Does a Woman’s Number Matter?

Last week I asked what I thought would be a simple question on my Facebook fan page. Single woman, early thirties, has 15 sex partners: realistic, too high, too few? I asked this question because I got married in my mid-twenties and have only slept with one person since then. I wasn’t sure if saying a woman the same age as me with 15 sex partners would be realistic or not. The responses I got was interesting.

Some thought 15 partners was too high and a turn off for a person and/or character. Others said it’s realistic and almost unfortunate that it’s so realistic. One guy said realistic, but he wouldn’t want to be with her. Then I was asked why ask the question at all. Why does a woman’s number matter, and would a man’s?

Even though my question wasn’t asked with that particular thought in mind, I guess I should have expected it to go there. A few weeks ago, there was a post on Dear Author about slut shamming by women of other women in romance novels. It’s as if a woman who has multiple partners is either a slut or an undesirable character.

I wont lament the double standard between men and women. I know that a man who slept with 15 women wouldn’t generate as much discussion on a Facebook post as the question for a woman. And if it did, I sincerely doubt the discussion would be about how unlikeable the man is.

I will say that in my humble opinion, a woman the same age as me, who’s single and slept with 15 or more men should not be considered undesirable or unlikeable. Hell, I know women who slept with that many men before getting out of college.

If a single woman dates/sleeps one man a year during her twenties that doesn’t make her a bad person. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with her because she isn’t married. Marriage and kids aren’t for everyone and even if she does ultimately want to get married, is she supposed to remain celebate or a virgin until she finds her husband.

No.

I dive into my thoughts of what would happen to a woman saving herself for marriage through her twenties in my latest novel. And if you’ve read it, you realize I don’t think that would be as easy or fun as people may think.

In the end, I guess there are those in society who think a woman who’s had multiple partners is undesirable. That sucks, but that’s the way it goes. For good or bad, I don’t see that changing just from my simple blog post.

But the only person who should care about a woman’s number is her. Embrace it or hate it, it’s yours.  It makes you you, and nothing can change that. And if you love yourself, why would you want to change your numer anyway?

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About Synithia W
I write love stories filled with passion and drama at night, I improve air and water quality during the day, and I love my husband and kids in between.

8 Responses to Does a Woman’s Number Matter?

  1. Great post, Synithia! I must have missed your FB post on the question earlier. I would have answered that the number is realistic, and shouldn’t affect her desirability at all.

    I’m certainly no sociologist or psychologist, but I do think a sex-positive attitude is better for women, and society as a whole. It’s challenging to portray that belief in historicals, but I try to allow that acceptance to flourish between my main characters, at least, if not in the society around them.

    • Synithia W says:

      That’s a great way to handle it, Elizabeth! In books and in real life. It only matters between you and your partner (if he wants to know) and to hell with what society thinks.

      Sent from my iPad

  2. There is definitely a double standard when it comes to this subject. Women get the side-eye if they’ve slept with what people deem as too many people but nobody ever gives it too much thought when it comes to men. If a woman is single, say from HS graduation through age 30, that’s twelve years worth of partners, That could add up to one to two partners a year right there and that’s perfectly her business. And you’re right, should she “save” herself till she finds the right one? There’s the double-standard because you don’t see too many guys saving themselves for their would-be wife.

    It’s funny that you bring this up because I just saw a romantic comedy on cable a week or two ago called “What’s Your Number?” and it’s about the average number of men that women have slept with.

    • Synithia W says:

      I need to look up that movie just to see how they tackle it. And the guys who say their saving themself (Tim Tebow) get “yeah right” comments from the peanut gallery of men I know.

  3. Shannon says:

    Thanks for this! I think “slut shaming” in romance might stem from idealized expectations, that if w can’t wait for marriage, we can at least limit ourselves to that special partner. Romance is all about that “one true love” idea. I guess some people find it hard to think that 15 partners were all special to a person. the story I’m working on is about a woman who has only had one partner, and she was shamed so much by her family that she’s been celibate ever since. She does a lot of shaming, and while I think it’s in her character to do so, I wonder if I’m contributing to a negative stereotype, or even insulting readers.

    • Synithia W says:

      I doubt you’d be insulting readers if you make the reasons why her family react that way and her feelings of shame seem realistic. In Worth the Wait my heroine is a 30 year old virgin and some didn’t think that was possible, but the feedback I’ve gotten is I make her reasons for waiting (and finally getting rid of it) realistic.

  4. Fawn Weaver says:

    Interesting. I think we have to simply accept ourselves, right where we are, and feel confident about that. When I was 20, I decided the next man I’d be with sexually husband. When I married 6 years later, I was definitely dusting the cobwebs off (and yes, we did make a conscious decision to honor the commitment I’d made long before I met my hubby). Having not been with anyone else for so many years prior to my husband made him feel incredibly special. Something we talk about even to this day. Would he have loved me any less if I’d just been with another man the month before we met? I doubt it. Would he have proposed within a few months of us meeting if we were having sex? Probably not. But that’s just him and me and that’s what worked for us. Everyone is different and comparisons are never accurate (or beneficial).

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