How many people can one fuck before it becomes "too many?" Is there such a thing?
Every man I know who's slept with a lot of women is irreparably detached from others. Every man I know with a triple digit notch count is, at bottom, not a normal human being. There is something deeply dysfunctional there (or, if you'd prefer that I use non-normative terminology, phenotypically atypical). What is the process that underlies this degradation? Maybe I'm conflating attachment with monogamy. Maybe they're not the same thing. Perhaps only people who are broken to begin with end up pursuing a high number of partners. Maybe it's not the promiscuity itself that changes you.
My friend has a theory that every casual encounter acts to poison the well, to cheapen the value of intimacy with another person. Maybe the religious conservatives have a point, that there is some kind of spiritual cost to promiscuity. I don't know. Perhaps there is some threshold, some rubicon, that once crossed, permanently severs your ability to have a loving, functional monogamous relationship with another human being.
What I do know is that the intensity of emotions I'm feeling for the women I meet in my personal life is declining. Indifference isn't the right word. Detachment would be a better word. I do care about them. I do have a fondness for them, a genuine interest in their well-being. But were they to leave my life, I probably wouldn't lose a step. It's unclear to me if this is a contradiction. It doesn't feel like one. I hesitate to attach a moral value to this, since I do not seem to know what I actually want. Life is full of surprises. My friend, who I thought was an incorrigible womanizer, fell in love in a matter of weeks. He has a girlfriend now, a medical student. She's a good person. Hope springs eternal. Sometimes the sun surprises you. I'm happy for him, I think. Maybe I'm too picky. Or more likely, just getting old. All men must die.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis