Lately I’ve been thinking about what “the number” means. I’ve been asked a few times what my number is. And my honest answer is, I don’t know. Let’s start by defining what the number consists of. Is it just penis in vagina episodes, no matter how brief? Is it more substantive penis in vagina? Is it oral? Is it mutual masturbation? Anal? It seems a bit silly to me to count a time where a guy put a condom on, put his dick in me, couldn’t keep an erection, and it was very unsatisfying all around…but not count sometime that involved very kinky, dirty, and very satisfying licking, sucking, fingering, etc.
So, that’s my first issue with “the number” – it just is an undefined way of keeping track that is somewhat misleading.
But even if I did decide on a way of keeping track, what is the point of “the number”. Yes, I understand that, in theory, the more people one sleeps with, the higher chance of an STI or STD. But that is certainly offset by safe sex practices and regular testing. Since there is never any guarantee that one’s partner has been honest and monogamous, it’s pretty tough to say what is safe and what isn’t when it comes to sex (unless one totally abstains).
So, as my number creeps up (no matter how one counts), I keep wondering if it matters. Society certainly tells me it does. But do I care? I’m more fulfilled with my number going up than my number stagnate b/c I’m celibate. And while I recognize that there is, in a perfect world, an in between of landing on a some casual partners and sticking with just who I’ve decided to go with, it’s not necessarily super easy to find casual partners with the right attitude, chemistry, and availability.
So, for now, I’m not worrying about my number. I don’t actually know what my number is (but know enough to know that n+1 is greater than n). Maybe I’ll care at some point. Or maybe not.