I attended the same early morning yoga class for over a decade. The students were mostly women, many of whom had been there for as long as me. While we never socialized outside of the gym, years of grunting and sweating together had forged a certain camaraderie and trust.
As a result, I was pretty much accepted as one of the girls, and over the years I was privy to a lot of second-hand melodrama – love affairs and heartbreak, marriage and pregnancy, affairs and divorces.
While flattered to be invited behind the gender curtain in these matters, there were some topics that made me cringe.
Specifically: the intimate details my gal pals casually shared about sex habits with their husbands.
Let me quickly say that not one of these women could be considered wanton, trashy or reckless. They were your basic soccer moms. Perhaps that's why it was so shocking that no topic seemed out of bounds – favorite or least favorite positions, sexual eccentricities, experiments with porno, props, and (of course) physical attributes or shortcomings.
What's worse – I knew some of their husbands!
I have been told by several female friends that my yoga experience is not uncommon, that wherever a group of close friends meet – the gym, a nail salon, the playground or Starbucks – casual discussions about marital sex habits, comparing notes and exchanging advice is a common bonding experience.
Okay, but if that is true, don't you ladies sometimes wonder if your man if telling his friends all about your sex life?
I am not a social researcher, but I have been a guy all my life, am blessed with an embarrassment of male friends and enjoy plenty of dude-time with them. So, I can state with a high degree of empirical certainty that while we married guys are generally open with each other about many personal issues (yes, we discuss more than sports and work), as a rule we do not share intimate sexual details about our wives. Past girlfriends – perhaps. Some long-ago, freaky bar hookup – maybe. But not the mothers of our children.
Generalities are fair game, like: “we haven’t had sex in a month”, or “we want to get pregnant so we’ve been going at it like rabbits.” That information is more universal than personal, and it's about biology, not sex. The same is true about subjects like fertility, contraception, and post-partum hormones – it’s clinical and non-sexual.
Which is not to say that we don’t view our wives as sexual creatures. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We just tend to keep it to ourselves.
Harry is a former NYC hedge fund manager, now a freelance writer specializing in popular culture, health and extreme sports. He lives and works on his 40-foot boat (The Vaguely Worried) and is currently moored near Marina Del Rey, County of Los Angeles.