Idly scrolling through Facebook, I recently came across an article entitled ‘51 Ridiculous Thoughts Every Girl Has the First Time She Sleeps Over.’ Trivial, I know, but when I’m at one with my duvet after a busy Sunday shift, the standard of my reading material goes through the floor. No offence Elite Daily.
It was far from hard hitting stuff, but one of the fairly benign comments got me wondering. Thought number thirty: ‘I could not deal with wasting a number on this.’
I’m guilty of this logic, and wasn’t aware that it affected anyone else. Being hesitant or reluctant to have sex with someone because my number will be one higher, and weighing up whether it will be worth that addition. This is actually quite a damaging mind-set if we break it down, because we’re giving too much weight to our numbers and using them to judge ourselves and each other.
Your number to your sexual identity is what your BMI is to your health. It’s a vague indication of what’s going on, but doesn’t take into account the more important factors. For example, a BMI doesn’t take your diet, muscle density or lifestyle into account, and your number doesn’t take the context in which your sexual experiences happen into account.
There’s some misguided fuckboy logic that if someone is a raging nymphomaniac and has sex with their partner a million times it’s fine, but if someone has a short string of one night stands words like ‘bucket’ and ‘loose’ get thrown around.
Someone could be single for five years and have a new partner roughly every three months. Someone else could be in a relationship for five years and have three affairs. So at the end of these five years, one person’s number is twenty and the other’s is only four, but whose behaviour is more morally questionable? Certainly not the person who is single and doing ‘no harm’.
Some people wear their number on their sleeve with pride, either to boast their prowess or their self-control, as if either one will make them more appealing to a potential romantic/sexual partner. Other people fiercely protect theirs, not wanting to share private information about themselves or worrying what others will think.
This, for one, has absolutely nothing to do with gender. It’s no secret that males and females are held to different standards of sexual acceptability; this is about why we’re so hung up on a number. It’s as if someone’s worth is inversely proportional to how many people they’ve had sex with, which is nonsense. It’s just a number. It doesn’t give an accurate representation of a person’s sexual identity or their identity as a whole.
So why are we letting other people’s expectations hinder us from enjoying ourselves? Whether it’s with no partners or multiple partners, we should feel free to explore and enjoy our sexuality in any way we wish to. As long as it’s safe and consensual (and we’re not cheating on anyone), who cares?