The other day I got a call from a friend who’s been with her husband five years.
“He’s really pissed,” she told me.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because,” she answered. “We were having sex — he’d made a real effort, you know? Made dinner, did the dishes, took a shower, the whole nine yards — and then while we were doing it, I said I thought it might be nice if we got a skylight installed in bedroom.”
“During?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “I mean, I was really into it! It’s just that we were in the middle of it, and I happened to think ‘Oh my god: With the western exposure, it’d be amazing.’ And then I just said it. Out loud. Am I horrible? I think I’m horrible.”
I assured my friend that she was not, in fact, horrible. Nay, not horrible at all. So many of us do this sort of thing. We shouldn’t, but we do. Over the years, I myself have made an art of multi-tasking during sex. Included below, a few of my latest and greatest achievements. Let them either a) Inspire you to think, “I, too, could be more productive!” Or perhaps b) Convince you that whatever misdemeanors you’ve committed, I myself have done worse.
Shoe the dog
My boyfriend is the proud owner of an adorable miniature shnauzer. This animal can’t be truly happy unless she is nuzzled up against a human, which means that being in bed, on a couch, wherever, some part of said dog will be touching some part of either my boyfriend or myself. I’ve become an expert in graciously receiving sexual advances while nudging her off the bed.
Shush the dog
Post-nudge, the dog none-too-surprisingly starts in with all manner of attention seeking behavior: whining, barking, yelping, etc. So it is I’ve had to learn to encourage my boyfriend – “Oh, yes. Good job. Very nice,” – while calming his miniature shnauzer – “Shush! Go drink from the toilet why don’t you!”
There are certain things I like to stay on top of. (No pun intended!) The capitals of all U.S. cities. The senators of all the states in which I’ve lived. The names of celebrity children. Oftentimes, I’ll use my sex time to review such crucial pieces of information, in which case my interior monologue goes like “Montgomery, Juneau, Phoenix, Little Rock.” Or maybe, “Suri, Apple, Moses, Blue Ivy.”
Make a to-do list
This here is the real bounty. The biggest bounty. What human on the planet doesn’t have at least five thousand itemized lists to tend to? Grocery shopping list, follow-up email list, invite-to-that-dinner-party-I-don’t-even-want-to-have list. What clothes to throw away lists, bills-to-pay lists. Anyway, you get the idea, and I should stop before this particular point starts to sound any more like a poor mockery of a Dr. Seuss book.
I did this once, accidentally. I’d had that “Don’t Be Fooled By the Rocks That I’ve Got” song by Jennifer Lopez milling around in my head for days, and then accidentally, instinctively, humiliatingly – in much the same way you might call out the name of a former lover while with your current lover — I started whistling the tune. The gentleman I was with at the time said, “I’m sorry, are you… are you whistling?” and I answered, “What? No. That must’ve been the wind.”
There’s not much that’s easier than this, frankly. Only thing is, beware of anything especially funny. I can tell you from experience, laughing at your favorite bit of 30 Rock while in the mode of the beast with two backs? It’s even more disconcerting to your partner than whistling.
Sara Barron is the author of People Are Unappealing and the forthcoming Eating While Peeing: and other adventures.