For nearly two decades, the Alice Drum Women’s Center of the College has held informal Friday discussions on a variety of gender and social issues. These student-run discussions draw between 35-60 students, faculty, administrators, and local community members each week. This past Friday, the Center’s discussion topic was “What is your sex number?”
For those who do not know, a “sex number” refers to the number of people one has had sex with. This number often comes into play when couples discuss the uncomfortable topic of STDs or when guys try bragging to one another about their debauchery over a beer.
In order to ensure the privacy and comfort of those attending the meeting, the student discussion leaders gave each person an index card on which a random number ranging from 0 to 105 had been written; for the duration of the discussion, the number on each person’s card represented his or her sex number.
To ease people’s tensions the students leading the discussion began by showing two videos created by the popular YouTube comedian Jenna Marbles entitled “What Guys Think About During Sex” and “What Girls Think About During Sex.”
After sharing some laughs, the attendees then participated in an activity referred to as “Popcorn,” in which people shouted out the first word or phrase that popped into their head when thinking about the number on their index card or on the index card of the person sitting next to them. Some examples of words and phrases people thought of included: “busy,” “whoops,” “one night stand,” “confident,” “virgin,” “efficient,” “slut, “experienced,” “good in bed,” “bad in bed,” “stud,” “horny,” “satisfied,” “unsatisfied,” “STDs,” “pregnancies,” and “did you count your hand?”
The students leading the discussion then shared some statistics gathered from The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, debunking some of the common notions people have about sex. Some of the statistics mentioned were the average age at which a man loses his virginity (16.9 years old) versus the average age at which a female loses her virginity (17.4 years old), and the average sex number males claim (20 partners) versus the average sex females report (6 partners). Some more humorous statistics were reported, as well, such as the number of men that reported their partner had an orgasm during their most recent sexual encounter (85%) versus the number of women who reported actually having had an orgasm (64%).
Overall, the discussion posed some interesting questions, including but not limited to: Who is your sex number for — yourself or others? How many partners is too many? How many is too few? Is oral sex counted as part of your sex number? Where does religion come into play? How do the psychological effects of having sex relate to your sex number? How does a person’s age or the time span over which they have had a certain number of partners come into play? How many times have you had sex versus how many people have you had sex with? How many times have you been in love?
Although many people attending the meeting put forth excellent opinions on some of these questions, there are no right or wrong answers. But do not be dismayed, because, as the Alice Drum Women’s Center has posted on its wall, “It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” And, at the end of the day, you’re the one that has to sleep with yourself at night. So, as long as you are able to go to bed happy and content with yourself, your sex number is just that, a number.
Questions? Email Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org.