• Georgie Parkin

How Much Does Your ‘Number’ Matter?

Are you a Samantha or a Charlotte?

We all know what number I am talking about. The number that might creep into conversation a few months into a relationship or in a game of ‘never have I ever’ with your friends. You either admit it proudly or try and dodge the subject at all costs. Whether your number is low or high, it’s YOURS. Do with it what you will.

Somewhere in my early 20’s I went from a sweet innocent Charlotte to a wild and free Samantha and for a while I struggled to deal with the shift. In reality I wasn’t really that wild, but imagine the scandal if Charlotte all of a sudden ditched her fairytale belief system, gave up on her quest for true love and put on a pair of suspenders and tied a man to her bed. Okay, maybe In reality I wasn't that wild but to my friends, it seemed way more dramatic because of the massive contrast from ‘who I used to be.’

I remember being 17 and having a heated debate with my friends about sex. At 17, I genuinely believed that sex was something you did with someone you loved. My catch phrase in this debate was ‘It’s called MAKING LOVE for a reason!’ I fought my case with my whole heart, truly thinking that I would never get into bed with someone I didn’t love.

"I was torn between my former self and my seemingly new self."

It was that version of me that was getting all up in my head when my inner Samantha started to show herself. ‘It’s called MAKING LOVE for a reason.’ she would say as I was leaving the house of a guy I couldn't even remember the name of. (again, an exaggeration) I was torn between my former self and my seemingly new self. My number was slowly creeping up and I couldn't quite learn to accept it.

When I was going through this identity crisis, like all millennial's, I turned to google. Every article I read was reiterating how much it doesn't matter. ‘Why even count?’ or ‘Stop caring’ they would advise. And my friends would all say the same. But I DID care and I couldn’t just switch that off.

So I am not going to tell you not to care or give you some empowering woman speech before sending you off to sleep with another dozen men. I'm going to instead tell you to work out why you care.

If the only reason you care is because of the fear of judgement from friends or perhaps a future partner then I am going to tell you to stop caring like all those other articles! No one has the right to comment on or judge your sex life and you should never feel like you have to tell them every single detail anyway.

Or is it less about what other people will think or say and more about the judgement you are putting on yourself? For women it's still seen as refined and ladylike to have a very small number of sexual partners, which still seems ludicrous to me and incredibly sexist when men are issued high fives for every conquest. But societal judgement aside, it's very normal to put judgement on ourselves. Not because of friends or social norms but because of your own views and opinions, or perhaps former.

That 16 year old version of me is still in there somewhere tutting every time I give into lust in the absence of love. But what I have realised is that this version of me is in the driver's seat now. And every decision I make, I make for a reason. Albeit some decisions are made much more recklessly and intoxicated than others but for one reason or another the decision was made and no past or future me has the right to question that.

I am a Charlotte and a Samantha. Charlotte rules the heart and Samantha rules the region a little south of the heart. It’s okay to be both and it’s okay for them to sometimes be at war with each other. So my advice to you is to work out why you care instead of trying to turn it off. Everyone's experience and number is so personal to them and you are the only one who knows if you are being true to yourself. In reality no one is going to judge you and if they do they are shitty friends or a shitty partner.

Here comes the empowering women speech….

It is okay to care. It's also okay not to care. It’s okay to count and it’s okay to have lost count several hands ago. It’s also okay to change and grow and ditch your old beliefs. It’s okay to never tell anyone your number and it’s okay to scream it from the rooftops. Your sex life is personal and unique and you decide how to live it and what you share of it. (but whatever you do, do it safely!)