Sleeping around – two words outlining the drive of young hormones.
I’m in my late twenties, feeling old – sensing my careless naivety is years behind me. I’ve had time to reflect at home, where my tight dresses have shifted to classier attire: I wonder what this decade has meant. How have the years seamlessly melted?
One of my first sex-based blog posts addressed my regret at waiting to sexually experiment. Fearful to awaken my sexual self, I learnt to play a sexy character – danced inhibited, flirted, made out with strangers. When I began to enjoy great sex, I thought – why didn’t do I do this earlier? Maybe I’d have felt less insecure and unsure of myself.
Sexual freedom centres around negative depictions. When Googling research for this piece, I noticed common search queries typing: how to tell if someone has had many partners, and whether to break up with someone holding a promiscuous past. We arguably link high body counts to low self-esteem, immaturity and commitment-phobes. Something you do when you fear settling and want to drown your self-dislike in bountiful pleasure. But it’s also something we expect people to do while young.
Some articles online speak about regret over not enjoying more sex. According to research published in The Sun last year, “Four in ten British women over 50” wish they could have bedded more people in their youth. A report by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine shows that sex frequency has declined in several economic countries. While some older couples enjoy active sex lives, it’s no secret the older we get, the less of a priority it becomes.
I think back to my late teens and what little responsibility I had. Easily, me and lover could have made sex the forefront of our days, our excitement.
Our limited supply
Reading my current favourite book: The Incurable Romantic, I paused at a paragraph explaining why people are eager to have lots of sex young. We’re aware intercourse is limited. Despite some elderly continuing to get frisky in the sheets, the book points out that stamina and energy levels change. Can an older person match the exhilaration linked to the young? I’d be startled if my best sex occurs in my 60’s or 70’s.
If we’re not freeing our urges and exploring passion in our body’s young, then when?
How young are we talking?
My blog on adults dating teenagers mentions a study by University of Rochester, citing 25 as the age our brains fully develop. I suppose that’s the cut-off point for thinking of someone as a baby. Which doesn’t imply a person past that age or in their 30’s, 40’s etc., is middle-aged or old.
Speaking to a friend, she said she regrets sleeping around in her teens because it encouraged her to grow too quickly. At such an innocent time, bad sexual experiences may affect future attitudes (problematic when you’re still developing). Perhaps at such an age, you lack confidence to assert your desires and say no to certain positions and acts.
I knew one girl who happily bedded most guys in her area. As teens, we were titillated by her stories and equally disgusted by her willingness to share pleasure with whoever. It turned out, she struggled to build emotional intimacy later on. I believe her eagerness to reveal her sexual anecdotes made sex a source for attention. There wasn’t love making involved – sex became a mental boost.
A Psychology Today article looks at the psychological effect of multiple partners. Current studies find a possible connection between those “living a risky lifestyle”, engaging in sex with more people and potentially developing mental health issues later on. I think this has to do with using lovers to cure self-symptoms.
Is sleeping around worth it?
In addition to not feeling ready and facing probable emotional intimacy problems rising from sleeping around young, what percentage of hook-ups lead to mind-blowing orgasms? One friend told me she gave her body away to too many meaningless guys. I imagine many people look back on their sex lives and think: was so-and-so worth it?
Funnily, while I adore writing about sex and giving tips, I have a low body count. I got lucky with my first sexual partner – he showed me several positions and techniques I’ve applied to men since. The sex you have with someone you love – quickly I realised doesn’t or hasn’t yet compared to sporadic sessions.
Some forums I’ve stumbled upon, had users revealing they feel “used up”. They look back on their youth and wish someone had given them a better education. In society, feminism hasn’t rid women of judgement. Knowing people (a future partner) may silently criticise your past choices, can cause regret. And I suppose above all reasons: a likelier chance of poor sexual health.
What do we get from sleeping with many people?
Do we form an idea of what we want and how we like it? Can’t one person adapt their behaviour to spark the right thrill? How many people sleep around to get a fix when single? Or to control a strong appetite; to curb boredom?
There’s an intrigue and excitement in unearthing a new body; learning the ways it ticks. Seeing our bodies change when a new person goes inside.
But when young, how much can we understand about all this? Society thinks people above 30 should settle and give up promiscuity – surely that’s the age we have the maturity to not stress about regret, and not lay bored during the act.
It’s a double-edge sword. Being young and single, young and in love, young and in experimentation – don’t they each hold power? From my perspective, sleeping around can be worth it at any age, when you choose to follow what you want. My regret stems from holding back due to worry and doubt. I would have liked to have pursued more passion when it came calling. To memorise more occasions where tipsy nights ended at eager touch.
If you’re mature and sexually safe to embark on sleeping around: why not? If you’re doing it purely for yourself and satisfying a want. It’s when you sleep around as a cause of something else – something deeper, that regret may start ringing. And when you’re young, how can you separate needs and insecurity?
What are your thoughts on sleeping around when young? Is it worth it? Continue the conversation by reading: Does the Number of People You’ve Slept With Matter?