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Should You Reveal the Number of Sexual Partners You've Had?

By HERWriter
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Should You Reveal the Number of Sexual Partners You Have Had? teksomolika/Fotolia

Is it ever appropriate to tell your partner how many sexual partners or sexual liaisons you have experienced in your lifetime?

According to sex expert Tracey Cox, "No matter how many people you've slept with, it will always be too many."

Men may look at your differently after you reveal the number. It is a lose-lose situation all around. He may see your number as too high, or even too low, depending on his experience.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, among adults aged 20 to 59, women have an average of four sex partners during their lifetime while men have an average of seven based on survey results.

But, according to The Lancet, the average number of sexual partners in a woman's lifetime is eight, and the average for men is 12 partners.

While men may statistically have more partners than women, some men may have a tough time erasing their partner’s sexual partner number off of their hard drive.

One good friend of mine made the mistake of asking his fiancée how many men she slept with. Turns out her number was higher than his number, and he broke off the engagement two weeks later. He said, every time they were in bed together, he couldn’t get the number out of his mind.

While this may be immaturity and insecurity on this man's part, you still have nothing to gain by revealing your sexual partner number.

I am grateful my husband has never asked my number. Some things are better left unsaid. If he did ask, my reply would be, "I can’t remember especially after I’ve been with you. You made me forget about the rest."

"People will judge you no matter what answer you give when asked about past lovers and the assumption they make is usually wrong," Cox said, "Which is why I don't care who's doing the asking – whether it's your partner, mother, best friend or beauty therapist - your answer to how many lovers you've had is no answer."

Even if you lowball the answer, over time your partner may do the math in his or her head and become angered if you lied about your number. Remember Ben Affleck’s character in the film "Chasing Amy"? He lost his mind and ended the relationship after Amy revealed her partner number.

You should treat your number as a prized possession and something that is private. Your response can be simple. "I don’t kiss and tell."

Reviewed February 12, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Cox, Tracey. "'No Matter How Many People You've Slept With, It Will Always Be Too Many': Sex Expert Tracey Cox on Why Women Should NEVER Reveal How Many Lovers They've Had." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 30 July 2014. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.

"In a New Relationship, Should You Reveal How Many People You've Slept With?" WSJ. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.

"10 Surprising Sex Statistics." Msnbc.com. 22 June 2010. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Why is this even a gender topic??? I'm a man and have only asked my very first girlfriend (when I was 18) about her past experiences and after that never once asked it again but pretty much all my ex girlfriends after her have always asked me how many women Iv slept with which I reply...I don't know, I don't keep count?? They then go through lengths to try to get the answer out of me? Now truthfully I know the number would be somewhere around 100 give or take but I'm just saying it isn't men that ask that question.. Women ask it a lot too.. It's not gender specific

February 28, 2016 - 1:42am
EmpowHER Guest

The question should Not be how many past sexual partners you've had but weather you've been unfaithful in past relationships?? I know, good luck getting a truthful answer to that question but I'd like to have some idea as to weather the person I'm going to be investing my emotional well being and energy has commitment issues or not? As they say... Once a cheat, always a cheat!! It's wise to find out quickly who your dealing with to save you a lot of time down the track...

February 28, 2016 - 1:27am
EmpowHER Guest

This is ridiculous. Any partner worth having (male or female) would understand and accept any past relationships.

February 19, 2016 - 6:35am
EmpowHER Guest

This is intelligent advice. If women tell males how many partners they've had, they open themselves up for a boatload of insecurity-based behaviors that WILL get out of hand. What happened in the past needs to stay in the past.

February 18, 2016 - 5:57pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Only if they're with an insecure man.

A true partner does not care who was first, only who was last.

February 19, 2016 - 6:31am

Me and my wife of 12 years have been very open about past relationships, now my wife has had 3 sexual partners and around another 4 one night stands, my self on the other hand have has 1 relationship before and only had 2 accounts of sex or love making with that woman. My wife loves the fact that essentially to her my only sexual experience was with her. She is the only person to have performed foreplay on me and she loves it. After all this time she still says how special it is to her and she feels she let her self down with her past relationships. Now I on the other hand have always enjoyed moments of talking about her previous partners and she is happy to be open, it can be a turn on when you are very secure in your own relationship

February 18, 2016 - 5:01pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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