It’s like the number of candles on your birthday cake, irrelevant
I could tell you how many sex partners I’ve had, but that would tell you very little about me and who I am as a human being. What are my accomplishments? What are my unique strengths? What are my dreams and goals? The answers to those questions can’t be assigned a numerical value.
Does my number of sex partners tell you anything about me as a person, how much I donated to charity last year, the way I treat my friends, or how much I love my family? Absolutely not.
My number also doesn’t say anything about the man I married. We met as angsty teenagers working part-time after-school jobs at the local grocery store. It was love at first sight in the coat room beneath the flickering fluorescent light that buzzed like an angry housefly.
I wore short skirts and too much makeup. My favorite color was black. I’d already been in four serious relationships, one not-so-serious relationship, and one indefinable something with someone I really ought not to have kissed.
He sometimes rode his skateboard to work. His hair and his eyes were black and shiny as coal. At the tender age of fifteen, he had already been admitted to and released from drug and alcohol rehab — twice.
I complimented the pin he wore on his denim jacket; he unpinned it immediately and pressed it into my hand. I was smitten.
He was my second sex partner, possibly my third. It depends upon your definition of the word sex.
Two years later, we were married. He had barely turned eighteen
I estimate we had sex 650 times during nearly seven years together. That’s far more sexual encounters than I would have enjoyed if I were single and relying on one-night stands or dating apps for the occasional roll in the hay.
A number doesn’t say anything about the man I dated for 12 years — without having sex with him once. Twelve long years — that’s how long I was celibate despite being in a long-term committed relationship with a man.
When I think about all the sex I missed during an entire decade and part of another, I shake my head. I was in a non-stop holding pattern, always thinking that a robust sex life was just around the corner — as soon as he was ready.
He was never ready.
We had some good times during those 12 years. There were thousands of nice dinners at mid-priced restaurants, a handful of plays, trips to the zoo, shopping sprees galore, and a Broadway musical or two — and I paid for it all.
The one thing we didn’t have in our relationship was romance.
I should have known better. The first time we kissed, he told me he didn’t like having my saliva or tongue in his mouth.
Do you know what he did like in his mouth? A free meal.
We tried having sex a few times, with disastrous results. He blamed it on me. He said I didn’t know what I was doing. He said I wasn’t attractive. He said I wasn’t good enough — and I still paid his rent.
Your number of sex partners means exactly the same thing as my number of sex partners. It means the same thing as the number of candles on your birthday cake in any given year.
How many sex partners have you had? It doesn’t matter. There are more important things to consider. How many people have loved you? How many have broken your heart? How many people have assaulted you? How many have used you for your money? How many have changed your life, ruined your life, or made you want to die? Guess what. Those things don’t matter either.
Live your life to the fullest. Treat yourself and others with respect. Be kind to your body. Don’t focus on the number of candles on your birthday cake or how many people have shared your bed.
What does your number of sex partners say about you?