There are three numbers that every woman lies about, or refuses to disclose once they get to a certain point: her age, her weight, and her number of partners. I’m assuming it’s because men tend to be left-brain dominant (they like math and logic), and having a numerical breakdown of a girl makes it easy to view her as a list of facts, which, in many cases, is easier for them to interpret than their own feelings. We don’t want them to know the facts, for fear it makes us less desirable.
If you’re 19, you’re hot. If you’re 30 (YIKES!), you have nothing left to live for. You physically can NOT admit to weighing more than 125 pounds, because I don’t want anyone to know how fat I am. Guess what. People know how fat you are when they see you. I was recently told by a guy friend who finds himself constantly curious about my weight, “It’s somewhere between 105-125. I don’t know why you’re acting like it’s some big mystery.” He was right. And I was offended that he was right, because all this time, I thought that by keeping it to myself, it somehow made me appear skinnier, when in reality, the actual number has no bearing on what matters in regard to weight:
my health how I look.
Then, of course, there’s the other number — the number that people are so obsessed with, that it doesn’t even need to be defined. It’s simply “your number.”
No girl in the country has a number higher than 7. Except for your slutty best friend. She is the only girl who has slept with more than seven people. Seven is a safe stopping point. It says “Yes, I’ve had a few flings, two long-term boyfriends, and maybe a one-night stand on spring break, but I still have standards.” Seven is believable if you’re kind of wild, but it’s not outrageous. It’s explainable. It’s understandable. It’s a little higher than the purest of prudes, but it doesn’t make you undateable. Even if a girl has slept with upwards of 30 guys, she will tell you her number is 7.
Guys obsess over this, so in turn, we do too. Your sexual past can literally become the sole premise by which you are judged. It defines you. Whore. Such a negative and hateful word, making it clear that “this is what you are” not “this is something that you did.” Your actions, no matter how far in the past, have permanently branded you.
It begs the question, why? A lot of men are unable to provide explanations — “it’s just gross” — or they provide bad ones.
They’ll argue that if a girl has had a lot of partners, that she is indisputably incapable of keeping it in her pants, as if there’s some kind of slut gene or predisposition making it impossible not to hop on every dick she sees. Oh, you’ve been with 17 guys? Well, there’s a zero percent chance that you’ll be able to remain monogamous. It’s in your blood. I’ve got news for you, fellas, every time a skanky college girl walks across the graduation stage, a slut dies.
People claim that promiscuity makes a person “dirty,” or that once a girl hits double digits, she is just an incubus for STDs. Diseases are pretty cut-and-dry. You either have one, or you don’t, and your number has nothing to do with it. Sure, lifestyle may put you at a higher risk for contracting one, but a high number, in and of itself, does not cause Chlamydia to just manifest itself. If you slept with 23 guys in 2007, and have since been tested, a disease won’t just materialize within your loins, as if by magic. A girl’s past has no bearing on the state of her vagina. Her present does. Not to mention, that if a guy was so concerned with catching diseases, you wouldn’t have to beg him to use a condom.
The most laughable excuse is that a girl who’s had a lot of partners will be “stretched out.” The “hot dog in a hallway” adage is just erroneous. More partners does not a bigger vagina make. By the logic that intercourse could physically alter the size of a woman, more sex would stretch a girl out, not more partners, meaning monogamous girls getting plowed nightly by their boyfriends would be the types of girls whose vaginas you could walk inside of, look around, and then leave. The “sluts,” hooking up, say, once a month, would have vaginas that are literally 30 times smaller than your girlfriend. Luckily, neither of these things are actually indicators of a woman’s anatomy. A small woman is probably pretty small, and a large woman is probably a little larger. We all have the vaginas we’re born with and we’ll have them until the days we
die push a fetus through them.
So why then? If the commonly heard excuses are bogus, then why do people care about the number?
I explored a possibility, nearly two years ago on this very topic. I compared promiscuous women to “nice guys.” Both people possess qualities that the opposite sex would, in theory, look for in a partner — guys, for a girl who can rock their worlds…you know, sexually, and girls for a guy who treats them like a princess — yet both are disparaged upon. Nobody wants to date these people who can very obviously give them the things that they want.
My argument was that “nice guys” and “slutty girls” are both easy. There is no challenge involved, and most importantly, it makes you feel less special to get the person that everyone can have. It’s the fairytale to lock down a bad boy, to change him, and it’s the fantasy to get that girl who actually “never does this kind of thing,” to do it with you. It makes you feel awesome, because you were able to accomplish something that others could not. Conversely, “settling” for the nice guy, or the slut, is coupled with a feeling of embarrassment. Mikey hit that first. Liz’s boyfriend worshipped the ground Meg walked on before they started dating. It makes you feel less special — like you were somebody’s second choice.
