Other variations include people saying what they could buy if their body count translated to dollars, and yet another includes people going up to strangers (or, in other cases, their high school classmates) and asking them about their body counts.
This fascination with body count doesn’t stop at TikTok. On YouTube, there are numerous videos à la social experiment channels where a group of strangers come together and guess each other’s body count by way of superficial questions; for instance, “How old are you?”, “What do you do for a living?”, “Are you single?”. In some cases, they even resort to stereotypes.
While videos of this on YouTube can feature both guys and girls, on TikTok, it seems the most popular body count videos appear to feature mostly girls and young women. While many may tout this trend as nothing more than a pinnacle of sexual liberation and women’s empowerment, is it really? Or is it more demonstrative of how far we’ve fallen as a society, and how we may continue to fall further if nothing changes?
The Astounding Numbers
As with everything on the internet, things should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s not like people are guaranteed to be truthful on the internet, after all. But there are many videos floating around with people boasting body counts in the double or even triple digits. In one case, one person claimed their number was in the four-digit realm.
One TikTok user, who goes by @pooranthusa, is apparently just 19 years old, and shares in one video that she’s been with 35 people (though she skips #21 in her list) with one of those sexual encounters having been a threesome.
Another user, who goes by @heroincommunist boasts a body count of 52 people at age 22, with several of those (about 29%) having been met through rehab or other sobriety assistance programs like Sober Living, Narcotics Anonymous, or Alcoholics Anonymous. One encounter was met while she was in jail.
Outside TikTok, there are numerous YouTube videos exploring how high people’s body counts are. One of them features girls guessing guys’ body counts, and another has all girls guessing each other's. The former had the highest count at 23, and the latter had its highest count at 60. Many women in the second video also cited “having sex for validation” as a reason for their high number.
Many women cited “having sex for validation” as a reason for their high body count.
A separate video features a co-ed group of strangers. The highest of all the women in the group was 60, and she said she got to the number pretty easily by telling people in college, “Hey, I’m trying to sleep with everyone on my dorm floor, do you wanna go back to my place?” The man with the highest body count of the group was slightly older than the others (having “come up sexually through the AIDS crisis”) and polyamorous (having a husband and boyfriend). He boasted a count of more than 1,500.
At best, if those numbers are exaggerated, it means that people reply with an elevated number because they believe it’s something positive, that it means they’re more desired, more sexually experienced, or more empowered. At worst, if all those numbers are true, what does that say about how we educate children and young people about sex, or how we’ve been raising children who have now grown up to be adults with astounding body counts?
Why the High Numbers?
Have people always been this promiscuous? According to some researchers, Gen Z is having less sex than prior generations, so if that’s accurate, are the cases we’ve seen total outliers? Is it possible that people from prior generations fudge their own numbers to be lower? Maybe those older folks didn’t have the internet to broadcast their own body counts when they were young and potentially lie about it for clout. Or maybe, it could be that Gen Z is either on one extreme end of the promiscuity scale, or on the opposite end where they don’t have very much sex at all (if any), with a smattering in between.
With the exception of sexual abuse or assault, an individual can only hold themselves accountable for their high body counts (frankly, I don’t think a case of sexual assault should add to your body count). Still, it’s not like anyone is born promiscuous or can be a promiscuous child of their own volition, despite what some “activists” may want you to believe. So it’s worth exploring the question, “Why are the body counts of these people so high?”
According to Dr. Stephen A. Diamond, sexual promiscuity (defined as frequent and indiscriminate sex) is typically motivated by wanting to avoid negative or painful feelings, like anxiety, grief, or depression. Once you start behaving promiscuously, it can start eroding your self-esteem and begin a toxic cycle of emotional self-harm, where you have reckless sex in order to escape negative feelings, which only causes you more negative feelings after the fact.
In other videos made by the aforementioned TikTokers, we can see signs that they may have a lot of sex to cope with negative feelings. In the case of @heroincommunist, she has lots of videos detailing her experience with drug use and relapse. In another, more lighthearted one, she jokes about how her cat is upset with her for having a dirty apartment – though neglecting household chores or cleanliness is often a symptom of depression.
In the case of @pooranthusa, she claims her high body count at just 19 is not a big deal, since she’s a people-person who travels a lot and who “grew up in a sex-positive household” (that final statement alone is alarming and raises questions). She says she just loves “enjoying people intimately,” and that she sees sex as a good avenue for boosting confidence “especially for women.”
At the same time, she has a video where she shares how she was sexually harassed by a family friend, when he made her, as a 12 year old girl, sit on his lap while holding her waist and rubbing her thigh, while telling her how beautiful she was going to grow up to be. Then at 16, she experienced sexual assault from two friends she trusted. It’s hard not to get angry and ask, “Where the hell were these girls’ parents?”
These users were born when the internet was much more mainstream; by the time they could be online, porn was easily accessible (for example, via Tumblr dot com), people were increasingly more connected via social media, they could see what all the beautiful famous people are doing, what they look like, and what people could say about them (both the good and the gross). Sexualization became more and more common, and without proper parental guidance, along with past sexual or emotional trauma, it could become a perceived expectation.
