What’s Your Number? Who Gives a Sh*t?

In the new movie, “What’s Your Number,” the main character fears she has slept with too many men – thanks to Cosmo – and tries to get back together with one of her exes so she doesn’t go over a certain number.

And just how many boys has this brazen hussy boned, you ask?

Nineteen. No, not nineteen hundred. Nineteen.

Does anyone else think this is weird? Okay, weird’s not the right word. Try outlandishly fucking ridiculous?

If 19 is a lot then I’m Superho.

In real life our leading lady, Anna Faris, is 34 years old. Let’s say her character in the movie is the same age – hell, let’s be generous and say she’s 30.

And let’s say she lost her virginity at 17, the average age according to the always-accurate Wikipedia.

Now, I hate math as much as any writer, but let’s do some simple arithmetic, shall we?

The Math

30 – 17 = 13

19 ÷ 13 = 1.46

So, according to my calculations, that means that in 13 years of copulation, she’s porked an average of 1.46 men a year.

Pardon my French, but THAT’S NOT A FUCKING LOT!!!

My friends, 1.46 men a year does not a slut make. IMHO. That’s “in my humble opinion,” not “I’m ho.”

But then again, maybe I am.

Big Fat Ho

When I was younger, some people considered me a slut. And yes, I slept with more than 1.46 men a year. Maybe four or five a year. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Is that excessive? I didn’t think so. But I guess some people did.

Let’s talk a little about promiscuity and society’s expectations for women, shall we?

Some therapists and regular people who think they know a lot will tell you that women who “sleep around” are insecure and unconsciously try to win boys’ affection by having sex with them. I mean, their intentions are unconscious; they’re conscious when they have sex. Well, sometimes.

I can consciously say that this simply was not the deal for me. The deal was this:

I fucking loved sex!

Sex was the best feeling in the world, so why would anybody not want to have it all the time? I didn’t use sex as a “tool,” and I didn’t feel like I was compromising myself.

Men often refer to women having sex as “giving it up.” But I never felt like I was “giving” anything. I felt that I was getting something – getting happy, getting my rocks off, getting a blissfully euphoric sensation all over mah womanly bo-dy.

I didn’t necessarily go out at night searching for sex on the regular (although I have), and I didn’t get down with “just anyone,” but maybe every three months I’d be at a party and meet a guy. We start making out and we’re into each other and my vag starts to growl, sort of like how my stomach growls when it’s hungry. I don’t deprive myself of food when I’m starving, so why would I deny myself sex when I’m horny?

It just made sense to me at the time: if you’re hungry, eat; if you’re horny, screw. And frankly, I didn’t know there was anything wrong with it.

You see, my father taught me about the facts of life and Haley taught me about the mechanics of sex, but nobody ever told me about the politics of sex.

You know, that a girl is supposed to withhold sex for as long as possible. That guys don’t like girls who have sex with them “too soon.” Blah, blah, blah.

The Love Boat Wasn’t Real?

I suppose I got most of my information about sex and relationships through TV and movies. On The Love Boat, two people would meet, make whoopie and get engaged in the span of a one-week pleasure cruise, so what seemed to be the problem? Sex on the first date didn’t seem to be an issue for those couples.

Then, sometime during my college years, I realized that boys often don’t stick around if you make whoopie with them “too soon.” Which was a bummer, because I usually only did it with guys I liked. Okay, maybe I only knew them for a short time, but what I did know, I liked. And I thought they liked me. Why else would they sleep with me?

Unfortunately, no one ever told me that boys sometimes use girls for sex then dump them, either. It didn’t happen like that on The Love Boat, so I learned this lesson the hard way.

Now that I was beginning to realize what society really thought of girls who liked sex, and had sex, I started to feel bad about myself. And it wasn’t because of some innate feminine instinct that tells you to be chaste, but because of external judgment by peers who were taught early on by the church or their parents or other authoritative figure that girls who go all the way are whores.

Before all this, I didn’t know. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

I recognize the value in certain societal conventions. Say “bless you” when someone sneezes, hold the elevator door for others, don’t call your boss a shithead to her face. But this one – this one about the slut-shaming – I just don’t understand. Who does it benefit?

Sex feels fucking fantastic, and it’s not because I’m some kind of nymphomaniac. It’s supposed to feel good and we’re supposed to want to do it – Mother Nature designed it that way so we’d keep the human race going.

