I Keep a List of Everyone I’ve Ever Fucked

Like many people on the cusp of being a millennial and Gen Z, I love documenting things. In my journal, on my Instagram story, pasted into a real live photo album — if it happened, I like to have a record of it. I keep a budget, a to-do list, and a detailed Outlook calendar for both work and personal commitments.

I also keep a list of everyone I’ve had sex with.

This isn’t a shitty little entry in the Notes section of my phone, either. It’s a gen-u-ine piece of paper dating back to my freshman year of high school. You can track my handwriting down the page as it shifts through the years, growing narrower, less loopy.

To be precise, the list actually includes everyone I’ve ever hooked up with. We all define that differently; my threshold, for our purposes, is at least a kiss on the lips. My list kicks off with my very first kiss, circa age 13. First name and last name wherever possible, though some entries are just first names, and some are a little more nebulous (“Sahara East guy”). There are names crossed out and adjusted for people who’ve changed theirs, or whose I initially misspelled; there are arrows clarifying timelines.

Those I’ve slept with have a star next to their names. As I write this, the stars number 42. I don’t think I’ve missed anyone. 

Occasionally I mention this list casually, in passing. Who among us, perhaps during a game of Truth or Dare or 20 Questions, hasn’t been asked about, say, our best or worst or wackiest encounter, and responded, after a few moments of sincere thought, “Honestly, I’d have to look at my list”?

In this way, I’ve come to realize that not many others keep such a list. (“You have a fucking LIST?”) But I’d like to make a brief argument in favor of The List. It’s never too late to start one!

If you’ve ever looked back at digital documentation of any period of time in your life — whether via TimeHop or Facebook memories, re-watching your archived stories, or scrolling through your own tweets — it’s probably struck you just how much we forget. Moments that might have seemed so special and singular at the time — even just a year or two ago — would’ve been lost to memory if you hadn’t taken that Boomerang. And how many similar moments were lost, just because you didn’t take that Boomerang?

The List documents little pieces of my history that are often among the most intimate, or at least the most interesting. It lets me see, all in one place, everything that’s happened sexually for me between Seth (last name redacted), at age 13, and Royal (last name unknown), at age 21. After all, we’re human! We forget things! Some nights are a blur! Some sex isn’t very memorable!

Sometimes the argument is made that we can’t forget anything these days, even things we’d like to or things we should, because of social media. I’m all for muting the one-night stand who now posts frequent boyfriend photos (though I haven’t muted her yet) and blocking the high school ex who keeps popping up (though I haven’t blocked him yet). I’m all for forgetting when it’s an act of self-preservation. But I’m also a firm believer in facing reality: You can unfollow me, but you can’t un-fuck me.

Of course, there are also less whimsical reasons to keep records. We’ve all seen a sitcom (or a real-life situation) where a character is trying to figure out who’s the baby daddy or notify past partners that they’ve tested positive for an STI. Or maybe it’s just that someone pops up in our LinkedIn requests and we can’t quite place if it’s that someone. In such scenarios, The List might serve some of us well — just to refer back to, to double-check. 

But that’s not why The List was conceived — not really.

Why do we make any list, after all? We do it for our future selves. A grocery list for our future self as she wanders purposelessly through the frozen food aisle. A list of New Year’s resolutions so our future self can pull it out in July and realize she still hasn’t gone zero-waste. An Amazon wish-list so that if our future self ever reactivates their Seeking Arrangements account, they’re ready.

We need our brain space to store more important, day-to-day things — our work assignments and our doctor appointments and our next bikini wax. Details of past trysts tend to get cobwebby up there. The List keeps it all in one place, for us to pull out every now and then and reflect upon, like an old yearbook or letter. If you like, say, poring over your own social media accounts until you’re deep in 2008, you’ll love The List.

Go ahead — give it a try. Fill up a page. Or two.



Photos/art (in order of appearance) by Emily Millar, Dariana Portes, and Dakota Varney.