Does It Really Matter How Many People You've Slept With?
Editor's Note: I hate the so-called "Body Count" question and the implications behind it, primarily because men are rarely held to the same standards as women when it comes to answering "How many people have you had sex with?" This piece breaks down some of the nuances of this issue and puts some things into perspective. - Feminista Jones
“So how many men have you slept with….”
Blow the candles out and turn off music because he just killed the mood. For some reason, many men keep asking this question to the despair of women everywhere. This question leaves many of us with no few other choices but to skew the truth just a bit. Here’s how it goes…
Image: Clyde Robinson via Flickr
By the time he asks about sexual history, he probably has an idea of how many past relationships she’s had. So when he asks how many men she’s slept with, it’s only logical that she can’t go below that number of past relationship unless she explains that she wasn't intimate with one of them.
If she’s had 4 boyfriends in life, she’ll tell a man she slept with 5 people. He will assume she slept with the four boyfriends and there was that one random summer fling. He "excuses" the summer fling as her being young and carefree. All is well.
Here’s what he doesn’t know. There was more than one summer fling and there’s some “boyfriends” that weren’t official so they don’t get mentioned. Take the square root of a white lie and divide by fear of judgement and her actual number is somewhere near 10. Whether that’s a high number to him or not, those were HER choices and they are DONE now.
However, if she tells the man her number is 10 he starts wondering. Who were these other 6 random men that she slept with outside of relationships? Now he starts thinking. Before the end of the night, he’s concluded that she were on a corner somewhere calling herself Ms. Cocoa Fire sleeping with every man that passed by.
He wants a virgin that can please him like a porn star in the bedroom and, in his mind she learned all these tricks from books. Let me enlighten you – most of what she knows how to do sexually she's likely picked up because she has done it before. Don’t worry about HOW she can back-bend like that, just be happy she does.
I don't think most men really want to know how many people a woman’s slept with. Even if his number is 100, he assigns a threshold number that she cannot pass. This ‘one size fits all’ hoe label is absurd and shouldn’t TRUMP everything else about her, but it does in our lovely world of double standards. Here's the thing, as Kanye West so eloquently put, you are worried about the wrong things.
On the surface, a question about the number of sexual partners a woman has had is an innocent , albeit important, question. However, it seems that some men will either distance themselves or hold women closer depending on the answer. What’s sad is that if she doesn’t answer at all, it’s assumed she has something to hide. Now, she’s skewing the truth to appease his ego and insecurities, disguised as curiosity, and he's accomplished nothing. He didn't ask the right questions. These are some questions that actually matter.
- Do you have an STD/STI? Where is your paperwork?
- How do you feel about children, birth control, and/or abortions?
- Is our sexual relationship monogamous?
- Here are my close friends; did you sleep with any of them?
Move on to the real questions and set your focus on the future. As long as the past is not truly impacting your present, it's time to let this question go.