Hi, I'm Rayne, and I really like sex. No, I mean I really like sex. Let me tell you how much.

By age twenty-two, I had no idea how many sexual partners I'd been with. I'd stopped counting around 30, and lost track of what order they all came in. Pun optional.

I've moved around a lot, but I've always gravitated to folks of the “live and let live” variety. I've never had a friend hold my sexploits against me. But the things people I wasn't close to said about me would make a succubus blush. And eventually, I began to feel guilty about something I really hadn't considered since I moved out of my mother's house.

It was just part of who I was – until I began to spend nights laying in bed thinking about it. Replaying the encounters in my mind. Trying to make sense of my sexual openness. And then I started making excuses for it. “He said this, put his hand there, next thing we knew...” or “Too much alcohol!” (one day we'll talk about all the things wrong with that excuse) or “I'm a sucker for a silver-tongued devil.” And that's when the guilt started to creep in.

I was living with some rather shady people, and having sex with a different lover almost every day, when I realized it wasn't circumstance that found me in someone else's bed night after night. It was a combination of emotional unavailability and an insatiable desire for all things sexual. Emotional unavailability is normal progression after a bad breakup. And liking sex? Well, that's just plain natural.

So why did it make me feel so guilty?

Well, because society tells us, even now (especially now?), that having sex with multiple partners is bad, mmkay? And to have 30 under your belt by 22? And not even know if that's all of them? God, that's just awful. Nobody'd want to know someone like me. And forget dating me. You'd probably catch a disease just by holding my hand. Right? Wrong.

I must've been 19 the first time someone said to me, “A guy has 30 partners and he's a stud. A girl has 30 partners, she's a slut.” My experience has been that anyone who has a a lot of notches on their proverbial belt is seen as dirty and untrustworthy. The men are just a little less hated.

But why? Really. Stop for a minute and consider the two main arguments people give for their beliefs surrounding promiscuity.

Too many partners = dirty and / or diseased - Unless I could be certain my partner and I were clean, and both of us were monogamous, I always used condoms. No sense getting sick if I could avoid it. Not even sex is worth that. Most of the girls I knew who hadn't been with as many people as me never used condoms. The boys complained of loss of sensation, or discomfort, and they were willing to oblige.

But besides using condoms, unless I'm having a threesome, or something, I always take a shower between partners. No fair subjecting someone to “sloppy seconds” if that's not their thing.

I am not the only promiscuous person who takes responsibility for their sexual health. In fact, most of the sex enthusiasts I know are safe and clean almost to a fault. So unless you mean dirty in the “wanton” sense, that theory's shot. And you ain't never gonna convince me it's bad to be wanton.

Sluts are untrustworthy! - I've never knowingly slept with a person who was involved with someone else unless their partner knew or was involved. The operative word, there, being “knowingly.” But folks, unless everybody's gonna start tattooing wedding rings on, I can't be held responsible for being lied to.

I did cheat on my ex after finding out he'd cheated on me for the sixth time and listening to him lie to me about it to my face (doesn't make it right – I should have left), but beyond that, I was honest with all my partners. If I was dating or sleeping with other people, they all knew it, and they knew they had no right or reason to expect me to only have sex with them, just as I didn't expect them to only have sex with me.

There goes the untrustworthy theory.

I know what you're thinking. Don't psychology books list promiscuity as a symptom of mental illness?

A symptom doesn't always prove illness. A symptom of brain cancer is a headache, but you're not going to go in for surgery the morning after a drinking binge to cure yourself of a hangover. Why should I go to rehab to cure myself of enjoying one of the most important parts of an intimate relationship? Because a buncha stuffed shirts say it makes me a slut?

Fffs. You say “slut” like it's a bad thing.