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Molly Longest / Her Campus
Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Body Counts: My Thoughts on This Double Standard

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

Every woman has heard some analogy comparing their body to some inanimate object to argue that women having a high body count is bad: a faulty lock that can be opened by lots of keys, a car with a lot of miles, a pencil that has gotten sharpened one too many times, a flower that has lost all its petals, you name it. Those analogies also imply that a key that opens a lot of locks is a trusty key, or a driver that can drive many different cars is a great driver, or a sharpener that sharpens a lot of pencils is a good sharpener, etc. Not only is this problematic because women are human and shouldn’t be compared to objects, but also because of the double standard that men are “allowed” to have high body counts but women aren’t. 

This is one of the oldest double standards held in society. In medieval times, women were expected to stay virgins until marriage–this was so important that “hymen checks” before the wedding were very common. People were also required to be  present during the consummation of a marriage to see if the woman bled to confirm her virginity. Women who didn’t stay “pure” until marriage were seen as “ruined” and usually could only marry the man she got caught with or a man that needed to get married quickly for whatever reason. And although it takes two to tango, men usually didn’t experiences consequences for premarital sex the same way women did, and still sometimes do. 

Unfortunately, “hymen checks” are still very much a thing across the world, including in the United States. In 2020, rapper T.I. made headlines following his comment about accompanying his 18 year-old daughter, Deyjah, to the gynecologist to ensure that her hymen was still intact so that he knew she was still a virgin. According to T.I., he did this every year. Deyjah later saw his comments on social media while on a family vacation. She spoke out about how these comments made her very uncomfortable, especially since she was in a foreign country with her father at the time and couldn’t escape him. There are currently no federal laws banning hymen checks in the United States, although in California and New York, they’ve been pushed. 

Nowadays, weaponizing body counts is a very common toxic masculinity tactic. Men believe that they deserve a woman that has only ever been with them because “it feels better.” Men are in constant competition with each other and women have been caught in the cross-fire of men not wanting “their woman” to have ever been sexual with other men, because that’s not fair to him. But while women are looked down upon for having higher body count, men are celebrated and praised. TikTok user @KendallKiper shared a video recently of what she called “the worse first date”, part of this was the man talking to her about body counts.


Replying to @mary i fkn almost fell out on the FLOOR at the end bc y did he say that😭😭

♬ original sound – kendall🍒

This double standard is just so ridiculous in my opinion because literally: who cares. I used to hold my virginity so close because I grew up in the church and believed that what was best was to wait until I was married. As I got older, I realized that this ideology was unrealistic; my worth wasn’t based on being a virgin or not and being a virgin wasn’t going to make me a better wife. But I am a hopeless romantic and didn’t just want to lose my virginity to anyone, I wanted to experience that with someone I was in love with. I eventually got into a relationship and lost my virginity to my then-boyfriend. I had explained to him how special my virginity was for me and how I had kept it until I was in love with someone. He told me he loved me so I let him take my virginity and he broke up with me barely a month later. This caused me to spiral and within the next few months, my body count went from zero to 11. 

And although 11 isn’t that large of a number, I felt like I needed to lie when I was asked what my body count was, especially if I was asked by a man. One time, I told a man the truth and he ridiculed me about how our bodies are a temple and having sex with multiple different people ruins our bodies. That conversation stuck with me for a while because maybe he was right–maybe I was ruined because I allowed myself to let so many people be intimate with me. 

Then I met my now boyfriend. As we got to know each other and I knew I was falling in love with him, I told him my body count, fully expecting him to get mad, yell, and eventually leave me. He didn’t. Instead he told me that it didn’t change how he saw me, it didn’t change how he felt for me, and it most certainly didn’t change who I was. This was so relieving and it reminded me of how stupid the culture around body counts is. 

I hate seeing women be put down for consenting to a common human experience–for having fun and experimenting with their sexuality. It isn’t fair to us as human beings to feel limited in our choices for the benefit of a man and a man’s emotions. Obviously, if a woman wants to keep herself for marriage, she should, but if a woman wants to sleep with 100+ people, then she should be able to do that without ridicule. Society should have moved beyond worrying about how many people a woman has slept with, especially if a man’s body count is a topic of conversation as well. It is past time to end this ridiculous double standard, to retire idiotic analogies that compare women to inanimate objects, and to stop pushing women down for simply enjoying life. 

Content written by various anonymous CU Boulder writers