Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Why do some people look down on those who have many sexual experiences with different people?

Asked by wundayatta (58357 points ) November 28th, 2012

There are lots of derogatory words for such people. They might be called “dogs” or “players” or “sluts” or “whores.” They might be considered philanderers or cheaters. Oh I’m sure there are many other words people use.

Now I don’t have access to a survey that would tell me how many people look down on such people, but my impression is that it is pretty universal. Still, in the interests of not making generalizations, I will say “some” people look down on this type of person.

Do you look down on them? what are your reasons for doing so? If you don’t look down on them, why do you think other people do? Is it because everyone looks down on them? It’s just the easy thing to do? Is it because they think sex is dirty? Religion? Something more basic? What’s going on here, in your opinion?

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27 Answers

whitenoise's avatar

Jealousy?

Coloma's avatar

The usual, family/ religious beliefs, programming, and personality.
I take no issue with with single people exploring multiple sexual experiences with others as long as their behaviors are not driven in a sexually compulsive manner and as long as they are not cheating in a relationship or otherwise violating an intimate agreement.
However, I do find older people, in their 40’s and 50’s that are still as sexually obsessed as they were at 14, to be unattractive.

Still enjoying your sexuality is fine, but being stuck in a state of arrested development is not.

DigitalBlue's avatar

Beats me, I think it’s stupid. No, I don’t look down on people for it.
It’s one thing if you are dishonest, if you are hurting people or disregarding the feelings of others – but to just have a lot of sexual freedom and variety? Nothing wrong with that.

Judi's avatar

I was looked down on when I was younger, but my reasons for going there were not to explore my sexuality, it was because I was seeking to feel loved and valuable and it ended up having the oposite effect. I ended up feeling miserable and alone.
I don’t look down on people and I know not everyone’s experience is the same as mine, but when I see someone who is obviously going down that path for the same reasons that I did my heart aches for them.

bookish1's avatar

I don’t, because I’m one of them. I’ve practiced both monogamy and polyamory with honor, and now I am just engaging in flings, and being honest up front about what I am looking for. I’ve been cheated on, and I have been lied to and used for sex and attention. I would never want to do that to someone else.

I think jealousy plays a large part in it. But people can’t admit that to themselves, so they couche (sp?) it in terms of morality, religion, cleanliness even. Taking the authority of the priests and politicians is the easiest thing to do; it saves you the trouble of thinking.

Shippy's avatar

This question looks like its from the 1950’s am I lost?

KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t look down on them, I am a little jealous sometimes after being married for so long. The ruch, the newness, etc… More power to ya, enjoy.

As to why some people judge, I’m sure a lot of it is jealousy and religion.

Unbroken's avatar

I use caution with people are all for easy hookups, with little or no discretion. I don’t notice them as deep thinkers and instant gratification seems like a rut to me.

Also they have a tendency to cross all these lines without thought for others. I.e. a sister who would hookup with an ex of her sister and the guy would allow that esp if there were messy emotions or if he was playing them both against each other.

And well there are tons of other stories similar to that in a smallish town.

However a person is capable of being sexually active using precautions and avoiding unnecessary drama and still have multiple partners or a varied experience.

I think beyond conservative christain beliefs. What starts the judgement could range from jealousy, to feeling inadequate, unable to overcome their own self to enjoy life and love with the same fervor. Or a belief that since the person has so many failed relationships (sex is an interaction so even slam bam’s qualify) there must be some huge flaw, or a belief that a person couldn’t be faithful in a commited relationship.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @rosehips
Healthy sexuality is a wonderful thing, but…I like to feel we are more evolved than your average dog and can contain our basic animal instincts.
We are NOT a bunch of Monkeys fucking in the street, nor should we be.
I had plenty of casual sex as a younger woman, it was the 70’s and everyone was doin’ “it.”
However, casual hookups may satiate ones base desires but they are the junk food of sexuality.

Just because something tastes good, feels good, does not make it nutritious for the body, mind and soul.

jonsblond's avatar

I think many people can’t understand why some people would have countless sexual partners because they themselves would not have sex unless they love someone. It’s hard for them to grasp the idea of having what they would consider to be meaningless sex. I think the answer to this question is that simple, and religion or jealousy have nothing to do with it. just my opinion

My personal feelings are the same as @Judi. I had the same experience as she did when I was in my teens. I was finally lucky to find someone I clicked with very well and we’ve been together for 21 years now. I have no desire to start over with anyone else or see what I might be missing (because I know I’m not missing anything), so I don’t quite understand the jealousy aspect that some here are speaking about. Like @Judi, I’m not going to judge, but I may feel sorry for someone who looks lost and is trying to find acceptance the wrong way.

