I don’t know about you but there have been countless times I’ve been asked or told these things relating to my “body count”:
“What’s your body count?”
“On the count of three lets both say our body count.”
“If you have a higher body count than 10 that will make me less attracted to you.”
Body count is the colloquial term for the amount of people you have had sex with. Questioning someone’s body count may seem harmless, but it can be very unsettling to be asked such private information.
So… If you too have been asked by someone what your body count is, and immediately felt uncomfortable, I am here to tell you: you are not alone.
A quick google search didn’t help me feel better. The first headline was a reddit forum that was a justification for why men have the right to judge women on her body count. The reddit post was littered with possessive and misogynistic language. I then looked at the Google-generated response to the question of what is an acceptable body count for a woman.
Question: What is an acceptable body count for a woman?
The Answer: “The average number of sexual partners…in general, is anywhere between 4 and 8.”
No. No. No.
Average numbers are obviously supposed to be objective data. But if I was Googling this question in hopes of feeling justified for sexual pursuits, I wouldn’t feel very good.
The acceptable body count for a woman is literally any number! If you are practicing safe sex you should be able to f*ck anyone and everyone you want to!
I am here to tell you to stop worrying about how many people you have slept with. If someone is judging you for your “number,” then they are probably insecure about themselves (a sure sign you are dating a fuckboy). It’s time to end the gendered and outdated debate still going today that women need to be virgin-like until they are married — and if they aren’t, they are “sluts” — while men are rewarded for the amount of partners they’ve “conquered” with a high five and a beer.
I am not here to say I have the answer to the question: Why can men hookup with a lot of people and be seen in a positive light, whereas it’s completely the opposite with women?? We live in a patriarchal society that degrades women for being sexually liberated. But I am here to promote self love and give you some advice.
Let’s stop thinking about our past sexual partners as mere numbers. Describing sexual history in terms of quantitative data – and not people – feeds into a toxic societal cycle on inequality and objectification.
Our partners are extremely private! You should never have to disclose sensitive information if you don’t want to. Being pressured into saying how many people you have had sex with can feel very vulnerable. It shouldn’t be thrown around like your listing off your grocery list.
The amount of sexual partners you’ve had does not define you! Your self worth should not be measured by how many people you have sex with. It just shouldn’t. Each sexual encounter differs emotionally, physically and mentally and does not set a threshold of measurement on how you should view yourself.
People who judge you for the amount of partners you’ve had are probably insecure themselves. Hate to break it to you but if that guy you’ve been crushing on insults and judges you for the amount of people you have or have not slept with, he’s probably either jealous or extremely insecure.
Shame has no place in sexual conversations. You should not feel shame no matter how many partners or how sexual you are. If you are being safe and using protection there should be no reason to be ashamed of your sexual habits. We are human. We all enjoy sex.
Long story short, women and men are unequally treated with regard to how many people they have sex with. I will be the first to say that this toxic way of thinking about intercourse infiltrated how I viewed sex. I was concerned that my “number” was too high and that men wouldn’t want to be with me because of it.
It’s time to de-stigmatize the idea that women who have a lot of sex are “sluts” and women who don’t have sex are “prudes.” Both are equally harmful. No person should be judged on how sexually active they are. Your body count is your body count and you should be able to tell whoever you want or share it with absolutely no one. Let’s start leaving shame and guilt and stigmas aside for sexual conversations and start teaching self love.
About The Author
A senior in William & Mary and St Andrews’ joint degree program for English has always been passionate about initiating conversations around sexual destigmatization and female sex-positivity. Maud Purinton (@maudpurinton on Instagram) is an avid skier and mixed media artist and looks forward to pursuing a career in fashion and beauty PR after she graduates.