It was we humans who decided that 19 dudes are too many for a girl. So can’t we humans un-decide it?

I am by no means advocating for girls to go hog wild upon reading this and mount a truckload of penises. It’s all about individual choice and if you don’t want to, bloody hell, don’t do it.

I’m just saying don’t judge those who do.

42 replies

  1. i dont agree with promiscuity we need to have standards and be careful. however i am dont support this slut bashing that has now been adopted by women to humiliate other women.(however i dont mind bashing women who go after men in relationships. i think its ok to humiliate both the cheater and homewreker)

    i hate to say it but i do think that women giving it up easily does make women more expendable and discourages men from being faithful. however who wants to be with someone when they feel they have deprive themselves to keep them?

    i think all women need to stop having sex. once they have stopped this hopeless victim complex and low self esteem crap out of their system them, learn to have self worth and standards, take responsibility for their health and use contraception then maybe we can have fun

  2. One factor you’re missing in your assessment of the numbers is the variable of having a significant other.

    1.5 sexual partners a year isn’t really tipping the scales for anybody who isn’t a prude, but at some point in time between the ages of 17 and 30 you have to have some kind of platonic relationship, correct?

    I think it’s safe to assume that many people, if not most, find our most suitable “significant other” within this period of our lives which obviously alter the figures substantially depending on the length of the relationship.

    Furthermore, the “guys are cool/girls are sluts” stigma exists simply because it’s a testament to will power. If she so desired, pretty much any woman could rack up astronomical numbers that would trump even the biggest of players.

    The reason sexuality is stigmatized so much more for woman is because they are expected and relied upon as the voice of reason for sexuality. If woman approached relationships and sex in the same fashion as men, we’d have a race to see if the world would be destroyed by overpopulation or sexually transmitted diseases.

    I know it’s all woman-y and empowering to take a strong stance in favor of fucking whoever you want, but there’s a reason social norms are developed, they’re not just hand picked by some anonymous figured, they evolve through human interaction.

    Finally, the most glaring justification for this double standard is pregnancy. Woman are susceptible to insemination and each and every time a woman has sexual intercourse she is creating a scenario in which she will have to bring another person into the world.

    We can come up with all kinds of psychological, sociological or biological reasons as to why someone would give a “shit” about a woman’s “number.”

    It’s because, and as sad as this is, men can simply walk away from any situation they choose, while woman are obligated to take on the burden of childhood and therefore are expected to be more responsible when engaging in sexual intercourse.

    • doesnt it take two to have a baby ? this is my problem with the stigmatization. men manage to avoid all counts of accountability. it is as if women have mastered immaculate conception. i am tired of this men have no self control crap. i think if the consequences were dished our equally then there would less kids and single mothers. fact is men have contraception available to them so there is no excuse. men pride themselves over being the stronger sex but dont know how to control themselves GTFOH!!!!

      no it is not empowering to sleep with whoever you want. its empowering to no longer tip toe around societies trivial norms in fear of being bullied.

  3. Seriously one of the best posts ever! I just found your blog from “Sole Matters” re-posting this….LOVE IT! I sat in that movie thinking….19 guys is alot….really? Because if so – major slut over here!!!! 1.5 men in one year is just not right!!! Lol!

  4. Cosmo magazine is a misogynistic piece of garbage…why on earth did they reference that article is ridiculous? She slept with 19 men? And she’s 34? Cosmo magazine keeps reprinting the same shit about having the best orgasm ever or the different sex positions that men love. And yet deep down they’re saying you can’t give pussy past a certain number? Fuck them! I, for one, am like you. I love sex. I love the feeling. I love the heat. I love it all. If Cosmo magazine is going to say that I’m a slut because I slept with x number of men then they can suck my left nut.

    • Cosmo is garbage, but I believe the article referenced in the movie was fictitious. So we have the film’s writers/producers to blame. And THEY can suck your left nut. And my right one.

  5. Ya know, great point. When you do the math, it’s REALLY not that many. The one year I dated a ton before I met M, that ‘average’ for me was higher (and high for me, generally!), but it is part of life, part of dating, part of love, part of what makes you connect or NOT connect, for that matter. Sex is important to figuring it all out. Doesn’t make you a slut because you have slept with more men than someone that has been married since they were 21, for example…their number will be low (likely!) than someone that has not yet settled down. Simple facts!