What I don’t get is when some people find it wrong for a person to look down on someone for having multiple partners, but then they look down on someone and call them a prude because someone wishes to be with one person? A person who wishes to be with one person must not have a fulfilling sexual life? They must be jealous of others or it’s their religion, because you know, if you stick with one partner for a long time there must be something wrong with you? wtf? A bit hypocritical if you ask me.

Shippy's avatar

I’ve never heard anyone call another person a slut or a whore, or a derogatory name for having multiple partners. Well apart from one incident recently.(And maybe amongst youngsters or teenagers).

A friend of a friend, let’s call her Jane. And the first friend Mary. Jane is a Call Girl, Hooker or whatever the name is for it now. Which is OK in Mary’s eyes. But apparently Jane, is partial to giving “blow jobs” to guys she meets while out, in parking lots. So on that topic Mary thinks Jane is a whore. I do understand her reasoning in this instant. (In her mind). But, I happen to know Jane is a “sex addict” . She has a basic fundamental issue or flaw call it what you will, that makes her seek out as much sex as she can..

Plus she decided to put this to good use and get paid for it. I know this as Jane told me. So the words ‘whore’ or “slut” hardly apply. I would say in need a therapy is more apt.

In my life I was never a girl to do a “one night stand”. Simply because I found the whole idea terribly boring. What could this stranger, with a piece of protruding flesh do for me sexually that my vibrator could not? There was no meeting of minds, there was no sexual zing, its merely mechanical.

Despite this though, I never judged or condemned people who did sleep around or have one night stands. I always thought of myself as a progressive thinker. Or a woman in charge of her own sexuality. But by default I have had many sexual partners. There was always meaning to it though.

I have never and will never, in a zillion years, give party to or play with a married man. To do that to me, is worse than being an unpaid whore. Why would I give of myself, my time, my energy and my mind to a person who’s married?

Just some thoughts I am having about this question. I have to ask, if having multiple partners makes a person feel special, liberated, or free what are they feeling these feelings about exactly? Is it liberating to share yourself intimately with a lot of different people? If so why? Liberation is about knowing where your own boundaries are, your own rules and playing by them. It is not questioning why you don’t have multiple partners, it is understanding that, a lot of people tried this already and found they were more empty than when they first started out. So have decided to look for something a bit more meaningful in life. If sex were that meaningful to care about. If it really did heal one, make one sane, touch ones heart, turn into love then sex could be a bit more useful. But to me, all round sex is special. But really that is no ones business but mine, isn’t it?

Coloma's avatar

@Shippy Imo, sexual addiction is the root cause for the majority of extremely promiscuous people. A need to be needed, a need for attention, a need to fill up an empty sense of self.
Sexual addiction is real and it carries a lot of stigma. Most anyone would rather admit to be a alcoholic or druggy over being sexually addicted, even if it is a same rope, different ends reality.

Bellatrix's avatar

Do many people look down on those who have had many sexual partners? I don’t know how many sexual partners most of the people I know have had and they have no idea how many have crossed my path.

I don’t care about the number of sexual partners people have and I certainly wouldn’t look down on someone for that. I would look down on a person who manipulates others into having sex with them under false pretenses. Leads the other person to believe there is more to the relationship than there is to get in their pants. Similarly, a person who pays no attention to their own or other people’s sexual health. It isn’t the sex, it is only the presence of manipulation or lack of responsibility in term of STD I find offensive.

DrBill's avatar

A lot of people look down on poly, that’s why we don’t advertize it

Sunny2's avatar

In the U.S., I think it’s our Puritan background. We haven’t escaped from our original settlers’ beliefs. We’re working on it generation by generation, but that old “Thou shalt not” is pretty strongly ingrained. Pointing a finger at people who don’t do as you do is a favorite activity in many communities here. Their self-righteousness is their way of making themselves feel superior and worth more than others are..

AshLeigh's avatar

I wouldn’t say I look down on it. It’s your body, and it’s your decision. I can’t say that I know how many sexual partners my friends have had. I’ve never cared to ask.

livelaughlove21's avatar

People should be allowed to do with their bodies what they wish without judgment, but that’s rarely the reality of the situation.

I don’t “look down on” people who are promiscuous, but I wouldn’t have sex with them either without them being tested first. I completely disagree that promiscuity is synonymous with a “healthy” sexuality. What’s healthy about repeatedly exposing yourself to STDs by sleeping with a lot of people? Even with so-called “safe sex,” there’s still a chance you could contract something that you could easily and unknowingly pass to your next sex partner. I guess that’s the “dirty” part of it for a lot of people. However, being [probably] unsafe doesn’t make a person bad or unworthy of friendship, acceptance, or love. It’s just me looking out for myself by choosing not to sleep with them, which is my right, must as it’s their right to choose to sleep with a lot if people. I just happen to be very paranoid with these things, especially since my sister contracted genital herpes from her second sexual partner, even with a condom, and now has to live with it forever. No thanks, I’m not taking any unnecessary chances.

