Why Your ‘Sex Number’ Doesn’t Matter

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We all know that women face a double standard when it comes to sex—while men are applauded for sleeping with tons of women and even expected to have lots of one night stands, women are labeled “sluts” for having casual sex. So, girls often feel pressured to lower their sex number while guys round up. Ultimately, it’s no one’s business but your own how many people you’ve slept with and who those people are. But embracing your number, no matter how large or small, is crucial to owning your sexuality. And though sex is certainly not a statistic, it’s not all about quality either—it doesn’t matter how “good” or “bad” the sex was, how well you knew your partner, or how many times you guys had sex. Instead, it’s more about celebrating the fact that you’ve had the experiences you’ve had, and that it’s all a learning process. Galore spoke to six women about their sex numbers and the meaning, or lack thereof, they hold.

Isabelle, 20 years old. Eight.

“I think it’s important for one to keep track of their number for their own purposes but I don’t think other people (i.e. sexual partners or romantic interests) necessarily need to know about it. But if you think it’s important then I see no problem with sharing. Also definitely don’t believe that the higher the number the less sex means to you.”

Lola, 19 years old. Ten.

“It was kind of scary to realize [my number] because immediately I was like ‘crap, am I a slut? Is 10 a slutty number of people to have sex with?’ But then it hit me that I hadn’t thought about [my number] before because every person I’ve been with was worth it at each time of my life, so I never felt the need to regret anything and count every sexual experience I’ve had. I guess when it comes to the “sex number,” I think it’s something to think happily on because that’s just a number of people you’ve encountered who have (I hope) rocked your world for however long they were around.”

Miranda, 21 years old. Ten.

“I don’t feel anything towards my number because the amount of sexual partners I’ve had has no bearing on who I am as a person.”

Jo, 21 years old. Zero.

“Until about a year ago, I’d say I was fairly concerned by the fact that I have never slept with anyone or experienced that level of physical intimacy at my age. Still, however; I do think that most people stress too much about the importance of the ‘sex number.’ I don’t think it’s important. Everyone is different and has different priorities. To me it seems like just another invented standard. Young people are insecure and anxious to be ‘normal’ and live up to certain standards…the sex number is just another expression of this. On the one hand, you don’t want to be a slut, and on the other hand, you’re afraid to be an unattractive weirdo. I have no idea what is supposed to be considered normal at a given age. I have friends my age who have only ever slept with one person their entire lives and I have friends a bit younger than me who have slept with several. I don’t think better or worse of them for that.”

Anonymous, 23 years old. Eleven.

“I think [my number] is pretty average. I don’t care how many people anyone has had sex with as long as they aren’t sleeping with anyone who has a girlfriend/wife/whatever. I also think the reason kind of matters—I have two friends who’ve slept with 30 to 40 guys. One does it because she genuinely likes sex, the other because she’s trying to fill a very deep emotional void. To me, there’s a difference.”

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