Samuel Delany had 50,000 partners: credible?

Scroll down. Science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany says that, at 65 years old, he has had 50,000 sexual partners. He claims he hooked up with many of these partners in the NYC gay scene, truck stops, bath houses, gay porn theaters, etc.

I find this frankly incredible. Let’s say he’s been sexually active since he was 15, so for 50 years. That’s 1000 per year, close to 3 per day, every day for 50 years. Keep in mind that he was married in there at some point and has a kid, and has been a university professor for the last 20 years or so, so it seems like some of those days he would have been too busy to pick up sexual partners. Also, conceivably one would have to take time off from sex to get treated for some veneral diseases through all that, no?

What do you think? Is Delany inflating his total, or is there something I’m missing? I’m not an expert on the guy, so I don’t have a ton of info on his life, and this isn’t about him per se, but this rather impressive statistic he’s claimed. Though if you know a lot about him and can offer some insight, that’d be cool.

It’s bullshit. I admire Delany as a writer, but I don’t believe this for a second.

I’ve seen videos where women give “blowbangs” (group blowjobs) to more than 20 guys in less than 20 minutes. So, yes it is very possible that this guy did the same (I don’t want to picture that in my head :frowning: ) several times a week in his lifetime.

I think it’s credible. In the mid-80’s I lived with a gay friend who would routinely come home from parties and bars reporting sex with up to 50 people. Note that “sex” doesn’t mean “orgasm” nor does it mean “sequentially.” When I asked how many people he’d ever had sex with, he asked, “How many, or how many whose names I knew?” The latter category was around 800.

That doesn’t mean he was monogamous.

In a city, it’s just not difficult for men to have sex with men. In the time it takes to have a cup of coffee, you could walk in, strip down, and get it on in various NYC establishments in the 80’s.

Moving thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.

I believe he had a lot of sexual partners. I don’t believe it was 50,000. He made that number up.

I never believe these stories when I hear them, including the Wilt Chamberlain “record” of 20,000. Yeah, some guys play the field a lot - those kind of people are usually also raconteurs who exaggerate things for effect.

That’s what I meant to say. Delany made his living writing fiction.

I totally believe it, because I was also in the NYC gay scene for a much shorter period of time, and my own estimate is around 3,000. There were lots of guys who were way more sexually active than I was. And if Delaney spent a lot of time in “truck stops, bath houses, gay porn theaters, etc.,” then I don’t believe he’s exaggerating at all.

And there’s a good chance that at some point, I had sex with Samuel Delany.

Definitely. If that was true, he wouldn’t have had time to write.

Obviously he wasn’t monogamous, but being married takes up valuable hooking up time, as does raising a kid. My point being, it’s a scheduling nightmare to screw 50,000 people and also find time to do anything else.

To do 5/4/07:

  1. Get milk, eggs, light bulbs
  2. Drop off shirts at cleaners
  3. Screw 500 people
  4. Pick up Toby from school, take to soccer practice
  5. Screw 500 more people
  6. Jazzercise

And bad fiction at that. The logistics alone make this figure unlikely.

Delany has written about his sexual history numerous times in the past, including a long novel The Mad Man, that’s partially autobiographical.

His marriage was one more of intellectual affinity than sexual. His wife, Marilyn Hacker, eventually outed herself as a lesbian. They did have sex at least once, since they both acknowledge their daughter, but Delany has written of his anonymous sexual encounters in wide-open gay scene of NYC during his marriage. He’s also written of the surprise at his not getting HIV, given his deliberately reckless behavior.

Like everyone else, I doubt that it totals 50,000 encounters, but it’s certainly a very large number.

As for his writing, all I can say - as a professional science fiction writer - that he was a major influence on my wanting to become a writer in the 1960s. His short stories are among the greatest ever written in the genre, and his early books were terrific. At some point his style changed into something I can’t appreciate, although there are obviously those who do. But his short story collection, Driftglass, is as good and important as any short story collection ever published in the field.

And as a reference point, we can cite Georges Simenon, another author legendary for his priapism, who supposedly had 10,000 partners. That alone makes 50,000 seem unlikely. Though of course it could be all about what counts as a sexual partner.

Knock a couple of items off that list and that could be me!

j/k, I don’t Jazzercise.

I read Delany’s autobiogrphy (can’t remember the title, something like “The Sunlight Reflected in a Drop of Water” or somesuch thing) and he usually visited the truckstop two or three times a day. I believe he is counting every person who was there, regardless of degree of contact. If 100 men even so much as briefly touched him in a sexual manner, he is probably counting all 100 of them in his final total.

Sir Rhosis

Jesus Christ, what kind of truckstop was this? I had no idea that truckstops could be openly gay sexual hookup zones.

The truckstop/trucker scene is practically a gay porn subgenre all by itself. We have five digest-size prose porn fiction magazines upstairs and every one has at least one trucker/truckstop story in it. And they’re just general porn mags, not trucker-specific.

I dunno, isn’t that cheating? I mean, if you count everyone who was in the room when you were doing something sexual, and you were in a bathhouse or a theatre full of people, doesn’t that seem to be artificially inflating your stats?

Is it still considered cool or liberated to have thousands of sexual partners? I don’t say that to judge Delany, but it sounds kind of pathological to me. 100? 200? Even 500 in a 50 year history, whatever, that’s your thing. But 50,000? That’s just an insane number.