How many men is too many? From 0 to 100, women confess their conquests.
Cecilia, Age 31, Ad Executive
20: In my 20s, I often slept with guys to get them to like me even if I wasn’t in the mood. Now that I’m 31, sex is about my pleasure. I’m not as skinny as I was in my 20s, but I don’t care. I’m more comfortable with my body because I view it as a powerful machine, and I carry myself with confidence. I enjoy sex more because I’m not hung up on what I look like naked, so I don’t hold back in bed. That confidence also helps me take control of my orgasm, and I always make sure I have one. I feel totally comfortable guiding a man when he doesn’t know what he’s doing or maneuvering my body the way I like so I orgasm.
According to some of my friends, my number is high, but those are the ones who don’t want to enter into double digits. Sometimes I worry they’re right, but I have a friend who slept with 30 guys in college. Thinking about her makes me feel virginal.
I’m really into creative men. I work in advertising, and I have a thing for the crew: production assistants, directors, cameramen, and gofers. A man who works hard is a turn-on. And guys who work with their hands are usually strong.
The last guy I slept with was a stuntman on Miley Cyrus’ television show, Hannah Montana. Because of his line of work, he had an incredible body and was quite acrobatic. We met on a photo shoot and had sex in the motor home where the actors got their hair and makeup done.
I live in New York City, and the dating scene here is weird. Things move so fast, and guys expect sex soon. No one really “dates” here; they “hang out.” And with so many people around, sometimes women feel like they have to sleep with the guy sooner to keep his attention. I usually wait until I have three dates under my belt before sleeping with a new guy. By the third date, you can tell that he’s interested in at least seeing if there is relationship potential there.
I’ve been dating an amazing guy for the past two months who cares a lot about making sure I have an orgasm. We haven’t talked about how many people we’ve each slept with. If he were to ask for my number, I’d tell him the truth—but maybe I’d fish around first to see how many men he thought was too many, or I’d have him tell me his number first. I don’t care how many women he’s slept with, but if his number was low, I’d be turned off by his inexperience. I don’t have time to teach a man how to please me.
Valerie, Age 30, Salesperson
6: I think my number is pretty low. I just turned 30, and I’ve been in the same relationship for 11 years, so I missed out on that crazy period in your 20s when you’re supposed to have fun and sleep around.
Even though I have no intention of ending my relationship with my boyfriend (after all, he’s the father of my two sons), I’m secretly more interested in women than I am in men. It’s rare that I meet a guy whom I’m very attracted to. I can look at a guy and objectively think that he’s hot, but I’ll seldom feel anything toward him. I mainly just fantasize about women.
I was a late bloomer, and in the school locker room, I used to stare at the girls’ developing bodies. At first I just figured it was curiosity. I have small boobs, so staring at the girls felt more like fascination and awe than sexual attraction. But after high school, I came to terms with the fact that I just find women more sexually arousing than men. My friends weren’t surprised.
My boyfriend knows that I’m attracted to women, and he’s OK with it. I think we’ll probably get married, but we’ll need to work out some sort of arrangement where I can see women on the side. The guy I end up with has to be comfortable with my sexual orientation.
I don’t have a burning desire to increase my number, but if I had sex with a few more guys, it wouldn’t make a big difference since my number is so low to begin with. I hate the fact that guys can sleep with as many women as they want and no one makes them feel bad about it. Why can’t women do it, too?
Carlin Ross, Age 37, Sex Educator
100: At age 11, I wanted to know what sex felt like, so I broke my own hymen by propping my legs up in front of a mirror and sticking my Barbie doll’s leg inside my vagina. I wanted to know firsthand what went on down there.
I lost my virginity at age 15, and when I entered college I quickly racked up 34 partners. I’ve slept with all types of men: first the smart computer geeks, then I got into the power sex—billionaires, law partners, investment bankers, and senior executives. After that, I loved the starving artists. I’ve slept with every tax bracket and every race.
A three-year relationship ended when I turned 30, and I embarked on a two-year party phase. All I wanted to do was be single and free. I had tons and tons of one-night stands, and it felt liberating to have sex with no commitment. I went to clubs by myself to dance and meet men, attended wild celebrity functions and glamorous, exclusive sex parties (run by women) just like in the movie Eyes Wide Shut. It was at these parties that my number really shot up. Everyone would dress up in fancy outfits or crazy costumes and drink cocktails. Then, at midnight, the women would take off their tops, and people would have sex in every corner of the room, in front of everyone. I had sex with a woman for the first time at one of these parties.
Since then, I’ve slept with 15 more women. Sex with a woman is softer, slower, and more sensual. Women also take their time kissing, so there’s more erotic buildup. Yet despite my love for women, I don’t like the idea of being labeled “straight” or “gay.” I consider myself “sexual.”
I’m proud of my number. I had most of my sexual adventures in my 30s when I could handle them. Looking back, I had no idea what I was doing in my 20s, but now I’m making informed, adult decisions.
Right now, I’m dating a wonderful guy who doesn’t know what my number is, but he suspects it’s high. I’m not sure about marriage because I’m a free spirit and sexuality evolves over time. Who knows about the future? I never say never.
Lena Chen, Age 23, Writer
30: By the time I started my freshman year at Harvard University, I had already slept with five guys. The social scene at college was snobby, so I tried to meet people from other schools. That’s when my number started rising. I was sleeping with so many guys that I became a novelty on campus, and some guys starting bragging that they had had sex with me when they hadn’t. In order to keep track of the men, I decided to keep a record. I created a Word document of the men I had slept with, making notes on their sexual prowess and other details of our trysts.
When I was a freshman, I had sex with a senior in the Hebrew-literature section of Harvard’s Widener Library.
I’ve always been very frank about the topic of sex. And in college I started a blog called “Sex and the Ivy,” where I began graphically detailing my sexual escapades. When I passed the URL to four friends, I had no idea my blog would go viral. The New York Times picked it up, and people called me “whore” and the Ivy League Carrie Bradshaw.
When my number hit 30, my friends planned to throw me a party and invite all 30 men. But that idea was scrapped when I actually began dating number 30. We’re still together, three years later.
While I have no problem with monogamy, I don’t believe in marriage. It’s great for tax benefits, but I don’t need a ring on my finger to feel secure. In fact, if a guy insisted on marrying me, the relationship would be over.
Beth, Age 23, Magazine Editor
0: I was raised Presbyterian, and I’m waiting to have sex until I get married.
I’ve slipped once by giving a guy a blow job, and I totally regret it. I guess I wanted to try out being someone different.
I do like going out to bars to meet guys, but if I met someone great, he’d have to understand that sex is off the table. I won’t even let a guy feel me up. The only way I’m willing to get physical is by kissing.
It’s difficult because my decision to not have sex prevents many relationships from even getting off the ground. In fact, my longest relationship was only four months, and all we did was kiss.
I’m not worried about marrying someone without testing out our sexual chemistry first. In the end, if I’m meant to be with a man, I do believe that everything will fall into place. In a perfect world, I’ll marry a virgin, but if he’s the right guy for me, it ultimately won’t matter.
By Elise Nersesian-Solé/Marie Clare