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6 Things About The Whole 'Body Count' Debate That Should Be Discussed
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6 Things About The Whole 'Body Count' Debate That Should Be Discussed

Gender wars. We’ve all seen them, and I’m willing to bet my next writer’s paycheck that if there’s one topic you notice, basically every time you scroll on social media, it’s body counts. Lawd, I don’t care what platform I tiptoe on to see what folks are talking about; one way or another, body counts are going to enter into the chat — and, more times than not, at least half of the people in the discussion (which is usually more like a debate) are triggered. Triggered AF.


Do I find myself ending up in that emotional kind of space? Nah. I’m the kind of person who is in the lane of, “If you did it, why should you be uncomfortable talking about it?” In fact, I actually wrote an article for the site that reveals my personal “count”; it’s entitled “14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners.” Personally, I’m not ashamed of or uncomfortable with my past. I’m also not the most private person in the world either (clearly) — what’s done is done. But hey, that’s just me.

As far as what I think about the debate as a whole? Well, because I know that there are (eh hem, pun intended) different strokes for different folks, I thought it would be a good idea to broach this topic from a few different angles — just so we can hopefully get out of the cul-de-sac of the whole body count drama.

So, please bear with me as I attempt to tackle this topic in a way that is aimed to reduce the triggers and, perhaps, bring about a bit more internal clarity (if you don’t already have it).

1. Perhaps If We Stop Referring to It As “Body Count”…

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Another motto that I live by is “If you want to understand the ‘tree,’ you need to get a look at its ‘roots.’” That said, when it comes to body counts, I think just hearing the term subconsciously gets on people’s nerves, whether they realize it or not, because it sounds so…well, violent (kind of like how it feels whenever someone talks about “beating it up” in reference to sexual intercourse). And they would be right to think that way because…do you know where “body count” actually came from?

From the bit of research that I did, it was coined by the military in reference to the number of enemies who were killed during the Vietnam War. Eww. Now, if that’s the origin story and you “build on it” by referring to sex partners in the here and now, of course, it’s going to make you feel some type of way — right off of the rip. For me, what immediately comes to mind after taking this in is a quote by a late Black best-selling author by the name of Eric Jerome Dickey. I used to read his books, and in one of them, one of his characters said something that has always stayed with me: “Sex without love is violence.” Although I get that not everyone feels that way, it does kind of illuminate the entire body count thing if you string all of this together…doesn’t it?

So, for starters, maybe that’s why the body count discussion gets so many people heated — whether you care to share yours or not, referring to sex partners with the same words that were once used to describe enemies who were killed in a war is pretty horrifying. I mean, who wants to brag about committing an act of violence? Who wants to see all of their sex partners as enemies? Can’t we come up with something better than that? We probably — no, definitely — should.

Next point.

2. According to Science, Numbers Actually DO Matter

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Take it how you want to, but I personally think it is WILD that we’re living in a time when folks make fun of virgins and then will turn around and quote celebs who have cosmetic lines that reference STDs (I’ll just leave that right there). Are we in The Twilight Zone or what? And because we’re kind of contradictorily reckless right through here, it’s as if science and spirituality have taken a back seat (hell, are they even in the car anymore?) when it comes to sex.

Take body counts (again, I really do think that it should be called something else, yet for the sake of this article, let’s go with it), for example. In a world where so many people say that sex is no big deal and yet they implode at the thought of cheating (some of y’all will catch that later), it’s like most people ONLY see sex from a recreational view — and there is so much more to it than that.

The spiritual component of sex, we’ll have to get into it at another time. What I will say for now is that even Scripture says sex makes two people one (I Corinthians 6:16-20 — Message) — whether you “feel that way” or not. Okay, but since spirituality means different things to different people, let’s factor in science.

There are studies that reveal virgins have the lowest divorce rates, and the fewer sex partners you have before marriage, the more you increase your chances of having a more satisfying sex life during it. At the same time, another study revealed something that’s “interestingly odd”: women with two OR 10-plus partners had a greater chance of divorcing than anyone else (still pondering what that’s about). Then, if we look from a strictly health-related stance, reportedly, those with 10 or more partners increase their risk of being diagnosed with cancer, while another report shares that multiple sex partners increase the chance of having substance abuse issues later on in life (especially in women).

Also, multiple partners can cause greater feelings of low self-esteem (that’s according to the American Psychological Association). Not only that, but casual sex can also make pair bonding difficult; that’s because the various “oxytocin highs” can literally decrease how your brain connects with another person. Interestingly enough, another study said that having no or lots of sexual partners in “any given year” can also increase your chances of divorce too. Not to mention the fact that some studies reveal that men nor women are thrilled about their long-term partners having more than 2-3 sex partners prior to them.

Honestly, I could go on and on, yet I think you get the gist. While folks are on “former Twitter” talking about sex doesn’t have any real consequences, so you shouldn’t give your sexual choices much thought. But, those who actually study it for a living? They say otherwise. So, whenever you’re having a body count discussion, debate, or argument, as everyone is sharing their opinions, it’s probably a good idea to bring some bona fide facts into play, too.

Next point.