    • Exactly. My friend married her high school sweetheart, so her number was one. Until she got divorced, then slept with three or four guys in one year. So her number is five. But it’s because she didn’t date for 20 friggin’ years!

  6. Hmm..makes me wonder if those guys are counting their hands as partners before they even get to the real live women?
    Great post, and I especially love your line above – “Can’t we all just agree that we like to shag and not hold it against anyone?”
    Exactly. If it wasn’t good, why would we want to do it?? I know it’s not the case for everyone, but I certainly wouldn’t bother if I didn’t enjoy it so damn much..!

  7. I’m so glad someone else thought what I did while I watched that movie. 19?? What the hell?? When I did (and I guessed 1.5 guys with quick ‘I hate effing math’ in my head) the math, I was pretty pissed. Who decided 19 was a bad number?? Cosmo, the all-knowing and all being? Blow me.

    I went and saw the movie with my mom, and she decided to turn to me and ask what my number was. My response:
    “I will be able to go to (my younger brother’s) wedding, stand up on stage, and yell ‘I’m a whore!’ But I’m proud of it.”

    She didn’t appreciate it. 😀

    • Can we write a letter to the producers, telling them they suck?

      I actually didn’t see the movie, just gathered the info from the trailer, which gave it away. Did she yell “I’m a whore” at her brother’s wedding?

      If you did that, I’m sure you’d at least get a date out of it 🙂

  8. 1. i totally saw that movie. and although funny, wasn’t sure what to think of it.

    2. you’re not a hobag.

    3. at least your DAD didn’t teach you about the mechanics. aaaaaaaaaaaaah! it’s no wonder im normal.

    4. um, you’re not a hobag.

    • I don’t think there even is such thing as a hobag anymore. So dumb. I actually like Anna Faris but haven’t seen the movie. But the trailer totally gave away the premise and the whole “19 guys” deal. A reader below said Faris tried to convince the producers to make the number 49, which sounds more like it to me, but they said no. Very telling. I think it’s lame that we make a big deal out of a number at all. Gene Simmons is very proud of his number, which is ridiculous at 4,600 or something. Can you imagine what society would think of a woman boasting that number? And we’re worried about 19. Or 49. Ridonkadonk.

    • Right on, sista! I don’t know why anyone is concerned with numbers. I used to keep a list long ago but that thing is long gone. My dad found it once and I was like, um, those are the boys I’ve dated. Yeah, dated.

  9. Ay-to-the-men my sistah. Preach.

    A most excellent post. You know I agree 100%…except for that part about feeling bad for myself. I don’t think I ever went through that, really. I mean, I know those effed-up forces exist, but I was too much of a “oh yeah? Well effin’ WATCH ME mothafucka!” as a young lady instead.

    • Yep, we are kindred spirits on this issue, Nikki! Good on ya for being a stronger young lady than I was. It was funny, I honestly didn’t know it was frowned upon and when I found out people were calling me a slut, I was like, huh, me? Those friggin’ sorority bitches and frat boys can be harsh. Of course, I now realize how stupid it all was. Now I’m like, hells yeah I’m a slut! Actually, that’s not true either. I don’t really think there is such thing as a slut anymore. If a woman is sexually active she doesn’t need a derogatory term assigned to her. She’s just sexually active. Big deal.

  10. Anna Faris lobbied the producers of the film to make it 49 men instead of 19, but they thought that wasn’t “mainstream” enough.

  11. if you are a whore,then i’m one of those chanting monks.

    numbers about hummers are crap.

    I figure i’m more than 20, less than 50.

    Don’t know for sure, I have a few fight years.

    • Hahaha, sounds like the beginning of a great joke. You hear the one about the whore and the chanting monk? I love ya, Bobby. Think I might be in a similar range, but not exactly sure. Stopped counting.

  12. I absolutely agree with you, 1.5 men? And she wants to find the one? She was like 30? On 20? I’m 22, I lost my virginity almost four years ago, 1.5? Phh, I’ve had maybe 7 times that number in one year, not a hoe, I just liked sex. It sucks that you can’t give it up because men lose interest. I agree, I used to only bang dudes when I liked them, now, I have to play this waiting game. Sex to me is important in a relationship, if we’re not connecting in bed, we’re prob not connecting out of it. Sex is an emotional connection to me so waiting around for that what if? It drives me insane but we HAVE to wait because some guy is like “noooo you’re a hoe if you do!” Sucks!

