A Man Confesses: How Often I Think About Sex

Andrew Dalton

Here's hoping that as you gave thanks this weekend, you paid tribute in your wishes and prayers to the constant insight into men's psyches you get from Ask Dad. We're like a WikiLeaks for man minds. And we're ready for another document dump. So tell us what to spill:

How many times a day do guys really think about sex? Do they think about what sex would be like with every random woman they meet?

I don't normally hesitate to over-share here, but in this case it's crucial that we define our terms. What exactly do we mean by "think"? What do we mean by "sex"? And most important, what do we mean by "about"?

Because while a man may only truly think about sex a few times a day, he spends most every moment of every day either thinking over sex, thinking under sex, thinking through sex, thinking around sex, thinking aside sex, thinking in spite of sex, and thinking in lieu of sex.

The truth is if we let ourselves think about sex as often as the initial urge arose, we'd want to kill ourselves. Even more than we do already.

Yes there are some men who think about it constantly, who dream of sexing up every woman they meet the moment they meet her, and picture it on the spot. (No, not Tiger Woods. Well, maybe not.) I'm thinking of 13-year-old boys and sex criminals. Women should avoid contact with these two groups unless they're nuns doing charity work or mothers. We've got monitoring systems in place for the sex offenders, and should probably get some electronic anklets for the junior high boys too.

But healthy adult men have become masters of sublimation and repression. Kind of like the Candy Man, they can take a sex thought, wrap it in a sigh, soak it in the sun, and make a strawberry lemon pie. So yes, when they see you across a cafe or reach out their hand to meet you, their girlfriend's best friend, their mind may start walking you down an imaginary hall toward an imaginary bedroom, but they know that to keep their sanity, they have to pull you sideways into the billiard room for some pool, or the rec room for some air hockey. (This isn't a real house, remember, it's a fantasy mansion.) 

Does this mean you shouldn't feel creeped out when you meet a new man you feel is assessing you? Oh, lord no. You should be plenty skeeved. Because he decided right then and there to start walking down that hall with you, even if he didn't get there. Or he decided he didn't want to. I'll let you decide which is worse. And while he may not think about it that moment, he may reserve the right to think about you later on, in his most private of mental rec rooms.

And even beyond that, there are some situations where a man is most certainly thinking about sex.

  • While drinking: No revelation here, if he's had a Four Loko, he's thinking about getting loco. With four of you. Of course alcohol simultaneously makes you want sex and suck at it. Other things that have this effect: drugs, porn, and being human.
  • First thing in the morning: Yes, "morning wood" -- or "mourning wood" as many single men who wake up alone call it -- is just a byproduct of dreaming, and easily killed by a groggy whiz. But most men wake up feeling lusty, primal, and lacking all inhibitions, no matter how tired they are. It takes a few minutes before he realizes that he lives in civilization -- usually to his great disappointment. This means you should be just as wary of the sleepy dude at Starbucks in the a.m. as the guy at the gastropub in the p.m.
  • While sick: I hate to make huge generalizations about sex and the sexes. Well, actually, I love it, but I shouldn't. Yet this is one that I've found repeatedly true. Women like to think about sex, and have sex, when they feel good. Men like to think about it, and do it, as a means to feel good. They think of sex as a cure-all medicine, wrongly it turns out in most cases. So even in the middle of a nasty cold or flu, the thought of sex may be heightened. If you see a row of men in hospital beds, that's a row of men in want of a hand job. But no matter how charitable you feel toward the sick and needy, it's probably best not to indulge them.

  • While having sex: OK, seems obvious, right? Maybe not. Can you, as a lady, say that you've always thought about having sex while having sex? Well, men are certainly thinking about sex, but it may not be the sex they are having. He may be thinking about the last time, or the next time, or the dream he had, or the dirty movie he saw, hopefully some of which involve you. He may be thinking, "Wow, I'm having sex right now. I should really be focusing on it instead of having musings like this." There's a great poem on this general topic by the 17th-century haiku master and male mind expert Basho. It goes: "Even in Kyoto -- hearing the cuckoo's cry -- I long for Kyoto." Or translated into even plainer English: Even when I'm getting laid, I dream about getting laid.


Image via Flickr.com/DierkSchaefer

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