Last week, the popular men’s lifestyle website Ask Men released the results of their fourth annual Great Male Survey.
The not-so-scientific study polled men in Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia on various topics relating to sex, dating and relationships. The responses ranged from the predictable to the cringe-worthy. Let’s take a look at how our Canadian guys answered:
The Good: Thirty-eight per cent think having a family is the ultimate male status symbol. Family values beat out all other signs of manhood including a high-profile career, beautiful girlfriend and a hot car.
The Bad: Fifty per cent would dump a girlfriend if she became fat.
The Ugly: When asked, “At what point does a woman become sexually promiscuous?” Forty-one per cent answered, “When she sleeps with her 10th sex partner.”
Is this where we’re at, everyone? Sleeping with 10 people earns you a scarlet letter P? I guess women should be empowered to enjoy their sexuality … but just not too much.
Notably (although, not surprisingly), the survey didn’t pose the same question for the men. From this glaring absence we can assume that Ask Men didn’t think it necessary to make an inquiry regarding the numerical value of a man’s promiscuity (insert exaggerated eye roll). As much as I’d love to get into the double-standard argument, I’ll skip the “why do we call women sluts while men get called studs?” speech for now.
Having the sexual-history talk with a new partner is a pretty awkward minefield. According to Ask Men, almost half of the Canadian men polled have lied about their number — either inflating or downplaying the total to protect their privacy, their ego or their partner’s feelings.
The “how many is too many?” question comes up again in the soon-to-be released romantic comedy What’s Your Number? In the film, the female lead spends 90 minutes trying to hook up with her ex-boyfriends in order to avoid making a new notch on her bedpost. This time around we’re given a bit more leeway with 20 being the magic “too many” number, but the message is the same: For women, there is a limit when it comes to sexual encounters.
I have a lot of trouble with this need to classify people (both women and men) as promiscuous or prudish based on a number. Shouldn’t we be taking into account age, lifestyle, religion, cultural background and a variety of other factors? That being said, should we even be trying to quantify sexuality at all?