As I’m sure you’ve come to expect by now, this post was inspired by a social media comment that made me incredibly frustrated. There was a Tiktok of a straight white man, @Freshcoralblast, explaining how in society people “don’t want a girl with a high body count because statistically girls with high body counts are more likely to cheat.” He went on to give his personal anecdotes, which, in my opinion, discredited him entirely, but I thought it was important to explore this concept and really get to the root of the problem. What is the issue with “high body counts”?
This topic has many layers, but I think the first thing to consider is the statement of “high body counts = more likely to cheat.” The original statement made by the man mentioned previously, who will now be known as Fresh, spoke as if society as a whole has agreed upon these statistics and “no man wants to go through that again.” The contradiction here is that men and women are very clearly treated differently in relation to how many people they’ve slept with. The stats imply that all people with more sexual experience are more likely to cheat, and according to The Institute of Family Science, men are most likely to cheat. So then why isn’t the same stigma on men?
This statement is very easily disproven at very blatant differences in treatment throughout society. In weddings, women wear white if they’re virgins, but the men don’t have any similar social norms despite many religions saying sex before marriage is a sin for anyone. In media, men are often jokes for being virgins; just look at The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Super Bad, and The Late Bloomer. So, if it was really about the likelihood of cheating, why are men encouraged to sleep around while women are shamed for sleeping around?
It’s hardly a secret that women are treated differently though, and talking/acting as if you don’t know is playing ignorant. In Lily Allen’s song Hard Out Here, she sings, “If I told you ’bout my sex life, you’d call me a slut. When boys be talkin’ ’bout their bitches, no one’s making a fuss.” Cardi B released W.A.P. and everyone lost their mind but I can name a few dozen songs like Grind With Me, Candy Shop, or more recently, Watermelon Sugar made by men that didn’t get half as much fuss.
Now that we’ve established that men don’t face the same sigma, we need to understand what stigma there is. As previously stated, Fresh said the reason was a higher chance of infidelity. We can get to the statistics in a minute, but I think it’s important to just absorb the concept that people might slut shame because they don’t want to get cheated on. Do you think Marilyn Monroe was slut shamed for having revealing clothes because they thought that meant she’d cheat on her partner? Would clothes, songs, or anything besides actual body counts be included in slut shaming if it was about cheating? Do you think people would voice their opinions so loudly on someone they would never date if it was really about that?
Statistically, Fresh was not incorrect, people with high body counts are more likely to cheat. However, correlation does not equal causation. More likely also doesn’t mean the only ones. If being more sexually active was the only reason for cheating, then we would have numbers showing that people who’ve only had one sexual partner never cheat. In reality, these stats more likely show that people with more sexual freedom aren’t tied down to a single person and so they tend to want to be more sexually active with others. If anything, a lot of these numbers can be attributed to toxic monogamy and people being afraid to leave their relationships because of societal norms.
In general, having this mindset is very close minded and ignorant. You’d be blatantly ignoring the centuries of inequality and stigma towards women having sexual freedom. Number of sexual partners really only means more experience, and has no correlation to whether the person will cheat, or if they’ll even know what they really desire. “More likely” just means higher chances but in reality a 1% increase is “more likely”, so don’t let wording scare you.
Finally, don’t let personal experiences define your reality. I’ve dated plenty, and yes, one of the guys with the higher body count did cheat. However, he cheated on me with someone he had an emotional connection with before me, who he later went on to marry. Gay men have higher body counts in general as well, so if we were going by my personal experience then it would write the entire opposite narrative (high body counts = a higher desire for monogamy and finding “the one”). The past shouldn’t be something that affects our observations of the world, especially if there’s clearly some resentment/pain still there. I truly hope Fresh heals and gains a broader perspective of the world around him.