Stop Counting. Numbers Aren’t Definitions.

Mads Bødker
Mads Bødker

Alright. This isn’t REALLY about mathematics. No algebra, trig, or calculus to stumble over here. Just some very basic counting on your fingers, or maybe fingers and toes. Maybe you need to grab a friend and borrow his/her fingers and toes too. Maybe you’ll need to make a list.

Wait. Actually, stop. Stop it right now.

You know what question pisses me off more than anything? It’s awkward, rude, and personally, I think it’s something that concerns ONLY YOU. Maybe a friend, if you’re having one of those bestie-to-bestie, heart-to-heart wine nights and you’re really getting personal and deep.

The question I can’t stand is “How many people have you slept with?”

Let me just say, to those of you who think it’s okay to ask this question, “WHAT THE FUCK DOES IT MATTER?!”

Let me also give you a few reasons why it does not matter:

• It doesn’t concern you. Not even if you’re worried about getting an STD. We have a different question for that, which would be: “Do you have an STD?” See how that works? Weird.

• It’s never going to become less. You don’t just get to cross people off the list or pretend it never happened. The past has already happened, and you can’t change that. You can only control your future. (Cliché, I know. Shut up.)

• This number doesn’t define anything about a person. I believe that this fact is the most important and YOU ALL NEED TO LISTEN.

Once upon a time, somebody told me that it mattered because it would tell them what sex meant to me. And I’ll be honest…. I had been fucking all around through college and high school. A few one night stands, a ton of boyfriends, and some of those in-betweens that I really, really liked but never got very serious with.

Oh yeah, and this person also said he doesn’t judge people. That’s something else you should all stop saying, but that’s for another article. What’s important is that by asking that question, you are BLATANTLY JUDGING SOMEONE.

Anyway, back to the main point – Sure. I had a lot of sex with a lot of people. Sometimes it meant little to nothing… I just wanted to drunkenly make a connection with somebody I was attracted to. Y’all can’t tell me there’s any easier way to do that with two attractive drunk people – I don’t care who you are. And maybe I was naïve, or going about it the wrong way. But it’s what happened and the past isn’t going to change.

But some of those people…. Some of those people meant the world to me back then. And the sex was magical because of it. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you’ve done, or who you’ve fucked; You can still have one of those out-of-the-ballpark sexual connections with someone, if they are right for you.

Maybe somebody had a lot of sexual partners because they were confused. Or had daddy issues. Or were discovering their sexual identity. Or simply just fell in love easily. OR MAYBE THEY JUST WANTED TO BECAUSE IT’S THEIR BODY AND THEY CAN DO WHAT THEY DAMN WELL PLEASE.

Regardless of their reason, the number of people they have had sex with does not tell you anything about them except just that. Even the most modest women could have a large number, or even the wildest party girl could still be a virgin.

Additionally, this does not have an effect on a person’s ability to be exactly what someone else needs. So what if he fucked over 100 girls? He could still be your knight in shining armor. He can still love you more than anyone else, and he can still be the man you marry and live happily ever after with. If not though, you don’t have the right to just call him a man whore and blame his choice of not wanting to marry you on the many women he’s fucked before. Maybe you’re just not princess material.

• Asking someone how many people they’ve slept with just allows you more room for anxiety. It’s only going to make you self-conscious about how good they think you are in bed, how much hotter the other 12 people might’ve been than you, how much bigger their junk was than yours (or tits, if you’re a chick)….etc. I could go on. Once, a guy told me to never tell the man I might marry how many people I’ve slept with because no matter what it is, he will always feel burdened by it. So how about, you just don’t ask.

• You’re just dehumanizing a number of other people. Turning them into a number. Maybe it was his/her first love, and then maybe someone else she thought could be her husband one day. Maybe a one night stand. Maybe it wasn’t even consensual, and you’re blaming her for something that she had no control over and still haunts her (or him). Hopefully you are one of those wonderful humans who believes that every life is valuable – if so, give thought to the fact that you’re just objectifying those people and devaluing them because of your own insecurities.

Now, all these things said, I hope you understand the title of this post. Girls, (and guys, because feminism and stuff), PLEASE! Stop counting the number of people you’ve slept with. Maybe it’s only 4 and it’s easy to remember so you don’t even have to count. If so, you go, Glen Coco. But if you’re like me, and it takes a little effort, just stop.

It doesn’t matter. You are valuable whether you have slept with 30 people or none. You can be a sexual being when and wherever and with whomever you choose. But that doesn’t define you. It doesn’t tell us about any of your strengths or talents or weaknesses and shortcomings. It doesn’t tell us how you can’t help but to laugh at fart jokes. It doesn’t help us know any better that you’re terribly afraid of growing up, or the dark, or that you’re an awful painter but a great actor.

If you were in a room full of new people, and told to give them some information about yourself, what are you going to say? I can bet you all the money I have that not a single damn person is going to say “I’ve never had sex” or “I’ve slept with ___ people.”

It doesn’t define you. You choose what defines you. So go erase that secret list stored in your notes in your iPhone, or throw away that little piece of paper with all their initials on it. Erase the word document that’s oh-so-cleverly named and hidden in your internships folder. Stop being ashamed of your sexuality, your preferences, and your choices. Like we discussed before; you can’t change them. If you’re regretful, forgive yourself. Free yourself. Sleep with whomever you want, or stop sleeping with people if that’s what has you bothered. But just know that whichever you decide STILL WILL NOT DEFINE WHO YOU ARE.

And for those of you asking that question…. Grow the fuck up. Learn to get to know someone without judging them based upon their sex life. Oh yeah, and if you’re just asking to “figure out what sex means to someone” how about you get a clue and JUST ASK THEM WHAT IT MEANS TO THEM. TC mark

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