The Magic Number

‘Is a girl who’s slept with 100 guys a bad person?’

This is an actual question from the dating site, OkCupid. Not, ‘Would you feel differently about a person, and in what way?’, but ‘Is she a good or bad person’?

At the beginning of my year of living tartily, I could count my lovers on a single hand. By the end of my year I have run out of fingers and toes on which to count. Very few of those were single-encounters. A few more years at my current rate and 100 doesn’t seem that far off.

Does this make me a potentially bad person? Am I getting closer and closer to being a bad person with each new partner? What if I had 300 lovers? Or more? Would that make me a menace to society, who needs locking up before bringing ruin and destruction to all humankind?

I have empathy and sympathy, I treat myself and others with respect, I try to do no harm, and to not hurt others – I’m not always successful, and it’s sometimes to my detriment. I value my family, my friends, my work. I treat others as I would want to be treated.

Does that sound like a bad person?

If I slept with a thousand people or more, would I be a bad person then?

Perhaps if those partners have been lied to, used, abused, or treated without respect. But that would apply equally if the number was only one.

I can say that not all the people I have slept with have been ‘good’ people. I have been disrespected, lied to, used, coerced, and abused. And each time I have had to build myself back up, remember all the people who have been thoughtful, considerate, kind, the moments I treasured, that kept me coming back for more, whether for sex alone or a little more.

Because it only takes one ‘bad’ person to make you feel devalued and one ‘good’ person, someone who treats you with honesty, integrity and respect, to make you feel cherished.

So for me the magic number is one. Because sleeping with someone doesn’t change who you are, but the way you treat them might.

This post first appeared in Rhonda Perky’s Bits on March 2, 2012

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