You can forget “I have a headache” when it comes to sex excuses. According to a survey conducted by OnePoll.com, a throbbin' noggin is so yesterday. People have come up with much better reasons for not having sex.

With 1 in 5 survey participants regularly making excuses to avoid sex, what are the white lies they’re uttering? And just what are the good versus downright bad defenses for not wanting to get down and dirty – if any?

Getting out of sex has long been a running joke – and reality – of long-term relationships. The typical scenario depicts the man getting turned down time and time again. But it seems the joke has gotten old. The OnePoll.com survey, which involved 4,000 Brits, revealed that men are likelier to “sexcuse” themselves than women.

For both genders, the survey reported “I’m too tired” as the most common cop-out. Others that ranked high were:

— I’m not in the mood.

— I’ve got to get up early in the morning.

— I’m preoccupied with work.

— I’m angry with you.

— I can hear one of the children.

— You need a shower.

— I’ve got a bad back.

— It’s too soon in our relationship.

While one in two men cited genuine fatigue for a raincheck, three-fourths of women simply couldn’t be bothered to put out. One-third of men weren’t into the sexual opportunity because they weren’t into their partner, while only one-fifth of women admitted that this was the ultimate reason for crossing their legs.

No matter what the reason, all sorts of reactions are evoked when it comes to excuses for getting out of sex. Those hard up for action are not surprisingly disappointed. Those unhappy in their own relationship can’t blame others for not getting turned on.

Others simply wonder if the “no go” rationale was good enough, especially if it wasn’t totally honest. Yet there are certainly plenty of situations that warrant a sex excuse, especially in cases where:

— You have an active sexually transmitted disease, urinary tract infection, vaginal infection, mononucleosis, strep throat, etc.

— You don’t have condom.

— You don’t have a condom and you forgot to take your birth control pill.

— It’s that time of the month and you don’t want to deal with the mess.

— You lack privacy.

— You ate too much.

— You drank too much.

— You’re into somebody else.

Of course, if somebody doesn’t want to have sex, they shouldn’t have sex. They shouldn’t be forced or pressured into having sex. “No” means “no” — no excuses. Still, if you’re in a relationship where you find yourself regularly avoiding sexual intimacy, there are situations where excuses are downright lame, if not insulting to your lover.

Sex excuses that deserve a thumbs down include ...

You’re too exhausted to have sex. The poll found that 70 percent of people were too wiped out to actually enjoy sex. And yes, there are days when you’re too beat for any action. At the same time, sex can be wonderfully energizing or send you into a most delicious sleep state, which is ultimately restorative.

You’ve got things to do. Guess what? We all do. And all of that stuff will be there for you to do tomorrow. Yes, it’s hard to get in a sexy state of mind when you’re preoccupied with a to-do list. But consider the stress relief that’s to be had in working up a sweat. You’ll feel blissfully better.

You’re on a sexual hiatus till the economy improves. Forty percent of the Onepoll.com survey respondents blamed the recession for wreaking havoc on their sex lives. Sure, bad news doesn’t exactly breed sexual desire. Your best bet in getting out of this funk: tune out the media and turn on your partner. It might take effort at first, but there’s no better excuse for taking care of each other than times of hardship.

You’ve already settled down for sleep.It’s downright savory to settle down, which is why a sexual pass isn’t exactly dreamy as you enter a state of “zzzz’s.” With your body totally relaxed, consider this the best time for your sexual response. You’re likelier to be more responsive to touch, with arousal coming more readily. So take out your retainer, slip out of your pajama bottoms, and simply surrender to ecstasy.

You’re not feeling like your supermodel self.We all have those days when we’re not feeling like Heidi Klum, Kate Moss or Tyra Banks. But guess what? They have days where they don’t feel like their cover girl selves either. With 36 percent of those by Onepoll.com reporting turning down sex with a man because of their own negative body image, gals are passing up opportunities for letting themselves be loved. If somebody desires you, they like your look. Let them love you.

You haven’t shaved.Humans have body hair. (Gasp!) And when they’re in the mood, most can overlook that you’re sporting your natural “Animal Kingdom” look.

Honest or not, at the end of the day, sex excuses hurt your partner. It’s painful to get routinely rejected, especially when you take a hard look at reasons that can be adequately dealt with. In 1972, Ann Landers’ column ran a letter from a woman who kept a tally for a year of reasons her husband gave for not having sex with her.

It must’ve really worn on her soul to have regularly been turned down because he was too tense, had an argument with his boss, was too cold or hot, drank too much, couldn’t tear himself away from a terrific movie (which he ended up falling asleep in front of), didn’t hear what she had to say, thought she should go bowling with the girls or take a cold shower ...

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UPDATE: The Oct. 19, 2009 column on condoms overlooked that Durex Consumer Products, in addition to Lifestyles, makes a polyisoprene condom under the brand name Avanti Bare. It should also be noted that the comment regarding Lifestyle, Trojan and Durex condoms not being "as thin, strong, or stretchy as Japanese-process brands like Skinless Skin and Kimono" is an opinion that has been expressed on a List-serv for sexuality education professionals; there is no research to support it.

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Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."

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