Stop assigning your sexual partners a number!
CREDIT: Rowdy Magazine Art Director/ Callie Alexander
This is a PSA for society that a “body count” is not real, and unless you are playing some sort of Call-of-Duty-esque video game or you are an avid paintball enthusiast, that word should be erased from our personal dictionaries. This comes from a place of no judgment. I also used to pore over my hidden list in my notes app, which I started to develop at sixteen. It was titled with two cute heart emojis when the list began. I cataloged my kisses to compare and gossip with my friends later at lunch; however, as I grew older, so did my lists, and it was no longer something I shared with people. With every name I wrote down, I was giving power to these men, who quite often did not deserve it.
Your self worth is not tied to a number.
“Body counts” were invented to shame women. Slut shaming profits highly off of the weight society places on “body counts”; however, men seem to be unscathed and have the audacity to brag about their own high numbers while criticizing women with similar ones. It’s the same men that shame women for having sex that turn around and beg women to sleep with them. Men pressure women into divulging this extremely personal information about their previous sex life. Then if a woman decides to share her sexual history (and the man finds it heinous), they berate her and treat her as if she is not human.
Putting a number on an intimate sexual experience is absurd, and not only is it used by men to devalue women, it creates an environment of competition among women as well. Many women have been conditioned to see women with higher “body counts” as less worthy, and it reinforces this cycle of slut shaming that is perpetuated by women and men to hurt more women.
Women are abused by the cycle we help maintain.
I urge you the next time your subconscious tells you to look down on a woman that is indulging in her sexual desires to stop in your tracks, and think about what you are doing. Don’t let a man tell you that you are special because you “don’t sleep around.” All women are deserving of respect regardless of their sexual history, and if you encourage men to slut shame women, you will fall victim to that cycle in due time.
Not only can “body counts'' be physically and emotionally damaging, but they are also legitimately not real. Most heterosexual people identify sex as a penis entering the vagina, and it was not until I had my first sexual experience with the same gender that I realized how flawed that system was. Without question, I had written her name down in my little notes app, and like clockwork, I began to have an existential crisis about my definition of sex itself. I thought about the other partners I had that never made it to my little list because we did not have sex in the heterosexual way I defined it. I panicked thinking about whether I should include them and how that influx of numbers would make me feel. And then I deleted my list. It felt insane to let something I created have control over my emotions.
Sex defined from a human sexuality standpoint is experience that requires enthusiastic consent between partner, partners or oneself that may or may not elicit an orgasm through the stimulation of genitals by use of any body part or object for the purpose of pleasure. While this might not be your definition of sex – and you can define sex in any way you see fit – I encourage you to ask yourself “why do I view sex that way?” Do I view sex as a penis entering a vagina because that is what I believe or because I was conditioned by society?
My definition of sex never used to include consent, even though sex at its core is a consensual experience. There is no such thing as unconsensual sex – that is rape; however, “body count” does give special consideration to consent. People should never have to decide whether they should give their rapist a number. No one should feel the need to write down the name of an abuser amongst the names of people they have had enjoyable intimate moments with.
CREDIT: Queensland Health
Be empowered by your sexuality, be empowered by your choices and don’t let others’ opinions change the way you perceive yourself. To truly change the way people view sex, and to end slut shaming, we first need to make sure that we change the way we approach the topic internally.
I know the little list in your phone seems fun at first, but over time, you might find yourself putting too much power in a number. An alternative idea is to start rating the zodiacs in bed and compare with friends! Through intensive personal research, I have found that Aries men are never as good as you think they will be, and Cancer men are generous partners that like to cuddle after. I also urge you to journal about your sexual experiences. Write down names or not, and really think about how the sexual experience made you feel. Write down things you enjoyed, things you did not and try to fully understand your sexual wants, needs and desires.
You are entitled to good sex.
Sex can be awkward, but feel empowered by your desires, and work on effective communication to increase your personal pleasure. Sex is extremely male-oriented in today’s society, but it’s time to take back our right to orgasm. Believe me, you might feel more deserving of good sex if you weren’t so busy worrying about a silly little number.
Gwyneth Baker is an online staff writer for Rowdy Magazine. She can be found listening to the The Divine Feminine by Mac Miller, answering her friend's sex-related questions and constantly writing in her notes app.