I have had sex with three people.
That could be the truth. That could be a lie.
There’s only one thing that is for certain: my sex life is my business, and what I choose to share with you about that sex life is exactly that — my choice.
It might seem strange that somebody like me who is so open about sex could be so coy about how many people I’ve had sex with.
But it isn’t coyness at all.
See, let’s look at how men and women are treated for the number of people they’ve had sex with.
Men are uniformly praised. There might be some slight teasing, a gentle ribbing, but at the end of the day, the more sex a man has, the cooler he is, the more worldly, the more respectable.
Verily, he has a penis, and that penis has made an impressive impact on the world at large. Hell, we’ve even got a phrase about it: putting another notch on his bedpost.
If a woman has sex with “too many” different people, then she is a slut.
It’s that simple.
No woman who respects herself, her body, her reputation, her place in the world, her friends, her family, would ever have a lot of sex.
If Hillary Clinton was a known lothario with a list of men she had sex with a mile long, there is no way she could have ever run for president.
But it sure seemed to work in Donald Trump’s favor. He’s had five kids with three wives. But somehow even Evangelical Christians supported him.
It’s that simple.
Me saying that it’s simple doesn’t mean that I think it’s right.
Far from it!
I think anyone, male or female or otherwise identified should be able to have sex with as many people as they want as long as they are having safe sex and being responsible, physically and emotionally.
Unfortunately, just because I think women should be allowed the equal rights and social privileges of men, that doesn’t erase the fact that we are living in a Patriarchy.
How else do you explain a man like Donald Trump not immediately being removed from the race for president the second he uttered the word “pussy?”
When you are a woman, it’s likely that the man you’re out with is going to make a judgment about you based on the number of people you have had sex with.
He just is.
It may not be conscious, but he is going to feel one of these things: threatened that you’re more sexually experienced, taken aback that you like sex and express it, and worse case scenario, disappointed to learn that you are a so-called slut.
That’s why I say you shouldn’t feel pressured to tell anyone your number on a date.
There are legit things your partner has the right to know about you on a date. Do you eat meat? Who is your favorite singer? What book did you read last?
He doesn’t need to know how many people you’ve had sex with, as long as you have both been safe and have the test results to prove it.
So the next time a man is talking about his number and looks at you expectantly, smile and say nothing. Or smile and say you’re a virgin. Or smile and say eight hundred. If you feel comfortable telling him the truth, do it. But if you don’t, don’t.
The patriarchy might still be alive and well, but your body is still very much your own and you have every right to keep what you do with it private for fear of social stigma.