Should I Disclose the Number of Sexual Partners I’ve Had In the Past?

Should I Disclose the Number of Sexual Parthners I've Had In the Past?

I’ve been reading for a while, and I find myself hopping on your blog whenever I meet a new guy or am faced with a new situation. But have yet to find something to address my question, given all the differences in the way men and women view sex and relationships and communication: What are the rules about disclosing your number of sexual partners and should it matter?

Now of course I think about this more so in a safety sense, not that I need to know how many girls a guy has slept with but more so I want to know that he is safe for me to sleep with. Inevitably though, this question of numbers comes up and I always hate when my number is higher than his or significantly lower. I know it sounds silly but it’s hard to know what a man is thinking when you share this type of thing. Is it better to just keep it to yourself? Do numbers really matter?

Megan

Dear Megan,

LOVE YOU for asking this question. As always, my opinion is just my opinion. Feel free to disagree. (And I know you will!)

So, like the whole “Who Pays” thing, there are different rules for men and women. Mainly because the sexual double standard is alive and well. I don’t endorse this. I report this.

The average number of partners a man purports to have in a lifetime is around 11. The average number of partners a woman purports to have is closer to 6. Of course, this is not true.

Says Dr. Norman Brown of the University of Alberta:

“Every time a man has sex with a woman, a woman has to have sex with a man. So either there are some very lucky joes out there or someone is not getting their numbers right,” Brown said.

I know I haven’t answered your question, Megan, but I thought I would puncture a hole in the “men are promiscuous/women are chaste” thing. If a man’s sleeping with a woman, a woman’s sleeping with a man and everybody’s numbers are going up. So there.

And as far as I’m concerned it is NOBODY’S BUSINESS HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU’VE SLEPT WITH.

And as far as I’m concerned it is NOBODY’S BUSINESS HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU’VE SLEPT WITH.

Similarly, it’s none of your business how many people he’s slept with. This is a classic “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation, on par with “Are you dating anyone else right now?” and “Have you ever had a drug fueled orgy with six Polynesian dwarves?” If you say yes, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do, and frankly, you shouldn’t have to explain….

Before you jump all over me, this is not the same as “Do you have any STDs?” That is a pointed and specific health-related question, where full disclosure is essential. But some guy can sleep with 100 women and not get herpes and some woman can go down on one guy and get herpes. And although one’s odds certainly do go up with multiple sexual partners, a number doesn’t necessarily reveal any greater truths.

Take me. I’ve had a pretty decent single run (more than 10, less than Wilt Chamberlain), but have NEVER had unprotected sex with a non-girlfriend. Is that better or worse than a guy who has slept with eight women but never used a condom?

I recall one well-meaning woman who asked me on our first date what my “number” was. I laughed and told her it was none of her business. She playfully said that she could handle it. I playfully told her that it was irrelevant: I was with her at this moment, and my past history bore little relevance. The more I refused to answer, the more she dug in. Finally, she said, “Whatever you say, it won’t bother me. As long as the number is less than X.” And when I gave her a look that revealed that her guesstimate was low, her jaw dropped. Way to not judge me!

Years ago, my best friend went out with a woman in her mid-30’s who confessed that she’d been with over 30 men in her life. My friend FREAKED out, because his number was lower than hers, and because he couldn’t bear to picture her being pounded by 30 different guys. I told him he was being ridiculous. If this woman was never married, never dated a guy for more than a year, and was exclusive with a new boyfriend every six months, she will easily top 30 men at that age. Sleeping with fifteen people in the year after your divorce is a lot more promiscuous than sleeping with thirty people in your whole life.

Thus, a man has no right to know your number, lest he judge you by a different standard than he judges himself. If he insists, give him a little white lie. It’s none of his business and he doesn’t deserve the truth. Seriously. As long as you’re not sleeping with anyone while you’re dating him, whatever you did in your past is between you and your conscience.

