What’s my number?

At brunch yesterday, a friend relayed the following story to me:

So, Joe [a mutual friend] and I were having dinner in Rockville, and the table next to us starting talking about your blog.

Me: Really?!? [We laugh out loud a bit.] Do we know this group?

Friend: No. There were four girls in their early 20s. Neither Joe nor I had seen them before, and they didn’t know anything about you beyond your blog. So…they were saying how you must be promiscuous because you write about sex. [We laugh some more.] One girl commented that she had been with five guys. Two girls commented that they had slept with around 25 guys a piece, and the last girl to speak said:

I’ve been with 130 guys. City Girl is a sex blogger so she’s probably slept with like ten times more people than I have!

When Joe and I heard that, we couldn’t stop laughing hysterically. The server finally stopped coming over to our table because she didn't know what was happening. The girls went back and forth for over an hour, debating how many guys you had been with and the fact that ten times 130 guys sounded about right.

1,300 guys?!?

Are you kidding me?

If you can laugh out loud and be speechless at the same time, picture me responding in such a fashion.

What have I disclosed by writing this blog?

I’m comfortable talking about sex and sexuality.

I enjoy sex and prioritize my sexual health.

I’m not a saint, but I’m neither a sex addict nor a sex worker.

I’ve gone entire years in which I’ve been in monogamous relationships or I’ve chosen not to have sex with a new partner until I had gotten over a past relationship.

Sorry to disappoint you, ladies, but I haven’t been with 1,000 guys. I haven’t even slept with 100 guys.

I do believe that the girls’ conversation provides an interesting commentary about female sexuality. There is a common misperception that a female who enjoys sex is promiscuous. If a man has a lot of partners, his behavior is tolerated at a minimum or revered at a maximum. If a woman has a lot of partners, she is a “slut” and isn’t worthy of being in a relationship.

In AskMen.com’s Great American Male survey, 35% of guys surveyed believe that a woman who has slept with 10 or more partners is promiscuous. Why isn’t a woman’s magazine polling females about the number of partners a man can have before he is seen as promiscuous? Maybe because that wouldn't make for interesting reading! It's expected that guys will have more partners than women, but I wonder with whom are they supposed to be getting all this manly experience?

We might not be able to control that a double standard exists and that female sexuality is condemned, while male sexuality is condoned, but we can make a conscious decision not to perpetuate the stereotype.

I talk about sex.

I write about sex.

I enjoy learning about sex.

I educate others about sex.

I have sex, and I love it!

If my comfort with my sexuality causes people to make assumptions about my lifestyle and the number of partners I've had, then I accept that on a personal level. However, I don't accept the misperceptions about female sexuality on a societal level. Each of us — male or female — deserves to feel comfortable in our own skin. Each of us — male or female — deserves to have a healthy sex life. From losing one's virginity to exploring one's sexual fantasies to masturbation to the number of partners, isn't it time for greater acceptance of and communication about everyone's sexuality, irrespective of gender or orientation?

I’ve been honest about the mistakes I’ve made in the past, but I don’t have a problem with the number of partners that I’ve had. And, whether you have yet to have sex or have been with 130 partners, I’ll do my best to support the decisions you've made about your life. We can try to raise each other up and debunk the myths and misperceptions about female sexuality or not. I’ve made my choice. What’s yours?

How do you define promiscuity and what are your thoughts about the double standard that exists with respect to female sexuality?

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