Women are being criticized more and more for the choices they make in their lives. From weight to fashion to number of sex partners, the media has placed a magnifying glass on women’s decisions. Stigmatic words like slut, promiscuous, whore, and skank are all becoming increasingly popular in our generation’s vocabulary.
We are quick to label people for the choices they have made.
Whether you get to the point in a relationship where the topic arises or you are out for happy hour with the girls, the number of sex partners is a touchy subject.
What is the perfect number?
Is there such a thing?
Every woman is different. Some women are comfortable with their number; others are not. Some are waiting for marriage; others are not.
In our society, we assume that men will have a higher number than women, and we accept it.
In a survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), results showed that 29 percent of American men reported to have 15 or more sexual partners in their lifetime, while only nine percent of women reported to have 15 or more partners.
Does this mean we should look down on this nine percent? Of course not, because every woman is entitled to make her own decisions — nobody should tell her who she can sleep with, and who she can’t.
Jamie* was waiting for the right one – a man that she felt very comfortable with, a man she loved. She says,
“My virginity meant something to me, and I wanted my first time to be special,” she said. She waited for her first time to have sex to be with her boyfriend of several months. “I’m glad it happened that way – it brought us much closer.”
Lisa, a devout Catholic, waited until marriage to have sex. She says,
“I do not regret my choice to wait, because I believe that a woman should have one partner in her lifetime–her husband.”
This route is more common than you’d think. According to data collected by the NCHS, 25 percent of women and 17 percent of men reported to have only one partner in their lifetime.
Tessa, on the other hand, has never had a serious boyfriend. She enjoys being single and independent. At 22 years old, she has had 12 sexual partners. While some people find that alarmingly high, she claims,
“Numbers don’t matter. As long as the woman is okay with her number, nobody else should care. If she is comfortable with the choices she’s made, then no future boyfriend, or anyone else for that matter, should look at her in a judgmental or condemning way.”
Is a number really that important? Does a “high” number of sexual partners mean that you’re promiscuous, or does it mean you’re comfortable with your sexuality? Does a “low” number mean that you are a prude, or is it because your religious beliefs guide your decisions?
There is no correct or perfect number for sex partners, it is only what you are comfortable with, and whether or not your decision is perfect for you.
*Names have been changed.