My Roster of Men

By Sade Adewunmi
Photographed by Diya Khullar

This article has been adapted for the web from our Intimacy Issue.

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I’m sure you have heard the term “side chick” and “main hoe,” but has it ever occurred to you that these terms are only used to describe women? That there is no male equivalent? Women are not afforded the same privileges to explore and experiment with her sexuality. How many women have multiple sexual partners and are celebrated for it? Not that many, whereas her male counterpart can  boast about his conquests to his friends without issue. As a woman in today’s modern world of swiping right, buzzing on Bumble and casual hookups, I think it is safe to say there is a double standard. Women can’t get too clingy, yet we are either shamed as sluts or prudes if we don’t fulfill a man’s fantasy of casual sex with no strings attached.

I rebuke this double standard by introducing the idea of a rotation - the idea that a woman can enjoy the freedoms that come with being single yet still  enjoy the company of as many sexual partners as she desires. My mother always told me that a woman should have enough men for a full-roster basketball team. Although that might be a few too many, the sentiment still rings true. Women should not have to put up with the societal expectations that Sleeping Beauty laid out for us. There is no reason we have to sit idly by and be some guy’s side piece, when we could easily play the same game as them, and do it better too. This rotation of men allows women to better refine what qualities we desire and what values we hope for in both a romantic and sexual partner, and not to mention how best to please ourselves.

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Sleeping Beauty and the litany of other damsels in distress in the Disney Universe taught girls at a young age that the prince only comes to us by waiting for him. Within the context of hookup culture, these lessons manifest with women feeling uncomfortable initiating not only sex, but also the conversation around  it. In most heterosexual relationships, men initiate contact, dates and sexual foreplay, leaving women waiting by idly.

To this dynamic, I say no more.

Having a rotation of men grants women a greater level of control of their sexual pleasure. If you want to enjoy the company of your girls and dance the night away, then go for it! But if the night is winding down and you aren’t quite ready for it to end, why not turn to a partner you know you will enjoy yourself with instead of waiting for a man to make a move? And if one is being stubborn or doesn’t answer, your options are not limited to just him.

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Your rotation can be whatever you wish. As a woman with her own rotation, mine has evolved as my needs and desires have. Each of these relationships are their own and have grown into so much more than just sex, yet always maintain their passion. With one of my guys, we enjoy exploring different restaurants around Boston and discussing politics, whereas with a different guy it’s all about the little things like being in each other’s presence to baking banana bread together.

Nevertheless, no matter if the men within my rotation change, the premise never does. I know who I am and I know what I want. I want a man that can handle my intellectual ferocity just as much as my sexual ferocity. I want a man that is willing to explore my personality just as much as my sexual cravings. My rotation is my own and evolves to fit who I am and what I need as a woman - but most importantly, I’m never waiting for any man.