6/29/2012 5:43 PM
When someone asks you what your number is, most often they're asking for your phone number. But sometimes, they're asking for a different one, one that's a lot more personal, and for a lot of people, on a need-to-know basis. When we ask this, we're expecting something from the person we're asking, and like it or not, we often feel differently about them after we get the answer, for better or for worse. It's unfair, a little superficial, and mostly pointless, but why is there a different standard for men and women? How many is too many partners?
It's a question we can't answer empirically. "Too many" could mean more than one partner for the man who is saving himself for marriage, or it could mean 10 for the woman who allots herself a little leeway—say, two or three people a year, barring unforeseen circumstances. But more important than how many is too many for us, we need to address why this is even a thing.
When you ask someone what their number is, you're basically trying to feel out if you think they're a "slut," or if they share the same morals as you, or if they're "dirty" or "easy." And interestingly enough, it's pretty infrequent that a man is called a slut, so it's a pretty double-standard-y question to ask in the first place. But the real thing I often wonder is why does it even matter? I can totally see asking a sexual partner to get tested before the two of you start sleeping together (because safe sex doesn't just mean using condoms), but asking them how many people they've been with doesn't do much besides allow you to draw your own conclusions about their love life.
And as for a woman asking a man that question, all it will really do is fuel potential insecurities and make her think that he may have womanizer tendencies, which also isn't a fair judgment.
Finally, it's not really anyone's business how many people you've slept with. Maybe the number's low, maybe it's high, but as long as you're safe and doing it consensually, it shouldn't really bother anyone if they're considering being your next.
Image from morguefile
Posted by Jena