If I kept up this rate, my “number” would be in the hundreds by the time I was 40. Meanwhile, most women do not come to even half my year-long figure within their lifetimes.
This is a lot of men — I know. However, I am not ashamed. Why should I be?
As long as there is safety and respect, there is nothing to worry about. Which brings me to say: I’m sorry, to all these men. None of you are just a number.
You are all unique. Some of you were one night stands. Most of you weren’t. Not to say that the people I slept with once were less special. That’s not true either.
You come from places like Italy and India; Australia and Argentina; Israel and Serbia. You are in tech like me or you are students. You are bartenders and accountants and everything in between.
You make hearts melt with the way you sing. You are feminists or surfers. You love nerding out on crypto-currency or the opera.
We did it in shared showers in Malta, the upstairs bedroom of a house party in Barcelona, and, one time, in a tuk tuk that you had rented to drive across Sri
I love love and I love sex. I love the excitement of meeting someone attractive and witty. I love feeling that I must also be attractive and witty for this to unfold. I love watching myself be too busy exploring a new place, meeting new people, and getting on early buses and trains to wear makeup. To grow out my eyebrows and to not shave my legs for weeks and still feel beautiful.
There is nothing that will affect my mood more than the energy of a man. It’s the flame that burns the torch of my life. The cause of the most immense pleasure and pain. The strongest and best drug I’ve ever taken. An addiction. I admit. I am addicted to it; it keeps me going.
But it’s an addiction that I don’t care to knock. Because along with the pain and nonsense intermingling egos and strong emotions can elicit, these relationships with people from all over the world have also brought so much understanding and beauty into my life. And into this world. Did I touch your life? You touched mine.
In my heart, I’m not ashamed of my number of sexual partners. That said, admitting all this is mortifying, and despite my best efforts, I still care what others think. I hear men talk of women who sleep with a lot of men as if they had some kind of mental illness.
I hear women talk about the number of men they slept with dread. There was even a 2011 film titled What’s Your Number?, whose plot was based on the idea that women who have been with 20 or more men are less likely to find a husband.
There is so much garbage out there about how we should feel about sex. About being bad people if we are not monogamous. It’s been a process for me to get over that, and it’s still hard work.
But now I realize, the most incredible gift this universe has been given is love, and sex is a way of expressing it. It can be a means of escape. A meditation. A practice in getting out of our own heads, letting go, and enjoying a moment. It’s a way of confronting our beings and the pure beauty within us and the other.
As the Indian guru, Osho, says everything we say is beautiful is really sex. A bird singing in a tree, a flower on a branch; these things are ultimately about reproduction AKA sex.
We should embrace and celebrate sex — not shame it.
And that is not to say we should all go out and sleep with as many people as possible (but do that if you feel inspired!). When I say that you should have sex like a traveler, I mean that when you meet someone new, you should let go of any agenda you may have, let go of your fear of judgment or getting hurt, and treat people as if your time with them is limited.
When I meet someone on the road, I don’t have expectations of that person because I know I may not see them tomorrow or the next day. There is no point in worrying about how old they are or whether my mother will approve. I have to value them for who they are beyond their résumés and appreciate every moment I have with them as it lasts. And guess what?
That’s what every relationship should be like.
Back home, I often hear people talk about “investing in a relationship.”
Humans are not T.Rowe Price mutual funds. I will not spend time with you hoping that I will eventually get something in return. That something could be making out with you because you are banging, and I want to show your pic to all my friends! Or it could be to eventually make you my husband to quell my fear of dying alone in 50 years. (Spoiler alert. No matter what, we can’t control whether we die alone.) Either way, by having any goal, I’m viewing you as a means to my end. And that is ugly.
I won’t think of bottling you up and taking you with me past my time in Budapest or Berlin. I won’t imagine some future of rainbows and ponies in which I cash out on you: my human bitcoin. I’m grateful I’m with you right now, and that we met at all.
And just as I was only in each place I traveled for only a short time, we are only on this planet for a short time. And so I won’t worry about what might come in the future.
Instead, every moment we spend together — every moment you make me feel alive — is a reward in itself. Your ability to strike my interest and inspire wonder. To make me light up with energy by your presence. That alone is magic.
So there you have it. I love men, I love traveling, and I’m an outgoing person who can see the beauty in many many others. It’s not that I try to have sex with many people, it just happens. And I’m loving my journey. Thank you for sharing your world with me.