I always am fascinated by debates around numbers. Well, I also really like numbers in general (and don’t even get me started on Excel spreadsheets – that stuff is like catnip to me), but when it comes to sex and how the numbers (of partners) matter to how much the person is worth, it gets even more interesting.
I must be a glutton for punishment, since due to my addiction to pick-up artist blogs I read some truly malicious things. Frankly, I would love to meet some of these guys face to face, which is probably not the smartest thing for me to do because I like discussions and I wonder if they would be able to just talk without getting brutally violent. Yes, some of them sound that bad. These blogs were my introduction to how differently women and men are viewed when it comes to sexuality… and now that I’m writing it it all seems terribly naive. Let me rephrase that. While I always knew that there are vastly different prejudices for men and women engaging in promiscuous sex, it was only when I started reading some of these articles that it hit home. There.
I have never thought that sexuality is something to be repressed, and while there were some activities I didn’t see as attractive for myself, I would never even think about criticizing someone else’s behaviour. Unless, of course, it dealt with certain things even I would consider inappropriate (for the record, so far it’s pedophilia, zoophilia and incest. Everything else is pretty much fair game). The number of people my partner would have never bothered me – not when I was a virgin, and not now, when I definitely am not. If anything, I prefer my lovers to be experienced (and older), but those are very much different issues altogether.
So, now I can’t look away from all of these recent posts about how the number of sex partners for women is supposed to be as low as possible, and the number for men can be sky-high without any damage to his “reputation”. This makes me nervous. I have never cared about what people thought about me, and I never paid attention to rumours. It’s funny, but it looks like the life ascribed to me was probably more interesting than the one I had. Also, apparently, I had a reputation of a tease, which probably started with me wearing leather pants to my grade 9 high school dance and dancing “provocatively” (which was the comment I got years later). The result of all that was me finding out from a good friend when I was 18 that my “boyfriend” of roughly a month from a few years prior has told other guys he got as far as fingering me, if not outright having sex. In reality, he didn’t have the balls to even kiss me. I can’t say that it completely didn’t bother me, but mostly I shrugged it off and laughed about it later. The funny part was, I was your classic “good girl”, and that didn’t precent the guys that weren’t getting in my pants from creating a reputation that was anything but innocent.
When I met S, I was 18 and a virgin. He was 29, and a self-proclaimed sex addict. I saw no problems with having NSA sex (even though I was not doing it at the time), wasn’t looking to be married or even be in a committed relationship. When S and I had a lovely late night talk about love, sex and people in general, to say that he was flabbergasted that I never had sex was an understatement. I believe the shocked expression and “A virgin? Do they still make those?!” were hilarious at the time. For the record, though, I never would think that the status of my hymen made me somehow better or more worthy than some other girl who had 10 or 100 notches on her bed. I didn’t see my situation as something to applaud or vilify, and to me it was simply a matter of fact – since I have not had sex, I was a virgin. When I would, I wouldn’t be anymore. No more, no less.
I ended up marrying S, and were together for 7 years, during which he was the only person in my bed. I had neither positive nor negative associations with the fact that I have only ever fucked one person in my life, even though he did bring up that maybe it would be an issue for me later on. I didn’t see his past sexual history as something against him as a person – if anything, it was a great advantage to me, as I love learning new things, and he was a very skilled lover. Before me, he was married twice, had a string of girlfriends and casual fuck buddies, and it in no way undermined him as a person in my eyes. At the same time, my lack of experience was only an issue when I wished that I knew more about sex and what to do to please him and myself. After just a little bit of time, it was not a problem anymore.
Fast forward to post-divorce O. Due to some of the problems we had, extremely difficult situation regarding the business he owned (and I managed), and the long process of ending our relationship, I went for a year and a half of no sex. None. Nada. Zilch. I simply couldn’t fuck my then husband, and I would not have an affair. Once it was completely finished between us, though, all I could think about was dick. All I wanted to do was get laid. I have hooked up with a friend of my roommate’s that she quite forcefully set me up with to get my groove back, met 3 guys online for mostly one-night stands, had a drunken threesome with a couple of guys whom I used to serve when I was a bartender and had a very strange night in the bed of a friend and her boyfriend. Then I met D, my current open-minded lover, which didn’t stop me from meeting an adorable couple online for a fun evening or (together with D) taking a girl home for a night.
Now here is the point of this rambling, rich in oversharing as it may be. I am the same person as I always was. I have the same “value” now, in an open whatever-you-may-call-it, as I had when I was a virgin, when I was in a monogamous marriage and when I was single and sex-crazed. I have the same values, principles, ideas and if anything, now I know more about myself and specifically about sex. I am better for my present and future partners because I know what works and what doesn’t. I can be more empathetic, I am more confident in the sack, more imaginative and, arguably, more fun. Yet consistently, over and over again, I am being told that my experience is not a good thing. That it is off-putting and somehow makes me an unfit human being. I find myself wondering if on a date, if it ever would come up, I should tell that my number is something much greater than what it is. 50? 60? 80? Just to see what kind of reaction I would get from a guy who would know nothing else about me. I find myself wondering about that because I have dear friends whose numbers are many times mine, and they are fantastic women and partners to their current loves, yet some of these articles would make me believe that learning on your own life choices is bad, that figuring out who you are cannot involve sex or mistakes with sex (if you’re a girl, that is). It’s fascinating and sad that some men and women would penalize (mostly) women for having a high sex drive and guts to figure out what they want and don’t want. I don’t know if sometimes it is a case of wishing to live vicariously through bad decisions and putting these people down to compensate for the lack of opportunity or desire to put your own life decisions on the line. After all, we all like drama, right? And what is more dramatic than dragging someone through the mud because of their choice of sex partners.