Recently, I found a bit of paper wedged in the back of an old diary. On it was a list of all of the men I have slept with. I clearly remember the night back at uni when my roommate and I decided to tally up our numbers. Hers were a lot higher than mine and she spent the rest of the evening in a slump, concluding that she was obviously, a slut.
When it comes to thinking back to our sexual past many of us do the maths and then are hugely uncomfortable with the conclusion. Whereas guys are applauded for double figures in the bedroom, women are compared to prostitutes should the number be, er, slightly adventurous. So this weekend, I decided to broach the subject with some friends to see if, now a couple of years older and wiser, we could still feel ashamed of our mattress maths. And I didn't expect the outcome. Instead of lamenting over bad experiences every single one of my friends started to list their past sex buddies, analysing whether he 'might have been the one.' Suddenly, faced with a number in front of them, they became convinced that maybe one of those 'flings' had in fact been 'the man they should have married'. Maybe they shouldn't have treated it as a drunken university shag? What if they'd missed out on the one man who could truly make them happy?
It seems women might not be as obsessed with 'the ACTUAL number' as we thought. As I watched friend analyse their pasts, wondering if MR SOCKS IN BED was 'the one' or if they should have stuck around to see if MR PASSSED OUT BC DRUNK was better in the morning, I realised they are in fact just analysing how they feel about the men they have slept with (rather than the number). By having these experiences, no matter how big or small, it has taught us all something. Why? Because at the end of the conversation we all concluded that, despite out initial concerns, we are all very happy with the men we are with. Sure, we've had a past, but, we realised, the present is much better, So, what have I learnt from this? Next time I sit down and go over my 'numbers' instead of lamenting over things I've done in the past, I'm going to look at what they have taught me…and move on. A number is just a number after all.