Reflections After Adding Number 10 To My Body Count: Am I A Hoe?

Reflections After Adding Number 10 To My Body Count: Am I A Hoe?

“How many were before me?”

5…no, he’s 7th! Or is he? My heart beat fast as I took inventory of my sexual partners. He’s number 6? But wait, I left out that one night stand with the Colombian man in Spain. Good, he’s 7th. No, I’d conveniently forgotten the four pitiful minutes with one guy I dated briefly. That shouldn’t even count.

For the first time, it’d felt like catching flies with my bare hands trying to remember the men. Does that make me a hoe now? I wondered.

“Seven,” I said semi-confident, still fighting back insecure thoughts of why was it so hard to remember? And you need to slow down.

I gave a nervous smile. Was that number too high? Was Number 8 judging me?

Later, I moved on and made Number 9 wait a month before I gave up the goods. It was blissful while it lasted. Then, our three months of memories turned me into lemon.

By the time I was ready to delete Number 9’s super sweet voicemail, my vagina, longing the regularity of consistent sex, told me it was time to get it in again.

The question was with who? I was one away from 10, double digits. . . Who could I go back to instead of gaining another body?

I went through The List, this time with more mental acuity, and angrily realized none of them were worth another “roll in the hay.” I was jealous of men who didn’t have to ask themselves questions like that. It was either suffer in horniness or add another body.

“Why don’t girls just go back to their exes if they’re so worried about body count?” Number 2, my first love, wondered via text.

“Most do,” I typed back, “But sometimes it’s just not worth it because they’re either crazy (Number 1), underserving (Numbers 2 and 9), or it’d just be too much drama (Number 8). They’re better off hooking up with someone new they actually like, even if it is an ‘extra body.’”

That was the problem. Like. I didn’t want to like someone and risk getting hurt again. I saw a friends-with-benefits situation as ideal.

But didn’t that attitude classify me as a hoe?

Do a quick search on Twitter and you’ll find many different parameters for what’s considered a “hoe.” You’re a hoe if you have a body count over 5. Or over 10. You’re a hoe if you’ve slept with someone who you weren’t dating seriously. You’re a hoe if you’ve slept with someone’s boyfriend. You’re a hoe if you cheat on your cheating boyfriend. You’re a hoe if you only want sex. You’re a hoe if you dress provocatively, whether you’ve slept with 2 or 20 men.

As varied as “hoe definitions” were, I always noticed a commonality: they came mostly from men. Men told women what consisted of hoe behavior. Men judged women.

[Tweet "Being a hoe had one commonality: men told women what was hoe behavior. Men judged women."]

“You have to stop counting.” I remembered my 25-year-old, uber-confident friend telling me this as we rode the metro in Madrid. We were on the way to a party and I’d opened up to her about how my number had already gone up by two since I’d been overseas. I was horny, but I couldn’t afford yet another body.

“No,” she shook her head. “You have to live your life. Don’t worry about that. Promise me you’ll stop counting?”

I tried to summon the strength of her words in an argument with Number 2 a year later. You have to stop counting.

He’d paused my venting about Number 9: “Wait…how long were you talking to this guy?”

“Three months?”

“. . .And you had sex with him?”

“Yeah…” And?

“. . .Wow, you’ve changed,” he said. “You used to be so cautious. You moved so slow. Now…” I heard what was unspoken: Now you’re giving it up after only a month.

“So? A month is plenty of time? Are we living in the 1950s or…?” But he was right. I was a virgin when we first met in college. I moved slowly. Back then, a one night stand wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. I also didn’t know how damned good sex was.

I stopped counting. Just like my friend had told me to, but the accusation in his voice felt like he was punishing me for it. I tried to defend myself, but I didn’t have nowhere near her amount of confidence.

“What are you trying to say?” It felt like he was seconds away from lobbing that three-letter word at me. I knew he wouldn’t dare, but…

“Are you calling me a hoe?” I laughed with this.

I tried to channel the Amber Roses and Blac Chynas, women who’d unabashedly embraced the “hoe” and “slut” label. I’d even championed them for doing this very thing, but that was back when most hoe-definitions didn’t apply to me.

I wouldn’t be a hoe if I were still with you. Wasn’t that the idea? Go to college. Find your husband. Get married. Settle down with your 5 and under bodies. That was the idea, but dating was a bit more complicated than that nowadays. People were settling down later in life, spending more time single and dating than ever before. Most men didn’t even think about marriage before 25. Neither did most women for that matter.

I almost wanted him to say the word so I could affirm it. If I heard it out loud, maybe I could accept it.

Could I live with it? I looked back through my list and realized they weren’t numbers, but Experiences. They were my first love and my first fling. They were multiple heartbreaks. They were lessons on what I wanted in a man and lessons on how I needed to be pleased, treated, and loved. They taught me what my attitudes on sex were and how I saw myself as a sexual being.

Could I look myself in the mirror? I hadn’t slept with a married man or a friend’s boyfriend. I didn’t lie or cheat. I was honest in my situationships and relationships. Morally, I felt okay.

I had lots of fun. I traveled and met new people. I fell in and out of love. I grew.

Was I willing to trade all of that for an imaginary 2 bodies, a boring, white picket fence with Experience 2, and most importantly, total immunity from ever being called a hoe?

Experience 2 couldn’t recognize me not because my body count was no longer 2, but because I had grown and matured, and so had my views on sex. I couldn’t say the same for him.

“Of course not,” he said. “Just. . .”

“It’s okay. Let it go,” I laughed and this time it was true laughter.

Little did he know, I had a lot more hoein’ to do.

Layla A. Reeves is a 20-something freelance writer, copy editor, and ESL teacher who's still trying to figure this life thing out, never mind adulting. She's lived overseas in Spain, but only mentions that when she wants to feel better about not knowing what she's doing. Read more of her musings on her blog.

Smile, Sis! These Five Improvements Can Upgrade Your Oral Hygiene Instantly

This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.

Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.

Fall Equinox: How To Make The Fall Your Season, According To Your Sign

The Fall Equinox begins on September 23, 2023, and it’s time to embrace abundance, gain clarity, and know that you are worthy of your desires. The Fall Equinox marks the beginning of fall and the end of summer and is a turning point of the year, where things settle in and come to fruition. The energy that fall brings is one of harvest, but it is also one of release, letting go, and finding your ground. Coming from a summer of intensity, drama in love, and overall moving through a space of deep spiritual growth- now that fall is here, we are ready to decompress, dream, and enjoy that which we have created for ourselves.