This explanation was sufficient to me for a long time, but I’ve recently realized it’s inconclusive. It’s not just about the “type of girl.” It’s about the number, specifically. A guy would feel more intimidated by a girl who’d slept with seven boyfriends than with three one-night stands. Logically, the girl with the boyfriends is harder to get. She has higher standards. She is less likely to cheat. She is less likely to have STDs. All the things they say they struggle with, but all they hear is the number. The chronic girlfriend is 7. One-night Sally is 3. And three is more desirable than seven, no matter how you look at it. It doesn’t matter why, it only matters how many.
The permanency issue is also ever-present. I’ll use myself as an example (sort of). I have not had sex in a very, VERY, embarrassingly long time, and I don’t foresee that changing in the near future. I won’t sleep with a guy who isn’t my boyfriend. I refuse. I haven’t even seen a penis, let alone — err, housed one — in almost a year. For all intents and purposes, I am pretty hard to get (into bed — I’d be easy to get into a relationship). But if I were to tell a guy I had a super high number, that would be all he heard. It wouldn’t matter if “that’s not
who I am what I do any more.” My number is concrete and unchanging, and that’s what’s important to him. Again, it doesn’t matter when, it only matters how many.
Before I go on, I need to be clear, that this is not the case for every guy. There are some who are secure, and understanding. There are some who want you to have experienced all the different things — wonderful, fun, scandalous, and otherwise — that life threw your way. There are some, to whom, your past does not matter at all. There are some who realize your number doesn’t define you, but they’d still rather not know it, due to probable jealousy and fixation upon it. There are some who feel that your past is private, and it doesn’t even occur to them to wonder. And there are some who focus on it heavily, judge you for it, and deem you unworthy, because you dared to live your life before you met him. This is about those guys.
I truly believe that none of our feelings or our actions are “just because.” Consciously or subconsciously, there’s a reason for everything we do or feel (and I minored in psychology, so I’m basically an expert). This is no different.
A theory on this was recently presented to me, by two different men, totally independently of one another. I can’t prove or disprove it — no one can, because it would mean that every insecure man would have to set aside his ego, and admit that he felt insecure, which will never happen. Ego, oftentimes, exists to mask insecurity in the first place. This is mere theory, but I believe in it fully, and see value in it, nonetheless.
It’s all a fear of inadequacy. It is the only explanation that makes sense as to why the number itself is of monumental importance.
If you’ve slept with five guys, there is a chance that one of them was bigger and better than the guy you’re with now. If you’ve slept with ten guys, the likelihood that your man doesn’t quite stack up in comparison doubles. If you’ve slept with 20 men, you have almost definitely had a guy with a bigger penis than your man, and one who knew more about how to use it. That doesn’t bode well for menfolk.
That’s not to say that women aren’t guilty of the same insecurities in our own ways. I would not date a guy after, say, Adriana Lima did. Absolutely not. She is prettier than I am. She has a better body than I do. I would never, ever compare, and I would remember for all my life that I was not the best he’d ever had. That’s why women don’t like to date guys who are more attractive than they are (or even equally attractive to them). They have had impossibly beautiful women, and it makes you feel like he’s settling for you. That’s not a good feeling.
And ultimately, you want to be with a person who makes you feel good. Someone who’s good for your ego. Someone who brings you up when you’re down. Someone who doesn’t make you feel like you have to be perfect to keep up.
Nobody wants to admit that they feel inadequate, though, not even to themselves. Men have huge egos, and don’t ever want to admit that something is bruising it. So they turn it around. It’s not them who have the problem. It’s not that they couldn’t meet your needs. It’s not that they have a crippling fear of inferiority, real or perceived. It’s YOU who’s the problem. If you hadn’t been such a disgusting WHORE, you’d be happy right now. Rather than cope with their insecurities, they avoid them. Rather than face the fact that you might be mentally comparing them to another, to whom they pale in comparison, they avoid you altogether — their reasoning being that they are too good for you. And we believe them! Women live their entire lives curbing their behavior to appease men, and to stop from hurting their egos.
I’d imagine that a girl who’s dated an extremely rich, handsome, or successful man struggles to lock down the next one. She’s a gold-digger. She’s shallow. She’s in it for his success, not for him. But you can’t know intimate details about a guy by looking at him, so you’ve got to just use numbers and the statistic likelihood as your sole determinant.
We judge, lest we be judged. We put others down, lest we’re put down. That, I believe, to be the case with men who focus on numbers. Believing this won’t change the stigma, of course. At the end of the day, whether it’s due to discomfort or some other reason, men won’t actively seek a promiscuous woman. ‘Til the end of time, there will be people who argue that it doesn’t matter, and people who argue that it does. My advice will unwaveringly be to keep that information to yourself (or better yet, don’t even keep track — what you don’t know, you can’t feel guilty about); don’t reduce yourself to “just a number.”
Men will band together, and argue that the fears I’ve presented do not exist — that women only want an excuse to “make themselves feel better about being sluts.” But who’d so passionately refute an accusation that was not guilty of it? Just saying.