Why Do We Fear Being Seen as Too Promiscuous?

Megan Rosker wonders: Is it possible that deep down we believe a promiscuous person is going to cheat on us?

It is commonly understood that men and women are judged differently when it comes to promiscuity. But when it comes down to it, are they? A previous post asked the question Are Women Who Have Had Five or More Partners Promiscuous?, after a survey concluded that was the number. If this survey were flipped around and women were asked the same question, what would their answer be? Would they want to be with a man that had slept with fifty or seventy women? Or would they also feel more comfortable with a man that had only a few partners?

I believe it likely that women would want to be with a less promiscuous man as well. Why? Because deep down we fear that a promiscuous person is going to “cheat” on us. True or not, a person who “sleeps around” is not considered trustworthy, and why would any of us want to be in a marriage or committed relationship with someone who we felt was not trustworthy?

Interestingly enough, just before reading this article, I read this Sex Journal on the Huffington Post. This is a complete deviation from the portrayal of women as numbers and statistics. The woman here has completely exposed her sexual life, fantasies and fears. It demonstrates my belief that the average woman has a very rich sexual existence and that it is our own lack of acceptance around this that allows women to get upset about a silly survey like this one. The survey has very little relevance to how women actually behave or live.

If women are getting upset and defensive regarding a survey like this, then we have to ask ourselves, why? If it has no relevance to our lives why should we care? If we are getting defensive, then secretly we fear these men are right. We are too promiscuous. Holding this secret, letting our anger defend it, only gives more fuel to this lie and feeds the hypocrisy of sexual stereotypes.

If we truly want to be free of this, then women must ignore surveys such as these and concentrate on expressing and owning their personal sexual desires, allowing their sexual life to reach full maturation without judgment.

photo: sideshowbarker / flickr

About Megan Rosker

Megan Rosker is the mom of three young children, a former teacher and ed and play advocate. She writes about how to change education and the culture of childhood in America. Her advocacy has been featured in the New York Times and she is the recent recipient of the Daily Points of Light Award.


  1. I struggled with the revelation that my partner has had MANY more experiences than I. Intellectually, there was no reason for my angst but emotionally it was difficult.

    First, there is the insecurity: this girl doesn’t need me to get off, but she clearly want/needs to. So what if we are having issues, a dry spell, my performance doesn’t measure up. That shit sucks and it is entirely on me to calm myself about it.

    Then there is the envy and equity angle – hey I wish I had had all that sexy playtime too – no fair, now I’ll never get even!

    On top of that she maintains friendly relations with some of these guys, a handful of whom I have met. So, yeah, trust is absolutely an issue.

    The fact that my ex concealed an affair, bruised my trust lobe, but my lover ain’t my ex, so I can’t transfer learning – but feel the need to be more mindful and vigilant. All and all, it sucks a bit.

    That said, I do trust, and love my partner and her experiences are part of who she is and make her a better lover. The fact that she’s experienced and still thinks I’m the bee’s knees is very validating.

  2. Woman can never become free from judgement, no one can become free from judgement.
    When a woman goes about attracting a man, she’s under the judgement of the men she interacts with.

  3. DavidByron says:

    I guess I wouldn’t care one way or the other.

    Is there any data on whether people do care? And does that take into account concerns simply over whether someone with a lot of partners might have some STD (which is not really the question being asked)? OTOH I can sort of see this being a question where people give bad answers on a survey (meaning answers that are not too close to what they’d actually do).

    Are you really going to get to the point of getting to know and love someone but then you can’t continue with the relationship because they are “promiscuous”?

    Maybe “promiscuous” just means something much more positive to men than women?

    • i don't believe you says:

      Personal experience has show me that the sexuality of promiscuous women is entirely different than those of her low partner sisters. The latter make much better serious girlfriends than the former for a whole slew of reasons.

  4. i don't believe you says:

    A woman can never be free of men’s choices in picking our mates. That’s the way sexual dimorphism works. The opposite sex determines your mating attractiveness, not you and promiscuous women aren’t attractive as LTR partners

    • I believe you have it backwards as to who picks who as a mate. I mean, who buys the expensive piece of jewlery on the hope that she’ll say yes. Actually, women don’t understand one thing about men as far as this ‘number’ thing goes. When a single guy is at the bar or club, he doesn’t cars if a woman he meets is “sexually active”(high #). Actually, if she is (not that he has anyway of knowing , unless she tells him), he figures his chances of ‘getting lucky’ just improved. As far as commiting to such a woman, well as it says in this article, a woman is reluctant to commit to a man who’s ‘been around’ , why should you expect a man to be any different?

      • i don't believe you says:

        Do you buy expensive pieces of jewelry for just any woman? Nope. Don’t think because were not AS picky that we don’t ALSO pick.

    • Leroy Joseph says:

      That is a generalization and opinion. Both of the women I have loved most in my life were promiscuous by the standards discussed. With one she continued that behavior into our relationship and I eventually made the choice to accept it because I loved her. My current wife was promiscuous during her single periods but 100% faithful when she is in a LTR. Just because something is important or a deal breaker for you don’t mean it is the same for someone else.

  5. Wirbelwind says:

    Being promiscuous is, generally speaking, discouraged here, and I mean both men and women.
    No sensible person wants to be with a local bicycle or a manwhore.

  6. Wirbelwind says:

    The only sort of judgment passed on women is men’s refusal to marry women who sleep around too much.
    And no, guys (at least me and people I know) do not scream “you go man !”, and “congrats on scoring !”
    because, you know, it’s stupid. When a friend of mine told me about his sexual activities with his GF (we were both drunk) I kindly asked him to stop ’cause I have no interest in that and it’s very far from tactful.
    Being promi

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