Currently reading the column “Ask E. Jean” in the May 2011 edition of Elle (USA version) and a couple of statements E. Jean made jumped out at me ‘cos they fit some random and not so random thoughts that have been running through my mind.
“…women may have more consorts than men do. I’m not certain young women should leap into bed before they’re mature enough to understand men (around the age of 33)…”
In Jean’s initial statement she’s referring to the number of sexual partners women have had versus the number of partners men have had. The general consensus amongst the people who like to research these kinds of statistics is that, women underreport the number of sexual partners they have had, and men over report. Now you and I both know the reasons why. Right?
Earlier this year I found myself having to answer that dreaded question. “So how many people have you slept with?” “I have to count…” I said, so I took a couple of seconds to count. Does everyone have a technique for how they count the number of sexual partners they have had? That’s assuming you’ve had more than you can count on one hand J I like to count in order…but then I find I forget some people and discount others. Like the man whom I almost feel I slept with against my will. Or the one I forget because my experience with him wasn’t very memorable. And of course it depends how you define sex. Penetrative? Involves a penis? How about oral only? Or sex toys only? Damn it can get complicated but of course the real discomfort with the number of people you’ve slept with is what it says to the society around you. And the central message is that “you’re a slut” or as some of my male friends in Ghana like to say “she’s a shashi”.
The bottom line though is, although I recognise that this judging of women according to the number of men (or people) she’s slept with is a double standard I still don’t want to be thought of as a slut. I want to be thought of as the smart, attractive, holistic person that I am. Until I turned 26 or so I could count on one finger the number of men I had slept with (of course I wasn’t counting my boarding school liaisons or the Uncle who made me put his dick in my mouth when I was 5 or so) but after my marriage ended I consciously decided that, “me too I want to sow my wild oats” and that’s a decision I am completely happy with.
Now to my second random thought which is linked to the second half of E. Jean’s statement:
“…I’m not certain young women should leap into bed before they’re mature enough to understand men (around the age of 33)…”
I kinda agree with her. One definitely needs emotional maturity in order to be able to have a good sex life. I know we all mature at different rates but I get concerned when I chat to young women and they’ve been there and done it all where sex is concerned. I can’t help but worry. A number of thoughts run through my mind…
“She’s only 21. Should she really be sleeping with this person who is 30 something…”
“Maybe she’s really looking for a mother [father] figure”…
“I know she’s really smart and mature for her age but…”
I dunno. I’m probably being hypocritical but I worry about some of my little sisters and sex.
So a couple of questions I would love to hear your thoughts on:
1. Do you answer honestly when someone asks how many people you’ve slept with? And if your user name is gender neutral can you state which gender you are please.
2. How do you keep count of the number of people you’ve slept with?
3. If you’re a woman who has slept with both men and women do you include the number of women you have slept with in your stats?
4. Any other thoughts?