I'm just going to say it: the number of people you have slept with (AKA your "body count") doesn't matter. I'm not going to judge you by that number. Why would I? Because if it's too many, you're a slut or a fuckboy? If it's too little, you're a prude?

I'm not going to fall into that trap. You do you (but remember consent and protection, please!) and don't forget that your number doesn't define you.

What even is too many and too little anyway?

To some, my own number is way too high, to others, it's not at all, but for me, it's perfect. I'm happy with every decision I have made (even the experiences I could've lived without).

I sent out a survey asking college students how many people they have slept with and I got numbers ranging from zero to 67, as well as their reasons for why it does or doesn't matter to them.

Of the 100 responses and then some, here are the 32 I found the most surprising:

1. Sex comes with responsibility.

Body Count: 2

"I don't care. Personally, as long as it's not irresponsible, not hurting anyone, and you get tested regularly, it's fine."

Female, 22 years old

2. A friend with benefits isn't all too bad.

Body Count: 7

"I've only had sex with people I trust and care about. Oddly enough, none of them have been tied to a 'relationship.' It was mainly a FWB situation or both of us had feelings, never said anything, it fizzled out and ended up being too late. None of them mixed and were all spaced out. I will point out, however, my first is now my current so we'll see what happens :)"

Female, 21 years old

3. Him and I are on the same wavelength.

Body Count: 1

"Sleep with who you want, spread the love."

Male, 23 years old

4. "Just a fact."

Body Count: 4

"Probably low since I've been in a relationship for many years. In the past 11 years, I've only been single for one. I'm not really embarrassed nor proud. Just a fact."

Female, 25 years old

5. Safety comes first in every aspect of life.

Body Count: 2

"As long as you're safe physically and emotionally, the number doesn't matter."

Female, 20 years old

6. It's all in the past

Body Count: 7

"It is what it is. I don't really care anymore. All of it happened when I was a teenager because I'm in a 5 year relationship now. As it goes for other people, I don't really care either. As long as they're being safe and protecting themselves and their health."

Female, 21 years old

7. Trust, don't forget about the trust.

Body Count: 0

"I don't really care, all that's important to me is that I'm happy and with someone I care about and trust when I have sex for the first time."

Female, 19 years old

8. You're not on this earth to please others.

Body Count: 2

"It's a little embarrassing on one hand because everyone else I know is engaging in hook-up culture, so I get some shit for my 'being prude,' but on the other hand it's embarrassing because both of my partners were women, so I can't share about exes when the cousins get together for holidays, because our family is very religious."

Female, 27 years old

9. Is it just me, or do these guys freak you out?

Body Count: 2

"For my age, I feel like it's low. Guys are always turned on when I say I've only been with 2 people. I don't get what the big deal is."

Female, 20 years old

10. Safe sex is good sex.

Body Count: 4

"Numbers don't matter as long as you're clean."

Female, 21 years old

11. We all just end up not caring.

Body Count: 67

"I used to [care] before when my number was below 40."

Female, 24 years old

12. I'm bad then ;)

Body Count: 0

"Pre-marital sex is bad."

Male, 20 years old

13. It's not about the number.

Body Count: 2

"I don't really care about numbers. I care if you do it with someone you care about or not."

Female, 21 years old

14. Own your body.

Body Count: 18

"It's irrelevant as long as you get tested and are safe. I'm kinda proud of it because I'm proud of my body and that's something I have always worked toward. Other than that I don't give a shit."

Female, 21 years old

15. You have nothing to be ashamed of, be proud.

Body Count: 5

"Proud."

Female, 23 years old

16. Life is about learning. Learn what "no" means.

Body Count: 2

"I regret the second person because he raped me after I said I wanted to stop. I think people shouldn't be judged for the number of people they've slept with. We all make choices. Some good, some bad. But we live and learn."

Female, 21 years old

17. Whatever is right.

Body Count: 4

"Whatever lol."

Female, 20 years old

18. Learnt from past experiences.

Body Count: 14

"I think I went a bit too far. I had a few STD scares when I found out a girl I was sleeping with had herpes, etc. I'm a bit embarrassed about how I used to behave just 2 years ago... I'm not at all comfortable talking about this with my family. Coming from a conservative Indian family, they think I should wait until I'm about 25 to start having these kinds of relations. Most of my closest friends know about how I used to sleep around a lot and I'm comfortable talking about how I feel with them."

Male, 20 years old

19. Can't get rid of your good ol' emotions.

Body Count: 32

"It doesn't matter socially and a person's number doesn't really matter to me unless it's something astronomical but personally it can take an emotional toll."

Female, 22 years old

20. Honestly, not a fan.

Body Count: 1

"If I met someone with over 50 that's a deal-breaker for me."

Male, 22 years old

21. Again, who cares?

Body Count: 1

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯ indifferent."

Non-binary, 20 years old

22. Can we all agree to just be supportive?

Body Count: 12

"Very mixed feelings to be honest. Sometimes I couldn't give a shit but then other times if someone asks I'm pretty hesitant about sharing it cause I usually know how they'll react."

Female, 20 years old

23. We've all had THAT stage.

Body Count: 7

"In regards to other people's numbers, I say it depends on the person. I may contradict myself or sound condescending but we all have downward spirals or 'ho stages' every once in a while. That's perfectly fine but you just have to practice safe sex and also have a group of friends that can call you out on your shit. There comes a time when enough is enough and sex shouldn't be the source of your happiness or a way to "let loose" with just anyone. I do believe that sex means something and shouldn't be treated like a transaction, but you do you. Be proud of it regardless but just keep in mind that certain behaviors can affect you down the road."

Female, 21 years old

24. You are more than your number.

Body Count: 10

"I used to be embarrassed by this number, however, I have made amends. I decided that my self-worth isn't defined by this because that was a struggle for some time for me. Now, I feel indifferent about my number and am in a loving relationship that helps me love myself despite my flaws or mistakes."

Female, 21 years old

25. No shits given.

Body Count: 3

"Couldn't give a shit."

Non-binary, 19 years old

26. There's always that one time.

Body Count: 3

"Though I do regret one of them, at this point I don't give a shit anymore."

Female, 19 years old

27. The number doesn't mean anything.

Body Count: 2

"I don't feel any kind of way about my number. It is what it is and I'd be cool with that if it was 0 or 70."

Female, 23 years old

28. Don't waste your energy on embarrassment.

Body Count: 0

"Used to be embarrassed, stopped caring."

Female, 19 years old

29. Should we tell our partners our body count?

Body Count: 28

"Probably something that shouldn't be made a big deal of. Especially in relationships, knowledge of a partner's body count could just be harmful."

Male, 22 years old

30. Everyone has their own timeline and that's more than OK.

Body Count: 0

"Sometimes I feel like I'm 'behind' my peers in that aspect, but I just try to remember that it's OK to go at my own pace."

Female, 18 years old

31. I need meaningful sex.

Body Count: 2

"Personally, I care about my number, in the sense that I'm not the kind of person that can just hook up with someone and not want more. So, I don't care to have a high number. Whether I have an opinion on other people's numbers doesn't matter because their business is their business."

Female, 22 years old

32. There is no need to count, just enjoy yourself.

Body Count: 7

"Um, I just want to stay below 10."

Female, 20 years old

These responses have been lightly edited for length or clarity.

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