“What’s your number?” Most of us have sat with girlfriends and answered this question, usually after one too many bottles of wine or nice strong cocktails. That’s right ladies, how many cocks have you let roost in your nest?

Whether you have one lone notch, or a whole belt full of them to mark your conquests, it’s all good if you bed them for the right reason whether that’s love at first sight, lust at first touch, hell even career advancement works in my book.

Here’s the thing, I wonder how many of us invite the cock into the hen house for the right reason?

I see myself as a strong, free-spirited, independent woman. I always have. I grew believing I could accomplish anything I wanted. My father never scoffed when I said I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. Once or twice, he even whispered to me that I was much smarter than my brother. So why, 30+ years later, have I come to realise that I wasn’t strong or independent? That I was pathologically in need of attention, and in particular male attention?

I heard his positive messages but they were too few and far in between. I’ll tell you what I heard, a hell of a lot more often loud and clear through the bullhorn:

I heard my father brag about how he and my grandfather used to pinch the waitresses’ asses, and how these ‘girls’ loved it. I heard about how travel was no longer any fun now that airlines let any old hag work as a stewardess. In the ‘good ol’ days’ only pretty girls had the honor of slipping him extra miniatures of vodka and gin and maybe a grope in the galley. I heard about all his conquests during his travels –the attractive tour guide, the playful hotel receptionist–what fun they were and how they all had a grand time. And when I questioned him about the fact that he was married to my mother while sleeping with all these women, he answered earnestly how men couldn’t help it, their uncontrollable drive to dip their stick in every pot of honey was written into their DNA.

But let’s be clear, this freedom and drive didn’t apply to women! No sir, these poor creatures couldn’t help but fall in love with the men they slept with. Which by his definition meant he was fine with leaving a string of broken hearted women. And by his same twisted logic, my mother’s single one night affair – most likely a revenge fuck for the hundreds of women he’d bedded – was considered traitorous and unthinkable.

I admired my father. He was handsome, charismatic, and always the center of attention at parties. I was daddy’s little girl, and the girls daddy liked best were fun-loving women who put out. They were objects to be appreciated by strangers, there to keep things interesting on a visual level only and best appreciated when they willingly spread their legs.

You know what else I heard? I heard the fights when he came home late, sometimes a couple of hours, sometimes a couple of days. I heard my mother crying, asking him how he could do this to her. And I heard him say – well if you don’t sleep with me, what do you expect me to do? A man has needs!

So is it any surprise that I set forth into the world, down this path? According to my dad, a man was only going to appreciate me if I let him fuck me. If I didn’t put out when he said I should, my boyfriend/fiancé/husband was well within his rights to go looking for sex elsewhere.

My mother supposedly had ‘love,’ but look how that worked out for her. A husband who strayed every chance he had and then blamed her for keeping her legs shut. She married him expecting him to bring home the bacon, instead it was more likely she’d get crabs or syphilis.

So to be an object of desire seemed like a much better plan. I would be independant and strong, but most of all I would be desired. The problem is that sleeping around doesn’t make you that no matter how much you rationalize it. I was a sad young woman trying to find validation and love and I was looking in all the wrong places. Somehow in the mess of my childhood, my take away message was “have someone desire you and you will love yourself”.

Off I went into the world, like an inexperienced climber carefully making my way up Mt. Everest, steadily notching my belt with my conquests, in the hopes of reaching the fulfillment and adventure I’d grown up hearing about each time Daddy Don Juan came home from one of his trips. But each step got me closer to nowhere.

It took me half a lifetime to figure out that I had to love myself first. Learning to love myself was definitely way harder and longer –refraining from 2-penny-puns here– a rehabilitation, and to a certain extent, still a work in progress. I wish the culture I’d grown up had been different and I wish people were less complacent about the continued obsession with image and sexuality. I can’t help but fear that despite coming a long way since the MadMen era of my father, the subtle objectification of women is even more dangerous that the blatant approach of the past.

I have daughters now and I see that people STILL can’t help themselves but focus on appearance vs substance. In the age of constant personal broadcasting, image and looks are more important than ever. What disturbs me the most are the girls who believe that the self-objectification is a choice -little Miley comes to mind here- and therefore admirable. Hey if I chose to be dry humped on stage, I am liberated. No sweetie, you’ve more likely been manipulated into thinking that.

For the sake of our young women and men, I beg of you, be careful what you say and play and model to your kids. I assure you they hear and see every damn word and gesture. I am not saying I want to live in a world without sexuality but objectification and tying self worth to it is a recipe for misery. .

If I had to do it all again, I’d still probably go for all those notches. Let’s face it, sex can be awesome and a night of pleasure for the sake of mutual gratification and nothing more is nothing to be ashamed of contrary to what the Christian panty-police would have you believe. I just wish I had jumped into the sack for the right reasons: like an orgasm and a laugh.

And, perhaps some bacon in the morning to go with that sausage…


Mum of two, writer and badass baker by day, vodka-swilling samurai by night.

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