Every summer for the last few years I have felt like something of a social pariah due to my flat out refusal to watch a particular reality show that seems to grip the entire nation within the UK, called “Love Island”. As the name would suggest, the show centres around people trying to find love or, failing that, a few million social media followers. I’m something of a conscientious objector when it comes to modern reality TV shows and refuse to watch them on principle because for me, nothing will ever top the first few series of “Big Brother” and the original series of “Jersey Shore”. I don’t watch Love Island because I am a bitter, aging hag who hates watching attractive people being happy and having fun (although don’t get it twisted – if Love Island had been around when I was 21 then I would have been on that island faster than you could say “Factor 50”), yet quite literally everyone I know, from my mum to my best friend, watches Love Island with the sort of unwavering devotion that I imagine people use to feel about religion in like the 16th Century.
Despite never having watched any of the series, I could still probably write you quite a decent Tinder bio for every contestant simply because I see and read so much about each of them on Twitter and Instagram. One of the latest such Twitter titbits that caught my attention was a meme that referenced one of the girls from the show’s “bodycount”.
Now, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll probably have already read the story in which I posted this meme and then dissected it because frankly I think it is fucking nonsense. Basically one of the 20 year old female contestants had mentioned how she’d slept with 11 men and people were genuinely outraged. The age of legal consent for sex in the UK is 16 years old. Putting aside the fact that how many people anybody has slept with is really not relevant, For a 20 year old woman to have had 11 sexual partners that would mean she’s slept with approximately 3 men a year, for the last 4 years. 3 men in 365 days! That’s NOTHING! And you’re trying to shame her for that? Fuck me, you lot would have had a FIELD DAY if I’d ever gone on there.
I’m now going to tell you something that probably won’t shock you all that much: I have fucked a lot of men. Like, to the point where sometimes I bump into men I know and have to ask either my friends or the man himself “Have I slept with him/you?”. You might think that makes me a whore but really, I think it means that there’s a lot of men out there who need to step their game up if they want me to remember them.
I love sex but I also went through some very dark and low points in my late teens and early twenties, where my mental health was so fucked that it sometimes hurts me in my chest to think back over that time. I was very very broken and damaged and lost inside my own head and the only time I felt like I was present in the moment was when I was having sex. I also spent a LOT of time doing that old age thing that so many of us women sadly fall into where I measured my own self-worth on what men thought of me. The way I viewed myself and the way I was behaving wasn’t healthy at all and I had a couple of breakdowns and a LOT of counselling to get past that. I can’t erase that period of my life and I’m not ashamed of it, nor am I using the mental health angle to try and justify my excess “bodycount” to you, because there is nothing to justify. What I am attempting to do is to show you that there is often a deeper reason behind everything. Do I regret any of it? Of course – I met tons of dickheads and was also subjected to some really quite messed up shit at times, but I’ve also had a LOT of rather excellent, kinky, dirty, filthy sex and I know now what I like and how to get it. All of us as humans seem to understand that we ourselves have a depth and multiple layers to us that other people aren’t always privy to and yet can never seem to comprehend that about other people. I guess it’s just easier to make slut shaming memes instead.
So in my quest for knowledge I posted a question on my Insta, asking my male followers WHY the number of men a woman has slept with matters to them and, as promised, I’m going to run you through some of the answers. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the responses I got as the vast majority of replies said that number of sexual partners didn’t really matter to them and that it would only matter if they knew some of the men a woman had slept with. (note to self: stop sleeping with men I fancies friends first, it never ends well). So without further ado:
Higher risk of STIS
Obviously in theory the more people you sleep with the higher your risk of catching an sexually transmitted infection is BUT you could also sleep with 100 people and get no STI because none of them had one or you could sleep with 5 people and get an STI because one of them had one. The stigma around STIs needs to go too but that’s a post for another day. Let’s remove the sexual health factor from the equation anyway as I don’t think that’s most people’s real concern and besides, you should be using a condom anyway, you moose.
It’s Okay for Men to Do it but Women Can’t
A couple of people pointed out the old cliché of it being okay for men to have as much sex as they want but that if a woman does it, she’s a whore. I’ve talked about this before here – everyone who pointed this out to me did say how unfair they found this and obviously I agree but I also think that is quite an outdated idea anyway. I feel like there is still this outdated ideology that women should be the purer of the two sexes but in my personal experience, I know my own friends would be as equally put off by a potential male suitor who has had 500 sex partners as our male counterparts may be if encountering a woman who has done the same.
