My ‘Number’ Keeps Growing After 4 Years of Online Dating. Help!

Hi Evan,

How do you avoid putting “notches on your headboard” while dating, yet still enjoy a satisfying physical, monogamous relationship? I am a 52 year old attractive woman, and I have been dating online for about 4 years. I haven’t had a problem meeting lots of men with whom I have chemistry. While I don’t jump in bed with them right away, we will have sex once we get to know each other.

The problem is, most people will put their best feet forward in the beginning, and so you start having the physical relationship, then at about the 6 month mark, the red flags start glowing. You may find out his idea a good credit score is being one step ahead of foreclosure or you may meet his family and you realize you aren’t going to be happy listening to the banjo on the front porch.

While I think of myself as pretty discerning and have high expectations, I have taken your advice and widened my parameters. However, it seems in the last 4 years online dating is making me feel like an “Online Whore.” What’s a woman who enjoys a physical relationship and wants to be monogamous to do? Do I have to just think more like a man? It seems in this day and age, trying to wait for sex until you know someone thoroughly isn’t realistic. I am right now taking a vow of celibacy.

Frustratingly yours,

What you call being an ‘online whore’ is what other people, including myself, call ‘dating’


Great letter, Mary. The banjo part nearly gave me the chills.

However, based on your text above, it doesn’t seem to me that there’s ANYTHING wrong. What you call being an ‘online whore’ is what other people, including myself, call ‘dating’.

That’s right, Mary. Unless you still buy into Mom’s explanation of sex – ‘When a man loves a woman’ – intercourse tends to happen before marriage. It happens before the six month mark. It happens before the declaration of love. And hey, if you’re lucky, it can even happen before the entrée. Point is, you’re conflating two different points and coming to the wacky conclusion that a vow of celibacy is just the right tonic.

Yeah, I can’t think of a better solution for a sensual woman than to swear off sex.

Your issue isn’t with sex. It’s with your antiquated, double-standard view of sex. That’s right. You’re still obsessed with the number of people you’ve slept with, when, you know what? Nobody else cares. ‘Notches on the bedpost’. Not even GUYS talk like that anymore. If you sleep with men you’re seeing for two months, four months, or six months, you’re not a slut. You’re a normal, sexually active woman. And you need to stop beating yourself up on yourself for racking up numbers. See, unless you get hit by a bus, your number just keeps going up and up and up. …

So if you are a discerning dater and you commit to – and thereby sleep with – a new man every three months, what’s the logical conclusion? You’ll sleep with four men a year as long as you don’t have a long-term relationship. Do that over 5 years, and you’ll sleep with 20 men. Do that over 10 years, you’ll sleep with 40 men! That’s 40 penises!! Time to buy a new bedpost, or maybe use a softer material for easier carving.

So unless you want to stay with that banjo picker to keep your numbers down, I’m afraid you’re going to have to boff another guy someday.

I’m only teasing you, Mary, not because I’m not sympathetic, but because it’s impossible for society to move on from its double standards until its enlightened women do the same. Are guys ready to hear that you slept with 40 men? Nope. No way. No how. But it’s a shame because there’s nothing wrong with it. Not logically. After all, you could hypothetically have a series of serious one year relationships for 40 sexually active years, and still end up at the same number. 40. Which doesn’t make you loose, or a slut, or a whore, or any of the things you choose to denigrate yourself. It makes you human.

So unless you want to stay with that banjo picker to keep your numbers down, I’m afraid you’re going to have to boff another guy someday. And another. And another.

Thus, your real issue should be figuring out why it’s so tricky to find a keeper, not whether monogamous sex with a six-month boyfriend makes you feel icky.

Frankly, I’d guess that not having sex with a six-month boyfriend would feel a helluva lot worse.

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  1. 31

    I am 50  and since I have divorced my about a year ago, I have slept with about 16 guy which I met online, I found that I am not attracted to men my own age and I have no intention of marrying again. My ex wanted me to be a frumpy housewife, fat and ugly while he used to look at TEEN porn on the net. I don’t think any woman should feel guilty about how many guys she slept with. I f a guy asks you, just lie about your number, remember, men lie all the time!

  2. 32

    @ Zann #11
    LOL… Slut proof after 50… OMG that was priceless!!!  I will have to tell my sisters about that.  I agree with Kim #14 that really is t-shirt worthy!

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