At this point, it’s increasingly more difficult to keep sexualized content away from boys and girls if you’re allowing them to be online at all. Popular shows like Euphoria depict drug and sex addiction in an artsy and “tragically beautiful” manner with its cinematography and beautiful actresses, and it’s reaching an audience much younger than the adult demographic that pays for HBOMax where it’s hosted by way of TikTok.
Sexual promiscuity is typically motivated by wanting to avoid negative or painful feelings.
On Instagram, female influencers and celebrities whose initial audience and target demographic were little girls, have grown up to flaunt their hypersexuality online (such as Miley Cyrus or Bella Thorne). Many people who grew up watching them in shows are potentially still underage, or barely adults. Even overlooking ex-Disney Channel stars, many influencers present a sexual image that may make girls think “I need to be like that” or “That’s what boys are attracted to.” That way of thinking is only worsened when you stop and think about how accessible porn is.
It’s not uncommon for Instagram models to advertise their sexualized/pornographic OnlyFans. Reddit is increasingly popular, and there are numerous popular subreddits that are specifically for teens. It hosts a plethora of subreddits dedicated exclusively to porn, with one source listing 873 subreddits for porn, and another claiming there are just under 4,000 of them. It’s not infeasible that a sheltered teen could accidentally stumble across one when they have names that could lead them to think it’s a space for a certain kind of woman.
It’s not like this is exclusively the fault of the media or the internet either – if parents were more involved with what their kids were looking at and searching for online, especially who and what they were interacting with, and what their thoughts, concerns, or feelings were, it’d be difficult for this sort of corruption to happen to them. Maybe if we had more parental involvement, or the involvement of caring and responsible adult figures that see the value in maintaining a child’s innocence through their formative years, we could avoid seeing a surge in depressed young adults who seem to use sex as an avenue for pain suppression.
The Effects on Your Life and Relationship
You may be asking, “What is the problem with a high body count, anyway?”
Some people say that body count doesn’t matter at all. One TikTok user who is a relationship coach advises men that they need to not ask a woman her body count, and that the question itself is rooted in misogynistic attitudes. One author for a UK publisher calls for readers to stop asking women for their body counts outright, and that it’s just another means for women to be unfairly judged.
One shared theme between the two is that women are autonomous beings who don’t owe you that information, and it’s disrespectful to ask the question. The latter says, “Just like men, [women] are under absolutely no obligation to tell you about [the sex they have].” Why not hold both men and women to a higher standard?
While some women claim a high body count doesn’t matter to them, it seems that others care quite a bit. In one article that surveyed a group of 20 women (semi-anonymously, providing only a first name and last initial) many had a varying cap, but a hard cap nonetheless. One said, “Anything over 15 makes me nervous that he’s more dirty than experienced.” Another said, “I would say more than 10 would be an eyebrow raiser because that would account for a few wild years and a few steady relationships.” Another didn’t answer exactly, but shared, “I know someone whose number is 68. He wasn’t bragging about it when he said it, but my girl friends and I were like ‘that’s gross.’ No girl wants to know or hear that.” 15 seemed to be a common number for a cap, and some girls had a cap slightly higher than that, with varying numbers up to 30.
The more sexual partners a woman had before marriage, the less happy she reported her marriage to be.
Still, others said they have something of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and one even said she wants a man who has had a lot of partners to show “he has some game.” Another woman shared she didn’t learn until later that a man she was seeing had been with 72 people before her, and that learning that made her unhappy.
A more formal study was conducted with 188 young adults (with the average age being 21), who said that in a long-term partner, both men and women would want their partner to not have a large, extensive history. One article going over the results of the study concluded that the average was a body count of just three.
With that, it’s hard to generalize and claim that the modern age has made sex no big deal, since clearly things like body count do still matter to people.
In the long-term, it could be that having a high body count will negatively affect your relationships and even your marriage. Researchers have found that “the more sexual partners a woman had before marriage, the less happy she reported her marriage to be,” with some speculating that the reason for that is because that massively increased awareness of what other partners can be like may make it so they find dissatisfaction.
At the end of the day, it does no good to shame anyone. It’s not like they can go back and undo their sexual encounters, they can only change what they do in the present moment and in their future. In the case of the TikTok users, they’re still very young, and they seem to be dealing with a lot of emotional trauma to begin with. Shaming them does nothing but alienate them.
Still, having numerous sexual partners in a short amount of time (before you’re even 25) is concerning, but you can only lead a horse to water. If someone close to you in your life is like this, maybe share this with them, or start by asking them questions that may lead them to question themselves, like: “Hey, are you hurting from something that’s causing you to do this to yourself?” or “Is this really making you happy?”
In the meantime, as depressing as the Body Count Trend is, it’s a definite sign that we’ve been doing something wrong and failing countless children in recent years. In the case of the provided examples, especially young girls. Maybe it’s a sign for us to think about what we need to do better, and to become more involved in the lives of our children, sisters, and friends.
Love Evie? Let us know what you love and what else you want to see from us in the official Evie reader survey.