Just a Number?

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.



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  1. Terri
    January 12, 2017 / 7:42 am

    I honestly don’t think it’s that much to do with the ‘slag’ or ‘trust’ opinions when it comes to thoughts about how many partners is acceptable. As a girl who used to care about this I can tell you it was more to do with jealousy and insecurity. Something a lot of people may not be willing to admit and want to blame society instead. When you hear your new boyfriend has slept with 12 people, that’s 12 people you (in your head) are being compared to, are competing with and are potentially not as good as. I don’t think like this any more because I’m know I’m dead good – however, never once have I heard a number and thought ‘omg you’re such a player you could never have a proper relationship’ etc… but maybe that’s just me? I just thought ‘shit and I’m gonna be the one with the grossest body and worst technique ever’ (but like I said, I got over insecurities and I would never even consider these thoughts now)

  2. Liz
    January 12, 2017 / 8:34 am

    Love this! My initial reaction when I started reading was ‘100+ would put me off’ but reading the post has really made me wonder why that is…. Let’s all be in the 47%!

    Liz x
    Distract Me Now Please

  3. Mike
    January 12, 2017 / 8:45 am

    An awesome read. I love it when taboo subjects are discussed, and our numbers is definitely one of them.

    I also really enjoyed the way you have written this. I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

  4. Frankie | The Mayfairy
    January 12, 2017 / 9:18 am

    ” I’d only been with 3 people, couldn’t contain his glee over the fact I must still be ‘really tight’.”
    Ok, we all know that’s not how vaginas work, but even if it was, SURELY the amount of sex should have mattered more than the number of partners? Like, 15 people once is better than 3 people adding up to 700 times in that particular world of crazy misogynism, it has to be, right? I’m now more annoyed by that than I should be.

    Obviously that guy was a rollicking twatflap, but it’s a free world. I’m just saying if you do choose to be a rollicking twatflap at least be logical and consistent with your reasoning.

  5. abigail
    January 12, 2017 / 9:26 am

    I can’t remember how I used to feel about numbers in High School but I’d venture a guess to say that I’d care about a future partners number and probably would judge someone based on how many people they had slept with. But that’s before I really knew anything about sex and relationships. Now, numbers don’t bother me at all and I never ask my partners how many people they’ve slept with because I just don’t care. Part of me is still a little reluctant to tell someone my number because I feel like women are judged more harshly than men with regards to how many sexual partners they have had. But if someone asks I’m still honest about it and if their reaction is negative then I know that we obviously have different views on whether numbers matter or not!

    This was a fab post Vix, I really enjoyed reading it.

    Abigail Alice ?

  6. Sophie
    January 12, 2017 / 10:43 am

    I’ve not really given it much thought before but I’ve always been leaning towards the wary side when it comes to numbers. I don’t really know why to be honest, there’s no reason for me to feel that way. And like you say in your post, the amount of people someone has slept with doesn’t alter who they are as a person.
    I suppose my wariness about numbers is down to safety if nothing else. But as long as the person has been safe with their partners and is also safe with you then there’s no issue.
    Thank you for writing this post, because it’s really given me food for thought.


  7. Trey
    January 12, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    In my experience, a large amount of my partners have been very much bothered by this number. My previous ex would bully me all the time for not having had enough sex before her and would regularly use it to put me down and bash my confidence for not being as ‘experienced’ or courageous sexually as her. Even to the point of calling me gay if i refused it.

    Personally, i think it’s a silly discussion, and one i don’t think comes up now that i’m older. But it seems reasonable for it to cause some concern given certain circumstances. Ultimately though, I think we’re overthinking it. Shouldn’t all this information just stay… personal, if we’re unable to refrain from judging? We all do it. We’re all bags of nerves, insecurities and pre-disposed thoughts and ideas. But when someones telling you about that time they got fingered in a transit van, then maybe that isn’t the best ad for them being solid marriage material. I’m just not sure there’s ever a true need to share.

    One things for sure though, that totally needs putting to bed is it is most certainly not a good thing for a man when he’s had lots of sexual partners. This is an incredibly short-sighted misconception. Especially in 2017. A player, a slut, a stud, a loose man or woman – they’re all the same. Whether that’s good or bad depends on you personally. But men do not look up to, (and nor does anyone else for that matter) other men with huge catalogues of sexual partners. The perception of this being positive is now way beyond out of date.

