OK, so I sat down and wrote down a list of all the guys I’ve slept with. I actually took a paper and pen and tried to think back on every cock, ass, or lips that I’ve ever come into contact with. I defined “guys I’ve slept with” as anything more than heavy petting. It’s not an easy exercise. My list includes people like “Cotton Candy guy”, “Tattooed short NY guy”, “Really clean weird guy” and, my favorite, “Julian Barnes Thief.” This, of course, has led me to wonder how I would end up on other people’s lists. I’m hoping it’s something close to “Amazing fuck guy” or “Awesome blogger guy” or, better yet, “Charming, witty, sexy guy who can’t pronounce his Rs.”
While the fact that I don’t know or remember the names of all the guys I’ve slept with makes me feel a tiny bit slutty, at least I remember every guy I’ve slept with (I think!). When I finished the exercise, which took 2 days, I counted them up.
That’s my number.
I quickly tried to figure out if that number was “acceptable”. Because I grew up in a world that associates many sexual partners with promiscuity and sin, my first reaction was to rationalize my number with this little calculation:
I’m 33 years old. I started having sex at the age of 14. I’ve been in committed relationships for a total of 8 years, with 3 different guys (not at the same time! I’m not The Therapist). I have spent 4 years since the age of 14 when I was not sexually active at all (puberty, shyness, closet-ness are to blame for that!). This basically boils down to 3.3 guys per active year (It’s soooo easy to identify the .3 of each year, but I’m no size queen!).
Suddenly, the number seemed a bit more manageable. Nothing to boast about, but nothing to be ashamed of either (whichever way you look at it).
Next step was to compare myself to my friends. I expected the reactions to be drastically different between my gay friends and my straight friends. And they were. Most of my gay friends found the number to be low to average. Most straight friends found the number to be high to very high to DAMN!
I know. This makes it seem like gay men are promiscuous (I hate that word!). Except that’s stupid and simplistic.
Taking a closer look at my discussions with my friends, it was easy to see that the reactions differed not only according to sexual orientation, but also according to gender. While most gay men found the number to be completely normal, almost all the straight men’s initial reactions were shock at how high the number was, followed by jealousy and respect. I heard things like “It’s pretty impressive actually” and “I fucking hate you gays. You’re so damn lucky! You get sex whenever you want it.” and “I wish I had that much sex!”
The women, on the other hand, were more cautious. Initially, they all commented on how hard it was for them to feel at ease with a partner. They said things like “It takes me forever to get comfortable enough to sleep with someone” or “I’ve slept with 3 guys and my boyfriend thinks that’s too much” or “Everyone would be calling me a slut if I slept with that many people!” Yet, all of the women stated that when they weren’t having sex for periods of time, they would get horny (though the word itself scared almost all of them). They all said that, ideally, they would like more sex (though not necessarily more partners).
Again, the easy conclusion here is to say that men are promiscuous, and women are not. I think it proves the exact opposite actually. Everyone wants sex. Gay men get it easily because there is no one to say no to them. Straight men get it whenever they can, but it’s not easy. Straight and gay women only get it when they feel comfortable enough with the partner. My one sentence explanation for all of this: society, expectations, stigma, glorification of female virginity, pressure, fear of pregnancy, trust. That’s a different blogpost altogether.
What I wanted to know is how comfortable I would be sharing that number. Would people judge me? Would they look down on me? Would they act differently? Will I find it harder/easier to get new partners based on that number?
I rewrote this post a couple of times. First, I wrote it with the number included. Then I freaked out and removed it. Then I rewrote it, hinting at the number, but not being specific. Then I realized this was a problem. Why should people judge me based on the number of partners I’ve had? More importantly, why was I so worried/ashamed/trying to justify my number?
So the conclusion is this: I’ve slept with 27 men. If you can use that against me in any way, go fuck yourself.
Now who wants to be #28?