Is it Normal to Fart During Sex?
Is It Normal to Have a Sex List?
I started my sex list when I was a sophomore in college. Until then, it had never occurred to me to keep a list written down somewhere. But when my soon-to-be girlfriend asked me how many sexual partners I’d had and I responded that I wasn’t exactly sure off the top of my head, she wasn't satisfied. More like mortified, actually. She immediately thought that my ignorance was a lie and that I was some sort of accomplished Lothario. (I wasn’t. Our stats were in the same ballpark.)
She demanded to know precisely how many women had come (or, more accurately, not come) before her, so I obliged. It was one of the more bizarre things I’ve done—making a list of former sexual partners to placate a current one—but we had a strange relationship. It didn’t work out. I don’t want to talk about it.
I kept the list going after we broke up, and right now it’s locked away in a folder in my Evernote documents titled “Taxes 2009.”
1. Nostalgia:Sometimes it’s nice to bust out the sex list and remember the good ole’ times. It feels nice to know that I won’t forget about any of the women who were kind enough to have sex with me.
2. Confidence boosts:Sometimes you can get a boost by looking back and being like, “Whoa! That girl actually slept with me! If I lose like 20 pounds, I can get right back into the dating game, probably!”
3. Analysis:It’s a way of helping me see how I’ve matured through the years and how I’ve learned what to do and not do both sexually and relationship-wise.
4. Safety:If I contract an STD, I might have to track down where I got it and let other partners know. (This is probably the best reason to keep a sex list, but for me it’s an afterthought. I’m not having sex with enough people within a short time span to not be able to name the past few, in order, on command.)
Like most everything I do regarding sex and relationships, I spend a decent amount of time wondering whether or not my practices are normal or common or damaging. (For example: my browser history is rife not only with porn, but also with articles and research about how much porn is too much porn.)
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So I hit up Christie Hartman, Ph.D., a Denver-based dating expert and behavioral scientist who has also written five dating advice books.
But when it comes to motive, she did make me feel normal—at least within the vacuum of fellow sex-list-keepers.
“It’s not all that common, but people do do it, and it’s also not that big a deal,” says Hartman. “It’s a way of chronicling your life a little bit, though it can be different for guys than it is for girls.”
I was interested in the difference between the sexes, though they’re pretty predictable if you think about it objectively:
“If a guy keeps a list, he’s doing it possibly as a way to feel good about himself to some extent,” says Hartman. “What guy doesn’t want to be able to convince a woman to sleep with him? It makes him feel good, like, ‘Yeah, I achieved something positive with women.’”
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But with women, it’s not such an achievement, she says. Why? I’ll put it in layman’s terms for you: It’s generally easier for a woman to get laid than a man because guys are #thirstier (at least outwardly) than girls.
Hartman says that women might be motivated to keep a sex list not only to chronicle their sex and relationship lives, but to ensure they haven’t gone over whatever partner limit they’ve imposed on themselves—or that society has imposed upon them.
Hartman says she sees nothing particularly wrong with doing so. “You only live once, and you’re only young once, so why not chronicle what you’re experiencing to look back on later?” she says. “It helps you remember your positive experiences—and the negative ones, too.”
I suppose it sort of helps establish a sexual best practices guide for yourself, which I’m sure we’d all be into having.
To end our conversation, I asked Hartman a question that would either allay my anxiety about being some sexual experience-documenting deviant or confirm it: Is there any psychologically or socially negative reason for a person to keep a sexual partners list?
“For the most part, no,” she says, a statement I greeted with a small fist-pump like the ones Tiger Woods uses when he lands a crucial putt. (I wonder what that dude’s sex ledger looks like!)
“The only exception would be if somehow the list is creating some kind of negative feeling for you as a guy, making you feel inadequate because you don’t think your list is long enough or colorful enough.”
And if it does?
“Throw the damn list away," says Hartman.
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