I didn’t think I was ashamed of the number of sexual partners I’ve had in the 20 years I’ve been getting it on until I found myself filling in a number half the true total at a recent gynecologist appointment. Although I know doctors are trained not to judge, and this doctor in particular had been particularly kind, helpful and professional when I’d seen her previously, in my head, all of a sudden the number (at best an approximation as I haven’t kept an exact count in year) seemed like cause for alarm. Even if I never had to say it out loud and its size was simply one more piece of data for her to use in evaluating me, something about it made me erase what I’d typed in the online form and halve it. As it turned out, she didn’t even ask me a single thing about my number, so that fretting was for naught—except that it taught me a lesson: slut shaming isn’t just something other people do to us, but something we can do to ourselves. Keep reading »
The previews for the Anna Faris vehicle “What’s Your Number?” couldn’t make me want to see that movie any less if they added “Exorcist”-style projectile vomiting. The premise, if you have magically managed to miss the media blitz, is that Faris’ character realizes her list of sexual partners has one more digit than most of her friends’. She spirals into a panic attack induced by slut-shaming and spends the rest of the movie trying not to add a new guy to the list. It’s supposed to be funny, but I can’t work up more of a response than a frustrated eye-roll and a long, exasperated sigh.
Here’s the thing about counting sexual partners: context matters. A number is just a number. It gives no background on the who, what, when, where, and why. If we want to judge people’s sexual activity (which I’m not convinced we do), the qualitative matters so much more than the quantitative. Keep reading »
This piece originally appeared on The Frisky and The Good Men Project in February, but is being republished on both sites as the film “What’s Your Number?” hits theaters nationwide.
Judging from what I read online and hear from my students, the question of the “number” is as compelling as ever. This month, Marie Claire ran an article, “What’s Your Number?” in which five women (whose numbers ranged from zero to 100) told their stories. The March issue of Cosmopolitan Australia features the same discussion, noting that 59 percent of readers surveyed thought knowing a partner’s exact number was important, and that 33 percent of those same readers had lied about their own pasts, claiming fewer sexual partners than they’d actually had.
The more men his girlfriend has slept with, the greater number of lovers to which she can compare his skills. It’s easier to win a contest against two than against 20, he figures.
Beware of guys named Chris, Charles, Dennis, and James. According to a new study from SmartDate.com, dudes with names that end in the letter ‘s’ tend to be “players”—their word, not mine. Guys with these names have more sexual partners in their lifetime than others—while the average guy in the study has slept with 5.2 partners, these guys have had sex with more like 10 or 11. Ditto for Matts and Lukes. Apparently, you’re better off finding an Edward, Dylan, Frank, or Jason—who, according to the survey, have only had a single partner. Unless of course, more experience is what you’re after.
Oh, but they did the same analysis on ladies’ names, too. Keep reading »