When you’re comfortable enough with your significant other, you get to that point where you can ask and tell each other almost anything, including what sort of kinky things you’ve done in the past; fetishes, fantasies and that infamous number. It’s that magic number that we’re all curious about yet cringe at the very thought of it- the number of sexual partners you had in the past.
Who would have thought that one little number, depending on the number, of course, could be so intimidating? I never really gave it a second thought until I casually brought it up in a conversation with my boyfriend. We were exchanging sexcapade stories when I finally asked him.
“So how man people have you really slept with?” I asked.
“Why do you want to know? It’s not important.” Eric responded. He was obviously avoiding the question.
“I’m just curious is all.”
When he told me how many women he had slept with, I was a little shocked and the reaction on my face was pretty obvious. My jaw dropped and my eyes widened.
“Well, it doesn’t matter because you’re the only one I want to be with now. Why? How many guys have you slept with?” Now he was just as curious as I was. As a fair exchange, I decided to tell him how many men I’ve been with so long as he would tell me. The way I looked at it, whatever he says will be the wrong answer. If he slept with fewer women than I assumed, then I would think that he was an inexperienced prude who doesn’t put out. If he had more, a lot more, than expected then I would think he was a dirty slut. There was no way to answer this without some judgment being made. It’s unfair, I know. In either case, I wouldn’t be pleased with the answer. As I thought about it, maybe it wasn’t such a wise idea to ask. But since I was already here, I couldn’t turn back. I wanted to know.
When he told me how many women he had slept with, I was a little shocked and the reaction on my face was pretty obvious. My jaw dropped and my eyes widened. I couldn’t believe how many women he had been with. It was nowhere close to what I had in mind.
“You slept with that many women?!”
“It really isn’t that a big of a deal. It’s not important,” he assured me. But for some reason, it was to me.
I couldn’t help how I was feeling. I was sick to my stomach but I didn’t know why. I knew he had slept with these women before he ever met me but I couldn’t help feeling jealous and disgusted all the same. It was as if I was dealing with used goods and I got handed over the leftovers. And as hard as it was for me to admit it, I felt a little insecure. He’s been with so many women and is obviously far more experienced. It made me think, will he ever be satisfied with me? For all I knew, I was just another number added to his list of girls to bang. Plus, it means that he’s had a lot of unemotional sex. With that many sex partners, he couldn’t have possibly had a connection with each and every one of them. Could he?
People assume that the more lovers you’ve had, the more experienced you are at various ways to please your partner.
To some, it doesn’t matter how many partners they’ve been with. Sex partners ain’t nothing but a number. My friend Nikki is the equivalent to Eric. She’s had her fair share of men and doesn’t regret sleeping with any of them. She loves sex and there’s nothing wrong with that. She believes sex is merely what it is- SEX. I remember the immortal words that Nikki told me, “if a man’s sleeping with a woman, a woman’s sleeping with a man, then everybody’s numbers are going up.” So there.
While Nikki is less concerned with the number of men she slept with, my other friend Sheila is the exact opposite. She confided in me about how many men she slept with over the past year and how she felt like she was putting out too fast. Unlike Nikki, Sheila believed that sex is more intimate and should be shared between two people who love each other.
Most people might think that this is foolish. In this day and age, who really gives a second thought about these things? It seems as if sex has become less and less personal. Sometimes it feels like I’m hanging out in one big orgy after the other. No one calls it “love making” any more. And if they still do, they need to check themselves at the door. People hook up all the time, some in skanky bathroom stalls at drunken parties, others in the same room as their roommate after a drunken party. It’s all the same shit. Rarely do I hear about intimacy and love when it comes to sex anymore.
Sheila and I were on the phone discussing how upset she was about having slept with Andrew, a current guy she was seeing. After sleeping with Andrew, he finally broke the news to her that it couldn’t go any farther than friendship and that he wasn’t “ready” for a relationship.
“This would be the sixth guy I slept with within the past year,” she said as she started naming the guys she’s been with. “I feel like such a slut.”
Like the dutiful friend I was, I reminded her that she wasn’t a slut. And honestly, she really wasn’t. I can understand why she would feel this way. Sheila wasn’t one of those girls who threw themselves at random men and sleep with them after their first encounter. She was always mindful of the men she decided to sleep with. After listening to Nikki and Sheila’s views about the issue at hand, I couldn’t help but wonder, does it really matter how many notches are on your bedpost?
People assume that the more lovers you’ve had, the more experienced you are at various ways to please your partner. What if you had only one or two but learned a lot? I realized that as long as you’re not sleeping with anyone while you’re with your significant other, whatever you did in your past is between you and your conscience. Questions about numbers only beget more questions and create more insecurity.
As for Eric and I, when he asked me how many men I had slept with, I responded, “enough to know how to make my partner happy.” And that could apply if there was one guy or 101 guys.