I am also not even going to waste my breath talking about the ridiculous notion that multiple partners makes a woman “loose”. Men who think this are giving way too much credit to their penis. You’re not Zues, jamming your big old literal thunderbolt up inside us. Your cock is a stick of muscle and tendons not some all-powerful weapon of destruction, you morons.
The Real Issue
I think a lot of men’s real issue with a woman having multiple partners is that they think that she is now somehow less “pure” and “worthy”. It is very hard being part of a gender in which men expect you to simultaneously be both sexy as fuck but also, never have had sex before. It’s also quite strange being part of a generation of such forward thinking, open minded people who believe anything is possible and yet still, fundamentally hold very traditional ideas on how both men and women should act and behave. Sex is nice. It’s such a fun, enjoyable thing to do and everyone who has had sex knows this, so why do we try and vilify people who act on such a basic human impulse? I don’t think it’s a case of jealousy that fuels this disgust at women having loads of sex, it’s the idea of power and ownership. A lot of men want to feel like a woman belongs to them, that she waited around, all misty eyed and sighing a lot, doing all the housework in silence and never looking a man in the eye until they came along, full of spunk and with countless notches on their own bed posts to give this woman the best five minutes of her life in her own, unblemished bed. Remember, in some cultures, the bedsheets of newly married couples are still to this day inspected after the wedding night for traces of blood to prove that the bride was a virgin and that this was her first-time having sex. Do you know what a gross invasion of privacy that is…not to mention just plain fucking gross.
That being said, I will admit that I was actually quite surprised by a lot of the responses I had and trust me, very little surprises me these days. A lot of the guys who responded said that meeting a woman who has had a lot of sexual partners makes them worry that they may not be as good as previous lovers and that they could find that intimidating. Despite knowing how fragile male pride can be (sorry guys but its true!) this was something that hadn’t even crossed my mind because, as you may have noticed, I’m not a man. Worrying about how you might measure up, both figuratively and literally, can obviously be a valid worry, I’ll give you that one.
Some guys also said that the idea of a woman having a large number of previous sexual partners would lead them to worry that they alone might not be able to satisfy here which actually, I can relate to. In recent years I seem to always have a higher sex drive than the men I’ve coupled up with and although I’ve never cheated – not that I can remember, anyway – I have had men state matter of factly that they are sure I am gonna cheat, because I want to have sex too often. My reply is usually “well man the fuck up then”, which may or may not explain why I am perpetually single but hey: this woman has needs.
As far as I am concerned, the only time your bodycount is relevant is if you’re a serial killer and since I’m no Aileen Wurnos, I plead the fifth when anybody asks me what my own “number” is because really, what does it matter? Personally I don’t think you can learn what you like unless you’ve had some variety. I always wince when I hear about people who married their first love or settled down at like 19 years old because life is all about experiences and seeing whats out there. Why tap out in the best years of your life!? I’m not saying those relationships don’t work out and I’m a single parent so obviously not the first person anyone should be coming to for advice on love. Of course you can have just as equally a happy and healthy sex life with one loving partner as you can ten (although there does tend to be less love involved if all ten are present at the same time) but in the same vein you can’t expect to meet a woman who fucks and sucks like a pornstar if you also want her to have never been around any penises before. You can’t have it both ways.
Women aren’t sullied or “dirty” or damaged goods just because they have had sex with a couple of people. Our bodies are our own to do with them what you wish and as long as you are safe and happy why the fuck does it matter? If you meet a girl in a bar that you like, she makes you laugh, you’re interested in what she has to say, you think she’s fine as hell and then you discover a month later that she’s slept with 30 men and that suddenly somehow erases all her other good qualities then you sir, are a fucking idiot. Ignorance is definitely bliss, so if you’re someone who gets affected by something like a number then do yourself a favour and just don’t ask. Focus on the present and not the past. If you judge me on how many men I’ve been with then that’s totally your prerogative, but you’re not a person I’d be interested in spending any time with anyway so it’s a win-win situation for us both.
As long as the sex you are having is consensual, fun and safe then who gives a fuck what strangers on the internet think of you? Happy humping my friends, happy humping!