    • Oh, preach it, sista. It’s such a silly game. Ohh, I really don’t want to have sex with you yet, because I’m not that kind of girl! And surely that kind of girl is one you wouldn’t want. So I’ll *pretend* to be the other kind of girl, the kind that waits. And then maybe you’ll like me and not think I’m a big slut. Because if I were a big slut, that would be very, very bad, right?

      Oh, vomit. Stupid, stupid games we play. Can’t we all just agree that we like to shag and not hold it against anyone?

  13. “I don’t deprive myself of food when I’m starving, so why would I deny myself sex when I’m horny?”

    I’m currently depriving myself. I think my tweets are starting to reflect this. ::sigh:: It’s a personal choice and has nothing to do with my number and everything to do with current circumstances. A number I have honestly paid so much attention to. I can name every guy and tell you where were the first time we did it. Who do I blame? I’m not exactly sure. My mother didn’t speak more than two words to me about sex. My father was non existent after I turned 13. So where did my young prudeness originate? No clue. Society?

    I agree sex feels great and when I’m getting it, I’m GETTING IT! But when I’m not, I’m recounting the last person I got it from and where it all went wrong. When I get good sex, its always my intention to have sex as consistently as possible. So times like this where I’m not getting it and won’t be getting it anytime soon, suck.

    • I have deprived myself, too (after being shamed in college, of course). I think most women have at some point. Because we know what society thinks of women who don’t, and how we in turn think of ourselves, and because we think men might lose interest if we knock boots “too soon.” I don’t imagine most men deprive themselves, however.

      They say men want to “spread their seed” as much as possible to propagate the species. But then wouldn’t women want to receive a seed just as much for the same reason?

      It’s interesting how women’s attitudes differ on the subject so vastly.

  14. Your fun post touches on some important stuff (not surprised). For instance, how can most men be so f-ed up to somehow think that women are being fooled into doing stuff that they don’t want to do? it would be unbelievable, except that I was once there too. It took me many years to overcome, as that meme was socialized into me quite effectively. In US culture, I’m afraid that 4 out of 5 men haven’t moved on. What a sad mess, for men, and for ‘their’ women….

    But what I’m finding even more interesting to think about is the conversation that the writers/producers of the movie must have had when they decided on 19. Walking a narrow line between their character being seen as a slut or as boring. In that conversation, the creative team came up with 19 as the magic number and I have to think that they put a lot of effort into that. So that says something right there.

    And then, what’s that incredibly profane movie (10 years ago?? set in a record store and a 7/11?) where the guy is all concerned with how many other guys his g/f has slept with and she finally admits it was like 7 and he’s relieved only to find out at the end of the movie that she’s blown hundreds….

    • Hahaha, I think it was Clerks. I forgot about that! Funny stuff.

      I agree, it is interesting how they came up with 19. It’s just funny how we focus on number at all, for men or women. The article I posted below suggests that men tend to inflate their number and women deflate it when reporting — both sides doing so because they want to fit in with societal expectations for their gender.

      I do think the tides are changing – slowly but surely – but they haven’t turned yet.

  15. It’s funny because if girls give it up too fast guys lose interest and if they don’t give it up fast enough guys lose interest. But, if girls are good in bed and there is an attraction it doesn’t matter when they give it up, we will maintain our interest. Conversely, if there is a lack of attraction and the sex is bad it doesn’t matter when they give it up, we will lose interested. Women have it tough, they seem to think there is always some game behind it all but the truth is, if we don’t seem to care that’s because we honestly don’t. If we care we will show it when we aren’t drunk.

    • It’s sort of tragic that people still have to write posts like this – as great as it is (and it is brilliant). I guess it’s really up to women to change this sorry situation. If we all start having sex WHENEVER WE WANT, what exactly will happen? Well, I’ll tell you: a lot of guys will get laid. The End.

      p.s. Loved the Salt & Peppa vid – wow, they were fierce!

      • Yeah, if women all started having sex whenever we wanted, a lot of guys would get laid. But so would a lot of women. I found this article very interesting on reported number of sexual partners of men vs. women (yup, it’s where i stole the pic). Surveys consistently say men report higher numbers of sexual partners than women. However…

        “But there is just one problem, mathematicians say. It is logically impossible for heterosexual men to have more partners on average than heterosexual women.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/12/weekinreview/12kolata.html

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