Does body count matter when thinking about STIs? – Better2Know Blog


Sex can often be a minefield. Negotiating health, emotions, and relationships can tax even the most carefree person. Love, indeed, is not for the faint of heart.

This minefield can become all the more explosive when sex enters the mainstream discourse, introducing the spectrum of collective judgment about our most intimate acts, thoughts, and feelings.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the current discourse surrounding the idea of ​​“body counts”.

So, what’s going on here? What’s a body count, and why is everyone talking about it? And how does it relate to STIs?

Keep reading to find out more.

Are you worried about STIs? Get tested with Better2Know.

What is a “body count”?

The term “body count”, in modern usage (particularly online), refers to the number of sexual partners someone has had throughout their life.

Counting your sexual partners isn’t anything new. People have been doing it for ages.

But the term “body count” is a relatively new phenomenon that came into common usage in the mid-2010s and was further popularized after 2020 on the social media app TikTok. On the app, people would interview strangersoften in vox-pop interviews in some kind of public square, about their own body counts and their attitudes towards them.

If you think the term is strangely aggressive to describe intimate relationships, you’re not wrong.

The term originates from military jargon to describe the number of enemy combatants a soldier eliminates over the course of an engagement. It’s possible that the term became commonly used because of the popularity of online gaming – in particular, multiplayer first-person-shooter games.

This terminology easily maps on to the world of online dating – the place where most young people meet sexual partners, which has been successfully gamified by dating apps. In an online space that encourages the objectification of potential partners and the consumption of sexual experiences, terms like “body count” can be apt.

Why are people talking about body counts?

For a variety of social, cultural, and religious reasons, there’s a lot of concern about the number of sexual partners someone has had.

It’s common, for instance, for people to feel inadequate about not having had enough sexual experiences. On the other end of the spectrum, some people may feel they’ve had too many.

That’s the thing when talking about body counts: many people feel they haven’t had the “right” amount. Not meeting this (completely arbitrary) standard can give rise to feelings of anxiety and shame.

These feelings can leak into public discourse. Sites like Reddit and Quora are replete with threads and message boards on this topic, with often hundreds or thousands of people contributing to the discussions, and it’s easy to find people talking about it on social media sites like TikTok, Instagram,

Many young people negotiate their transition into adulthood through sexual experiences alongside other milestones like having a career, buying a home, and having a family. Like with these other goalposts, people want to get these experiences “right”.

Does body count really matter?

It can, but not in the way that most people think about these things.

People who are worried about having the “right” number of sexual partners are concerned with giving a value judgment. However, there is nothing inherently right or wrong with having ninety sexual partners or none.

Other people may use body counts to determine suitability for a romantic partner.

Some may worry that someone with a high body count may not be suited to monogamous relationships. Others may think a low body count might indicate prudishness or a lack of confidence.

However, such worries tend to be based on generalizations, and these generalizations may not reflect the circumstances of the person in question.

If someone has a high body count, does that mean they have an STI?

With all the above being said, there is one area where the number of sexual partners you’ve had may have a tangible impact on your life: your sexual health.

It’s no secret that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are transmitted through sexual activity. While the best way to make sure that you don’t get an STI is to remain abstinentthat’s not realistic for many people.

With every new sexual relationship you start, there’s a risk of being exposed an STI, especially if you don’t know that person’s sexual health status. Statistically, the more sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to get an infection.

However, this is not the whole story.

The number of partners someone has had is only one aspect of their sexual history. Someone who practices safe sex, gets regular STI testing, and communicates openly with their sexual partners will be less likely to have an STI than someone who has a small number of highly risky encounters.

You can also get an STIs outside of sexual intercourse. For example, you can get STIs like Herpes and hpv from skin-to-skin contact. STIs like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C,and hiv can also be contracted through blood transfusions, unsterilised tattooing equipment, and sharing needles for injecting drugs.

Should I have sex with someone with a high body count?

You can if you want.

However, if you’re concerned about someone’s sexual history, you and your partner may want to get tested for STIs,

Getting tested will give you a certain amount of clarity about your partner’s sexual health status. From there, you can make a judgment about whether you want to continue the relationship.

Doing this is a crucial step in protecting your sexual health, and can set up the groundwork for a healthy and trusting relationship going forward.

Don’t leave your sexual health to chance. Book a sexual health test with Better2Know today.

Are people with high or low body counts “bad”?

No. There is nothing inherently “bad” in any number of past sexual experiences.

The number of sexual partners that someone has had or hasn’t had may be the result of a complex constellation of life experiences, preferences, and cultural influences that have no bearing on their worth. It may also have no bearing on someone’s suitability for a sexual or romantic relationship.

If you’re struggling with the thought of your partner having a certain “body count”, you may want to ask yourself why you feel this way. Where do these feelings come from, and what may they tell you about any beliefs you may have about sex, partnership, and relationships?

Doing this introspection could reveal what you value in a sexual partner and how you want to conduct your relationship.

final thoughts

A person’s “body count” may or may not tell you something about whether you want to begin a sexual relationship. However, people with a high number of past or recent sexual partners may have a moderate risk of having an STI.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of getting an STI, get tested with Better2Know today. Take advantage of our home test kits to test for STIs from the comfort of your own home.

Better2Know’s Full Screen tests for the UK’s 7 most common STIs, including HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Hepatitis B, Ureaplasma, and Mycoplasma.


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