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Feminspire | April 19, 2014

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On a Scale From Virgin to Slut: Why My “Number” Doesn’t Matter

On a Scale From Virgin to Slut: Why My “Number” Doesn’t Matter

Like countless other women, I have always had conflicting feelings regarding my sexual history. For example, when I was in bed with my first partner, I didn’t want him to know that he was my first. After all, movies, my only real source for first-time information, had always shown that it was supposed to be a ‘big deal’ for women and I didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on my new partner. Then again, when I was fooling around with a different partner (who happened to be a virgin), I wished that it was my first time, too, especially considering the disdainful reaction he had when I found out that it wasn’t.

One of my favourite movie scenes of all time is from the hipster movie Daydream Nation, starring Kat Dennings (watch the scene below). The film itself is one that I wish I had seen before I started having sex, simply for the way it portrayed the act. Kat’s character is content having sex, and she doesn’t judge anyone else for having it or not having it. Anyway, the scene that I’m mentioning involves Kat in the washroom, fixing her lipstick, casually dismantling the patriarchy and redefining sexuality to the girl that just called her a slut.

Our society puts so much pressure on sex as both the be-all and the end-all, and this pressure is increased exponentially for women. We should be virgins but sexy, the girl next door but the femme fatale, a lady in the street but a freak in the bed. There is so much pressure to have sex, but then to also not have it, that it’s no wonder that women grow up disenchanted and confused about their sexuality. There is no such thing as the experienced virgin, yet that is what a woman is expected to be.

So why buy into it?

When we think about it, what are the practical reasons to count one’s sexual partners? None. There are no reasons. Your sex life is yours for a reason; it does not have to be divulged or counted or calculated on a scale of virgin-to-’slut’. The truth is that no one has any right to judge you for the sex that you have had or have not had. The only thing that really matters is if the sex that you are about to have is safe and protected and if the tryst is consensual.

Now, when my new partners ask me how many people I have been with, I answer honestly: “I don’t know.” Yes, I could go back and count, but I don’t have a mental tally going. I don’t lay in bed with a sexual partner feeling guilty because I have another number to add to my tally, nor do I feel proud because I have another number to add to my tally. Sex is sex, and the only important thing is how a participant feels about that sex.

The number of previous partners that one has had have nothing to do with one’s current sexual situation, and the need to keep a count is merely a tool of sexual repression. No one has to prove anything to anyone, and no one should shame anyone for the number of people they’ve slept with. Fight sex-shaming one partner at a time: don’t ask, don’t tell.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Written by Emily Hill
Follow her on Tumblr and Twitter!

Image courtesy of Intelligent Vending

  • Sara Luckey

    This is my favorite thing I’ve ever read on this site. And that clip? Pefection!

  • Gorgei

    “The truth is that no one has any right to judge you for the sex that you have had or have not had.”

    The truth is that yes, they DO have the right. Wannabe thought police.

    • http://www.nailgirl.net/ Lexie

      So why do you want to judge people for the sex they have or have not had?

    • Sara H.

      Please explain why you think anyone has the right to judge anyone else on a PRIVATE matter in their lives?

      • DoctorMuff

        I don’t want knob rot

  • Laura

    I have yet to see a better casual dismantling of the patriarchy on screen. That is awesome.

  • Kat

    I don’t owe sex to anyone. If I want to judge my sexual partner based on their number, I have every right to do so. Same with if I don’t. It is wrong to tell people how to choose their sexual partners. I agree that as a whole, society shouldn’t make “number” judgement But individuals have every right to discriminate in their sexual decisions.

  • DoctorMuff

    your number might not matter to you, but it matters to me.

    • Sara H.

      I read your other comment that was not approved. You will not get “dick rot” simply from sleeping with someone who’s had multiple partners. Their number doesn’t necessarily correlate with having a disease. You could sleep with a woman (or a man) who’s had 1 sexual partner and STILL catch a disease.

      What should be more important then, following your line of reasoning, is finding out if your partner practiced or practices safe sex. That’s what condoms are for, genius.

      • BlogGrrrl

        Precisely! Ask any swinger – not only they always use condoms, most of them test every 3-6 months.

  • Coriolanus

    So you still regularly sleep with people that demand to know your number of sexual partners? Interesting.

  • Sara H.

    Again, as I said to DoctorMuff, condoms. Always condoms. Numbers aren’t important. Condoms are.

  • Taylor

    Whenever someone asks me for my “number”, I wonder to myself if I’m supposed to count the men who have raped me into the figure. Is the elusive “number” they are asking for the number of people I have chosen to sleep with, or the number of male genital organs which have entered my body?

    And then of course I take a step back and realize I have much bigger issues in my life than answering this horrible person’s question and I walk slowly away.

  • notcounting

    then the question they should be asking isn’t how many people they’ve had sex with. it’s when was the last time you’ve been tested. duh.

  • Eric E.

    Here is my “devils advocate question”. What about when picking someone to see long term? Does their “number” correlate with a laxity around the topic of sex, and that could leave a person more prone to cheating? If sex is just sex? This goes for males and females of course. Thoughts?

  • John

    There is no pressure to have sex whatsoever, you slut.

  • Insidious_Sid

    I just don’t date white feminists and I don’t have any problems…