My fellow HCWO writer Alexie Evans wrote the article “Why My Number is None of Your Business” and it sparked my curiosity. Specifically – what are guys’ take on this? Do they care as much as we think they do? How does their number affect them?
PS. To be clear, “number” refers to how many sexual partners one has had.
There seems to be this double standard that females must be selective and modest (and still get backlash) while males can make the rounds with no problem. Although this is clearly problematic, my goal here isn’t to write a feminist piece demanding equal rights and privileges, but to simply just inquire about guys’ thoughts on the subject.
So, I Facebook messaged 11 guys that I’m relatively close with and thought would give me an honest response. I prefaced my messages with a debrief of who and what I write for, and ensured their anonymity will be kept (a.k.a. the names below are pseudonyms).
The 11 guys are from a range of different cultural backgrounds, sexualities, ages, etc. – as I tried to get a diverse collection of answers. I then copied and pasted the questions Alexie asked the girls in her article and hoped for the best. Some of the questions were not answered by the participants, and some were so repetitive I found it unnecessary to “CTRL-C and CTRL-V” similar responses.
The result? Read below!
1) Do you share your number with your partner (be it sexual partner or romantic)? Why or why not?
James: Only share the number with someone who I am seeing and committed too, being honest is key. Never would share with random hookups, maybe if anything lie and say more.
Cooper: I “kind of” would share my number with my partner.. Depending on their number I may shave down my number a bit if my partner’s number is significantly lower than mine.
Damon: Only when asked, I don’t mind sharing that information, although it’s a conversation I don’t really care to bring up.
Tanner: I don’t share my number with a sexual partner. But if it is someone I’m romantic with then yes, honesty is the best policy
Andrew: I don’t think I would share my number with my partner because it really isn’t any of their business and it doesn’t affect our relationship.
2) Is it important to you to know your partner’s number? Why or why not?
James: Not that important. Sex is sex. It has becoming such a part of society, pop culture, etc, it’s not really that strange for people to have had previous experiences. I think it comes with maturity though, like as you get older you can start to accept it more. Too be honest I would not want to know the girls number.
Mark: It doesn’t matter. If the conversation comes up it’s best to be honest but it’s not a priority to know.
Cooper: I would be interested in knowing my partners number because it’s a part of their history that I am curious to know about.
Andrew: It isn’t. I would definitely be curious, but again, it isn’t really any of my business and I would do what I could to respect my partner’s privacy.
Corey: It’s not important really no. Her past Is her past and I am moving forward.
3) Do you interpret a guy’s versus a girl’s number differently?
James: Sadly, yes. The higher the number for girls, the sluttier they are. The higher the number for guys, the more props or appreciation you get. Ridiculous, I know.
Mark: Probably. The reason(s) is more important than the number.
Harrison: No, gender doesn’t matter, because again, its’ just a vague idea of how experienced the other person might be.
Cooper: No, I don’t interpret a guy versus a girls number differently.
Corey: Unfortunately yes, it’s wrong but its easier for a guy to have a huge number than a girl.
4) Is there a certain number you don’t want to go past? Why or why not?
Aaron: Yes, I want to get married some day so not a lot more.
Harrison: No, I don’t have any “goals” or “limits” regarding my number. Maybe less than Wilt Chamberlain.
Damon: Nope not really, although, I’m not a huge fan of the ‘hit it and quit it’ mentality so I’m not one who has a numbers goal as a motivator.
Daniel: No, I would never reach a point where I’d say “okay that’s it, i can’t have sex with anybody new, i reached my number”. If I was single and willing I can’t see why I’d stop.
Andrew: No. I don’t think about maintaining a count.
5) Would you not sleep with someone/date someone if you knew they had a number which you considered to be high? Why?
James: Probably not… As long as its protected and safe sex, then I don’t mind.
Mark: No. I care more about the type of person they are than how many people they’ve slept with.
Harrison: The number doesn’t really matter for me, so i’d sleep with someone with a high number, sure (as long as they’re clean).
Cooper: If someone’s number was significantly high, I may be hesitant to date this person because I might worry they are more on the promiscuous side and feel it may not be as easy for them to be monogamous.
Daniel: Yes, if I didn’t know the girl well and she told me she had a very high number, I would consider the risk for STDs.
6) Has anyone ever made a judgment on you because your number was what they considered to be high or low?
James: Once or twice, lol!
Daniel: Yeah, like most guys I was roasted when I was a virgin for being a virgin.
Tanner: Multiple girl have made judgements on me based on my number being somewhat higher then most guys
Andrew: I’ve only told really close friends… I don’t think anybody really cares just as long as people are being safe. It’s more of a laughing matter when a number is a little “too” high.
Corey: HELL YEA .. even without my number, I get judged on the number of girls I KNOW let alone fu*king.
7) Have you ever lied about your number? WHY?
Aaron: Yes, but more when I was younger. To be cool, or fit in. Now I couldn’t care less.
James: Yes… because sometimes (depending on the person) it can make me look douchier or like an asshole because a lot of girls do in fact care about this sort of stuff
Mark: I’ve never found any reason to.
Harrison: Maybe once or twice when it was really low. I was younger at the time, so maybe it was to make myself feel better.
Cooper: Yes I lied about my number lol .. I lied to previous potential romantic partners because I didn’t want them to judge me / look down on me / I wanted them to think I was a perfect lovely little angel.
Daniel: Yes, when I was a virgin I told a girl I wasn’t so she would think I was cool.
Tanner: I have never lied about my number I have just never told a person I didn’t want to know.
Andrew: I haven’t. I either tell them or ask why they want to know. And to be quite honest, I don’t even think I know my own number!
Corey: Never lied about my number cause I never answered the question.. my answer is “I DON’T KNOW” and it’s true.
So, what I’ve gathered from this is that:
– You cannot make absolute generalizations for each gender about their sexuality.
– Both genders can be just as embarrassed or sensitive about their count (perhaps in the same way)
– There is a misconception that female numbers correlate to their sexual hygiene and maintenance
– Males are less afraid to surpass a certain number
– Males are judged less about their count and/or it affects them less
– Don’t bring it up and it won’t be a problem, unless you’re in a serious relationship and it matters to them… you’re in for a discussion.
This was fairly enlightening, especially with the hook-up culture that prevails in society right now. It did affirm societal misconception and inequality of female autonomy and sexuality. In terms of their own count, it was interesting to read that some of these guys are aware or cautious about their number and how it affects their partner. They construct their sexuality in a different manner than women, but there’s still thought put into it.
My take on sex and one’s number is this:
I think that it’s human nature to be curious and to judge. If you’re going to ask, be prepared for an unexpected number. Keep in mind that both genders (maybe more so for females than males, but that may just be my bias) cannot win: if they say a low number they must be lying, if they say a high number they must be a player or a slut. Also, “low” and “high” numbers are subjective, like how old the person in relation to when they lost their virginity, how many you’ve had sex with versus your partner… Honestly, at the end of the day, as long as the person treats you with respect and your relationship is consensual and safe, I wouldn’t worry about the past. If you start worrying about the number and the stories behind each experience, you’ll end up going crazy. Focus on the current relationship (be it a hookup, friends with benefits, bf/gf, etc.) and make sure you’re happy with it and that you’re having sex because you want to.