I lay on the messy sheets of a twin extra long bed, still kind of drunk, after I had finished — ahem — reacquainting myself with my favorite booty call. I was on the verge of falling asleep as he ran his fingers up and down my spine. “What’s your number?” He asked me. For a second, I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. I knew he wasn’t talking about my phone number. He already had that, and trust me, he used it.
I laughed quietly to myself when I realized what he was actually asking me. “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours,” I mumbled. I wasn’t about to come out and say how many guys I had slept with — not if he didn’t tell me first, at least. It wasn’t that I was embarrassed about the number of people I had gotten it on with. Hell, I was kind of proud of it actually, but I would never admit that.
I went to college in a small town in Mississippi. It was a place where people went to church every Sunday and still vowed to keep themselves “pure” until marriage. It was a culture shock for me. Back in my northern hometown, almost none of my friends were virgins, but when I went south for school, I was surprised by how many of my new friends were. I was no longer as open with people about how many different guys I had slept with. I was afraid to become the subject of stray conversations. I had been in the room for plenty of them, and being deemed a “slut” or “easy” was not something I aspired to.
I felt him sigh underneath me. “I asked you first,” he said. I traced lazy circles on his chest. “Nope,” I said. “You have to tell me, or I won’t tell you.” I wanted to know how far apart our numbers were. I didn’t care at all about how many girls he had had sex with, and even if I did, I couldn’t change it. We were both young and allowed to have sex with as many people as we wanted to.
No one ever asked me how many different movies I’d seen, how many T-shirts I’d worn, or how many different kinds of ice cream I’d eaten, because no one cared. It doesn’t matter if I’ve sampled all thirty-one of Baskin-Robbins’s premium flavors or if I’ve only ever eaten vanilla and will only ever eat vanilla. Why should it matter how many people I’ve had sex with? Because sex is more interesting. Because we’re taught to think that sex is wrong and dirty if you’re not married. For some reason, we think that having sex with multiple people makes the experience less important, or fun or right, and that’s not true. Having a really good experience with one person does’t negate the importance of all of the others, and that’s what we should be taught. We shouldn’t be taught to shame people for doing what they have every right to do.
“Seven,” he told me.
“Six,” I said. He nodded, closed his eyes, and pulled me into him as we fell asleep..