The Number of Lovers I Have Had

By: Bella Baxter

Everyone I meet has a sexual history. Sometimes it’s devastatingly boring, and other times it makes me wonder what I was doing with myself while they were having orgies on a yacht off the coast of Cape Town. Not that I would have wanted to be there because I am a germophobe, and there is no possible way of telling who has thorough hygiene practices in an orgy scenario, but I’m guessing no one. As much as I’m curious at times, I actually don’t want to know anything about anyone’s sexual escapades, particularly if I’m dating them. In every other domain I’m often singing truths and sprouting honesty, but on this topic, I am a firm believer in keeping that shit to yourself. It is private.

There has been a point in most of my relationships where I have become giddy with a variation of love. Everything the other person does seems erotic or hilarious, and we spend most of our free time nude, eating watermelon. Then someone (he) has two wines and blurts out the most useless question, “how many people have you slept with?” It is always said in a way that implies that everything is cool and that this is a relevant conversation that we are clearly both adult enough to give space for discussion. But inside my mind I’m thinking; what made him ask me this? Should I have kept the positions to the standard three? Perhaps not introduced ‘piledriver’ one month in?
No good will ever come of this question, particularly for women. It is a way for people to assess you very, very quickly. It is used as a quantifier on your ethos, morals, and self-control. Everyone should review their decision to be honest about this part of themselves to others. Take my friend ‘Lola’, her fiancé nagged her incessantly to reveal the number of lovers she’d had. He said he needed to know so he could, “understand her more.” When she finally told him, he sulked for weeks. In the space of minutes his future wife had fallen as an angel in his mind, and now lay as a whore by his feet. He even hammered her number into a calculator and divided it by the number of years she was single. “4.2 a year!” he yelled hysterically, “You couldn’t fit that many people in a lift!” Now, every time he gets drunk or bored he brings it up in a whiney, unhinged way. Like she had purposely slept with other men just to mess with him all these years later. If she had responded with, “that’s private” in a tone equivalent to, “discussion fucking over”, these instances of completely unnecessary behavior wouldn’t have happened.
Whether it is one thousand lifeguards or one lonely duck hunter, just state, “it’s private”. Say it like the topic is so boring and irrelevant that you are now going to casually walk out of the room to make tea. “It’s private”. Practice it in front of a mirror. Reveal nothing. No one needs to know anything about your carnal jaunts. You are probably still coming to terms with those experiences yourself. I know I still mutter in disbelief at the trust fund bohemian who thought it would be completely appropriate to wander through my apartment photographing all the photos I have in my house (while I slept) to then use in an actual art show, because, as he said, “it’s the truest form of appropriation”.
Lovely, adventurous, womenfolk, don’t allow yourself to be categorized by those around you based on your sexual experience. You are not saintly, nor are you debased. You aren’t even oscillating between the two. You are neither. You are remarkable, experienced and private. You are numberless.

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  • Rachel Auslander
    published this page in Blog 2015-09-11 17:30:28 -0400
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