with Benjamin Pond and Annie Lakes
A sex, love, and relationships column for the open-minded and shamelessly unabashed.
Disclaimer: our experts don't have documented degrees in the subject, just some notches on the bedposts and over-used little black books filled with enough stories to confidently put the subject on blast.
I have trouble pinpointing the time in my life that I decided to be sexually open and liberal, but I do remember when I found out that this was seen as “slutty” or “whoreish” by some of my closest friends. The moment was unsettling. I called a friend who lived in another state for our monthly catch-up session. We went through the same niceties as always; our jobs, families, and planning the next get together. Finally, we moved to our latest male drama. Hers hadn’t changed in over a year, much to her dismay. She was stuck in a loveless relationship that she anxiously avoided and openly admitted to not being able to leave in fear of being alone. Not to mention, it gets worse: he hadn’t given her an orgasm in quite some time. We continued with the same back and forth as always: about how being alone for a hot minute is not a bad thing and how she’s independent in everything else in her life, why not this?
This situation might sound familiar to perhaps one of your relationships, or even the relationship that characters Marnie and Charlie have on HBO’s “Girls.” The one exception is that I unfortunately believe my friend will continue to stick out this unsatisfying relationship.
We gingerly moved on to talk about the new aspects of my life. I had a new guy I was dating, I had a lot of fun with him and the sex was good and things were peachy. My friend’s response was glaringly frustrated, even over the phone: “God, you say that every time you start dating someone. You always say how much fun they are and every time I call it’s someone new.”
Her exaggeration aside, why was it so wrong to be happy in a new fling? It’s the freaking honeymoon phase and I deserve to be glowing! I found myself regretting that I divulged this information to her for two reasons: I seemed to upset her by the way I treat my relationships and unfortunately I began questioning my own conquests as too many.
Was I too quick to jump into new situations with guys? Have I had sex with too many of them? Am I a whore? Why is it OK for a woman to stay in an unhappy relationship because she isn’t racking up more notches on her bedpost, but I’m promiscuous because I recognize when I am no longer satisfied in a situation and seek out one where I will be? It’s not just close-minded girls either. Some guys talk openly about their number but can’t handle when a girl counters with hers. They don’t want to hear it or think about it. Should we be ashamed of our number? I think it depends on a lot of things like safety, reasons for having the sex, or getting into relationships. If all our sex is safe, we can sleep sounder at night and if we are sleeping with someone because we love them then we’re OK, correct? I’d be hard pressed to find many to disagree with that statement. It’s those who do not use sexual protection and the ones who are sleeping with someone out of revenge or for malicious reasons that should be ashamed. That’s the rule I follow, and granted it’s not the golden rule, but it’s my life, my body and my number. These things are personal and I know I’m not a whore and much like this column, people’s potential judgments of my actions are not the driving force behind them.
Your number does not define you and we should learn to curb the judgment that inherently crosses our faces when we hear someone has had sex with x-amount of people at whatever age. I hope, for her sake, each one of those notches (if there are any) were mind blowing, safe, and never a culprit for questioning her sexual experience.
I could lie and say that a number is just a number with no meaning behind it other than a mathematical way of counting something. But who would I be, as a man, to not lie about my number. As the classic rule explains, every time you hear a man’s number, you add three and that puts you more in the range of his true amount of sexual partners.
Now do I agree with my counterpart, in that your number should not define you as a female? Yes. But to a degree. I’ve been known to say that I would be happy to throw down on some big breasted porn star that my buddies and I are talking about, but should the situation ever arise (pun whole-heartedly intended), I wouldn’t just go diving into that heavily trampled field of roses without thinking about just how many people have passed by.
Knowing a female’s number is, in fact, a double standard. Guys will throw out big numbers and his boys will give him props for it. A girl—if she’s comfortable enough in the first place—will reveal her number and immediate judgment comes from it. This isn’t because of anything more than females being more judgmental than guys.
Guys don’t care what your number is strictly because in most heterosexual cases, they don’t need to care, because they aren’t planning to have sex with their buddy. If it’s not going to affect the guy himself, then it’s not going to really bother him.
But for girls it’s much different. Judging other girls is as natural for females as is breast feeding. You do it and if you say you don’t, then you’re lying, ladies. Once you hear a friend’s number you think, “is my number too low/high?” While a guy will ask, “I wonder if Becca is one of those he’s counting…” (Crossing swords is a “whole ‘nother ball game.”)
I’ve had some friends that put up Hall of Fame numbers when we talk about it and to be honest, it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to think about pulling in Wilt Chamberlain figures in the bedroom. It’s more about quality and less about quantity for me. (Notice I said “more” and “less”, not necessarily “all or nothing.”)
When it comes to my partner, sex is not a numbers game, it’s a game of education and passion. If she has been tested, has the right reasons behind it, and doesn’t hold my skills up to the gamut that she may (or may not have) run of her past, than she’s fine by me.
In general, for both sexes, think of it in the realm of golf. You choose different clubs to get you to your final destination: the green. Sometimes you play it safe with an iron instead of a driver to avoid the hazards, while other times you just shoot for that hole-in-one. Whatever your strategy is, your final amount of strokes gets marked down on the score sheet by you. No one else. Maybe you gave yourself a few mulligans to make you feel better or you failed to add that penalty stroke for that one questionable ruling. In the end, it all is fruitless though, because no one strictly confirms or checks your score card… well that is unless you are Tiger Woods.
Moral of the story: Don't stress on how many strokes it takes for you to complete your round, just play the course.