Your 'Sex Number' Says Nothing About Who You Are

Awww! 29

We hear a lot about "slut shaming" and how wrong it is to make women who happen to have had multiple partners feel bad about their sexuality. And yet it is not just those who have been with "many" who get shamed. There is also a certain shame that comes with only ever having been with one or less partners.

This "prude shaming" is no less rampant, especially among young women who grew up after the sexual revolution in educated families. There is often the sense that every young woman ought to sow her wild oats (but not sow too much!) or else miss all that life has to offer.

Writer Julie Kuenneke addressed this issue in XO Jane with her piece about only ever having been with one person. In it, she says she has been shamed about that almost more than those who are "slut shamed." I feel her pain.

My number is not quite one, but it is pretty darn close and I have certainly had my fair share of comments about how low it is. But I don't care.

The fact is, whether you have been with 40 men or 4, it says nothing about you or how you are in bed or how much you enjoy sex. People have sex in a variety of different ways and for all different reasons.

A woman who has only had sex with one may have met her husband young (like I did and like Kuenneke did) or she may only have sex with those with whom she is in love. A woman who has been with 40 may have just as well loved all 40 men. We just don't know and we can't judge. A woman's number means very little except how many people she has had sex with.

In the end, that number does not define us. It is not WHO we are or WHAT we are. A woman who has been with one is no more a prude than a woman who has been with 100 is a whore.

It's time we get past these notions. It used to be that women who embraced their sexuality and had sex with many men were shamed. Now women who have only had sex with a few are accused of not embracing their sexuality. The pendulum has now gone too far in the other direction.

Sexual freedom means having the ability to dictate what we want from our sex lives. My couple of partners are mine just like another person's 32 partners are theirs. Neither number defines us or says who we are as people or are as sexual beings.

It's just a number, baby.

Have you ever been "prude shamed"?


Image via whatleydude/Flickr



To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

siren... sirenmommy

Well said JudyD. :)

atmar... atmartin06

I haven't really been "shamed" per se for my very low number, but many women I know just don't understand why I prefer monogamy to picking up random guys at the bar on Saturday night.  Or why I want to get married and have kids, for that matter.  I've been with my guy for a long time and I like the trust we have.  I'm not self-conscioius about my body with him because I know he thinks I'm beautiful, and we also don't have to use those pesky condoms that ruin the sensation...both clean and I'm on the Pill. 

However, just because my number is ridiculously low (as in I can count it on less than 1 hand), I do not "slut shame" any of my friends who sow their wild oats freely.  We live different lifestyles, no need to judge either side!

nonmember avatar caroline

Well let me put it this way. my number is and always will be exactly one. I dont want it any higher I dont want it any lower. I have one man and one is all I need, He is my best friend my lover and my husband. what more could I ask for?

Melissa Woodall

I've chosen to be a virgin (21 now) and I don't usually get shamed by women. What I get is very enthusiastic reaction (maybe a tad bit over the top) about how good waiting is. Meanwhile, some guys freak out about it and others respect it. We all make our own choices. I'm just waiting to fall in love and since I haven't yet I'm still waiting.

nonmember avatar KC

I've seen a lot of people say that someones number defines them. I've also seen a couple bash people who have high numbers. I have also noticed that everyone (at least those that shared) can count on one hand how many people they have slept with. First of all, how can your number define you? No one walks around with the number of people that they have slept with tattooed on their forehead. No one knows your number unless you tell them, so exactly how can that possibly define someone? I can NOT count how many people I have slept with on either of my hands and if that makes me a slut by some standards... So be it. I don't let others opinions define me. Why people feel the need to shame anyone based on their number is pathetic. What defines me is my compassion for other people. What defines me is my sense of humor. What defines me is how I treat people. What doesn't define me is how many partners I've had or how many I have in the future.

nonmember avatar Claudia

I have been a both ends of the spectrum at the same time. I have only had sex with two men, but both were one night stands. The fact that it's only two men is regarded as prudish by some of my friends who have experienced greater sexual freedom, but to me, I feel ashamed, slutty, that I have only ever had sex with men and then pretty much never spoken to them again.

nonmember avatar Draeko

i consider my ex gf to be a slut because she slept with 25+ ppl before we got together and not even a month after we broke up that number jumped up 14+ so i believe numbers do count as toward a person being a slut, thats also 30+ just in three years i have to add

Jamie Fisher

I have never been intentionally shamed, but many of my friends have joked about my lack of partners.  I have been with my husband since I was 18, my friends did not find (or still have not found) that person until later in life, so often times when the conversation turns to sex, they make jokes about how I would not know the difference even if it was bad.  However, when the conversation swings to how to work things out in a relationship, everyone turns my way.  So I would rather be made fun of for having single digit sex partners and still having my friends respect my experience than the other way around.

nonmember avatar Julie

I'm 26, married and only been with my husband...and I wish so badly that I could change it. I missed out on so much. I wasn't "saving" myself. Sometimes, I was afraid of getting pregnant (even with proper precaution...thanks, school, for only focusing on failure rates of contraceptives). Fear of actually getting naked in front of someone. I had a very sheltered life, emotionally abusive upbringing. I never had the chance to enjoy dating different boys, kissing other boys, really (had 2 boyfriends). It was basically, "This is your one chance, have a good time." Love my husband, wouldn't want another, but yeah...I long for the 'youth' that I didn't get to have.

21-29 of 29 comments First 123