What’s your number?

On keeping track of sexual histories and dating responsibly

[L-R] Photos by Akyut Eke from Unsplash, and Hoang Loc from Pexels.

In 2015, I was faced with a very awkward task. I had to list the names of all of the people I’ve had sexual relations with so that a nurse can call them up and ask them to get checked for STD/Is. (A protocol practiced in Europe that I think should also be mandatory in the Philippines.)

In 2017, I had to use the same list to track which guy could have potentially uploaded a private video of mine to a Google drive containing multiple folders, each associated to a different girl.

When we talk about our ‘numbers,’ it is often equated to ‘conquests’ and guys are often praised if it’s bigger while girls get slut-shamed. Hence, the infamous theory that a girl’s actual ‘number’ is what she said multiplied by two.

(I’ve personally never done that — halved my number into two. It’s either I tell you the truth or I don’t give you a number at all.)

But instead of ‘keeping score,’ let me endorse to you a very practical reason why I would suggest to keep track of your list, too, and perhaps even make it as detailed as possible —- regardless if it’s long or not.

There is an unspoken etiquette in the dating world that if you test positive for anything, then you have to tell the people you most recently have had sexual encounters with. If you have short-term memory loss like I do, your list will be very useful in case you find yourself in this position.

Why keep it as detailed as possible? Because when you do decide to get tested (which, by the way, you should be doing regularly if you’re actively hooking up with multiple partners), then you have to look back and trace if you’ve had any show of symptoms after an encounter.

Girls and boys, it is absolutely necessary to understand your body and know when there’s something different. This isn’t just in relation to sex, but also for your overall health.

I also encourage you to write down if you remembered to use contraceptives or not. This very small but highly important detail could be useful, especially in special cases where someone ends up getting pregnant. You never know!!

I have always found it baffling that we never talk, and even limit, our discussions about our sexual histories. I understand that some of us are just very private people. But I also think that, with the rapidly evolving dating scene that we have right now (what with the popularity of dating apps such as Bumble and Tinder), it would be very healthy for us to practice a more open communication about our histories. This prevents the possible spread of diseases and infections (contact tracing); and endorses sex positivity by removing the stigma surrounding testing and sleeping around.

Everyone’s already doing it anyway, might as well do it responsibly and carefully.

Published by Margareth Leanne

Leanne has a soft spot for all things romantic, heartbreaking, and beautiful. She is inspired by passionate people who are in love with the work that they do. Leanne enjoys reading and thinks that Paulo Coelho speaks to her directly through his books. She often constructs run-on sentences and is an advocate of the usage of the oxford comma.

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