Question of the Day: How Many People Have You Slept With?

"I would say I am close to 80 to 90 something."

|
19 March 2018, 2:57pm

I sat around a table with a few mates. We were drunk and getting deep into each others’ lives, which eventually led to a conversation about sex. Or, more specifically, The Number.

We wrote down our numbers on pieces of torn-up paper, drew them out of a hat, and held them close to our chests like Secret Santas. Then we read them out, one by one, and there was a lot of gasping and giggling. And for some reason it all felt like a big deal.

But why is The Number such a big deal? Everyone has a number. In this context, even 0 is a number. But there’s something about it that gets people worked up, and especially partners. Finding out your partner has slept with loads of people is actually enough to send us running down the street, shoes in hand.

So why do we all care so much? With that in mind, I walked around Melbourne and asked some strangers how many people they’d slept with. That, and what their number meant to them.

Lily 24
Cook

VICE: Hey Lily, how many people have you slept with?
Lily: Recently I've been quite monogamous. Twenty-six is the last number I can remember, and that was probably from when I was 18-19. Since then I've been in relationships, with probably another four or five people between the relationships. So we can safely say around 30.

How would you describe your sex life in general?
Well this is a strange one because I had a strange thing with sexuality—I became sexually active quite young. I thought I was gay. The whole time I thought “hey this is me.” But then I became sort of fluid after 18.

So did you do a lot of experimenting when you were younger?
A lot more then, than now. When I was younger I feel like it was a thing you know, young people just feel like they need to make lists, keep records. Girls had lists.

How do you feel about your number?
When I was younger it was a pride thing. People got into smoking, having sex. Now that I am 24 I am thinking maybe it isn't about pride, but I realise it’s made me who I am.

Who is that?
I am 24. I have time to focus on my career, art, and other things I want to do in my life. And I have a stable relationship. I got it out of my system and I feel really experienced. I feel like I know how to handle myself as an adult, in relationships. I know now when I am being preyed upon—I’m a little smarter about it. I suppose I would say I’m proud.

Henry 22
Chef

How many people have you slept with?
Six people.

Are you proud of that number?
I never thought of it that way, but yeah?

How many of those are one-night stands?
Two one-night stands. Everyone else has been relationship

When was the last time you slept with someone?
Four months ago.

Anita 27
Tattooist

How many people have you slept with?
Probably around 15.

Do you keep a count?
I was asked the question last year, which is why I remember.

Is there anyone you can’t remember on that list?
One, don’t know his name, don't even remember his face. I don’t regret it, it was fun, but I don't think I'd do it again.

So the others, you’re still in touch with now?
I'd say so. They’re either an ex or they become beneficial friendships.

Do you think 15 is a high number?
I'm not too sure whether or not it's a high number. According to my friend it’s quite low. But I'm not embarrassed, simply because most of them were thought out, like I never really go out seeking to have sex. It's just if it happens, it happens.

Jordan 26 and Dan 37 (from left)
Construction workers

How many people have you slept with?
J: I actually don't know the answer to that.
D: I would say I am close to 80-90 something.
J: Shit! Okay I'd say 20 something, maybe 25.

Did you ever keep track?
J: God no, hence why I don't know.

Are you guys proud of your numbers?
D: Nup.
J: Nah.
D: We don't really know them, we don't really talk about it.

When in your lives were you sleeping around the most?
Unanimous: Early 20s

Eda 20
Nutrition Student

How many people have you slept with?
None.

Is there a reason?
Religion.

Which religion is that?
Muslim.

Have you ever been tempted?
No.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable telling people that you haven't slept with anyone?
Never. I have never found myself within a community that has made me feel uncomfortable about it.

Have you ever been asked this question before?
No I haven't.

Ben 25
Hairdresser

How many people have you slept with?
Maybe about 50.

How do you know that?
Just a rough idea I guess, but when you're a bit younger you go a bit crazy don't you. As you get older it kind of levels out a bit. I guess people get a bit more sensible.

When did you level out?
Maybe at 23-24.

Are you proud of your number?
Never really thought of it to be honest, but obviously, none of them were right otherwise I'd still be here with them wouldn't I?

Do you usually sleep with people you want to pursue in that way?
I usually have to be attracted to them, but these days I also see it as: would I go out with them as a girlfriend? That's how I choose them.

Follow Harriet on Instagram

This article originally appeared on VICE AU.