When You Don’t Remember The Name Of Someone You’ve Slept With

Yesterday, I was playing that really fun game where you count the number of people you’ve slept with. Please don’t judge me because we’ve all done it. Although I’m not sure why because it seems like no matter what your number ends up being, there’s a good chance you’ll feel bad about yourself afterwards. If it’s too high, you’ll think you’re a slut and if it’s too low, you’ll wonder if you’re an undesirable freak who no one wants to sleep with.

In my case, however, I felt neither. Apparently I’m like the Goldilocks of sex—my number was just right! I did end up in a shame spiral about something entirely different though. As I was nearing the end of my list, I was reminded of the one-night-stand I had in London over a year ago and couldn’t, for the life of me, remember the guy’s name. I thought real hard. “John, Simon, My Favorite Mistake, My Ultimate Mistake…” No, none of these names were ringing a bell.

I was in uncharted territory here because I am typically someone of a somewhat prudish nature. I don’t sleep around; monogamy is my # 1 jam. Even if I’m hooking up with someone who I don’t particularly like, I have to date them for a few months so it feels like I’ve at least tried to turn it into something real. So the thought of being with a random whose name I would later forget seemed unfathomable to me. But here it was, staring back at me. Mr. What Was His Name? I’ll never know. Right now, he might be updating his Facebook status with something like “I love my name. Don’t I have the best name? Thanks Mom and Dad for bestowing me with such a memorable name.” and I will never know because I don’t know who he is.

This discovery raised a lot of questions for me about intimacy. We would like to think (or at least I would) that when you sleep with someone, you gain some sort of connection with them. You see their naked body, you do so-called intimate acts with them that are meant to bond the two of you on some sort of level. But now I’m starting to think that it’s all bullshit. In fact, sleeping with someone you don’t have strong feelings for seems like the quickest way to absolve any chance of intimacy. Sure, I may remember the names of everyone else I slept with and I might even know the general ballpark of their birthdays, but for the most part, I didn’t know them in a way that I know my closest friends. It now seems easier to open your legs for someone than cry on their shoulder in a cab.

This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be, this wasn’t the way I planned it. Sex was supposed to mean intimacy. Sex was supposed to mean tell me everything about you, I want to know. And for some of the people I was with, it was. But for most, sex ended up meaning “Um, I don’t really understand you and I won’t be vulnerable with you but I will give you a BJ again, I guess! That’s something I can do for you.”

It was naive of me to think that everyone I would have sex with would later serve a greater purpose in my life. That’s just not the way it works. If it did, maybe that would be overload. Everyone is just too different and you can’t spark with every person you bed. Sex is like the appetizer for many relationships and most don’t make it to the entree which is, “Meet my parents. Tell me about your greatest fear. Clean up my vomit.” I guess I just hoped to have a lot of entrees.

Now that I’m thinking of it, my most intimate moments with someone don’t even involve sex. They involve someone holding my hand in a cab or stroking my hair or crying to me in their backyard. They’ve been with my lovers but the majority of them have also been with my friends.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if I remember someone’s name or not. It’s a technicality. In fact, I might as well not know the names of some of the other boys I’ve been with because it wouldn’t make a difference. I couldn’t connect with them; their names are just the extra fat that’s weighing down my list. Snip snip. TC mark

Image via Mazzali

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • Anonymous

    “Now that I’m thinking of it, my most intimate moments with someone don’t even involve sex. They involve someone holding my hand in a cab or stroking my hair or crying to me in their backyard.”

    • Anonymous

      In seriousness, though, having your hair played with for any significant amount of time is one of the nicest things a person can do for you.

      It just feels more intimate. More selfless. More present. More rare. I mean, how often do you gently grope a person’s *head*? How often are you willing to lay beside a drunken random and just stroke their hair for hours while getting nothing in return? There’s a prerequisite  component of *care* to it that isn’t necessarily there with sex. It just feels meaningful.

      I’m sex positive to the max, but there’s something about having someone’s fingers in my hair that has made me dole those moments out like a big-time prude. I love it, but I guess at heart I’m a just a big scalp tease.

      • http://profiles.google.com/tturadr Alex Hamilton

        It seems that guys especially like this. Some days you just wanna forgo the HJs and BJs for the relaxation of a nice long SJ.

  • http://eccentricerrant.wordpress.com/ Alexandrea

    “Apparently I’m like the Goldilocks of sex—my number was just right!” LOL.

    If you’re the Goldilocks of sex, I think I may be Cinderella. Still haven’t found that perfect fit.

  • Guesty

    9 is a great number just, like, as a number.  But it makes me feel bad that it’s low.  But it makes me feel good that I’ve never regretted any sexual decision I’ve made.  But then I feel bad about not taking more risks.  And then I feel really bad for having wasted years being insecure and half-assedly suicidal when I could have been getting laid. 

    • Anonymous

      If you overcame insecurity and suicidal ideations and became a confident, decent person, I wouldn’t worry about the handful of likely-meaningless sloppy drunk hook-ups it cost you.

      You’ve got nothing to feel bad about, buddy!

      • Guesty


    • Abc

      9 is low? So low that it makes you feel bad?

      • Guesty

        I wish I had banged more people, man!  

      • http://eccentricerrant.wordpress.com/ Alexandrea

        If Guesty feels bad about 9, I guess I should feel suicidal now over my own number.

      • http://eccentricerrant.wordpress.com/ Alexandrea

        If Guesty feels bad about 9, I guess I should feel suicidal now over my own number.

      • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

        Even if your # was 99, you should never do the world (and the future #s) such a disservice by putting your well-honed skill set to waste!

    • Guest

      9? how old are you? that seems pretty high..

  • http://twitter.com/atfreedom Andrew Freeman


  • boss

    I only read Though Catalog for Ryan. Bravo my friend you are the shit.

  • http://twitter.com/bethanie_m Bethanie Marshall

    Thankfully I remember all of their names. Unfortunately, I would rather forget a few. 

  • A.

    Scalp tease? Totally using that.

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome.

      I accept payment in the form of scalp rubs. (I might also be a scalp whore.)

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    Enjoyed this a lot – for more than a few reasons. So glad someone out there is a Goldilocks!

  • Jordan

    my most intimate moment was sharing a cigarette with the man i loved, at 4am. florence was dead quiet that night, it was like it was just us.

    • http://www.facebook.com/t.jason.ham Jason Ham

      BUT WHAT WAS HIS/HER NAME?!?!!?!?!?


    • http://www.facebook.com/t.jason.ham Jason Ham

      BUT WHAT WAS HIS/HER NAME?!?!!?!?!?


  • http://www.facebook.com/Cock.Thunder Joseph Anthony Nicoletti

    “I guess I just hoped to have a lot of entrees.” 
    yeah….me too </3

  • Guest

    This article makes me really sad.

  • http://twitter.com/ingenuegle Egle Makaraite

    Best thing I’ve ever read by you! Commendably done.

  • http://nowebsite eric

    i stumbled upon this with a search for “i don’t remember the name of someone i slept with…
    I was thinking about someone i slept with (we even worked together…) i can remember her face, her body size/shape, and almost everything else about her… but i cannot remember her name… I am ashamed of it. I never thought of myself as the kind of person to just forget something like that. O, and my number only 11…. so i can remember 10/11ths of the names of people i slept with, pretty pitiful really…

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