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?”
“. . .And you had sex with him?”
“. . .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.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
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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.
What Is the Energy of the Fall Equinox 2023?
The energy this fall is opening up new doors of abundance and is a time of reaping your rewards in life. Fall begins at the same time as Libra Season, and a lot of these blessings have to do with love and the relationship developments that will be taking place over the next few months. With a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra occurring a few weeks after fall begins on October 14th, something enchanting is happening in romance right now. The scales are coming into balance, new beginnings are occurring, and clarity prevails.
Relationships over the next few months are about focusing on the gifts and gratitude you find in them and accepting where things need to change as well.
By the time winter begins, most of the planets that are currently in retrograde will be direct, and this signifies the change of pace that fall is bringing. This fall highlights Eclipse Season overall, and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th will be a time of creating boundaries, honoring your values and energy, and closing a chapter in your life that doesn’t align. Financial worlds are growing and finding new ground, but with Jupiter still in retrograde in Taurus until December 30th, patience is needed here.
Over the next few months, give yourself the space to gain some new perspectives, make room for love, and grow in abundance.
Your guidance this fall is to take those first steps toward the goals you have been pondering over this year. There is a Full Moon in your sign a week after fall begins, and you get the opportunity to enter this season with less baggage and more closure. You will possibly be starting a new position or working in a new field, and you need all the good energy to back you right now. Know that you can count on your skills and talents to move you further in life and that help will be there when you least expect it. This is a fall of abundance for you, Aries, claim it.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 29, Oct. 13, Nov. 13, Nov. 21
Patience, patience, patience, Taurus. You are creating something beautiful in the world right now, and the time it’s taken to get you here will all be worthwhile. Your guidance this fall is to nurture your world and your dreams and to bring more love and compassion to your life. You are preparing for a new reality but need some more time to dream it up and define that which you want for yourself and your future. The Full Lunar Eclipse happening this fall is occurring in your sign, and you are moving through some major closures in your life right now. This is a creative time for you, Taurus.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Nov. 6, Nov. 20
This fall is all about taking care of yourself and valuing your time and energy, Gemini. The way you see yourself and your life are coming up for review right now, and you are being urged to look at yourself in a better light. Your ruling planet, Mercury, goes retrograde for the last time this year on December 13th, just before fall ends, and this time is all about taking what you have learned and choosing better for yourself. You may be tested to be more confident or true to yourself right now and over the next few months, and it’s about owning your part in this life and standing up for what you want.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 21, Nov. 20, Dec. 12
This is an abundant fall for you, Cancer. You have worked diligently on claiming the opportunities and new doors that have been opening for you, and you are feeling free to be your successful self. You are encouraged in your independence right now, and you have proven to yourself just how talented you are and how much you have grown. No major aspects are happening in your sign this fall, giving you the space to breathe, create, and receive your rewards. Happiness fills your world, and even though you still feel like you are just getting started in a sense, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the gifts that are presenting themselves today.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 13, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Nov. 13
This fall is a turning point for you in love, Leo. New developments are taking place in your relationships, and you are being received especially favorably. This is the time to open your heart to growth and new possibilities and to get creative with what you are looking for right now. The Last Quarter Moon happening in your sign on November 5th will be a turning point for you this fall. Your unique charm and charisma are enough, and you attract many to you through your natural energy and love for life. Your ship is coming in this fall, and your heart is fulfilled.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 1, Oct. 31, Nov. 5, Nov. 14
Virgo, this fall is a blessing for the heart space. You are feeling in tune emotionally, and there is positive energy coming your way and into your love life. You have spent a lot of this year healing, forgiving, and finding your voice, and over the next few months, you will be creating the spaces you have been looking to enter in your life. Venus enters your sign for a month on October 8th, and there are some pleasant surprises in store for you during this time. Fresh starts are coming in for you, and spiritually, you are awakening to the gifts within you and in your heart. Your beauty is showing, and love is coming in for you this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 20
This fall is a new beginning for your financial world, Libra. Autumn begins the same day Libra Season does, and you have some extra motivation and energy within you right now. You are ready to put the action behind the intentions you have been setting for yourself financially, and this is a time of plans coming together and falling through to success. The more you stay focused and diligent, the more opportunities that can come for you right now. The first month of fall, the Sun is in your sign, and this is really the time to get things moving in your life, especially with a New Moon Eclipse in Libra on October 14th happening as well.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 27, Oct. 14, Oct. 30, Nov. 20
It’s all about the vision for you right now, Scorpio. You are focused on the future, your path ahead, and manifesting your dreams, and there is something passionate about the next few months for you. You may be taking some risks this fall as you test the boundaries on how far you want to go with something and what worlds are opening up to you now. Mars is in your sign from October 12th until November 24th, and life is exciting for you right now. You have your eyes on the prize and are ready to move forward toward the things that are lighting you up right now.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 12, Oct. 13, Nov. 6, Nov. 13,
This fall is about taking a leap of faith, Sagittarius. Your guidance over the next few months is to do the things that you would do if you knew you would be supported in doing them. Less self-doubt is needed now, as you are walking on new ground. You are moving towards personal healing you have been wary of from the beginning, and you are ready to let go of some energy that has been holding you back. Trust that once you decide on something, the universe instantly begins to make it happen for you. Your season begins on November 22nd, and it’s time to put yourself first more. Have courage in yourself this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 8, Nov. 22, Nov. 24, Dec. 12
This fall is all about clarity for you, Capricorn. You are a wise soul, and you are owning this energy about yourself right now. Over the next few months, you will be developing spiritually, helping those who need your sound advice, and evolving in life. You have found a new sense of enlightenment and are enjoying the clear perspective that has been gained. Mercury goes retrograde in your sign on December 13th, right before fall ends, and this is when you will be feeling more tested to take the lead in your life and use your voice. Overall, fall 2023 is your time to surrender to the good within you and in your life, Capricorn.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 10, Oct. 23, Nov. 4, Dec. 1
Things are moving fast for you this fall, Aquarius. This is a successful, harmonious, and passionate time for you, as many opportunities come your way at once. It will be hard to settle down with all the energy flowing through your life over the next few months, as you have so much to do and so many people to see. Overall, however, this is positive energy that you have been looking forward to in your life, and everything is coming together and moving forward where it was once stagnant. Fall is giving you the closure and the opportunity to reinvent yourself and start on new, solid ground in your life.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 30, Oct. 31, Nov. 20, Nov. 28
Your guidance for fall is to have balance in your life. There is a lot of new coming in for you, but you are also working on letting go of what has fallen. You have grown in many ways this year, and financially, you have seen growth as well but may be feeling the weight of responsibilities this has come with now. To move through this season with the most grace, give yourself more time to rest, to be, and allow things to fall into place on their own. Saturn has been retrograde in your sign since June and goes direct this fall on November 4th, Pisces. This is your opportunity to see things more clearly, protect your energy, and feel more in tune with your internal guidance system.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 22, Nov. 4, Nov. 6, Dec. 12
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