3.   Consider Your Why

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Okay, so what about when it comes to your own personal body count? Is it anyone’s business? The short answer is “no” — no, it’s not. The reason why I say that is because anything that is related to private information is a privilege and not a right. So no, no one should pressure or shame you into providing it. That said, though, I do think you should do some reflecting on why you don’t want to talk about it — I don’t mean on a social media thread (necessarily) but with anyone. Because again, no you don’t have to; however, if you pondered why you feel that way, it could reveal a few things — not to them but to yourself.

Is it simply that you are private, over and out? Or do you have some sort of shame or guilt surrounding some of your past (or current) sexual choices? Is there some part of you who is afraid of how you’ll be perceived if folks know how many people you’ve been with? Are there some things about your sexual past that, if you were to talk about your body count, would reveal some things that go way beyond the surface?

It's one thing to keep things from other people; however, it’s another thing entirely to suppress thoughts and feelings to yourself, and trust me, I have coached enough people to know that some people don’t want to talk about their body counts because they don’t want to deal with all that comes with it. Bottom line, if you’re not forthcoming with anyone else, make sure that YOU are with YOU.

4. Consider Their Why Too

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Some folks are nosy. Some people like to use information against others. Some people are just messy as hell. We all know it. And so, if you’re keeping your body count to yourself because you want to shield yourself from what you discern will be nothing but toxic rhetoric, I totally get it. At the same time, I do think that there are some individuals who may want to know for other reasons.

Take a woman I know who was pretty sexually active in high school. When she met her now ex-husband in college, she lied and said that she was a virgin — well, a (so-called) born-again virgin (major eye roll). Listen, something that I’m big on is personal accountability, and when it comes to virginity, YOU ARE A VIRGIN ONE TIME. You can be a (as the church folks say it) “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) all you want, but that doesn’t change hardcore facts, and to tell someone that you’ve never had sex before when you have is dishonest — and I don’t see anything that is “God-fearing” about that.

Anyway, he was a licensed therapist who had done a lot of research on how sexual history affects one’s ability to bond with their partner. He was also a virgin, and so, for him, he felt that her past would have a direct influence on their future. I mean, I’ve already provided intel to show that he’s not totally off-base there, yet the main point is, although she could’ve taken the route of, “You can trust who I am now and accept me, or we can break up”, she lied. He found out later (years later, an ex came back into her life; LONG STORY) and divorced her — not because of her past but because she wasn’t real about it. And I totally get why he felt that way. As a wise person once said, “One lie can dispel a thousand truths.”

Listen, some of y’all aren’t gonna agree with the “checkmate” here, but if you want to know all about your man’s relational history and yet you draw the line at your sexual past — why? What’s the difference? If his details reveal a potential pattern, that same logic could apply to you. At the same time, if his past made him who he is and you love that, also, the same logic on your end. Yeah, one of the main things that goes overlooked on this entire body count thing is it isn’t so much about the sex; it’s about the mindset and choices and how they influence who we all are in the present.

And there are some people, based on the kind of relationship they have with you, who are curious about that. That doesn’t make them the devil; you’ve just got to decide if their way of thinking works for you — or not.

5. Be Honest: Does HIS Body Count Matter to You?

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Speaking of gender wars, Imma tell y’all what — very few things are more irritating than blatant hypocrisy. For instance, someone once posted their own unofficial case study where he first tweeted out that women deserve more than a man with kids; it received over 12,000 likes. When he then turned around and said that men deserved more than a single mom, it only got around 2,000 likes. Please don’t tell me that you don’t see the blatant hypocrisy there. *le sigh*

Same thing goes for the whole body count thing. If you really are standing ten toes down that your sexual history is your business, it really needs to go on record that so is his. Yeah, I know that some of y’all are like, “Cool. No problem” yet let me reiterate what I just touched on a second ago: while (some) guys may want to know your literal and actual number, many women tend to be more cryptic than that. Wanting to know details about his past relationships when it comes to intimacy that’s no better.

If your perspective is your body count should hold no relevance, so should his — again, it goes both ways. So, either be willing to “care and share” or both of you come to the conclusion that so long as your past stays in the past and your STI/STD test comes out negative (because you do take annual STI/STD tests, right?), that’s all that matters.

One final point.

6. In Conclusion, Numbers Are (Somewhat) Subjective. Make Your Own Peace.

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Years ago, back when my own body count was sitting at 10, I spoke at a local college here (one that isn’t getting the funding that it deserves; just needed to throw that in because it’s ridiculous). The topic was sex and relationships, so I was prepared for just about anything. When one of the students asked about my body count, and I shared, the class was almost at a 50/50 split. Meaning, half was like, “That’s it?” while the other was like, “Wow!” — one even verbally expressed how much they thought it was a lot. It didn’t phase me in the least, either side, because that’s how humans are, chile: things can be a lot or a little based on how people see the world.

And when it comes to a topic like body counts — upbringing, religious views, influence…they all play a part in whether more than one body is doing the most or having over 100 is. That’s why, in many ways, you have to come to your own conclusions about how you feel — about your count, about the subject matter in general, and about how your partner (or future partner) rolls.

What I will say as I draw this to a close, though, is if you’re proud of the things that you’ve done or at least have learned from them, that should knock out a lot of the triggering right there because whether you choose to share or only you and your Creator know what’s up, if you’ve truly made peace with your own life, body count debates shouldn’t get to you.

Just read ‘n scroll…read ‘n scroll as you watch others who need to figure out their “whys”.

You know yours — and it’s all good. And you mean that.

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Featured image by Giphy

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