Worried About Your Partner's Bedpost Notches? Get Over It
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A couple of years ago, a friend of mine came to me for advice, and I think the advice I gave him was pretty good advice, if I do say so myself. Because when it comes to love and relationships, those who can, do. Those who can't give love and relationship advice.
My friend had just proposed to his girlfriend. The wedding promised to be epic, "Vegas-style" and planned with Pentagon-like precision. The sort of wedding where you wouldn't be surprised if a trained monkey dressed like a butler exploded out of a 17-tier wedding cake, holding a smaller, 10-tier wedding cake, as fireworks exploded, and an ABBA cover band parachuted in next to the champagne glass pyramid, while howling "Take A Chance On Me." No expense spared.
His fiancée had always been a righteous rock ‘n' roll chick, but now after years of her being fed a steady diet of wedding lust by the Matrimony Industrial Complex, she was frothing at the mouth to be crowned Princess Awesome of the Day. Such is her prerogative.
The advice my friend came to me for had nothing to do with what I expected. I thought he was going to vent the usual groom angst: the preparations for the romantic bacchanalia were overwhelming and expensive, his fiancée and her mother and her sisters all have short fuses, can he really be with one woman for the rest of his life? So I came prepared with the condescending bromides you tell a dude as he hurtles towards theoretical domestic bliss. To sum up that wisdom in a nutshell: "It'll be okay, bro."
Instead, what he shared with me, after the help of a few gin and tonics, was that he and his fiancée had playfully shared each others' numbers. Their "numbers," wink-wink. He had slept with less than 15 women in his life. She had slept with more than 15. More than 20. A bit more than 25, actually. He was despondent. I tried to console him. I asked him if the sex was hot between them. He said yes.
I said, "Dude, you don't go to a rock concert to see the lead dude pick up the guitar for the first time."
I don't think that meant much to him. They got married. A baby is on the way, but I know in the back of his mind, the carnal inequity between them is going to haunt him. And that confounds me.
She chose him from the 25 or so dudes she railed. Clearly, she's experienced, knows what she's doing, has had sex with enough guys to know what doesn't get her off, and she chose him. What's the big deal?
Two answers come to mind. One involves the whole "slut versus stud" gender dynamic. Women are supposed to guard their virtue and deny their sexual appetites. My friends fiancée loved to get it on, and while mistakes were probably made, and hearts probably broken, she should get points for being in touch with her desires. Conversely, men are programmed to want sex every minute of every day. In some ways, our ability to want to drop our pants at the mere rumor of a vagina gives us social value. Maybe my friend felt a drop in his social value because his girl could get more booty than he could. He could have been a closet Puritan or a time-traveling Victorian inventor.
Trust me, when you're dead, you'll regret not having had more fun with your genital organs.
The other answer concerns the relationship between love, possession, and how possession is actually the opposite of love. When you love someone, you love them regardless of whether they return the favor. Which is a scary thing, but ultimately we lose all that we love, so get used to it. Possession is a manic response to this uncertainty, and it's a way to try and guarantee that you will be loved back. It breeds insecurity, causes people to snoop, doubt, and obsess over past lovers. My friend seemed most upset that his fiancée's hunger for penis suggested she might cheat on him or that somehow he didn't measure up.