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A friend of mine asked me what my “number” was the other day.
Let me just start by saying I really don’t like this question. I mean, I don’t mind it so much if a friend asks. But if I’m with a guy and he casually asks how many other people I’ve slept with, it’s just immediately so off-putting for me. Do you know what that means? That means he actually cares. He wants to hear the answer. A high number, a lower number — whatever he’s waiting for, he has an answer already in his mind and he wants to see whether you meet, exceed, or completely fall short of his expectations. If he cares enough to ask, that means he cares enough to be upset, should you give him the wrong response. And that’s just not okay with me.
What is the obsession with people’s “numbers?” It’s such a useless thing to dwell on. What does it matter how many people I’ve slept with before? I’m here, right now, with you. Will the sex be better or worse if you know the number of people who have come before you? Will the answer betray the image of me you’ve constructed in your head like I should have considered your feelings before sleeping with the people I did in my past?
Yeah, I think it’s ridiculous. But a lot of people ask, anyway.
When my friend asked, I wasn’t offended. We were in the middle of a conversation about sex and sexual partners, a topic we never seem to exhaust. She asked, and I realized just how long it’s been since I’ve actually stepped back and considered just how many people I’ve gone to bed with. And, I’ll admit it, a little part of me was worried what number I would count to. I blame society (Isn’t it so easy to blame society these days?).
It was ten, by the way. My grand total was ten men.
I told my friend and she admitted her number was eight and we carried on with our lives. But I felt myself returning to this number a lot during the rest of my day, counting and recounting to make sure this was actually right. Ten men? Not possible.
Here’s some background. I lost my virginity when I was eighteen. A little late, I know. I’d spent my entire high school career as an awkward, socially anxious bookworm who repelled guys and remained unwillingly celibate for all four years. Sex simply wasn’t something that happened.
That’s not to say I wasn’t thinking about sex every minute of every day. I masturbated furiously at night to thoughts of various guys at my school, hands twitching under my blankets as I envisioned Joe H. and his plump, pink lips kissing me while Michael C. kneeled between my legs and sent me spiraling into another galaxy with his tongue.
After high school, I lost some weight, started taking better care of myself, and bought some new clothes. I put myself out there and went on awkward dates that ended with fumbling kisses I convinced myself were better than they actually were. Then finally, at eighteen, it happened. I lost the big V-Card. I popped my metaphorical cherry (ugh). I made the beast with two backs, or whatever that fucking phrase is.
I had reached enlightenment. And it sucked.
Fast-forward four years and here I am, twenty-two years old, realizing that the shy little Kate who avoided eye-contact and small-talk in high school has reached double-digit sex conquests. And isn’t that cause for celebration?
So, I’d like to take a look back on the ten men who made it all happen; the men who made this momentous occasion possible. Because really, I couldn’t have done it without them. Let’s give them some credit.
I’m going to write a little series in which the best of the best and the worst of the worst are finally penned because, in addition to never having counted them all, I’ve also never ranked them. And I think this might be fun. And maybe a little therapeutic?
Of course, we'll be starting with the worst. Because I like to end on a high note. So please prepare yourselves for the worst of the worst, my number 10.
What's that? How bad can he be?