Last night, I was at a bar with a small group of early 20-somethings. We were playing a gambling drinking game where we come up with an explicit question for one of the members of the group and the other members guess the answer. Whoever guesses correctly or comes closest, wins. Of course, all questions in a drinking game are related to fucking. No one ever cares to know how many cars one has owned or cities one has lived in. The first question I suggested we ask of one of the male players is “How many women has he slept with in Korea?” I guessed 23. The correct answer was nine.
So, when it was my turn to be asked a question, someone came up with “how many sexual partners have you had?” Now, at 33, I was a good 7-10 years older than everyone in the group. I have never told anyone how many men I’ve slept with because to some it’s a high number; to others, it’s a very low number for someone my age. Plus, it’s just private and with it comes many judgments either way. I considered lying, but then I thought, there’s no need to lie. One of the guys even joked that it was seven, and all I could think was how horrible it is that the next generation of young adults still puts that number out there as the acceptable one for young women. Shame.
Anyway, one of the drunk, outspoken girls in the group assumed I wouldn’t know the number. I insisted I do.
Drunk shocked, she says, “I have no idea how many men I’ve slept with. If you know the number, you haven’t had a lot of sex.”
“I would know the number no matter what. I keep a list of every man I’ve ever dated. Eighty-eight.”
“You’ve slept with eighty-eight men?”
“No, I’ve dated eighty-eight men. And I keep a list of them because I write about them. I write about men. If I had slept with all the men I could have had sex with, I’d be at 34.”
“You’ve slept with 34 men.”
“No.” Then I stop talking because she’s drunk and keeps mishearing me.
Anyway, the moment of truth comes and four of the five players guess my number: 9, 37, 12, and something else I don’t remember. I tell them it’s 15, and no one cares. The winner just takes her money and everyone drinks. We move on.
It averages out to one for every year I’ve been having sex.
This game, and the fact that my sex life is currently less than colorful, has had me thinking a lot about the sex I could have had, but didn’t have and why I didn’t have it. I love sex. Not only do I think about sex all the time, but I talk about it all the time. Some have joked that I have the mind of a teen-aged boy. If I had had all the sex that I could have in my twenties, I’d be up to 34. When I was 18 or 25, the thought of having more than 10 lovers felt so slutty. Between the ages of 19 and 24, I was in a serious, committed relationship with a man who I thought I’d be with for the rest of my life. He was my 3rd lover. After we split, with each subsequent lover, I remember counting and thinking I’ll never cross 10. When I got to 7, I started carefully choosing my partners because I didn’t want to cross 10. Why does this number matter so fucking much? And who is the fucker that said that 7 was the number that a woman shouldn’t pass if she doesn’t want to be considered a slut. Do 20-somethings even care about that shit today? They certainly don’t seem to in Korea.
Now that I’m 33, almost 34, I couldn’t care less if I had actually slept with 34 men. But that’s the 30-something me. The 20-something me and the 30-something me are completely different women. We have different views on many things. The problem is the 30-something me is very picky about the men she lets me make love to. So, even though sex is abundant and very accessible where I live, I’m still not having any.
So, I think about all that sex that got away. What would it have been like with those men I knew, in some cases, extremely well? I dated some of them. I made out like a horny teenager for weeks with some of them. I spent one great night talking with some of them. I went through emotional sagas with some of them. But, we never made love, had sex, or fucked. I think about them all the time. What would it be like to have an affair with them? Some of them I can actually envision a relationship with. Some I just see a healthy, fun fling.