Everyone has an idea of the number of partners they’ve had over their lifetime. If you say you don’t, you’re lying. If you really don’t remember that’s because you have to get blackout drunk to have no-strings sex and that is a topic for a different post. In our heads, the number is like a check to see where we stack up against everyone else. We wonder if we have had enough partners, if we’ve had too many or too few.
In any relationship, the question of how many people you've slept with will come up. Often we don’t want to share because we think people will think badly of us. We’ll lie to make the number seem more palatable. I’ll tell you my number. It’s 78. Do you know why I am so willing to share? Because it doesn’t fucking matter. Do you know what a 2010 poll found to be the average? Six. How do I feel about being General Slutacular over here? I don’t care. Why? Because it doesn’t fucking matter.
Do you want to know what matters? What matters is that I had fun. What matters is that I was not raped, or coerced. What matters is that I played with the amount of risk I was comfortable with and no more. What matters is that everyone involved had fun and no one was left worse than when I found them. What matters is that I dealt with any problems that sprouted up like an adult.
Do you know why these are the only things that matter? Because the amount of people I have sex with, under what relationship status, how many times, when, where, etc… all that bullshit makes no claim to the content of my character. People, and by people I mean our society, equate sexual conservatism with moral integrity. The truth is that they are separate.
If you go and interview people from anyone’s sexual timeline, you will hear stories from those people that paint picture of how well they we’re treated. If you look into my past, you’ll hear stories of how well I treated every one of them. It is possible that you’ll hear stories of how I was always prepared, or about the time when we fell off the bed and he chipped a tooth, or they may even wax nostalgic about how good the sex was. They may or may not remember all of that, but they will remember that I treated them like a human instead of a piece of meat. They will remember that I took the time to make them feel special even if they were just a one-night stand. They will remember how they woke me up in the morning to say goodbye instead of running out the door from their guilt.
If you ask me about them, I will remember the heat, cuddling, and the comfort. I remember spending six hours with one guy after we hooked up in a club bathroom talking to him about his recent string of bad relationships. I will remember cleaning another person’s kitchen while he slept because it was finals and he needed the help. I remember ghosting in and out of these people’s lives and knowing that, through sex, I was able to humanize people who I would, under normal circumstances, pass on the streets and ignore. Most of all I will remember the moments of true human connection that came from being truly vulnerable, if only for a moment.
So I ask, why does the number matter to you? If the number says nothing about the way you treat people. If the number says nothing about your skill level. If the number says nothing about anything that truly matters, then why does the number matter? Again, I am at a lost and return to my original assertion that it doesn’t. How about instead of fixating on a number we can’t verify, we fixate on the moment we are in and resolve to try to make every sexual experience more pleasant than the last.
Giving the people you have sex with a number is demeaning to their humanity. I doubt anyone wants to be blowjob #8675309 or fist #57821. Just as well, you cannot accurately sum up the essence of person by numbering them. There is no number that is more expressive than the human experience. Sure I know how many people I have had sex with, but I also remember that Chris was saltier than James, I remember that Jacob’s mother died two days before we fucked in his Scottsdale cliff side house, I remember that Trey sometimes cried after he had an orgasm. I remember because those moments are what matters in the grand scheme.
I could sit here and tell you about #42, #14, or #67 and you could hear about the sex. I could do that or I could tell you about D’Wayne, Peter, or any of the 17 guys named Chris and you could hear a story about a real human connection. Numbers are for CPAs, dope boys and people running from the guilt in their past. If you have nothing to be ashamed of you can look in your past and recall a name, a face, an emotion. You can look back and know you did what matters.