You may have seen my Twitter poll.
You may have seen a recent study that hinted at the number 13.
Or you may have heard through the grapevine that it’s 3.
At the end of 2015 I was on 7. At the end of 2016 I had lost count.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about societies obsession with the number of previous partners a lover has had.
I conducted a poll on Twitter, asking my followers how many partners a lover had to have previously had before they become unattractive to you and the results shocked me.
47% of you said you couldn’t give a toss how many people they’ve tossed. Whereas the other 53% was divided between 0-10, 10-50 and 100+ previous partners.
I had replies from lots of girls who gave their reasons for being concerned with numbers. I had tweets from people expressing shock over anyone who was concerned with numbers. And I began to ponder what numbers mean and why people get so caught up on them.
So let’s break it down. Society perpetuates the belief that the more sexual partners a person has had, the looser their moral code. This belief is entrenched in a history of women being burned at the stake for being ‘mad’ (read: horny) and committed to insane asylums for ‘illnesses’ such as chronic masturbation and promiscuity. In history, sex outside marriage is sinful. Sex inside marriage is for procreation. Why would anyone enjoy it? Heathens.
These views and traditions run deeply. Why, even when I was at secondary school, Abby who got fingered in a transit van was a dirty slag. And Jody who got pregnant at 15 was a slut and should’ve kept her legs closed. Or so we were told by older peers and friends. These phrases and thoughts continued to bubble towards anyone we were told about who had a lot of sex or a lot of partners.
In my early twenties, when I began to form relationships and date, I was obsessed with my partner’s previous. If he’d had less than 3, I assumed he was a shy virgin and if he’d had more than 10, I thought he was a player who’d fuck me about. I daren’t go near anyone who had over 50! But did I really know why I felt this way?
The friends I surrounded myself with talked about how they wouldn’t want to get into double digits. But couldn’t pinpoint why they cared. I even dated a guy who when I told him I’d only been with 3 people, couldn’t contain his glee over the fact I must still be ‘really tight’. Fuck, I wish I punched him now.
So in our formative years, we were led to believe the more sexual partners someone had the more questionable their ethics were.
We do have to pay mind to the glaringly obvious fact that a guy having X amount of partners is perceived in a completely different way to a woman having X amount. If a man has had a lot of sexual partners, he can be anything from a player to a stud. If it’s a woman? Anything from a slut to a slut.
Whilst girls responded to my tweets saying that they weren’t ‘THAT’ bothered by their partner’s numbers BUT if it was edging over a certain amount it may make them question what their intentions are, no men commented to say they were bothered.
From this extremely trite research, it’s almost safe to say that women were more concerned with their partner’s intentions in their relationships if they appeared to have ‘slept around’. It’s also an assumption that men (if they voted to say higher numbers were a turn off) could think the same thing with regards to a partner’s intentions PLUS they may have underlying views on promiscuous women.
So where do we, the 47% stand? I’d like to speak on our behalf and say, we just don’t give a fuck.
We may have had previous misconceptions about promiscuity. We may used to have believed that women were sluts and men were players but we may have read, learned and met people in life that have changed our minds.
Which brings me back to why I mentioned my previous number, to the number I can’t remember. After finding myself single, I met a few guys, had a few dates and had a fair bit of sex. I’m not ashamed by that. Through positive friendships and role models, I learned that as long as I was safe, bonking 3 guys a day (I wish), 3 a fortnight (cough) or 3 a year bore no resemblance on who I am as a person. Did that fact that I had gobbled more cock mean that I was less kind, thoughtful and caring than before when I could barely get a boyfriend to go down on me? Did it bollocks.
So I gave up counting and I gave up caring. Not only did I give up caring about how many people I had boned that month, I also gave up caring what other people were doing. I became a lot more confident in discussing sex with my friends and with you lot. I noticed that as people were telling me stories about the four guys they’d slept with in May, or the gang bang they were planning, it didn’t change my opinion on them as people. They were still good mates. They could still chat to me about Celebrity Big Brother – a cock in every orifice or not.
Why should you give up caring? Maybe you think by shielding yourself from promiscuous people you’re protecting yourself in case they sleep around whilst they’re with you. I get that. But is that then OK for them to presume that because you’ve had hardly any partners, you’ll hardly want sex?
Here I am now, in the 47% of people who realise that it IS just a number. An arbitrary measure of amount of partners that actually has no bearing, on anything, ever. Come and join me.