In two separate avenues, I have seen two very different takes on the notion of ‘body counts’. This… shall we say concept, relates to how many intimate partners someone has had. To some, this is of considerable importance. To others, it is an irrelevant, out-dated concern. My question is, does this idea have any validity? Another question would be, why is this concept applied unevenly between the sexes?
In reference to the first link, an article written by one, um, h2xjk4m7wy (henceforth referred to as H2), we have this:
It is at the same time remarkable and terrifying how we as men tend to be attracted to women who have had multiple sexual relations in the past. When choosing a romantic partner, it is necessary to look past a woman’s physical attractiveness and into her past behavior. Because as much as you would like to believe otherwise, it is never a good idea to trust a woman who has been promiscuous in the past. She is NOT going to change: you’re just fooling yourself if you tell yourself she is.
Whilst I would agree that a relationship should be built on more than physical attraction, how much of a partner’s past sexual behaviour is truly relevant? Does it actually matter? Why there is also a disproportionate focus on the sexual past of a woman?
This, to me, represents a stigma. It also represents fear and hypocrisy.
Should women not be allowed to enjoy sex in the same way men do? Is that something that some men fear? I believe it is. The idea that women enjoy sex on their terms, seeking out partners for fun, as men are so often lauded for doing, scares a lot of men. Suddenly, women are dictating terms, choosing who they want, when they want. Is that so bad? If we’re all for equality of the sexes, should we not come to a mutual agreement that men and women can both enjoy sex, on their terms as individuals, without judgement?
After a time, most of us will settle down, and find someone we love. Whether that person has bedded one, five, 10, or 100 people, should matter less than who they are with us, and who we are with them. Prior to finding that special person, should we not enjoy the finite time on this earth?
Then there is the question, ‘how many is too many’? Robyn, of the second link, poses this very notion on her post (which is quite, ah, bold, so those of a sensitive nature should bear in mind it’s quite, um, bold). In the course of her posts, when addressing the question of whether bodies count:
We all know the real answer of course; as a femme, I’m meant to be ashamed of it and shamed by it. It’s meant to be used as a way to subjugate me. It’s meant to give you some kind of superiority over me. It’s meant to support the idea that you know what’s best for me and my body.
She hits the nail on the head. The ‘slut-shaming’ that society engages in is a form of controlling behaviour. Often, those who champion men being ‘players’ and ‘studs’ will call women whores for behaving exactly like them, in a not-so-subtle form of misogyny. Some conservative types believe women should be entire subservient to their husbands, and that they should service their man’s sexual needs, without any consideration for their own wants and needs. There are some who go as far as to argue that withholding sex is grounds for divorce, or even physical punishment. It all comes back to the idea that men (and no, I don’t mean all men, lest the hysterical MRAs and MGTOWs come after me) think they know better. Somehow, men believe they know what’s best for women, despite not having a clue what it means to be a woman in society. We think we know exactly what a woman wants physically and emotionally, without bothering to ask. We apply double-standards when it comes to sex.
What should matter are our individual choices. The affairs of consenting adults should be of no concern to anyone other than those adults. If you wish to refrain from sex before marriage, more power to you. If you wish to enjoy sex and have multiple partners, more power to you. As long as you’re not cheating on your partner, or you have made arrangements to keep it casual and everyone is happy with that, should anyone else care about what is not their business?