Guest Column: Should your “number” have an impact on your life?

Caroline Murray

Quite foolish — isn’t it? — to think that age is the only number in our qualitative repertoires capable of disturbing our insecurities as women. As of late, the oh-so-sensitive numbers question regarding our sexual encounters has been tossed around. More so than it should be, quite frankly.

If it wasn’t difficult enough for us to definitively determine what our number is (since the general population cannot even agree what constitutes sex), women who reveal and reflect upon their number may find themselves confused and asking even more questions about what their number means and whether or not it matters.

Rest assured, ladies: your number is completely relative, and given the times in which we currently live, several changes have been made about the societal acceptance of female sexual promiscuity.

You don’t need a crystal ball or a bunch of research-supported statistics shoved down your throat to know that men’s number is generally significantly higher than women’s.

In case you were curious though, a University of Michigan report found that by middle age, men have had about 32 partners, while women have had only a little more than a quarter of that number with nine different sex partners.

Despite the comparison, women receive mixed messages about the significance of a high number versus a low number.

If on the higher end of the scale, women may be branded as easy whores, while conversely, some may see it as an indication of experience and skill in the bedroom. The opposite effect holds true with a lower number: too low and you’re either an inexperienced prude, a tease or overly virtuous with a strong moral center. Or smart.

Talk about the sexual double standard. If men had that “32” in the prime of their 20s, then everyone break out the beer and celebratory man-hugs! Successful sexual conquests and promiscuity are glowing achievements in man world.

Regardless of societal perceptions, all the stereotypes about what your number means, ladies, can be tossed aside.

Do not be ashamed of having a number that some perceive to be too low or too high. Unfortunately, no graph or scale can precisely determine what number constitutes a healthy sexual lifestyle.

But the times, they’re a-changing. With people living longer and healthier lives, couples waiting longer to wed, the debatable importance of premarital sex and developments of birth control, women’s sexual lifestyle has progressed to virtually rival that of men.

Women all over should be confident in their differing choices of either engaging in a more conservative and selective sex life or, alternatively, embracing an active and non-monogamous lifestyle. Ultimately, your number is your private business, and keeping it hush-hush is perfectly admirable.

After introspection, if you find yourself with a self-deprecating attitude about your number as one or 50 notches on the bedpost, all you can do is accept that what’s done is done.

It’s not difficult to make changes in the future, not for sake of the male populace, but for yourself.

Just like your salary or a book’s cover, you are not judged by the thickness or thinness of your little black book.

Old Gold and Black, Wake Forest U. via UWIRE