lazy thing. But you know, I'm not actively trying to offend people. Most of the time.