What’s the correct number? If they’ve slept with “too few” people, you’ll look at them as some kind of chaste prude; but if they’ve slept with a number you deem “too high,” something must be wrong with them.
In my short lifetime, I feel like we’ve made a lot of developments in regards to relationships, sex, and sexuality.
While homophobia is by no means a thing of the past, marriage equality is law in the United States and is becoming more normalized. Sex doesn’t immediately frighten us the way it used to. While most of our other social issues are still wildly out of control (see: racism,police brutality, transphobia, fatphobia, sizeism, classism, xenophobia, etc. etc. etc.), we’re slowly cultivating a society in which we’re capable of discussing these topics openly and free of judgment.
Though that isn’t perfect, it’s an important first step.
That being said, I’d like to open the floor to a discussion I think is long overdue, but somehow still manages to rear its ugly head in our casual conversation as well as our pop culture.
Can we please stop asking our partners how many people they’ve had sex with?
I’m trying to find a way to explain the importance of this without simply typing “It’s fucking 2016, c’mon already” over and over again.
Can we please stop asking our partners how many people they’ve had sex with?" Image from Istock.
Let’s take a moment to address the obvious sexist connotations that come with this idea. While disparaging someone based on their number of sexual partners is something I’ve definitely heard from men and women, this idea is heavily skewed towards degrading and slut shaming women.
Growing up as a cis dude among mostly straight cis dudes, I’ve heard a lot of men make comments about how sleeping with a woman who’s “been around” would lack any pleasure because she’d be “stretched out.” I’ve heard (and made, in my shittier days) a lot of bad jokes about sex with a woman being like “throwing a pencil into the Grand Canyon.”
See all the sarcastic quotation marks I’m using? I hope it properly signifies what bullshit that is.
I’m not going to give you a detailed lesson on how the vagina works. I’m far from an expert on vaginas (ask my ex — ba-dum-TSH!).
Women in the Mamamia office confess to the weirdest things they've heard between the sheets. Post continues below.
But here’s something you should know, Shitty Dude making Shitty Comments: The vagina actually loosens up during arousal to allow for successful penetration.
If all the women you’re sleeping with are super-tight, it’s possibly because none of them are aroused by you, your backwards fitted cap, your pinky rings, or your soul patch.
As long as you are using any appropriate protection (and getting tested every 3-6 months —I know, it sucks, but better safe than sorry), let’s stop feeling the need to treat your significant other like you’re saving them from a life of debauchery and bar bathroom quickies.
Now that the awkward Sex-Ed lesson is over, let’s talk about the underlying issue with asking your partner how many people they’ve slept with: Why the fuck does anybody care?
I’m not writing this in order to get defensive about my number of partners, by the way. I’ve had sex with around 25 people since the end of 2012, and I’m perfectly proud of and comfortable with that number.
However, asking someone you’re dating about how many people they’ve slept with is a question meant to make them feel ashamed.
What’s the correct number? If they’ve slept with “too few” people, you’ll look at them as some kind of chaste prude; but if they’ve slept with a number you deem “too high,” something must be wrong with them. This idea is a trap, made to shame and guilt people with different sexual experiences and ideologies than you into feeling as though they’ve done something bad.