Quadrant Games

skitched-20121207-150923One of the most fun bits of blogging is when someone comes out of the woodwork to respond to something I write, to share how my questions and random thoughts relate to their questions and their thoughts (because we are all snowflakes and whatnot).

After yesterday’s post about counting sexual partners, some folks raised some interesting alternative angles.

1. What about dudes? The deal with a double standard is that it, by nature, creates two different standards for the same behavior. We talk a lot about the pressure on women to minimize their sexuality, reign in their desire, or at the very least, not talk about it. On this site, we don’t spend nearly as much time talk about the other side of that, the pressure on straight men to glorify their sexuality, to color it with bravado, to minimize intimacy, and rack up partners to prove manliness. One straight-dude friend wrote this:

“I’ve had the same issue, but in a different way; why, when I picture that fabled scoreboard, do I feel pride? Why is it that a part of me feels as if my self-worth is tied to that number? Isn’t the quality of sex more important than the number of partners I’ve had? Isn’t the joy of getting to know someone else’s body (and vice versa) better than the unknown, when neither party knows exactly what the other person likes? … I used to keep a list of the people with whom I’ve had sex, and deleting it a while back helped me to grow and start cutting the ties that my number has to my own self-worth.”

2. What about the too-fews? In my circle, and in the internet circles in which I run, the question is usually “How many is too many?” not “How few is too few?” One friend wrote to me about feeling like her number would have been higher if she hadn’t met her partner so young. She feels like people peg her as traditional, which is not how she feels, simply because of the way her life unfolded.

“Is it weird that I have the opposite worry? Like, since I found my partner early, my number is pretty low and I worry other women think I’m a prude or super lame/inexperienced? One thing I struggle with a lot is that the choices I’m making look really traditional and simple. It bothers me that people can look at my life and imagine that I don’t struggle with this stuff. Even making traditional decisions doesn’t mean I don’t value a non-traditional approach to life, it’s frustrating.”
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My God, we all put so much pressure on ourselves! And to what end? Our sexual histories are a series of singular decisions, just like anything else. Do I sleep with this person, or not? How about the next one? And even those of us who believe we’ve made the right choices for ourselves at each individual juncture worry about how the collective decisions stack up.
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If you believe, like me, that sex is a joyful, positive, excellent thing, then you know that respect and dignity aren’t in the least bit tied to quantity. You can sleep with a few people and be a douche about it, or you can sleep with a million people and be a quality human being. On a grid where douchery is one axis and sexual partner count is another, I think we all know people in every quadrant.
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Related Post: The promiscuity line according to AskMen.com
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1 Comment

Filed under Gender, Sex

One response to “Quadrant Games

  1. Pingback: Everything is About Everything: New Media + Old Media | rosiesaysblog

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