“Men love women with a past because they’re hoping history will repeat itself.”
-Mae West

Picking up where we left off from last week’s discussion of “21st Century Charlene”, the hugely controversial Instagram model Ms. Brittany Renner, we now turn to a related and hotly-debated topic that the Renners of the world have once again brought back into the forefront: Does a Black woman’s “number” – that is to say, the number of sexual partners she’s had in the past – matter? On a recent live show that I did on the topic, I made the provocative case for why it didn’t in our time today; and then took the opposite position in an equally heated social media discussion forum debate in one of the more active and popular haunts that I frequent.

How can I take up both positions on this controversial matter? Read on!

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First, let’s be honest here: Unless you plan to submit every Black woman in your romantic and sexual sights to a polygraph test, it is highly unlikely you will NEVER know what her actual “number” is. Not only that, but the whole concern about a Black woman’s “number” owes as much to the past than to anything else.

Back in the day – and by that I mean, say, at least 50 years ago (so we’re talking 1961 or so) – Black women’s sexual lives, choices, tastes and desires, were severely limited when compared to today. The social mores of the time, coupled with a lack of abortion-on-demand laws and effective contraceptive options, made it such that the rank and file Black woman’s “number” was relatively, if not absolutely, low. At present, the rank and file Black woman has had a lifetime average of TEN sex partners – certainly more than her nana had but hardly the bloated-level “numbers” Black men can be heard bellowing about online and within the Black Manosphere in particular (compare that number to the nearly FOURTY lifetime sex partners attributed to Black men; “Survey: Black men have nearly 4 times as many sexual partners as black women“, The Grio, Jul 17, 2012). If that’s the case now in the 21st century, we can be reasonably safe and sure that the vast majority of Black women weren’t racking up the Cock Carousel Miles back then either.

But, since we DO live in an era where the Sexual Revolution is well in our historical rearview mirror; where the Pill, a raft of other contraceptive options for Black women exist; and where Black women are perhaps the single largest beneficiaries of Roe v. Wade (“Abortion and Women of Color: The Bigger Picture“, Guttmacher Institute, Aug 6, 2008) – coupled with the Rise of Instagram and OnlyFans – let’s say for the sake of argument that we’ve never seen more footloose and fancy-free Black women in our lives. Fine. So, let’s ask this question:

Have the most “loose” among the lovely ladies, taken a hit for it?

Two words instantly comes to mind in giving us an answer: Kanye West.

The super-producer/rapper/fashion mogul/businessman has been known to have been involved with two ladies who themselves are known for being, to varying degrees, “THOTs”: Ms. Amber Rose; and Ms. Kim Kardashian, respectively. The former was Mr. West’s squeeze earlier on in his star-studded career; the latter was/is his wife and mother of his four children. Both ladies are known for their racy pasts; Ms. Rose got her start as a reportedly underage stripper on the mean streets of South Philly and later found her way to New York City where she became one of the premier “video vixens” and urban pinup models of the earlier 2000s; while Ms. Kardashian’s famed celebrity sex tape with R&B singer/actress Brandy’s little brother Ray-J is still seen as downright scandalous in a porn-drenched age. Many of the more strident voices in the Black Manosphere swear up and down that being with the proverbial “village bike” is ruinous for a man’s reputation – but that can be put to the acid test in Kanye. After all, he has literally millions of dollars of deals on the line – and it has been well-known and documented that the woman (or women) on a man’s arm can make the difference between continued success or defeat. For example, Forbes Magazine online reports that ambitious business-minded men like Mr. West rated “Good Looks” at #8 out of a 10-point scale, and “Sociability” at #6 – and I think it’s fair to say that neither Ms. Rose nor Ms. Kardashian, has hurt Mr. West’s public reputation and stature (“Top 10 Traits Men Want In A Wife“, May 27, 2010). Please note that the aforementioned Forbes piece has no mention of a woman’s “number” being relevant in the top ten list.

Indeed, Mr. West’s association with Ms. Rose, which was a whirlwind in 2010, and his marriage to Ms. Kardashian, which dates from 2014 after a two-year courtship, hasn’t hurt him professionally in the least (“Kanye West’s Dating History Through the Years: From Amber Rose to Kim Kardashian“, US Magazine, Aug 21, 2021). His time with Rose was bookended with his albums “Graduation” winning his first Grammy from 11 nominations in total in 2008, and his collab album with Jay-Z, “Watch the Throne” was one of those numerous Grammy-nominated projects of his in 2011. For her part, Ms. Kardashian’s impact on West’s standing has been good; “FourFiveSeconds”, a three-way collab with West, Beatles and Wings legend Sir Paul McCartney and Rihanna, was nominated for a Grammy in 2015 and West has since gone on to become the third self-made Black billionaire in American history. The website CelebrityNetWorth pegs West’s net worth at $6.6B USD, while Forbes gives West’s net worth a more modest (and realistic) estimate at $1.3B USD (“Kanye West is now officially a billionaire“, Apr 24, 2020).

