The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Hark! A glaring double standard!

This enlightened piece from The Herald states:

“…a study that has followed 1265 people since they were born in Christchurch in 1977 appears to support claims that New Zealand women are promiscuous.

Professor David Fergusson, head of the Christchurch Health and Development Study, said half the men in the study had at least 15 sexual partners by age 30, and half the women had at least 10 partners. Figures in a similar Dunedin study reported yesterday were 10 for men and eight for women.”

Wait, what? Men have more sexual partners than women, but the study supports claims that women are promiscuous. What in the name of sweet Molly Ringwald is this shit?

Could it be, perhaps, that this double standard is so deeply ingrained in us that even in the face of figures stating the difference in sexual partners by a third we overlook it because we just can’t get past those reprehensible hussies with 10 WHOLE SEXUAL PARTNERS TO THEIR NAME?

The dudes are just doing their job okay ladies? Being studs. It’s their calling. It’s their nature. Men will be men. Spreading their seed. Etc etc. Vom.

But you ladies you with your 10 fucking people. How dare you? 10 people is way more than 1. Which is your husband. To whom you were married a virgin okay? Just keep your slutty legs closed lest you rack up 10 MORE PEOPLE. DEAR GOD! THINK OF THE PEOPLE WITH 20!

This shit is bananas. This article be tripping. Who the fuck gives a flying Ryan Gosling about the amount of people anyone of any gender identity sleeps with. Let alone having that amount be divided by gender, measured, found to be less than it’s counterpart, but still deemed more harmful because you bitches should be brushing your hair and riding ponies.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go and fuck as many people as I want and explode the internet.

57 responses to “Hark! A glaring double standard!

  1. tallulahspankhead July 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    That is…just…WHAT THE FUCK?

    I mean, I know journalists are meant to be bad at maths. But FFS.

    Also, 10 people before they were 30? *eep*

  2. Emma July 13, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    The FUCK? TEN? WTF?

    That’s so many different kinds of wrong, I can’t even.

    • Jackie Clark July 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm

      Yes, well. Mum and I had a discussion in the weekend that involved her definition of “slutty” behaviour and women who sleep with a lot of people. “But Mum, I had sex with lots of ppl in my 20’s” “Yes, darling, but this girl slept with 20!” “Um…”

      • Deborah July 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm

        I’m feeling very much as though I might have MISSED OUT. ‘Though things do get better with age and experience, I’ve found.

        /blushing (because I’m the very straight conservative one around here)

        • Jackie Clark July 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm

          You and me both, Deborah! My past is just that. Long passed. And everyone does what suits them at the time, don’t they? My stuff was about hole filling (excuse the pun). I didn’t enjoy most of it. I just liked the thought of it.

          • Emma July 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm

            My problem is, basically, that’s ten between… let’s be conservative and say eighteen and thirty. Ten in twelve years. Less than one a year. Those things? Those are relationships, very probably. (Actually, this is the problem with the basic number, it tells you nothing about the nature of the relationship.)

            Also… how do people just “know” their number when they’re asked? I’d have to sit down with a piece of paper and have a really hard think for a couple of days.

          • tallulahspankhead July 13, 2011 at 9:09 pm

            I run out of fingers and toes.

            And I always go, ‘ok, it’s X. Wait, no, I forgot him. And him. Oh, and him.’

            Now, I just go with a ballpark.

          • Jackie Clark July 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

            Oh, completely, Emma. Actually I have done that in the past – sat down and counted. No point, really. And my memory is so menopausally fucked up that I wouldn’t be able to remember, anyway. And some of them were relationships, no matter how short.
            That’s the problem, you are right. The focus is on how many, not the quality of, nor motivations for having, sexual partners.

          • Jackie Clark July 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm

            As I think I’ve mentioned before, I think the definition should really be based on quality of encounter. Most of mine were utter shit. Call it completely ridiculous inability to pick ’em, or whatever. And also, I only ever orgasm with people I’m in love with (including myself). So really, I’m almost a virgin.

        • Isabel July 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm

          My problem with counting is not numbers but definitions. By one definition I can come up with a number fairly easily but then we get into the almosts and kindas and we-did-this-but-not-thats and there’s a lot of woolliness around the edges.

          • Emma July 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm

            Is: I was telling Megan a while back that Because of Reasons I did try to work out what my “arbitrary definition of sex” is. Given how inadequate “penetration” is. (ETA: Fuck. You know what I mean.)

            It was, it turns out, orgasm. Which is actually pretty simple. Or, slightly more complicatedly, a situation in which orgasm would be… appropriate.

          • Max Rose July 14, 2011 at 9:08 am

            Good point. My definition has become pretty similar to Emma’s, though I’d word it more like “at least one partner is actively helping another to orgasm”. And would one presume that they have to be touching, or at least in the same room, at the time? Or would you count phone sex and sharing dirty pics on Tumblr?

          • Emma July 14, 2011 at 10:10 am

            I would count phone sex because, as you say, there’s conscious interaction between the people involved. I’m actually not sure about dirty pics…

          • Max Rose July 14, 2011 at 11:44 am

            How about one-handed tweeting?

