A very interesting reddit post made the rounds on Twitter yesterday:
Essentially, a guy and a girl get together, have a chat early on about “notch count.” His is 5, hers is 33.
It’s a big disparity, but it’s processed and they move on. Fast-forward 3 years, and they are now married and expecting their first child.
Turns out, however, they were talking about different kinds of “notches.” His referred to any sexual act (such as head); he had only slept with 1 woman before his wife. Meanwhile, hers referred only to sex; at the age of 23 when they started dating, the number of guys she had blown was well over 100.
Since then, he’s essentially been cold to her, and it seems like the marriage is falling apart.
The question posed is “who’s the asshole?”
As you see, I spoke about this to a degree on Twitter, but Skylar Swall had some good questions, and I wanted to expand more here about the phenomenon and what they can do to solve it.
Before I get into this though, it’s important to call a spade a spade.
This girl wasn’t simply promiscuous. She was a whore through and through.
Run the numbers for a moment. Even if we assume every guy she slept with she also blew (to avoid double counting), and the number wasn’t much higher than 100… we are still looking at a new dick in her mouth almost every other week since the age of 18.
Realistically, this wasn’t consistent; she had some periods where she’d only be with one guy or nobody, and then periods of multiple guys across the same week. You decide whether this is better or worse.
This isn’t a “slut phase” where a woman went through a couple of months sleeping around, and then realized she felt unfulfilled and stopped. As she herself admitted she never had a serious relationship. This was a slut life.
So how is this guy supposed to respond to this information?
It’s natural for him to feel some level of disgust. While anyone’s exact threshold varies, I don’t know any guy who will think a woman with so many sexual partners (especially at that age) is anything other than ran through. Claiming this woman woman not simply as his own, but to have her carrying his child will naturally trigger a sense of revulsion and shame.
But disgust is only a small part of it for most men. The big issue is that he feels emasculated by her promiscuity. He feels simultaneously like less of a man for having less experience than her, while also less of a man for committing to her. A guy with a large notch count of his own, for instance, is far less likely to feel this way.
Some women might claim it’s unfair for him to be upset. And I do understand where they are coming from, considering she’s been a good and loyal wife, and was honest even though she had much to lose from doing so. Moreover I put more blame on him for the miscommunication than her; “how many people have you slept with” means penetrative sex as far as I’m concerned. If he wanted to know how many guys she was sexual with, he should have been more specific.
But as Scooter says, the truth is he didn’t ask that because he didn’t want to know. He was afraid of the truth. I’m sure she was hot, and he loved her. He wanted to be with her. And that is the main point I’m building towards here.
The main reason men don’t like women with big sexual pasts isn’t so much due to its practical relevance; it’s due to how it affects their ego.
I’m not invalidating the importance of a guy’s ego feeling good, by the way. Yet it’s important we’re honest about exactly what the issue is.
This guy has sexual shame. He doesn’t feel powerful in the bedroom, and he doesn’t feel like he owns her in the bedroom.
And the more partners his girl has had, the more sex with her triggers this inadequacy.
Which is why his response to this revelation is to pull back (break connection) and to treat her in a more rough, demeaning way when they do have sex.
He wants to degrade her and emotionally separate from her, not only to punish her, but to protect himself from the trigger of his anxiety.
The virgin fixation is less because of supposed purity, and more because a virgin strongly reduces a man’s sexual anxiety. He doesn’t need to be perfect, because neither of them have anybody to compare the other to.
To the extent a woman’s “notch count” and divorce go hand and hand, it’s not so much because of her “broken pair bonding” but because the triggered sexual shame amplifies conflict and resentment on the part of a man.
I’ve observed this clinically over and over again throughout the 8+ years I’ve been coaching and interacting with stories in this space. Everyone wants to say women aren’t able to form attachments after being promiscuous, but the reality is the women who are broken from being whores don’t get together with guys in the first place. Their attachment issues manifest at the outset; they sabotage connection right as it starts to be established. They don’t get into relationships let alone married, with very few exceptions.
However, when a man is triggered by said woman’s past and he makes her feel like she’s used up (so she feels ashamed, and prostrates herself to validate his own esteem issues), then you get a self-fulfilling prophecy. His sexual shame triggers her sexual shame, she feels bad about herself (“I really am not worthy of love”), doesn’t trust the man anymore, and then leaves — perhaps being promiscuous again to numb the pain.
Guys look at this cycle and blame the woman’s promiscuity as the cause of these relationships falling apart. They’re not wrong, but they’re missing the equally crucial piece: it’s as much about the guy’s insecurities about his own sexual power. It’s the cocktail of shame on both sides being triggered that drives these relationships apart.
So how do you solve this problem? Can you?
Yes, but only if the man is there is some rebalancing of sexual shame and power dynamic.
Komander Xander expressed one way of doing this. This is the most “straight-forward” approach: she was a whore before, so she needs to be a whore again. Make her degrade herself, allow him other women, so he feels more powerful.
However, this involves a large degree of the woman taking on more shame in order to compensate for the man’s. Some women will do this, because they value the relationship so much. They will sometimes even let the guy “cheat.”
But the problem with this approach is that it that most women don’t want to degrade themselves to keep their man — especially when they don’t feel the man’s love anymore. They might do it, but then they feel bad about themselves and wonder why a person they loved would do this to them. They are also on a deeper level turned off that they need to “mommy” his ego by making him feel like a man. This double humiliation turns to resentment, which doesn’t bring the couple closer (especially as these men generally lose more respect for their woman throughout the process).
Which means the only fundamental solution is for the man to confront his own sexual shame and lack of sexual power.
This can mean some variation of what Xander mentioned, but it doesn’t have to. “Physical retaliation” as in having more experiences, more women, assuages the ego and can make it easier to feel sexually powerful… but it is not the source of the sexual power itself. This is where guys and the manosphere in general get things wrong. Think of how pathetically small it is to insist on having one more notch than your woman to feel good about yourself. It’s the equivalent of a sexual arms race; nobody wins.
The problem with the guy in this story is it sounds like he’s unlikely to face that deep, identity-threatening fear and own his insecurities. To face them with his wife, to be real with her — to face the frontier of their repressed and distorted eroticism together.
I don’t blame him.
This work is hard. There is a reason so many marriages these days are falling apart. And girls accumulating a phone book of sexual partners isn’t making it any easier.
But we live in the age we live in.
I don’t recommend committing to a woman like the one in this story. Her roster of reckless decisions is probably too much for you to deal with, and you don’t have an obligation to take it on.
Yet the reality is that you are not going to get an immaculate woman in the west. Very, very of few of you, at least.
And unless you’ve been equally as pure, the greater truth is you don’t deserve to.
Women and their self-destructive pursuit of love through casual sex are much to blame for the current relationship crisis. But no less unworthy of criticism are all the men who still feel inside like little boys and act like them.
I know feral female sexuality is a terrifying thing to a man who doesn’t know how to fuck.
Yet you can’t control what’s outside of you. You can only overcome this anxiety from within by tapping into your innate sexual power.
The question is… will you?
The place to heal is here: www.patstedman.com/application
PS We have now raised almost $75,000 for my legal fees in the past month.
That’s pretty incredible, and I’m touched by the support.
But we still have around $100,000 to go.
The more we can narrow the distance, the less stress will be on my family as we prepare for trial. As I have said before, I remember every one of you who has donated. Please contribute if you can:
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