My Number is None of Your B-I-Bizness

Author’s Note: My goal with this post is not for you to say, “Oh NO she didn’t!”, but to facilitate thought and discussion. There’s more than enough judgment to go around in this hypersexual, double-standard society of ours, where promiscuous males are not looked down upon in the same manner or to the same degree as females who engage in the same carefree behavior.

I’m getting pretty settled in my new place, and of course, one of the lovely things about relocating is finding a new doctor, dentist, etc. and transferring your records over so you can get your initial appointments set up. It’s almost like dating, because you have to find someone you like and trust (or get a referral from a person you like and trust), then meet them in person and tell them your life story, I mean medical history (even though the paper records were mandatory to be seen). Then you get to fill out more paperwork before it’s all over.

So one day last week I filled out new patient paperwork at home (ah, the convenience of downloading forms ahead of time so you can look up all the answers to stuff you forgot). While doing so, I came upon two questions (on different pages) that I had not encountered before, at least not that I can remember (I try not to change doctors too often):

A- How many years [have you lived] in Atlanta? ___________ (zero)

B- Number of lifetime [sexual] partners _____________ ( > zero)

My first thought was, why are they asking me this? I don’t recall asking anyone this question, not even my ex-husband. My second thought was, shoot, I have to get up and do some research to find the answer!

Time for a Recount

Think whatever you want, but hey, I wasn’t sure, and it’s something I really should know, even if I don’t want to broadcast it to the world. Let’s just say my ex-husband was #3 and leave it at that. I was a virgin in high school, and I shudder to think what “my number” might be now if I hadn’t been faithfully married for my early adult life. I know girls in high school who boasted of theirs, which unfortunately in some cases was higher than their ages.

People will always deduce their own perceptions from these things, and they’re usually not favorable. I wish I was one of those people who saved herself for marriage and lived happily-satisfied-forever-after, but I’m not (on both counts). I’m an author who condones celibacy and teen abstinence because I believe it’s right even if it’s not popular. I know the havoc that premarital and extramarital sex can wreak on a person’s mind, body, and spirit.

What’s Up, Doc?

When I met the doctor the next day, I asked her why that question was on the form, and she said that as the number of partners rises, so does your risk factor for HPV (and I’m sure other STDs, but she only mentioned that one). And that was the reason I was there, unfortunately. Sometime in a 15-month span since my last yearly exam, I contracted HPV. I understand that it is a common disease that often goes away on its own, but I had no symptoms, and neither did my partner. I was just trying to get all my doc visits taken care of before my move, only to find this out and have to follow-up in six months. Thus, the new paperwork now.

I just read a true story in this month’s issue of Glamour Magazine where a woman sued her deceitful ex-boyfriend for giving her HPV–and WON. In my case, that would have been overkill, but her ex- knew he had it and lied about it, while also cheating on her. I think it’s despicable for someone to sleep with someone while knowingly having a disease (especially an incurable one such as herpes or AIDS) and not disclose it. It’s like playing Russian roulette with your body.

So without being preachy, I’ll strongly suggest that you go get checked out if it’s been awhile, and wrap it up if you’re sexually active with multiple partners. Don’t wait for something to flare up–it might be too late. Prevention (that is, a healthy lifestyle) is always better than medication.

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6 thoughts on “My Number is None of Your B-I-Bizness

  1. Thank you for bravely sharing your story. On another note, many women (lesbian women) are afraid to even have PAP tests. I have recently learned that this is not uncommon in the lesbian community. Women are simply not taking responsibilty for their health due to fear and ignorance. I had a conversation with a lesbian friend of mine who had sexual relationships with men in the past, but has now been dating women for over ten years. She has never stepped a single foot in a gynecologist’s office. There is a certain stigma in the lesbian community associated with having annual PAP tests performed. HPV can gi undetected for years and cause certain forms of cancers. Please, I would love if you could research and address this issue.

    1. Wow, Tai, I never knew about this issue. I am all about helping to raise awareness and break the stigmas (usually based on fear) that can lead to shame, illness, and even death. Thanks for mentioning it, and I will see what else I can learn about it.

  2. Speaking of double standards, your post just made me notice a thing or 2 about that article. I kept reading and waiting and waiting and WAITING. It doesn’t ever mention Dr. Alan Evans’s number of sexual partners. All that’s there is that he was hooking up with at least 2 other women when he started seeing her and then a 3rd was accidentally found out in some randomness not long after. Wow! No way that’s it, there’s gotta be more. A LOT MORE! Now I REALLY wanna know what his number is. I’m shocked that Glamour would omit that since they are after all a WOMEN’S MAG and like you said it does increase your risk factor so it actually matters what his number is, maybe MORE THAN HERS! They made sure to say hers, so why not his. Double standard, and got somethin to hide I guess, ya! Not that he doesn’t sound like a scum bag. The information makes this “man” Alan Evans sound like a male whore but I find it unbelievable that they did not say his number anywhere in a sort of long article. I’ll go on and speculate a high one, and SHAME on Glamour!

  3. alas, if only everyone would heed this advice. who knows? maybe you’ll move everyone who reads this to do the right thing. i can certainly hope.

    i’m with you on the double standard thing about number of sex partners. the woman is a whore and the guy is a player. yeah, right. whatever.

    women fall victim to it all the time. i call it the 10 or less creed. very few women when quizzed by a prospective lover or actual lover will fess up to having had any more than 10 partners. sure some have had less and some most definitely have had more.

    but the 10 or less credit a.k.a 10 finger rule won’t be fading into the sunset any time soon…

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