The NYTimes recently reported that researchers are confused about some fuzzy math related to how many sex partners we collectively report having. For some reason, women report fewer and men report more sex partners on average, roughly seven to four. The numbers should equalize but they don’t, and researchers have proposed some plausible albeit naive answers from the lofty view of their ivory towers: the surveys don’t account for prostitutes, business travel (mostly men) or exaggeration. Problem is, the same phenomena shows up around world.
To get to my answer to this question easily answered from my view down here in the trenches, first let’s focus our attention up the scale, to the truly sexually liberated — “outlyers” in statistical language. The people gettin’ it on right now and will be gettin’ it on tomorrow when most of us are, oh, working or sleeping. What would happen if we look at the numbers and see that a small percentage of women — say about five percent — have sex with dozens or hundreds of men, even thousands, and when surveyed are unlikely to come even close to an actual number? Not to be chaste — that went out the window with the first bloody sheets — but because they just don’t remember? Or don’t want to remember?
I hear already people crying foul that there’s a Wilt Chamberlain for every Madonna. They would be wrong. Let’s admit it. Take two average people, a male and a female, and see who is more likely to get laid tonight. Ladies? You want booty and it’s a phone call away. Guys? Well, they don’t call it getting lucky to be coy.
Logic says that women getting a lot of dick would be accounted for in the numbers, represented on a chart as most women who have a handful of partners in a lifetime — and a few that have buckets full. But let’s be real. Sure, some men — professional athletes, rock stars and hypnotists — fuck anything that moves until their cocks rot. But most scrape for every close call they can add to their list. Whereas women might not call the same encounter sex, more like a nice try — or even just forget it all together because the experience totally sucked.
For instance, ladies, have you ever had a guy force himself on you, not rape but you know, he just won’t stop but maybe you started it and figured you’ll just fuck him and get it over with? Or some such similar experience. How many of you would rank that as a “sex partner?”
I could ask two women from my past to further make my point. My “first” probably would not remember me; our experience was not very memorable. A few strokes and fireworks, if you know what I mean. If she’d been a childhood friend or girlfriend, it would be different, but this was an almost random encounter in a friend’s bedroom with someone I’d met that day. The second was a drunken hook-up in college. We got naked, I got inside of her and she said no. I pulled on my pants and went home. In my book, she counts. Dick met Jane with the intention of meeting her again and again and again, but Jane wanted to make love, not knock boots. When my friends asked the next day how everything went, I didn’t go off about cold fish, I just gave them the thumbs up. The scales have just become imbalanced, one differing perception at a time.
Some of you might disagree that females have an easier time finding sex partners, might disagree that women have a different standard for counting numbers than men (depends on what the definition of “Is” is). So then why do men report an average number of seven sex partners and women four?
Because of differing perceptions. And, a few women out of every hundred feel empowered by their sexuality or feed a fixation by indulging it at will. And, I propose without any numbers to back me, that more of these women are being produced than men going back a few generations. And, just about every guy I know has had sex with at least one if not several of these girls who give it up easily. We all remember the cheerleader from “Porky’s,” and if you don’t, rent the movie right now, watch it until you get a feel for the character and continue reading this post.
To further make my point, I’ll dip back into my own history. In college, two friends of mine, a male and female who were roommates with each other, went to a watering hole. Both engineering students, they’d just finished finals and were ready to cut loose, get drunk and have bed-busting sex. Guess who got laid? Soon after, we proposed the theory about women having a much easier time at the sex partners game and tested it through observations. Time and again we witnessed our theory reinforced to the point we considered it proven.
Because the whole process of obtaining sex from a new partner is completely different for a woman — so comparatively easy — I think that the woman who says four, when technically she should say seven, is telling her version of the truth. Those other three — in a fraternity bathroom after a kegger; the friend in high school who misunderstood her feelings; the creepy roommate’s boyfriend’s friend who fucked her when she was passed out — don’t count in her mind. But in his mind, that’s another notch in the belt.
Once, an SUV with two attractive women pulled alongside me. One of the women said, “Hey, do you like #*%$!&,” some nonsensical term. Caught by surprise, all I had to see was they were hot to reply, “Sure, what you got in mind?” One said to the other, “You see, they’re all the same,” before they sped away. They were proving their own theory and used me to do it.
Researchers need hard numbers and not anecdotes to explain why American men report 75 percent more partners than women. (In England the discrepancy is higher: around 100 percent.) I can only offer anecdotes, but nonetheless, I think we know the truth. Take a woman with 100 male sex partners and see if all of those men report her as a partner. I bet all of them would, and even a few who didn’t. But take a man with 100 female sex partners and survey them and I’d guess that about three in ten would mysteriously erase the “incident.” Over time our self-justifications or exaggerations are remembered as truth, and when a surveyor comes around asking the magic question, stories change. Come on, a president gets a blow job and doesn’t consider it sex, or the blower a sex partner? I think I’ve made my point.
I suggest that researchers add a question for women. Other than the sex partners you count as legitimate, how many other men might consider a partner? But to answer that question,