What You Learn When Your Number of Sexual Partners Hits 100
Erin is rapidly approaching sexual partner #100, with just seven souls left to screw. She's documenting the entire project.
When you ask Erin Lucey what her body count is, she’ll freely tell you that it’s 93. Two other pieces of information she’ll offer are that she keeps a detailed spreadsheet of every partner she’s been with, and she’ll hold a party to commemorate hitting 100, with #100 being ceremonially “deflowered” at said party.
Most of us approximately know our proverbial “number.” The most effort we’ll put into quantifying it is a list of names in the Notes app, or maybe that’s just me. Erin, an artist and small business owner who lives in Boulder, wanted to put as much sophistication into recording the data of her experiences as a PhD candidate might put into their thesis. For each individual lover, Erin scores them on various measures of performance, records their demographic statistics (and length and girth), essentially operationalizing her sexual experience.
If you ask Erin why she started the “project,” it all starts with Karen Owen. In 2010, a “faux-thesis” Powerpoint written by then-Duke undergrad Karen Owen went public. In it, Owen academically lists and analyzes every sexual partner she had while at Duke, rating them in different categories of performance and physicality. The cultural backlash to the leaked “thesis” asked several questions: Is this objectifying men? Is it fair to have your name and intimate details shared this way? Would it be worse if the genders were reversed?
Erin remembers having a conversation with Mark (#12) about sex and promiscuity when he suggested she start keeping a record like Karen Owen. However, he also suggested she maintain more anonymity to avoid the ethical pitfalls of Owen’s story. This is why she says there are no last names on her spreadsheet, only last initials, even though she remains true to Owen’s inclusion of penis size.
She says it turns her on a little to flip the dynamics.
“I’m blatantly objectifying them. I respect people as people, but there are many [people] on that spreadsheet that I see as sexual objects, which I like. I feel I’m doing a service to my gender and my orientation. I know some of them have felt objectified when they learned about the list. I hope that they can reflect on how many women they have objectified and made feel like shit.” #43, in particular, was hurt and offended by the whole idea, and Erin has been more private about her list since then. “I can’t expect everyone to understand the complexity and value of what I’m doing.”
Erin is rapidly approaching #100, with just seven souls left to screw. More than being an arbitrary number, she acknowledges that #100 presents opportunities for both self-reflection and celebration. “I’m not a big birthday person,” she muses, “But this feels like a birthday in some way. Reframing women's sexuality, celebrating body count, it all falls back into this motif of flipping dynamics.” All worthy of a good party. And yes, you heard it right, number 100 becomes number 100 at the party itself.
What is she looking for in a sacrifice? All the superficial things of course. Hot bod, great dick, “someone who will really give it to me right. And I want to make sure the sex will be great.” But also, someone who grasps the scope of the project and his place in it. Like in any good sacrificial ritual, the lucky guy will be worshiped and pampered at the party and waited on hand and foot before going to the bedroom. Erin adds, “I want him to be this plump, stuffed pig when I devour him.”
As with any true performance art, Erin hopes the project will have implications beyond her conquests. In fact, she plans on recruiting Mo (#64) to do data analysis once she hits 100. “Charts, graphs, everything,” she says, ultimately intending to publish it. And what comes after 100?
“I think I’m going to focus on quality and honing the craft. I want it to be a resource, I want other women to take charge of their sexuality, and I want to debunk some misconceptions. I haven’t been murdered or gotten an STI. I want people to know there’s a safe and a fun way to do things, and a safe way to be a slut.” (She notes that she’s regularly tested and fairly strict about condoms).
“My fantasy was to invite everyone from the list to the 100 party. As it’s becoming a real possibility, there are people on this list I really care about that are not just numbers, and I want it to be a celebration of their contribution. Most people won’t come because I don’t know them, but a good 10 or 12 would come.” Mark (#12), who gave her the idea for the spreadsheet, once asked if he could attend her eventual wedding. “I said I’ll never have a wedding but this party is as close as it’s gonna get.”