Why are the connotations of the number of average sexual partners different for men and women?
How many people have you slept with?
According to one charming man I had the pleasure of talking to, answering this question honestly as a female could dry up your flow of potential marriage suitors.
This man made it seem as though all the work of the female liberation movement had been a dream. That we were actually still stuck in the 50’s where women where objects to have sex with, not people who actually got enjoyment from or sought out sex.
The conversation that immediately made me want to lunge across the table, claw his eyeballs out and cut off his tongue went something like this:
Silly Man: You don’t want a girl that has slept with a lot of guys.
Me: Define ‘a lot.’
Silly Man: Oh like, more than 4.
Me: You wouldn’t sleep with a girl if she had had sex with 4 other guys before you?
Silly Man: Oh no, I would definitely sleep with her. I just wouldn’t marry her; she isn’t the type of girl I would want as the mother of my children.
Me: How many people have you had sex with?
Silly Man: I dunno, like 25, around that.
He went on to dribble some rubbish about it being an ingrained natural male trait to seek out and have sex with females; that females were naturally made to just sort of float around until they were lucky enough for some sex-maniac male to impregnate them, because ‘that’s how the animals do it and we are animals.’ I am hopeful pretty sure that he was just saying these things to see just how red and rage distorted my face could become because he does enjoy making me mad. Well Silly Man, mission accomplished. I am mad.
I won’t waste time listing and explaining the sexual habits and social hierarchy of various animals that negate his theory, (BUT SERIOUS SILLY MAN, FUCKING BONOBO CHIMPS, HYENAS, BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS!!!) instead I think its important to look at the social issue at the heart of what he is saying; that women and men cannot have the same number of sexual partners and be treated equally.
This is not going to be a discussion about promiscuity or the number of sexual partners you feel is or isn’t appropriate. Quite frankly I am firmly in the do-not-give-a-shit camp. This is also not an ‘I HATE MEN’ rant. I love men and I have no problem with men having sex. Heck, I don’t even care if men are having more sex than me. I do have a problem with anyone, male or female, that judges a woman’s reputation more harshly than a man when they have both have the same number of sexual partners. What I am having an angry-feminist-rant about is that women still can’t have the same sex life as men, without it being commented on (and the fact I am writing this article proves that.)
A double standard exists when it comes to women and sex. It’s so engrained into social consciousness that we don’t even realize the extent to which it’s there. We speak about how fantastically liberated birth control and the push for gender equality has made women, but in reality men are still getting away with more simply because they are men. They don’t get called a slut, they aren’t judged for wanting to have sex on the first date, and they actually BRAG about their number of sexual partners – generally the higher the number the more high fives.
Compare that to Silly Man’s judgment of any woman that has had ‘a lot’ of sex. Having five sexual partners automatically excludes her from having any dating potential according to him (which in this case is lucky… NOT being considered by Silly Man is positive from the girls perspective because with such a dismissive and archaic view of women who would want him as a partner?)
I am being a little harsh though; the world is not made up of hundreds of Silly Mans. There are plenty of respectful feminist men out there. Equally there are just as many stupid girls who share the same view as Silly Man. So often it is a female who is calling a girlfriend a slut behind her back, and this is maybe even more saddening.
If you’re being safe and having fun that is all that really matters. I think it’s best if we all just steer clear of comments about anybody else’s sex life; if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Silly Man does have some fucked upinteresting opinions about women, but at the end of the day I have no doubt if you’re crazy enough to be interested, he would love to not marry you.