Either way you slice it, West keeping company with two of perhaps the most-famed “sluts” in American entertainment history, hasn’t hurt him one little bit.

Indeed, one could take the rather Machiavellian view, that they just may have enhanced it!

For me, IF one is going to make the case for a Black woman’s “number” mattering in today’s time, it should be along a rational axis that can be demonstrably measured; I’ve personally devised what I call a “four-point test” to determine to what extent, if any, a Black woman’s “number” has impacted her ability to be a suitable long(er) term mating prospect. They are as follows:

1. Does she have any babies out of wedlock? A Black woman having kids out of wedlock in our time today strongly implies that she is either reckless, irresponsible (read: promiscuous and indiscriminate) or both and at the very least demonstrates seriously poor judgment. Not a good look for an LTR or a marriage.

2. Does she have any STDs? Given that Black America has the highest infection rate of STDs across the board when compared to the rest of the country, and given that we know that the higher the number of sexual partners, the greater risk of STD infection, asking this question is wholly legitimate (“Health; HIV & AIDS”, BlackDemographics.com; “2000 STD Prevention Conference – African Americans Disproportionately Affected by STDs“, Centers for Disease Control website’ “Prevalence of STDs Is High For Black Young Adults Regardless of Risk Behavior“, Guttmacher Institute website, Jun 6, 2007; “Wrap It Up! STD Rates For African-Americans Are Four Times Higher Than White People In The US“, BET.com, Nov 26, 2019).

3. Does she have any psychological, mental or emotional issues or “baggage” as a result of having a higher than average number of sexual partners? This too is a very important question to ask; recall Forbes’ top ten list of desirable traits ambitious businessmen want most in a wife or long term mate; “Emotional Stability & Maturity” ranked #3 – well ahead of “Good Looks” AND “Sociability”(!) – and there IS at least some evidence that the higher the number of dicks a sista has impaled, the greater her chances of having said “issues” (“Does Sexual History Affect Marital Happiness?“, Institute for Family Studies, Oct 22, 2018).

4. Finally, has she gone broke over the D? I explain further in my column, “Why Black Women Can’t Afford The High Price Of Select Fuckboys” (Negromanosphere.com, Sep 23, 2019); ‘Nuff said!

Now, for MY money, IF a lovely lady can check off all the boxes on the above four-point test, then I really don’t sweat her actual “number”, because whatever it is, it has little if any meaning or impact on my life with her. But you still may be of the view that you’re not comfortable with a lady who’s had one too many sex partners – and you know what? I think you have every right to feel that way!

SHAMELESS PLUG AD BREAK: Haven’t you heard? The wait is over, and it’s official – “The Book of Obsidian: A Manual for the 21st Century Black American Gentleman” has finally arrived and is NOW available at BookBaby, Amazon and wherever fine books are sold – get your copy NOW!!! Better yet, get your personally autographed copy – CLICK HERE for more details! OK, let’s get back to the article!

While a brother CAN take a more reasoned and rational, evidence-based approach toward the whole “number” issue, the bottomline is that Black men have every bit a right to make their own mating criteria for whatever reason they choose – period. The real problem with this whole “number” business, is that Black women, being the chief beneficiaries of the second wave of feminism, the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution and all the many legal and political changes that have come down the pike along these lines in the past half a century, have deep-seated issues about the possibility that there may be Black men out there who may not be cool with Black women’s sexual and reproductive choices, real or perceived – and worse, there is little they can do about it.

This is a major reason how and why fast and furious debates over a Black woman’s “number” persists – because far too many Black women don’t want Black men to have the right to give voice to their preferences and accept or reject Black women based on their own criteria. If you sit back and think about, it all makes perfect sense: “Colorism”, “fat-shaming”, “slut-shaming”, “you can’t handle a strong Black woman” and attempts to jawbone Black men into accepting Black women who are baby mamas, have all been attempts to dissuade and cajole Black men into accepting Black women who more than likely, have exercised their sexual rights and don’t want to deal with the consequences.

And this has led to all manner of odd and bizarre “theorizing” online regarding issues surrounding Black female sexuality. For example, the notion that a Black woman’s vagina gets “stretched out” from having too many sexual partners – a medically dubious claim at best – but makes perfect sense in light of the aforementioned. I argue that this is an attempt on the part of Black men to get around the stonewall of jawboning and bitching on the part of Black women to get Black men accept those among them who have made sexual choices that carry serious consequences and it’s not working out like they thought it would.

As the Black Manosphere continues to be ascendant on the social media stage, expect to see the “number” conversation continue – and expect Black men to insist on having their right to their mating criteria, come what may.

Now adjourn your asses…


Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster, talk radio show host, commentator, newly minted dating coach and author of “The Book of Obsidian: A Manual for the 21st Century Black American Gentleman”. You can catch his daily live shows on YouTube & Mixlr, as well as his dating coach column at the Negromanosphere website. One of the “Three Kings” of the Black Manosphere, Mr. Ali has contributed to the creation and development of Black Male Media. Follow him on Instagram at @ObsidianRadio. He’s also a semi-professional pest.