Oh sex spreadsheets, how you make us laugh. What is it about taking sex-related data of the sad-trombone sort and sticking it into columns that is so joyous to peruse? It must be that the spreadsheet seeks to give a sense of order and control to the data tracker, but what it tracks cannot be controlled: the human libido.
First, Reddit user throwwwwaway29 posted a sex spreadsheet she'd received from her husband just as she'd left for a 10-day trip. In it, she discovered he'd been tracking her reasons for not putting out over the last month, like so:
If the thing is even real (because who knows about anything ever), the premise (still up at Deadspin) is troubling, that of a man trying to show a woman how much she rejected his advances with a tool widely used to track your company's financials:
Yesterday morning, while in a taxi on the way to the airport, Husband sends a message to my work email which is connected to my phone. He's never done this, we always communicate in person or by text. I open it up, and it's a sarcastic diatribe basically saying he won't miss me for the 10 days I'm gone. Attached is a SPREADSHEET of all the times he has tried to initiate sex since June 1st, with a column for my "excuses", using verbatim quotes of why I didn't feel like having sex at that very moment. According to his 'document', we've only had sex 3 times in the last 7 weeks, out of 27 "attempts" on his part.
In this case (if it is even real because who knows about anything ever), however, it doesn't appear as though the wife tracked the data to complain to her husband, but rather, as an overall diary documenting the deteriorating relationship, which eventually ended in divorce:
So a girlfriend of mine had this awful husband. He was a nice enough guy but he didn't pay attention to her and NEVER wanted to have sex. We knew things were bad but she was quiet about it. She's a great girl who deserved better.
Anyway, she finally got tired of his shit and filed for divorce. This was a few years ago. On the night the divorce was final we went out and had a few drinks. There were 10 of us there. She got really drunk and gave us details about their sex life. Like really intimate stuff. Too many details to tell you the truth. She told us that after a few months of marriage, she began keeping a diary of everything that happened. Like everything. We asked her what she meant by that and she told us she would send it by email.
You might be tempted to say, if you've seen one sex spreadsheet, you've seen 'em all. But I disagree vehemently. In fact, here are some things we can learn from spreadsheets:
Rule #1: More Spreadsheets
First off, to learn a lot from spreadsheets, we will need more spreadsheets. Not fewer, but more. We need everyone in America to spend the next month or so detailing the amount of sex they get and why or why not, for all of us to read. Because it is so illuminating. While I suspect the spreadsheets will be wildly different, over time they will probably show predictable patterns of rejection and rejoicing, the two R's of a sex life.
Rule #2: Some Sex Spreadsheets Are Funny, Some Are Sad
First sex spreadsheet is all lolololololololol he emailed her reasons she wouldn't do him, while second one is all disintegrating marriage. First one will probably lead to a disintegrating marriage too if it is even real or hasn't already caused the split, and yet, still gets props for being funnier. Just something to note, future chroniclers.
Rule #3: Wives Don't Owe Husbands Sex
After the first spreadsheet, sites such as Salon declared correctly that wives don't owe their husbands sex. Though sex might be a reasonable expectation in a relationship, that is not the same thing as saying it's deserved/owed. And while sexual rejection never feels good, most sex/couples' therapists would probably agree nagging someone about why they aren't putting out is probably not going to get you any more laid, either.
Rule #4: Husbands Don't Owe Wives Sex, Either
While the second spreadsheet was allegedly created to document turmoil as the relationship careened toward divorce rather than stage an a-ha moment to show the husband how terrible he was being, it still shows us that when sex isn't happening it can be for all sorts of reasons that fall on either or both parties, man or woman, gay or straight, tired and vommy or sweaty and gross.
Rule #5: If You Are Documenting Your Sex Life, Something Is Probably Wrong
I will go out on a limb here and say that if you are taking ANY notes of any kind on the nature of your relationship and are not a novelist or screenwriter, I think at the point you are putting fingers to keyboard to chronicle it in digestible column form, something is not going so hot.
Rule #6: Not Having Sex Is a Symptom
Usually. Here is a whole thing about how much happy couples really have sex in the first place, and how to sort it out if you're both not happy with the amount of action you are getting. But again, if talking is no longer an option and easy-to-understand facts and figures compiled in columns seem like the best idea, you might be past the point of discussing things anyway, so have at.
Rule #7: Still, More Spreadsheets Plz
Two spreadsheets came from hate, but how many do you think we can generate FROM LOVE, PEOPLE? No? Better from hate? Yeah. Prolly right.
Image by Tara Jacoby.