  8. Sam
    January 12, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    Guys with a similar view to “onlt 3 men, you must be really tight” make me laugh so much. Why would 50 cocks once make you ‘looser’ but 1 cock (his cock) 50 times mean you are still nice and tight? It’s either sexist bullshit, a naive lack of understnading about vaginas, or probably both.

    The only time I cared about numbers was before I’d had any kind of sexual contact and I was scared of boys “knowng what they were doing more than me”. Once I’d slept with a few boys I was like, right where are these boys who “know what they are doing?!”.

  9. Rebecca Claire
    January 12, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    Really enjoyed this post! I am definitely part of the 47% and I think it’s pretty damn ridiculous to care at all about what other people are doing with their bodies.

    I was watching BKChat LDN on Youtube recently (which had me fuming) where the guys where all really obsessed with the number of guys a girl had slept with but felt they could sleep with as many as they liked. – find the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6dxFB_j-B8) So was surprised to see the consensus from your Twitter poll was the other way round!


  10. January 12, 2017 / 4:36 pm


  11. Erin
    January 12, 2017 / 8:03 pm

    I hate the numbers game! Mainly cause I had a period (16-19) where I was a free spirit lets say… I don’t think that defines me now at 26!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  12. January 12, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    I didn’t see your poll at the time, but I’d be in the 47% who don’t care. Yet, saying that, I also wouldn’t want to know. Not because it would make a difference to how I see them, but, as a virgin (by choice), I feel it’s possible it may cause some insecurities that just aren’t necessary. Knowing the number isn’t going to change anything other than the fact that I know. Yet, if the knowing is going to cause me to worry about my “performance”… I know it would be ridiculous if I did react that way, but at the same time, I’d rather not risk it. (It’s the same with my weight, I’d just rather not know anymore.)

    I do worry that my non-existent – and maybe later on, low – number is something I’d be judged on. Because as you said you used to, I do think people judge on what is an “acceptable” minimum. It bothers me that a guy may not want to date me because I’m a virgin. I really don’t think it should matter – all it means is I know my own mind and have made choices that were right for me at the time. As you said, the number – high or low – doesn’t change who a person is.

    Great post!

  13. January 12, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    I remember the judgement in high school about girls sleeping around but within the context of a relationship now it’s not a big deal to me because you know that during that time the person you’re with is committed to you only and it doesn’t matter how many people they’ve slept with.

    Girls and boys going out on the weekends and slagging around annoys me but in general that’s just the culture we live in. But yes, I do judge lady and man slags on the pull – it’s just so tacky.

    As long as my partner has had a clean bill of health in that department I really don’t give a toss how many have been before me.

    Mel ★ http://www.meleaglestone.co.uk

  14. Laura
    January 13, 2017 / 11:31 am

    For me, I just like to know. It matters slightly as I don’t want to be another number. Well, that was the case for me. Now I’m married, even if he slept with 40 people, it doesn’t matter now. Personally, when I enter a relationship I don’t just want to be another shag. Because that’s never been what I’ve been after. If I was, then it wouldn’t matter to me. But I don’t like the humped and dumped feeling. It makes me feel used. So I get why it bothers people. But eventually, you have to move passed it and wonder how you want the relationship to develop. If it’s just sex, it shouldn’t matter too much!

  15. Tash Thomas
    January 14, 2017 / 8:39 am

    Amen to this! It shouldn’t matter what the number is and if it does then you may have to wait to find someone with a similar view to you, but don’t look down on those who don’t care.

    ps. Perfect use of the word Cock ; )

  16. Finja
    January 14, 2017 / 10:23 am

    Yes the numbers…. i dont see them, they rarely matter. The only thing they reveal is experience, at least to me.
    xx finja | http://www.effcaa.com

  17. Giz
    January 14, 2017 / 3:35 pm

    Love this post, Vickster. I love you no matter how many cocks you gobble. Gobble away ?

  18. Roxie
    January 19, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    It goes the other way too. I’ve only ever been with one man who is now my husband. My social anxiety was so extreme that I couldn’t even talk to a member of the opposite sex as a teen. My hubby’s told me in the past that he wish my number was higher as he is constantly worried that one day I might go ‘discover what else is out there’. So basically, we’re equally dammed if the number is high or low. Sigh.