          • Isabel July 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm

            I think orgasm-potential is probably the best we have – and it needs to be potential, I think, because I’m not going to tell anyone it didn’t count because I was a bit drunk or stressed that evening 😉

            If there are more than two people in the bed and everyone orgasms (potentially) but not everyone orgasms with everyone else specifically would you still count everyone?

          • Max Rose July 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

            “If there are more than two people in the bed and everyone orgasms (potentially) but not everyone orgasms with everyone else specifically would you still count everyone?”

            No, I wouldn’t. If X, Y and Z are in bed together and X and Z don’t have much physical contact (other than perhaps a high five*) then I wouldn’t count X and Z as having been “sexual partners”.

            [* I’m going to hell, aren’t I?]

          • Emma July 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm

            Well, yes, but all your friends will be there.

          • Max Rose July 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

            Good, because “the thing about heaven is that heaven is for people who like the sort of things that go on in heaven. Like, well, singing, talking to God, watering pot plants.”

          • Emma July 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm

            Exactly the quote I had in mind.

          • Max Rose August 3, 2011 at 5:03 pm

            I found this quote in The Ethical Slut: “if you or your partner is wondering whether you’re having sex at any given moment, you probably are”.

          • Emma August 3, 2011 at 5:28 pm

            That… I am struggling to come up with any experience that would prove that wrong…

  3. Max Rose July 13, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    That article is so confused and full of non-sequiturs that it’s damned near impossible to find out what the hell anyone is actually saying. For instance:

    “Men over 40 prefer a cuddle to sex and those who get more are more satisfied, a study has found.

    The study by the Kinsey Institute in the United States showed men who regularly cuddled and kissed their partners were three times as satisfied as those who did not.”

    The former does not follow from the latter: because you regularly kiss & cuddle, it doesn’t mean that you prefer it to sex. Cuddling and sex are not mutually exclusive, and I’d’ve thought that to any vaguely normal sexual being the two go together. And I say that as a man over 40 who loves both … but why is the study limited to people in long-term relationships? Do bachelors and divorcees not count?

    • Isabel July 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm

      I don’t think I’m particularly atypical in that, in the context of a long-term relationship, the more, positive non-sexual touch and intimacy I have with my partner the more and better sex we are likely to have. this being the case it’s no wonder guys who like cuddling are more “satisfied”.

      • Max Rose July 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

        With the exception of a few rough-and-tumble trysts, even most of my non-long-term encounters have involved the full spectrum of affection, intimacy, sensuality and raw sex. It’s like asking whether I prefer gin, vermouth or olives: without any of those, it’s just not a Martini.

  4. Deborah July 13, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    What in the name of sweet Molly Ringwald is this shit?

    It’s shit.

    Great post, Coley.

  5. Beckie Alexander July 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    What a load of bollocks! Why is it anyone’s business how many sexual partners we have had..and as for men wanting cuddles over sex..I’m now rolling on the floor laughing!! 😉


  6. LadyNews July 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you! I was alternately enraged and confused by that snippet of the article. Journalism fail/whoever it was who claimed this study showed that women are promiscuous fail.

  7. Trouble July 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Meanwhile, a story by Simon Collins from the previous day appears to reach far more sensible conclusions. Jessica Beresford appears to have tacked a few (very bad) paragraphs onto something syndicated around the world in today’s.

  8. meganwegan July 14, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Frankly, I think this is bloody good news. I mean, I have been asking for _years_ for a definitive number. How many people do I have to have slept with to be a slut. And now, thanks to Professor David Fergusson, I know! It’s ten.

    So, awesome. I am officially, according to a medical professional, promiscuous. Suck on THAT, internet.

    • Moz July 14, 2011 at 10:01 am

      And that comment sums up why you’ll always be a slut to me, MeganWegan.

      I think it’s great news that I can say “only 14” and be less slutty than most men, while loose-legged women of my acquaintance are sluts at two, and more sluttly than average with only 11 partners. Although I do have the urge to mention this to someone I’ll be sleeping with tonight and suggest that she’s letting the side down.

      • Max Rose July 14, 2011 at 11:02 am

        That’s one part of why I supported SlutWalk. I’m a promsicuous drunkard who often dresses in the hope I might catch the eye of the opposite sex, so by most definitions I can be called a slut. But because I’m a man I get to claim labels like “rake”, “libertine” and less flatteringly “lothario”, and even if I’m occasionally called a “man-whore” none of that has the negative connotations of the words used against promiscuous women. And that’s fundamentally unfair.

    • coleytangerina July 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Personally I’m pissed. This means (by their presumably p into v = sex boring heteronormative standards) I’m NOT a hussbag.

      They can pry that label from my cold dead handjob exhausted hands.

      • tallulahspankhead July 14, 2011 at 11:03 am

        I don’t know…. Over on emma’s thread there’s a discussion of what counts as sex. Based on the agreed definition, if your hands are doing the, ah, job, then you’re good. So to speak.

        Anyway, you’ll always be a filthy harlot to me, my darling.

