It’s not the number of sexual encounters you’ve had that matters, it’s how you feel about them. Find out why here…
Recently, I found a cocktail serviette shoved into an old diary. On it was the list of guys I’d slept with up until that point in the late Nineties. I remember the night a friend and I helped each other tally our totals. (“What about the waiter at that wedding in Cape Town?”) To fit my list, I had to write on all four squares.
Yes, I know.
Let’s just say that the total was more than my age at the time… Sure, I had a lot of fun, but in my twenties I was a premature hooker-upper, ever hopeful that sex would lead to love. Occasionally it did, but mostly it didn’t.
Evidently I needed to learn that lesson many times over. Still, I don’t regret any of it (and the sex was always safe). I can’t regret something I learnt from.
The “Slut” Stigma
Many of us do the tally but are not as comfortable with the bottom line. (Take, for example, Anna Faris’s recent rom-com, What’s Your Number?
, in which she plays a woman about to date her twentieth guy. Freaked out by what she feels is too high a number, she sifts through her past to see if she missed The One.)
Fact: 35 percent of Women’s Health
readers have lied to a partner about the number of notches on their bedpost. “In SA, the more sexual partners a man has had, the higher his social status; with women, it’s something to be ashamed of,” says WH sexpert Dr Elna Rudolph. “These societal views discriminate unfairly against women.” While guys are applauded for having slept with a lot of women, our culture is still not ready to consider women interesting and powerful for having a high number. And while having a low tally carries less of a stigma, women with very little experience – for reasons other than making the conscious choice not to hook up – might not be bragging about that either.
, lihle msimang