The scarlet number

By Deborah Bishop

Published January 8, 2001 11:14PM (EST)

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Women's magazines aren't designed to make you feel good about yourself. Their articles support the ads. Successful advertising campaigns go like this: Something is wrong with you; you need product/service X to right these wrongs.

So you fell for it: A magazine article implied that something was wrong with you. You felt momentarily insecure; however, there isn't any product available that can take away your promiscuous past!

Enter "born-again" and "new virginity" programs to fix your little "problem." But another problem arises: You are too smart to "buy" this solution.

If your so-called promiscuity bothers you, work on why it bothers you. But please don't attempt to fix what bothers you by dismissing those in the "two to six" category as manipulative!

Who is to say that having sex with two to six men over half her lifetime makes a woman manipulative?

How about: "She found a good lover and stuck with him"?

How about: "Enjoying lots of great sex with the same man over and over again increases intimacy while leaving a gal time to be involved with life interests that are far more enriching than chasing men around as if they were nothing more than sex objects"?

Be clear: The women in "Sex and the City" are not role models for American female sexuality. They are classic stereotypes of gay men. It's perceived as funny because most real women don't think, feel or behave the way these characters do.

In sum, the national averages of other women or the sexual mores of popular sitcom characters are not examples of what is right for you. Only you know! Trust yourself!

-- Laura Bergells

To be certain, two to six lovers seems an almost chaste figure -- and "more than 30" seems about right for a grown adult of either gender. But "between 80 and infinity"? All fine and well, but Ms. Bishop's friends might do well to tinker with the odometer when screening prospective drivers. And don't forget to check the belts and hoses.

-- Donn Coburn

By Salon Staff

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