The Number Of People You've Slept With Actually Doesn't Matter Anymore

by Alexia LaFata

It's a sad reality that we still live in a culture in which men can have as much sex as they want and women can't.

Anybody who's at least somewhat culturally aware knows a man who has as much sex as he wants will live a very different life from a woman who does the same.

To investigate this on a more data-driven level, I conducted a study last week in which I asked men whether or not they ever worry if their number of sexual partners was too high.

Women are often judged for our "number," so I know it's something we think about frequently. I wanted to see if men did, too.

Almost every single respondent said no, they don't worry it's too high. In fact, many men were concerned their number was too low.

So why don't men worry about their number? Well, lots of respondents subscribed to the idea that nobody should care about their sexual number because it's 2015, so safe, consensual sex is healthy and fine, no matter how many people you have it with.

Sex is good for you, and you should do it whenever you can. As long as it's healthy and consensual.

-- Mano, 25

No. It is just the right amount. I don't actively go out prowling to sleep with women. If it happens, it happens. If not, then that's okay too. There shouldn't be any pressure or stigmas high or low - leads to comparing yourself to your partners and friends, which can be damaging to relationships.

-- Dan, 24

No I've been safe about it. It's 2015.

-- Grubey, 27

Not particularly, especially since I think it's no ones business unless there's some health risk associated with it and I wouldn't ask that of a significant other.

-- John*, 21

Some said it's their decision and nobody else's, so why should anyone care?

For [whose] sake? Mine? It's my own decision to hook up with [whom] I wish to.

-- Art, 24

No. It shouldn't matter. The only woman that matters is the one I am with or the one I end up with, and hopefully that is her. If she does not care about my past, neither do I.

-- Daniel*, 22

No because I sleep with girls for myself I don't sleep with girls to worry about my number or what other people may think about my number.

-- Constantine, 24

And finally, a few men said they don't regret being with any woman they've slept with because each experience has helped them become who they are today.

No. My past is my past. Every experience helped better prepare me to be with my wife. Every woman I dated, slept with, hated, loved, etc. I wouldn't change anything about my path, because ultimately my path led me to my wife. I wouldn't risk lowering or raising my "number" if it meant it put our relationship ever happening or reaching it's fruition in jeopardy.

-- Jose, 30

I'm not worried that it is too high. Every sexual encounter I've had with a woman is like a separate, different relationship, and together they have added up to an emotional education that will help me with subsequent relationships. I do not regret sleeping with any woman.

-- Chris, 21

No. I think everyone has a reason for the number of people they have slept with, high or low. If you have a higher number, then you are more experienced and your partner won't mind at all.

-- Sam, 30

These are perfectly rational and legitimate reasons to not worry about a sexual number. However, they don't always reflect the female experience.

Sure, we women have our slut walks and our sex positive feminism, both of which are trying to give us the same permission as men to have as much sex as we want.

But deep down, even the strongest woman can still feel the burn of the stigma of sleeping with "too many" men, even if she cites the same reasons as men for doing so: It's 2015. It's her decision, and she doesn't regret any sexual encounter because each has helped her grow.

This difference in stigma is pervasive. But it should no longer exist.

Conventional wisdom suggests that men are allowed to have more sex because they -- for lack of a better phrase -- earned it.

Generally, men are seen as the "conquerors" who work to "conquer" women, so if a man has sex with a lot of women, his hard work is seen as having paid off.

If a woman has sex with a lot of men, she's only seen as having said "yes" a lot of times, which conventionally requires less "work."

The ideas of "work" in regard to sex date back to evolution. On a biological level, men spread their seed to as many women as possible in order to guarantee the surviving and thriving of offspring (do work), and women get implanted with a seed from one man (don't do work).

A man is capable of impregnating many women at a time, but women are only capable of being impregnated by one man at a time.

So, before DNA testing, it was nearly impossible for a man to know if a child was his (He was too busy spreading his seed to keep track, so to speak).

But raising a baby is a huge responsibility, which means it's in a man's best interest to make sure the baby he's raising is his.

Hence why it's not acceptable for a woman to have a lot of sex -- the more sex she has, the lower the chance that a man is sure the baby is his, since there are lots of different men who could possibly be the father.

This view of sex is archaic because, as we know, sex is not just about reproduction. Sex is also about pleasure. The very existence of birth control, condoms and the morning-after pill proves this.

When sex is about pleasure, a man doesn't have to do "work" in the form of worrying about spreading his seed to as many women as possible to ensure his DNA gets passed on. He doesn't even have to worry about potential for "work" in the form of a screaming child.

Therefore, it makes no sense to praise a man for conquering lots of women or to say a woman who has too much sex is "easy." What is he being praised for? What is it easy for her to do?

Even when we talk about pleasure, this isn't true. I sure as hell won't praise a man for sticking his dick inside of me and thrusting a few times, and if you think it's easy for a woman to orgasm, you literally know nothing.

All of this means it really shouldn't matter how many people men or women sleep with. Because in an age when we've all finally realized sex is also about feeling good, racking up lots of sexual partners indicates nothing except you're having way more fun than everyone else.

*Name has been changed