On a rainy NYC afternoon, my friend Danielle is trying to figure out her “number.” You know, notches on her belt. “Does it count if he didn’t cum?” Yes. “Does it count if it didn’t penetrate ’cause it was floppy?” No. “Does it count if it was only in for 2 seconds?” Yes. “Does it count if it totally sucked?” Unfortunately, yes. These are the questions we, as women, ask ourselves to figure out what constitutes another notch. Because the goal is to keep the number low (relatively speaking). Danielle, 29 years old, calculates her number to be 32 (give or take a drunken night of ‘we might have fucked’). Disgusted by her relatively high number for her age, she paces around her apartment and asks, “Do you think I should lie about my number if a guy asks?” Tricky tricky.
There is so much stigma associated with our “number.” For a guy, we expect your number to be higher (than ours, at least), and it’s almost suspicious if your number is too low. And for us girls, it seems that if our number is above our age, we’re a certified skank. I started to really think about this and thought, how is sleeping with lots of people (given you’re using protection) different than sleeping with the same person over and over again? It’s a matter of frequency vs. unique visitors. If our number is based on frequency, then the ones regularly fucking their long time boyfriend/girlfriend would have much higher numbers than those sleeping around with different people. But no, our number is based on unique visitors, which says, society doesn’t care how much sex you’re having, it’s really how many people you’re having sex with.
So for you, as the guy, you don’t care how torn up our vagina is from having lots of sex, but rather, how many other dudes have seen it and tapped it. It seems a little odd, right? ‘Cause let’s say Danielle has only had one-night-stands, so she’s only had sex 32 times. Then, let’s say this other chick Cheryl, same age as Danielle, has been with one guy and they fuck like bunnies. She’s had sex 5,690 times. Wouldn’t you rather be with the more in-tact vagina? Which makes me wonder, is the stigma of our “number” really rooted in men’s territorial nature. You don’t want to piss at the fire hydrant where many others have taken a piss, too.
But I will also argue that women place the same type of stigma on ourselves. When our number goes up, it’s a measurement of how many failed relationships (real or attempted) that we’ve had. Also, it seems that the more people we sleep with, the more unhappy we are. In a study conducted by two sociologists, female happiness was strongly correlated with sexual stability. In this NY Times article, it summarizes the findings:
“Among the young people Regnerus and Uecker studied, the happiest women were those with a current sexual partner and only one or two partners in their lifetime. Virgins were almost as happy, though not quite, and then a young woman’s likelihood of depression rose steadily as her number of partners climbed and the present stability of her sex life diminished.”
It makes perfect sense because let me be honest with you here, most men suck in bed at first. Really amazing sex usually comes from two people being together for a while and they get to know each others’ bodies. The more sexual partners we have, it implies that the more one-night-stands or short lived fuck buddies we’ve had. And sex is hardly good with one-night-stands, because both people are selfish. They each want to get off and don’t care much about their partner. So what happens? More bad sex = increased pissiness. “Shit. I gave it up and it sucked ass. What a pointless increase in my number.”
What can we takeaway from this? 1) A woman’s “number” is not necessarily a “slut meter.” 2) An unhappy woman has gotten aroouuunnnnnd.