A Timely Confession

Guys—by which I literally mean “men”; you other men—I have something to confess:

I... I’m not quite like you. I’m different. And I hope you won’t judge me too harshly. I also hope that my aberration won’t prompt feelings of disgust, pity, or even, dare I say, envy. This isn’t a choice. This is just the way I am.

I think about sex only every nine seconds.

Now, before anybody jumps up and “reminds” us that the whole “on average, men think about sex every seven seconds” thing is a myth, of unknown origin, debunked several times over... let me say that I know it’s true, and you know it’s true. Men—other men; you, if you’re reading this and are a man—do think about sex every seven seconds, on average. Supposedly more “accurate” estimates range from a so-called high of nineteen times a day to an utterly absurd mere “every day,” but we all know better than that. Even nineteen times a day (taking out eight hours for sleep, during which men invariably dream about sex, myself absolutely included) computes to only once every 3,031 seconds or so. Yeah, no. Just since you started reading this, you’ve probably thought about sex ten to twelve discrete times, not even counting each time you’ve read the word “sex.” So let’s ignore the “research” and the “science” and proceed with the conventional wisdom intact. Men think about sex every seven seconds.

But... not me. I do it every nine seconds, and this keeps me out of step with my fellow man. On any given day, I’m more likely to be out of sync with the rest of you than in it, although I’m not always not thinking about sex when you all are. Also, bear in mind that even though all of you are thinking about sex every seven seconds, you’re not all yourselves on the same seven-second schedule. But, as it happens, most of you are. If I understand correctly, your sex-thinking-about begins promptly at 7:30 a.m., proceeding quite literally like clockwork for a full sixteen hours, until 11:30 p.m. And in that period, you think about sex fully 8,229 times (rounded up to the nearest whole—if not necessarily wholesome!—thought). Whereas I have only 6,400 naughty thoughts.

It’s not a problem for me—really!—except when it is. On the whole, thinking about sex 1,829 times fewer than my peers each day means that I can be that much more productive. It’s no small thing to have an extra two seconds to think about something (other than sex) without being interrupted by a thought about sex. The downside, though, is that I often find myself forcing myself to think about sex—off-schedule—just to fit in. Because by 7:30:09 in the morning, I’ve already boarded my own sexless (or, if you will, less-sexful) train of thought. It’s fine, I guess, until I get to work. But then, in the company of other men, I need to take pains to coordinate, or at least appear coordinated.

Consider this hypothetical (but not nearly as hypothetical as would be ideal) scenario: You and I both arrive at the office promptly at 9 a.m., both thinking about sex as we step though the front door, hanging our coats and hats in the closet. Before we head to our respective cubicles, we greet the company receptionist, at the same time, but you think about sex as we say, “Good morning, Randi,” while I don’t think about sex until my back is already to her, my front pointed toward the kitchen where I hope to find donuts. Awkward? You bet it is.

And then, maybe in a meeting later that day, our boss will tell a joke involving two Vikings, a milkmaid, a unicorn, another milkmaid, her older sister, their step-mother, a meteor shower, and a dot-matrix printer, and everyone will laugh raucously as one at the punchline—but I won’t laugh until a full two seconds later, because the joke was about sex... but it wasn’t yet time for me to think about that. I was still thinking about maximizing company profits or whether I’d go to the gym after work.

I’d love to be able to tell you that my... condition is what keeps me from going to the gym regularly, but, really, I just don’t like going to the gym. If anything, though, I should enjoy going to the gym, because I wouldn’t have to think about thinking about sex there, because... well, who thinks about sex there? Man, people at the gym are so unattractive.

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.