By the time my husband had been dead for 13 months, I had slept with 27 men.

13 07 2009

This story is from the “femail” section of the UK’s Daily Mail online. It starts:

By the time my husband had been dead for 13 months, I had slept with 27 men.

Because sex I can do: at sex I’m a pro. Whether right or wrong, I was having sex just three months after he died. It might not have been good sex, but it was safe sex.

I was detached: void of emotion, void of a history and completely anonymous. To whichever man shared my bed that evening I was nothing more than a female anatomy. And that was just fine with me.

She doesn’t explain why at all. She probably doesn’t know why. I read somewhere that the average lifetime number of sex partners for Americans is about 15, which is higher than most of the rest of the world. When you’re far past that as a woman, you can expect that other women will not approve. You’re a slut. Whooptie-do. Men vary on how they view promiscuity in women based on how promiscuous they are themselves. A lonely man, with a small number of lifetime sex-partners is not pleased hear this sort of information because women who sleep around are not sleeping with him. It is helpful for his ego to consider any such woman an aberration. Some married men may prefer such a view because they’d rather believe their wives would never behave that way. A potential suitor with a low number of his own may well be grossed out by it. He will probably not be very comfortable with the thought that he probably won’t be the best (or biggest) she’s ever had. Men with high numbers will not care.

In this sort of case, she’s using sex like a drug. Men who see this, understand it, and think clearly about it will avoid her or use her for the one thing she’s good for. I’d say there’s a good chance of a woman like this eventually “getting over it” on her own and finding herself in a sexless relationship with a rather frustrated guy.  It’s hard to say in this woman’s case because she doesn’t begin to answer the sort of questions that someone like Dr. Drew Pinsky would ask.

She goes on:

Because at 23 years old, with one dead husband under my belt and a widow’s shroud around my shoulders, anonymous was a tonic: anonymous was just perfect.

My promiscuous reaction to Eoghan’s death surprised everyone, none more so than me. There is a certain way a widow, of any age, is expected to behave, and sleeping around is usually frowned upon.

But let me get this straight right now, before you’re tempted to judge me: I’m not proud of my behaviour.

Note the use of the word “tonic”, she recognizes that she’s self-medicating.

She goes on to tell how she came to be the wife of her dead husband. I’ll summarize. He was 34 to her 21 when they met. This was December of 2005. Their first kiss was New Years Eve. He was diagnosed with brain cancer sometime in the fall of 2006, and given in April of 2007 was given 2 months to live. They moved their planned wedding from a year away to June, and he died a month later. Her account is much more detailed and much sadder. Click the link if you like that sort of thing.

So, by the time he died, they had only known each other for a year and half and had gotten married knowing that it would soon end tragically. This is not how most widows and widowers lose their spouses. The article ends as follows (emphasis mine):

Two weeks after Eoghan died I got my university results, passing with a 2:1.

Three months later, I came back to England, moved home with my parents and became an intern at a fashion magazine.

After Eoghan died, I was sure I’d never be with another man. But, you can’t predict how you react to a tragedy, as since then my actions have been the opposite of my intentions.

I thought, I can do ‘grief ‘, this isn’t so bad. I figured I must be strong, as I could still function and go on as normal. I didn’t see it was merely adrenaline that was keeping me going, and that my ‘normal’ behaviour was far from it.. .

Whenever something new and traumatic happens in your life you may indeed be surprised by your own actions. However, to say that your actions oppose your intentions is to abuse the language. Maybe that’s a meaningful phrase for women, but that sounds like just like the common “it just happened” anti-slut defense that women so often employ. I fully expected a more detailed explanation of her behavior at the end of the article, but we don’t get that. For people to actually learn anything from this story, she ought to consult experts. She could get some therapy and share the results or simply interview mental health professionals.

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