What’s your number? You’ll hear that question asked in hushed tones in all sorts of social circles. Whether you’re among your girl or guy friends or delving into that ambiguous territory between dating and a relationship, for some reason the number of humans you’ve bumped genitals with will always be a point of interest, and frankly I think that’s bullshit.
Recently a blatantly clickbaity article made it’s away across various social media channels. Slate created a quiz (take it here if you choose)to, ostensibly, help modern sexually active humans determine how they size up compared to others in their age bracket.
Tell us how many people you’ve slept with. Our calculator will tell you if that’s a lot.*
*from the stupid test
If the title wasn’t enough to make me cringe, the line below was enough to send me into a rage. So these geniuses are asking you to sit back and remember every person you’ve ever slept with, enter it along with your gender, and then you’re supposed to find out if your behaviour is, and I quote, “normal”. Because apparently you’ve been sitting around wondering if how often you’ve been able to fuck a new human is the same level of often as the person sitting across the streetcar from you, who looks to be approximately your same age and gender. In Slate’s lame defense, they do mention that the inspiration behind this piece of attempted virality about virility was a real study done by a data gathering body (http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/). This quiz is basically a modern day purity test, an instrument that was also meant to shame and punish those who had the audacity to explore their sexuality, thereby making themselves impure. That concept has thankfully fallen by the wayside, so it’s truly appalling for me to see someone else attempt to dust it off and trot it out with a lazier, but equally damaging form.
As this quiz started circulating through the interwebs, I started seeing the Facebook posts cropping up as the shares begain. My male friends would share with introductory comments that were essentially bro high fives over how high they scored, while my female friends were saying things like “wow, I guess I’m sluttier than I thought”. Urge to kill, rising. This is exactly why I hate hate HATE shit like this. So let the rant begin!
Promiscuity is a social construct created by a puritanical patriarchal society to repress women’s freedom, both sexual and otherwise. Ever notice how the concept of promiscuity, in a negative sense, only ever applies to women? The article’s authors allude to it themselves, noting that “men generally report more partners than women”. No shit Sherlock. Men have never been meant to feel shame or judgement for how many people they sleep with. The opposite in fact, they are celebrated for their prowess and ability to “spread their seed” (EW). Women however, are frowned upon, judged and maligned for that exact same concept. And that’s even more evident in how women speak about each other, and themselves, when it comes to their “number”.
On the flip side, men who don’t go around sticking their outties in everything that moves are judged as losers and wimps to be pitied and looked down upon, while women who are also on the lower end of the partner scale are inevitably labelled as frigid or prudes. So when it comes down to the case of counting your sex partners and sharing that information, there truly are no winning sides.
So, ladies and gents out there, YOUR NUMBER DOESN’T MATTER. If you got lucky and found the last person you ever want to have sex with the first time you ever had sex, GREAT! If you’ve in the triple digits because you love having sex in as many forms with as many people as you want, GOOD FOR YOU! If you’re somewhere in between and just having fun learning what you like and who you like it with AWESOME, KEEP IT UP! Sexuality and the freedom to explore and express it is something to be celebrated, not criticized or over analyzed. We are finally at a stage in history where humans of all shapes, sizes, genders and states or life and awareness are being encouraged to enjoy sex for the pleasures and experiences it can provide. Anything that seeks to fuck with that is an enemy in my book.
Stop counting. Stop comparing. Stop judging. Stop hating (yourself and others). Just GO OUT THERE AND FUCK FOR FUN while being safe, taking care of yourself and your partner(s), physically and emotionally. And remember, normal is boring, and you’re way too cool for that