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The Double Standard

Edited by: Amy Coyle

We all have our notions about what our number means to us, but what we can never figure out is what guys think about our number.  My last article, What’s Your Number?, touched on how our number is right for us since we are the only ones that know the information regarding the people we have chosen to either involve ourselves with or not.  What’s Your Number? briefly mentioned the double standard between males and females concerning the appropriate number of sexual partners.  There is an immense amount to learn in regards to this double standard, so I did some research to try to gain some insight into a boy’s perspective.

Davis collegiettes™ do not feel that there is one number that is correct for every girl.   Davis boys, however, had more of a general consensus on what a girl’s number should be at this age.  

According to this poll, boys feel that a girl’s number should be relatively low with a combined 82.8% stating a girl’s number should be one or two!  (Let’s take a look at this attitude a little more in depth).

Through a series of interviews (from boys with varying numbers themselves), I have found some generally accepted ideas from the masculine community.  Boys said that there is no way for them to identify a girl’s number, let alone based off of first impressions.  “You can’t tell if a girl is a virgin right off the bat.  I don’t know until they say it.  You can tell if it’s ten or more.  Zero to four, you have no idea.  You can only tell if they’re not [a virgin]” (David*, 3 partners).  Physical appearances and initial interactions give little hint to a person’s number; however, as the previous quote insinuates, boys feel that they can place a girl into one of two categories: if she has had between zero and five sexual partners or more than five.  One of my interviewees even claimed that, “You can tell within the first 30 seconds which category she fits into” (David*, 3 partners).  “It is usually apparent through how she carries herself. A combination of how she dresses, how flirty, how forward, how she acts at parties etc.” (Joseph*, virgin).  Boys felt that five was a good number: “two serious boyfriends in high school… and then three guys you’ve been hooking up with in college” (Wolfgang, 4 partners).  Identifying which category a girl belongs in is “ more about how [she] carries [herself]” (Damon*, undisclosed number of partners).

When making the choice to get intimate with someone for a night and choosing to date someone, boys look at a girl’s number very differently.  “Once you’ve reached that point of being in bed with a person, the higher the number, the more intimidating the experience is.  It makes me think that she’s just sleeping with me because I’m a dude.  They have a much bigger sample size to deal with, and you have to be a lot more impressive” (Wolfgang*,  3 one-night stands).  In a differing view, this male felt that “if I’m just sleeping with you, I obviously don’t care about many of the details about you, including your number” (Damon*, 14 one-night stands).  On the opposite side of having a large number, boys don’t want to be “manipulative asshole[s]… [and] corrupt anyone” by taking their virginity in this type of setting (Wolfgang*, 3 one-night stands).  As one of the guys told me, they tend to think: “Oh shit, this is going to happen to my daughter,” and decide against having a one-night fling with a virgin (Wolfgang*, 3 one-night stands).  Joseph*, a virgin himself, feels that “society has created false expectations on the ‘correct time’ to lose your virginity. Our culture has attached the idea of being ‘abnormal’… if you are a virgin in college. In reality… being a virgin or not being a virgin in college is irrelevant… and… not a big deal at all, even though our society judges you on it.”  All this talk about one-night stands led me to ask how boys felt about the girls that they have one-night stands with.  “Girls think that if they have sex with someone and then don’t see them they’re a slut, but guys don’t view them that way because they [do the same thing].  Only if it happens again and again and again do guys call them sluts” (David*, 1 one-night stand).  

In choosing a girl to date, boys feel the same as girls; they “really have to get to know the girl” (Wolfgang*, 4 partners).  They are more likely to date someone who is a virgin or who has a much higher number than the ideal “five“ previously talked about if they like the person.  On the other hand, “a girl who has had a lot of partners makes that act of love from her much less meaningful” (Damon*, 14 one-night stands).  Despite this fact, a girl’s number does not make or break anything when it comes to relationships.  It is way more important to have feelings for someone than anything else.  “You could be the hottest girl in the world  but if you personality is completely bland, I would not want to date you” (Joseph*, virgin).   The topic of your number is not something that should come up in any normal, daily conversation.  It is something that will be discussed as you get to know and develop feelings for someone.  At that point, it is minute one fact among the many to describe your past.  What truly matters is the present person you are interested in and the current relationship that you have together.

In my opinion, boys have a very narrow and strict view of what a girl’s number should be.  They are incredibly harsh in their ideals, which is why they must change their opinions in reality.  And they do, especially when it comes to dating someone.  If any boy allows your number get in the way of any feelings or potential relationship, he is obviously not confident enough to be with you.  I am going to end this article with a quote from a boy who has had 14 one night stands: “The sexual experience is 90% the emotions involved… Everyone should be striving for that truly meaningful experience.  [What really matters is] saving it for the [person] who you truly want to be close with and wake up next to in the morning…. Remember, sex comes after the emotions; no healthy relationship I’ve ever heard of had sex come before the emotions, this isn’t the movie Friends With Benefits” (Damon*).

*Many more interviews were conducted than the boys with changed names in the quotes provided.  I chose only quotes that were representative of all of the Davis men that were interviewed.  (The boys were also given the liberty to choose their own name.)


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