    • Isabel July 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      I can be a slut or not depending on how I count one (of several) technicalities (though according to Emma’s definition I’m way on the slutty side). Does this mean that the next time I’m mocked for describing myself as a model of propriety I can play the not-a-slut card?

  9. Alex Fulton July 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I think the “logic” they use to reach their conclusion that NZ women are promiscuous is comparing NZ women to overseas women, determining them to be “more promiscuous” than their overseas counterparts, and leaving men out of the equation entirely. Because, you know, boys will be boys or something. Except when they just want cuddles… okay fine, I give up. It’s bollocks.

  10. tallulahspankhead July 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    In a promo for a different version of this article, Stuff gives us an insight into what men really want.

    I guess I can stop reading Cosmo now, hand.y

    • Moz July 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm

      men want cuddles more than women

      But do men want cuddles more than women do, or do they want cuddles more than they want women? It’s so hard to know just exactly how I’m doing it wrong from that headline.

      I do like the idea or measuring attractiveness by number of sexual partners. Although it contradicts the current culture of “younger is better”. Hmm, perhaps because it does.

      • tallulahspankhead July 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm

        In which case, I am extremely hot. But we knew that.

        • Moz July 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm

          Hawt, darling, it’s spelt “hawt”.

          Sheesh, young people these days.

          • tallulahspankhead July 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm

            To quote my namesake:

            They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They should photograph me through linoleum.

      • Max Rose July 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm

        Am I the only one who thought “Ten? That’s quite a fair number per year … wait, you mean TOTAL?!?”

        • Moz July 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

          It did cross my mind. Ten is rather a lot, unless you’re into casual sex or polyamory (or both, or other things, and I’m sure it all depends a lot on how you define sex).

          But it does mean that once again I can reasonably claim to be sexually conservative. Hooray! I mean, I haven’t had sex with Emma, or Isabel, or tallulah, or, well, look, I have had sex with hardly anyone. Do I get a prize?

        • tallulahspankhead July 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm

          Well, before *30*.

          Cos, remember, if you’re over 30, you’re clearly so decrepit no one wants to screw you anyway, so who cares if you’re getting any? And if you are, actually, shut up, cos that’s just icky.

          • Moz July 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm

            I thought we were using Max’s “per year” approach?

            I haven’t been under 30 for a long time now.

          • Emma July 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm

            To be absolutely fair, (no, I don’t know why I do this either) the “under thirty” thing will be a function of those two studies, Dunedin and Chch, which started with people born in, from memory, ’75 and ’77. Add in time to process the data, and ‘under thirty’ is pretty much all they’ve got.

          • Isabel July 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm

            By the time you are thirty you should have snared yourself a man (by either having the sex or not having the sex, I forget which), and be in the process of popping out a sprog or two at which point you may retire from public life and all that tiresome sex stuff.

          • Max Rose July 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm

            By the way, has anyone seen a link to the actual study (or even media release) by David Fergusson? It’s proving remarkably resistant to googling, with many results going back to the Herald article (or even this very post).

  11. Max Rose July 14, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    The actual report from the Kinsey Institute says that “Relationship satisfaction in men depended on health, physical intimacy,
    and sexualfunctioning, while in women only sexual functioning
    predicted relationship satisfaction.”

    The media release for that study translates this to “Cuddling and caressing are important ingredients for long-term relationship satisfaction, according to an international study that looks at relationship and sexual satisfaction throughout committed relationships, but contrary to stereotypes, tenderness was more important to the men than to the women.”

    The Herald then mangles this to “Men over 40 prefer a cuddle to sex and those who get more are more satisfied, a study has found.” At least you can’t accuse them of cut & paste journalism: it takes a certain amount of effort to fuck things up so badly. Oh, and then throw in some lazy casual misogyny for good measure.

  12. Max Rose July 14, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Sorry if this is derailing, but I’m interested in how such risible and biased journalism comes about. Does anyone know who Emily McKenzie is, and why we’re supposed to care about her attitudes to promiscuity? Is she associated with Family First or suchlike, or is she just someone who decided to ring up the Herald to give them a quote and a photo?

    • tallulahspankhead July 15, 2011 at 9:37 am

      I would suggest….Yeah, I have no idea. Someone Robyn Salisbury trotted out to prove her point?

  13. me July 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

    It doesn’t even make sense. If men have had 15 and women have had ten Who are the men sleeping with?
    If they had asked the other twenty people in Chch they might have got figures that supported their statements better but if they took out gays (who can be sluts and proud) wouldn’t it have to be about even?
    Unless there are a few women who never get asked surveys who get the whole extra 33%.

    • Moz July 18, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      They’re not using averages, they’re using medians. The distribution is exactly what you expect – there are a few people who have lots and lots of partners, and that skews the average. So they use median (half the population have had less than X, half have had more”). We get the same problem with average income, and that’s more discussed (if you want to read more).

      It’s also likely skewed by queer guys having more partners than queer women, but I suspect that particular ratio is evening out over time. Whether it will ever be equal is an open question, I think there’s evidence suggesting both ways. But I still can’t imagine a lesbian sos venue being anywhere near as popular as the gay ones are.

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