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The Sunday Sermon; The Numbers Game

It is probably fair to say that I have had more sexual partners than my fellow blogger here. I might be wrong, he happily describes himself as a slut, and has little problem finding people to make smiles with, however I still think I would win in a straight out count. If you wander the world of kink you will discover it is not unusual for a Dom to encourage their subs to be sexually adventurous, getting a vicarious pleasure from the sexual activity of another. There is most certainly and element of you can have her for an hour, but look who she chooses to go home with, which doesn’t particularly challenge patriarchal norms, even if it can be very hot. When you add sex work into the mix, you challenge almost every stereotype of what should matter in relationships between men and women, which the insults and presumptions made about the partners of sex workers all too clearly show

This seems to be a reversal of the usual order of things, where winning is most certainly not the word used to describe a relationship where the woman has more sex than the man. The myth of female purity as the only acceptable way for a woman to be is so strong in our culture that a man is seen to be harmed, or diminished in some way if he is associated with a woman who has had more sex than him. The woman (and I am here writing about cis hetronormative relationships as the ones which seem to be policed in this way) is of course failing in her primary duty, to remain a virgin until she is claimed by the man who will breed from her.

The more you examine the numbers question, the more even asking it seems to come from a place of patriarchal slut shaming. Do you ever need to know how many sexual partners someone has had before you? Obviously if you are having safe sex conversations knowing what risks previous sexual behaviour they have had does matter, but that is the case if they have had 1 sexual partner or 1000. The real reason for asking is to see if someone matches up to some on existent norm, and if they fail, the number can be used against them.

The other side of the numbers game is how it is used to police masculinity. A man must never have zero as a possible reply, since being a virgin is linked to femaleness in some way. Perhaps because part of the way virginity is important to protecting the future goods (children) a cis woman could produce under patriarchy, it has become associated with being a woman. Sometimes if I have to be about at night in one of our town centers, those areas designed to push alcohol with maximum efficiency on groups of young men and women, I am struck by how the numbers game is played out, usually with at maximum volume. Those women whose numbers transgress the magic, arbitrary predetermined, amount, are criticised and ridiculed, whilst their own prowess is mathematically proven.

I dont often write about slut shaming anymore, even if it was one of the topics which first caused me to start blogging. But these musings on numbers remind me of this incredible poem.

“its funny the ones who cry whore the loudest are the ones who are hungriest for my blood”

I know I have already lost at the numbers game, according to anyone who plays. If I could I would resign , cash in my chips, and walk away, certain that anyone who plays isn’t worth knowing. Its a game you cannot leave though, controlled by those who play, men, and some women, who think that by perpetuating the idea there is a magical number they will boost their own image. They cant win either of course, which might be why they are so loud, so violent, so determined to chase after the idea they are acceptable because they have had the perfect number of sexual partners. Arbitrarily determined as it is, do they realise in their hearts that one day someone might turn on them, judging them to be be the transgressor, the slut, the whore?



One comment on “The Sunday Sermon; The Numbers Game

  1. Pingback: Starhawk |

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This entry was posted on January 31, 2016 by in Uncategorized and tagged , .

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