Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy rainy Tuesday!

Dear Brookey,

I was hoping you could settle a dispute my boyfriend and I were having. We were debating what makes a person promiscuous. He thinks there's a number of sex partners attached, whereas I think you can't peg someone as promiscuous simply by the number of sexual partners they've had. Without giving up too much of our argument, we wanted to get your take on what makes a person promiscuous. I'm prepared to win this bet! Thanks!

-I'm right

Dear "I'm Right,"

Well, I don't know if there is a right or wrong answer to this. To me, promiscuity isn't about how many sexual partners you have, but the psychology behind why someone might sleep with multiple people. I think promiscuity is also defined differently between the sexes, since it's very rare that men are considered promiscuous. A man might be a "player" or a "pimp" while a woman may be considered a "ho" or a "slut" - so the social stigma attached can be viewed in very different ways depending on who's doing the looking.

One could argue that a man or woman would be considered promiscuous after sleeping with their 10th partner, their 20th, their 75th, or their 100th partner. But all of this is relative. If you're 45 years old and have slept with 10 people, are you less promiscuous than someone who is 21 years old and has slept with 50? You could probably argue that that is true, but trying to attach a number to label someone promiscuous is a bit tricky when you're in the "not so high, not so low" numbers.

In my opinion, the number of sexual partners a person has had only tells half of the story. Promiscuity has been linked to some deep psychological experience or collection of experiences in one's life - or a period of their life - where sex without consequence works for them on some level. It could fill a lonely void, or some may deal with pain or anger by having sex with a lot of people with no attachments. There are several things that could lead to what is perceived to be promiscuous behavior:

- Being raised in a household where sex wasn't discussed or not included in education.
- Too much exposure, or too little exposure, to sex during one's early years in some way.
- Traumatic experiences early on with the opposite sex (or in some cases, the same sex).
- Intense loneliness in life and/or a desire to be accepted or loved.
- Being too trusting-or falling for guys too easily (women).
- Trying to compensate or not deal with other problems in life - financial, loss of job, a break-up, loss of a friend, etc.

Depending on what's going on in someone's life - promiscuity could be a short-term, temporary fix - or it could be a way of life. Again, promiscuity is something that is typically linked to women, simply because a man is believed to always want sex with as many women as he can have it with...so it would be considered "normal" behavior to sleep around. Men tend to have "promiscuous moments" or periods of promiscuity in their lives where it seems they can throw consequences out the window and get away with it without being labeled. It's not until they're having sex because they're feeling depressed or because they're hurt that it could be considered promiscuous - and usually meaningless sex would depress them more...like a drug.

But a woman who is considered promiscuous has a Scarlet Letter A emblazoned on her chest. She has a reputation, and she can rarely redeem herself from it or use the excuse that she was simply going through something in order to resurrect her good name. Even if a woman has never had a history of promiscuity, she's not allowed to indulge for fear of carrying that label with her. It's a double standard, but in some cases, it just is the way it is.

I'm not sure if this helped with your argument or not, but unless you both agree on what the definition of promiscuity is, there's definitely a grey area and many scenarios to put into play before you can label someone as promiscuous or not. It's a complex thing, and unless you understand the roots of promiscuity and know the person well, it's hard to make that assumption about anybody. There's a fine line between enjoying casual sex, and being promiscuous. One has a pejorative connotation, while the other just seems to imply freedom void of negative experiences.

Hopefully, the blog family can weigh in to give you their take on what makes a person promiscuous and if it's a lot deeper than just a number. I don't know if there is a "winner" to this debate, since the topic at hand is a complicated one. But let me know who...uh..."won"! LOL!



Anonymous said...

first bitchezzz! its your booooy!

Anonymous said...

second snitches!!

Anonymous said...

third Herbz!!

Annamaria said...

Looks like 3 tases coming your way...

Brooke I think you are completely right in this one. I don't even have anything to add. Damn that's a first! LOL

Anonymous said...


Brooke said...

you all are in rare form today :)

Annamaria, nothing to add? You okay? :-) LOL!

Stef said...

All of you don't count since you're anonymous! LOL!

Brooke, you hit it on the head. Being promiscuous has more to do with the mental/emotional state behind why someone has alot of partner, not the actual number. And I agree with the double standard. Most men I know who have sex with anything that moves aren't considered promiscuous at all - and if they are, there seems to be nothing wrong with it. But if the woman has alot of casual sex, we automatically assume she has a troubled past, was abused, is a ho or is promiscuous. Not fair. No easy answer for this one.

Serena W. said...

Agree with Annamaria (don't have much to add)...it's not about the numbers but the behavior. I always thought of it as sleeping around or never satisfied. You could have had 10 partners and been in 10 separate relationships which in my eyes isn't considered promiscuous...

My two cents :)

Jaz said...

So what is the difference between having alot of casual sex and being promiscuous? Isn't it the same thing?

Jay said...


I think it's the emotional/mental state behind why you're having sex that differentiates promiscuity and simply having casual sex. Like Serena said, if you're having sex but get nothing out of it or are never satisfied, you might be considered promiscuous if you're having sex with alot of people to fill a void. But you can have alot of casual sex with one or two people while simply enjoying the physical part of it while not wanting to make a commitment. I think that's the difference.

Anonymous said...

The only difference is the stigma that society places on women who choose to have multiple partners.This stigma is used to shame them into submission and make them feel less than.It's done to squash her sexuality. It is a classic Madonna complex. Men still like to believe that we are somehow waiting to be found, conquered and then loved. No man wants to envision the woman he loves with any man, let alone multiple men. As long as a women is single and uses protection it really doesn't matter. Who is she hurting by having multiple partners.It only matters to the man who is in a relationship with a woman at the time. They use it as an excuse to either get out of the relationship or put a woman in her place because a good woman would never have more than 3to 4 partners.We are still expected to give/ save everything, our love, time and our bodies all in the hopes of finding a good man who in turn has slept with everyone and her mother.Does a man's sexual pleasure take precedence over a woman's?
Every relationship deserves a clean slate.

Annamaria said...

@ Stephanie.... That many huh??? LMAO
I'm just kidding girlie.. You are absolutely right.

Stef said...

I totally agree with you Stephanie, men get away with that shit all the time. Unless I come across as crazy and mentally/ emotionaly unstable, how many men I've been with shouldn't be any of your concern if I'm with YOU now. Putting a label on someone is just your way to control them. We don't label men that way all the time, so they shouldn't do the same to us.

Anonymous said...

a@ ANNAMARIA That's right 2 a year for 10 years. Which I don't think is bad at all.I'm 37.I've been in a monogamous relationship for the last 4 years.
My boyfriend tried that shit in the beginning. I had to let him know. My sexual past has nothing to do with what he and I have. I love him and only him and have no desire for any other man and that's all he needs to know. I still haven't given him my "number"

Annamaria said...

You know what I find funny.. Is you always hear the men ask the women that have no kids OR 1 kid how many men have you been with....

Does anyone every ask the ghetto chick from the corner with 7 kids & 5 different baby daddies HOW MANY MEN HAS SHE BEEN WITH???

And Riddle me this Batman: If you ask a woman how many men she's been with SHOULDN'T you ask a stripper HOW many lapdances she's given??? lmao
Something to think about...LOL

Jay said...

Men don't care how many lapdances a stripper has given. But they DO care if the woman they love or are interested in has a past. It's silly and there is a double standard, but a lot of dudes' egoes won't let them let go of the silliness. If a woman is with me now and loves only me, then I couldn't care less who she's been with before me unless any of those men were my brother or best friend. Other than that, that's her business and as long as she's mentally and emotionally stable - we can go forward.

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