This morning I read a facebook post in one of my groups. It was posted in a co-ed group that is concerned with masculinity and what it means to be a man. In this group, somebody posted the above picture, which is taken from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. It did spark some interesting debate.
As expected, the biggest points were the numbers that are obviously different. And both present as math problems at first glance, semantic problems at second glance and cultural problems after some staring.
Math: How can men have 14.6 sexual partners and women 8.4? Yes, for a small sample size that might be the case but overall the numbers should be about even. Unless men are much more prone to bisexuality than I thought and had 6.2 same sex partners.
Semantics: 40% of men think about sex several times per day but only 14% of women. What is a sexual thought? “I want to bend you over…”, “I want to kiss you…”, “I want to cuddle up to you…”, “I wonder if he is thinking about sex…”, “I wonder what he is imagining…”, “OMG, I bet he wants to have sex with me…” In my book they all count. Also, what counts as several times? And regarding the sex partners we look at the same issue. What constitutes as a sex partner? ONS? Longterm partner? Friends with Benefits? And for that matter, what constitutes as a sexual act? Kissing? Hugging? Petting? Penetration? What if it was only anal but not vaginal penetration? Or just a blowjob?
Cultural: In our culture we are so stuck on the concept that women are chaste and men are promiscuous. And now we get to the chicken and egg problem: Which causes or perpetuates which? Are men and women reporting what they think they should and men round up and women round down and thus the reports come out that way? Or is it that these report perpetuate an outdated cultural view by publishing these statistics?
One of the women in the women of the group shared that she forgot about entire years of her sexual activity. Do we really need a file where we keep track of our partners? And is it even important to keep track of it? In the end it is “just sex”. Something we all enjoy, sometimes more, sometimes less. But we all do it.
What if we all could just live in our desire without the need for statistics and social proof of being “normal” or “within the limits”? What kind of place would this country, this world be if we embraced that we are all sexual beings and we live our lives however feels good to us?