Am I promiscuous? What does promiscuous even mean?
Let's see. Let me do my favorite Google trick where you type in the word with "define: WORD" then hit return to take you straight to the definition. OK, so it says: "(of a person) Having many sexual relationships, esp. transient ones." So wait, what does transient specifically mean? "Lasting only for a short time; impermanent."
All right, Google, so maybe I am promiscuous.
But, honestly -- am I, really?
I don't actually have "many" sexual relationships. I barely have any. One, currently. And what is "many"? Two? Three? A dozen? Is it over a week? A month? A lifetime?
I'm going to say that I am promiscuo-ish. I'm down with that (but not DTF, see what I -- yeah). But I really think there needs to be more mathematical definitions for these things. Like I do my little Google "define:" shortcut and it gives back to me: "(of Mandy) Having 3 or more sexual relationships in a week."
Dude, I'm a numbers person.
I was asked to "celebrate" the idea of being promiscuous today on HuffPost Live. Or something like that. It's related to Ke$ha and her reality show. That much I know. (Update: After this piece was published, I was actually uninvited from the show. Wow. I'm impressed.)
I think, most importantly, what I celebrate is honesty in sexuality and an equality of sexual standards for women and men. I celebrate a lifting of the veil of shame that often surrounds women for being sexual creatures. But that standard could also apply to women who have only been with one man their entire lives.
Look at it this way. I would say I celebrate promiscuity for the same reason that I celebrate celibacy -- because I celebrate women doing whatever the fuck they damn well choose in their personal and sexual lives according to their own personal comfort levels.
For some women that's going to be fucking 300 guys in a year. For some it's going to be 3 in a lifetime.
When I fooled around with the social media entrepreneur earlier this week, I straddled him, writhed and squealed with pleasure at the "transient" encounter (ain't no ring coming from that relationship, I can assure you).
Yesterday, with the former drug dealer I made out with (again, I do not see marriage in the cards, sorry, mom), it was blissful and fun. Was I having a celebration of promiscuity? Maybe. Mostly it was a celebration of me taking control of my sexual choices and going after physical connections that brought me excitement, fulfillment, possibility and pleasure.
So what then are the downsides to "promiscuity"? Well, if you are the woman who has slept with 300 different guys in a year, then, statistically, the risks for sexually transmitted diseases are obviously higher. But let's play devil's advocate. It could be the woman who has sex with 3 men in a lifetime who may not practice safe sex and use protection so could end up with a disease that the technically promiscuous women does not because, turns out, she's a germ freak.
There is obviously risk in any sexual encounter, always. But if there is one thing that it is certain, it is that sex is never, ever going away -- it's our attitudes about it that change.
Is there such a thing as a "bad role model" like say Ke$ha (or me?) because we show or discuss sexuality with multiple partners and our behavior ultimately does not culminate in an after-school commercial talking about how we now have AIDS and regret everything? I don't think so.
There will always be sexual women -- from Marilyn Monroe to Lindsay Lohan -- who throw their tits in your face and dare you to look away. They are fucking, and boy do you know it. But the responsibility for being role models doesn't fall upon these women.
No way. That's a ridiculous notion to me.
To me, it lies with parents and friends and family and teachers and our culture as a whole. I don't ever remember being given a sex talk by my mom and dad, and I wish I had received one. I wanted to be loved and desired for my sexuality so much from an early age because it attracted me powerfully, enigmatically in a way I had trouble fully understanding until I got older.
Sure, I listened to Madonna and sang along to "Like a Virgin" with my friends. But did she cause me or inspire me to have some of my earlier sexual experiences? I don't think so. She did inspire me to not feel bad about my sexuality -- that confidence was perhaps the sexiest quality of all (even though I wasn't capable of it at the time).
And through my sex ed courses and some of the sexual cultural messages I received through pop culture and teachers as a kid growing up in the 1980s, I knew the drill when it came to safe sex.
Maybe the question isn't: Do we celebrate promiscuity? But rather: Do we celebrate sexuality?
And I think the more we do that, the more empowered everyone -- from Ke$ha to that 13-year-old little girl listening to her -- will truly be.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.