"I've had sex with a LOT of people. Does that make me a slut? Am I wrong? Should I tell my current partner, or should I lie? What if they haven't had as much sex as me?"
I get these kinds of questions all the time as a sex therapist. I can't tell you how frustrating it is that our society has focused so much on the overall number of partners a person has had - and that somehow determines whether or not they are a 'slut' or a 'prude' ... as if there is a number that is just right.
The answer to all of the questions above is simple: no. Very simple, eh? Let's break it down.
1. "I've had sex with a lot of people." --- Um, who cares? Why does that matter to anyone, even you? Consensual sex between two people is not a problem, unless it conflicts with your values or beliefs.
2. "Does that make me a slut?" - Absolutely not. The word "slut" is derogatory and meant to shame people away from exploring their own bodies, taking back and controlling their own sexuality and sexual expression, and was originally used to demean women. Check out this website about the etymology of the word slut - interesting stuff. Anyone can call someone a slut - only you can make it mean something to you.
3. "Am I wrong?" - Wrong about what? Enjoying your body? Abso(freaking)lutely not. You are not wrong.
4. "Should I tell my current partner, or should I lie?" - You should always be open and honest with your partners, especially about sex. Never lie! If your partner has a problem with your past, maybe they don't belong in your present.
5. "What if they haven't had as much sex as me?" - This is often debatable. Many people think the number of partners determines the amount of sex someone has had - this is often not true. You could have had sex with 75 people, but they were all one-night stands. I could have had sex with only one person, but it was over the course of a year, and we had sex every day - 365 times. This would mean I have "had more sex" than you, but that doesn't mean the quality, quantity or knowledge is different in either way.
Let's end "Slut Shaming" and work toward a sex-positive culture, for once. How about that?
This page is a blog and repository of Dr. B - a sex therapist, educator, researcher, activist and speaker. Interested in all things sexual, social justice, LGBTQQIA+, and mental health.