I personally have no religious woes against promiscuity, but there are plenty of people that do. And jealousy may be a part of it for some people as well. However, I think the biggest reason is that there’s such a negative stigma attached to it that it’s almost second nature for some of us to judge people based on their sexual history.

I do have a slight problem with those that present themself in a “slutty” manner. Sleep with as many people as you want, but the bragging and unnecessarily revealing clothes are things I could go without. It’s worse when people, specifically women, dress this way and then get upset when men treat them as if they’re easy. Gasp! Present yourself in a way that gets the response you desire. As Dave Chapelle said, “All right ladies, fine. You are not a whore. But you are wearing a whore’s uniform.” :)

No one should be judged by their sexuality – monogamous, polygamous, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, etc. if you can present yourself like a half-decent human being, do whatever you want in the bedroom.

…and if you happen to be two cute guys, I’d like to watch. :)

deni's avatar

Well, I wouldn’t ask my boyfriend how many partners he’s had, or my friends really, unless the topic came up. And if it was a reasonable number I’d think nothing of it. But if anyone told me they’d had 150 sex partners (say for example this was someone I was interested in) I might be inclined to think that they do not view sex the same as I do. I’m not a prude in any way and I’ve had hookups and sex with fairly little meaning, but I much prefer sex with meaning and preferrably love involved! So that’s it really, it might be a small issue that we view sex differently but probably not. Other than that, if it was my boyfriend and he had a sex obsession or something, I’d be nervous that he’d be more inclined to cheat. But this has never happened.

bkcunningham's avatar

If I really think about your question, I would have to venture a guess that is stems from the perception that a person who sleeps around freely doesn’t have very much self-respect or dignity.

linguaphile's avatar

It depends.

I knew two extremely promiscuous guys in college—one of them had a thing for going for pretty freshmen or vulnerable girls, flirted with them but kept them at a distance by telling them he respected them so much, and flattered them until they were head over heels in infatuation with him and willing to do anything for him. He’d eff them then the next morning, they didn’t exist. He stopped all contact, would give them dirty, “who the heck are you” looks if they approached him and made fun of them to other guys. I helped too many friends recover—this guy was a horrible, horrible predator, nasty, slick and I have nothing nice to say about him, even now.

His best friend, on the other hand, was equally, if not more promiscuous. But this one—he had no interest in vulnerability. He was a maddening flirt, but made his no-strings-attached position very clear. He would flirt, flirt and flirt, build up the tension until the woman made the first move. He never made the first move—he said it was out of actual respect (and probably self-protection) but treated all his partners like they were his queen. And the next morning, he thanked them for everything, then treated them with appreciation from that day on. Every single woman I know who has slept with him smile when his name comes up.

I was housemates with these guys—observed them for 4 months. From those two, I learned it was how you treated your partners that counted, not how many you’ve had.

ETpro's avatar

(Insert your favorite religion here) values like moral superiority (Judge not that ye be not judged, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you) or Jealousy (Thou shalt not covet…). Lots of reasons. The only good one is they might spread STDs.

Other than that, @linguaphile has given an outstanding answer. Some people are sciopaths, and after they get on to them, nobody likes a sociopath.

Paradox25's avatar

I think that the premise of your question is wrong, as far as modern times today goes. I’ve never heard a person say they could never be with someone who has plenty of sexual experience, whether this was the result of multiple partners or not. It is very common for me to hear a person say they would prefer somebody with sexual experience. I was on a conservative Christian Q&A site (yes, very conservative) before coming here, and even most of them (especially the women) didn’t want nothing to do with virgins. It’s virginity that is looked down upon, but it’s just not on the ‘front page’.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Paradox25 Hm, really? You don’t think people who have a history of sleeping with a lot of different people are looked down upon? A woman who has sex with multiple different men per week won’t be considered a whore or a slut by both men and women? I find that hard to believe. No, women probably don’t seek out virgin men and prefer men with experience, but experience does not equal promiscuity. A man who sleeps with a different women every night might be envied by their friends, but others will think he’s a player and is only out to get laid. And I’d also argue that many men DO like being with virgins – a combination of tightness and the idea of entering unchartered territory.

Virgins might not have the best image in mainstream society or the media, but I don’t think they’re viewed nearly as negatively as promiscuous people are, especially among the religious sect.

wundayatta's avatar

Actually, @Paradox25, the reason why I put it that way is because of things I’ve read here. I have found that the prejudice against men and women with sexual experience is alive and well. I have no idea how prevalent it is, but I’ve seen it on display here on fluther. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a pretty popular idea and that your experience is unusual, for who knows what reason.

Paradox25's avatar

@livelaughlove21 The religious sect is not the majority anymore, at least the extremely conservative religionists and their influence.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Paradox25 Which is why I said “especially” as opposed to “exclusively.” Religious people aren’t the only people that look down on promiscuity.

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