As I am re-watching Sex and the City episodes for the millionth time, I come upon an episode where Miranda faces chlamydia and is advised by her doctor to contact past partners.
So she begins to write a list of every man she’s slept with (that she can remember, of course) and her number is up in the 40’s.
Now, a year or two ago, my jaw would’ve dropped and I would’ve judged the hell out of her. 40 men!!? That’s a whole lot of men to open yourself up to, both literally and figuratively. Even Miranda agreed, who made the joke of asking how she had enough time to do all these men and get her law degree.
But within these past few weeks I’ve questioned my own number of sexual partners and wondered ‘how many is too many?’
I’ve spent hours of my life thinking about my number and discussing it with my friends. Most of my friends say, who cares? As long as you’re safe, screw whoever you want.
And as easy as that is to say, with a high number comes great social stigma.
Samantha, the most riskay of the four woman, has slept with 41 men and 1 woman on the show, and this is only on the show (once she was already in her late 30’s). So we can imagine that her number is even higher than those 42 individuals. Although she doesn’t care at all and is very comfortable with her sexuality…her friends, and us as viewers, judge her.
Carrie, who is narrating and has slept with as many men as she has shoes, says, “If you’re a 30-something woman living in Manhattan and you refuse to settle and are sexually active, it’s inevitable that you’ll rack up a certain number of partners.”
And I begin to look at my own number and wonder, if I’m still single by the time I’m Miranda’s age, in my 30’s, my number could look a lot like hers.
I’m happily sitting in my early 20’s, having started having sex in my teens, and I’ve just recently reached the double digits. And reaching those double digits were traumatizing to me. Paid my therapist a visit traumatizing.
Was I sleeping around too much? Was I opening myself up too quickly?
So I wrote a list. The dreadful list that almost every woman avoids writing. And mine only took a few minutes to compose; 5 boyfriends, 2 guys I was dating, 3 friends with benefits. Not even one, one-night stand. And immediately, as soon as I hit the double digits (10 in 5 years), I thought…am I a slut?
Then I re-watched this episode and I wondered, could I be like Miranda (I am in most every other way). Sitting in her 30’s, writing down her 40’s? Assuming she has been having sex since she was 16, she’s slept with 3 men per year. At my rate, if I don’t get married before I’m in my 30’s, I would be right there with her.
There’s a movie with Anna Faris called What’s my Number, where a woman reads an article that if you sleep with more than 20 men you’ll have a harder time finding a lifelong partner. So rather than go over 20, she tracks down all her past sexual partners to see if there’s one guy who she overlooked a future with.
During an earlier scene, she has all her friends play a game where they write down their sexual partner number and put it in the middle of the table. Then they guess who it belongs to. And all of the friends judged the one or two girls who were over eight men.
Well, I’m not in my late 20’s or early 30’s like these women were and I’m already over than nice little number of eight.
If you start having sex when you’re 16 and you date and happen not to land upon your Prince Charming, that little number doesn’t leave you much room for mistakes.
The biggest question of all though is, who the fuck cares? My friends clearly don’t. In the moment, I clearly don’t. And according to the guys I’ve been with, they clearly don’t (and they don’t even ask).
Now many of you might say, ‘hello, didn’t you see that the only reason Miranda was examining her number was because she had chlamydia.” That’s a good reason to care. I agree, it is a good reason. But chances are that even if you sleep with only a few select people, you could be the 1 in 4 people who contract an STI in their lifetime. STI’s don’t discriminate so don’t think you’re anything special.
So if we take sexually transmitted diseases off the table, who says I can’t sleep with whoever I want? Who says I can’t rack up my number like Samantha? Or slowly add 3 per year like Miranda?
Or better yet, why does my number matter? Why does society make it matter?
Whether you’ve slept with 30 people or 60 or even 100, that doesn’t change who you are as a person are. It’s ridiculous that there is even a stigma attached to a number of sexual partners.
Because at the end of the day, who gives a fuck about how many you fuck? I wish I had known this before I spent the money on my therapist.