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A game of numbers that women aren’t winning

If a woman beats her current partner on the number of men she has slept with, is it an issue?

“How many sexual partners have you had?” This is a question many people, especially women feel uncomfortable to answer. An old adage goes women divide their ‘body count’ number by three, while men multiply their tally by three.

This is nothing new. Since time immemorial, men have been hailed as champs for having bedded many women. Women on the other hand are seen as tramps and low lives for being sexually adventurous.

Perhaps this is why radio presenter Kamene Goro caused a stir recently when she disclosed the number of men she has slept with. Kamene, who was participating in a Whisky Challenge with his co-host Andrew Kibe and singer Prezzo, disclosed that her ‘body count’ currently stands at 27. “Let’s not judge me. My body counts stands at 27 as we speak,” she said.

The revelation, as she had anticipated, caused mixed reactions, with many judging her actions harshly. On the contrary, Kibe and Prezzo, who admitted to have lost count of the women they have seen naked, did not receive such a strict judgment. Which begs the question, is there a bias in terms of gender in as far as body count is concerned?

Well, experts say many men cannot handle the truth when it comes to a woman’s sexual past. Men are happy to live in a bubble.

Slut shaming (the act of making a person, especially a woman, feel guilty or inferior for sexual activity, desires, expression, or circumstances that deviate from traditional or orthodox gender expectations or religious or cultural standards) has been normalised in the society so much, that it often goes unnoticed.

This is despite women liberation and gender equality that has constantly enforced the fact that women can do whatever they want with their bodies.

Hilda Wanjiru, 28, is an ambitious young single woman who, just like Kamene, is not afraid to admit that she loves sex and is not afraid to ask for it from any man she deems attractive.

So far, she admits to have slept with 20 men and is not planning to tie the knot any time soon. “Sex is just an exercise and I don’t feel it’s wrong for me to participate with the man I choose to be intimate with. This is the 21st century and women shouldn’t be judged for their choices,” she says.

According to Dr Gladys Nyachieo, a sociologist at Kenyatta University, the African society has always viewed women differently from men. As young girls, they are taught to hold themselves to a higher standard. Girls don’t burp, girls don’t fart, and girls don’t get dirty, among others.

This also applies to body count. For Christians, promiscuity is not acceptable for both men and women because it goes against God’s commandments. Among the Muslims too, virginity is emphasised more on women than on their male counterparts. “Ours is a patriarchal society where men call the shots,” she says.

But who are these women sleeping with? Is it not the same men who are so proud to say how they have lost count of their sexual partners? It could be a one-night stand, a friend with benefit or failed relationships.

Additionally, women are caught in a catch-22 situation where a modern man wants an experienced woman in bed, yet someone who has not bedded many men. In that case, counsellor Beatrice Nderitu says telling your partner your body count is a lose-lose situation.

“If you tell the truth, your spouse might probably not believe you or think that you knocked out some numbers. Even if you give a number, you don’t know whether he might see you as being too loose or inexperienced,” she advises.

“Let’s face it. Women are also human. If she ‘gives it up’ to satisfy her needs who are you to judge? I don’t usually get it. If she delays to be intimate with the person she is dating, he will get it from the next woman available. And if you give it up, you are cheap, really?” she poses.

She is of the opinion that the number doesn’t explain the past, the present, the future, nor ability to love. Character, morals and values need to be the main focus. “Isn’t experience sexy? There is nothing better than being with a confident woman who knows exactly what she is doing,” she concludes.

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