As long as you’re not sleeping with anyone while you’re dating him, whatever you did in your past is between you and your conscience.

So Megan, it’s not that numbers don’t matter. It’s that they can be deceiving. Questions about numbers only beget more questions and create more insecurity. The only thing you need to know about his sexual past is whether he’s disease free. If he is, judge him for his merits, his efforts towards you, and how he treats you.

But certainly don’t get on his case because he had a successful sex life for the fifteen adult years before he met you.

21
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Comments:

  1. 31
    Geek Dating

    I think you should always be truthful right from the start.

    1. 31.1
      HI

      agreed. allow people to make their own educated decisions about whether your lifestyles, personalities and values correlate. that’s why many relationships fall apart. people don’t pay attention to certain things in the beginning and are not 100% truthful.

  2. 32
    douche

    Ive only had one partner while my gf has had an undisclosed number of partners. we used to have sex all the time, now we have it like once or twice a week. is it possible that shes had enough sex in her lifetime with all the different partners and doesnt care about it anymore, like its old and not exciting anymore, whereas im still new to it and want it all the time? is it bad for someone to have had sex with more people that their partners in this way?

    by the way she started having sex when she was 20 or 21 and i started when i was 28. weve been dating for 2 1/2 years now. pathetic as hell i know.

  3. 33
    Sahaja

    Truthful is one thing – foolish is another. There will always be a number that is ok to one party in the relationship that isnt to another – for one person it may be zero and they have a problem with the fact that their partner had previous sexual relationships. There are other people who have a problem with dating a virgin. Personally, I’d rather not know – I did when I was 17 and with my first bf, but now Id rather not know. Its personal – though I do know that people might be offended with being asked to take an STD test more so than the # Q. These days, w.e the # might be, I take healthy over lower # anyday.

    1. 33.1
      HI

      i’ll take healthy and a lower number, but that’s just my preference. 

  4. 34
    cej

    The number of partners is an important question. Especially for people concerned about their health. Do you really think we know of and can screen for all sexually transmitted diseases. Do we know all the long term complications and interactions that sexually transmitted diseases have on the body? Is it realistic to ask your partner to be screened for all sexually transmitted diseases? I believe the answer to all these questions is no. With that in mind, all we can really rely on is statistical odds and this is where the number of partners comes in. I agree with having a health screening before sex. Health screenings can help, but I believe everyone should try to minimize their number of sexual partners. New diseases are always evolving, and interacting on the body in complex ways. It may not be necessary to tell your number but it is his or her business.

  5. 35
    cej

    I apologize for my poor english.

  6. 36
    vino

    I respectfully submit the # of partners is immaterial. If one has a ‘clean bill of health’ so to speak, then let the past stay there.

  7. 37
    Karen

    It’s a typical “male” answer to assume that you have more experience than women. The reality is that there are some women who actually have more experience and more partners under their belt than the men they date. No it doesn’t make them “sluts” it makes them wise as long as they are safe. Sex is like shopping for a car you have to test drive a few to figure out what you like. I personally don’t have a problem telling my number. My BF on the other hand thinks it’s none of my business. Which I dont’ understand and find it immature.It’s a simple question with a simple answer. It’s a part of intimacy and life. I think if for your piece of mind you want to know the number your partner should be able to grant you that respect.

  8. 38
    cej

    I believe you are a “slut” if you have a large number of partners in a short time span. It does not matter if you are male, female, dog, cat, or other. There is a certain amount of risk every time you have sex.

    For example:
    Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease. It can be transmitted without symptoms. Some individuals never have any symptoms. There is no cure for herpes. Condoms offer little protection from being infected. The interaction that herpes has on the body is still being studied today. HIV is another sexually transmitted disease. It may not produce symptoms for years. HIV can not be confidently tested for six months after being contracted. In this time others can be infected. If you have lots of partners in a short period of time then you are swapping partners within the six month window. So my point is, testing is not always full proof and condoms are not always effective.

    One and four people carry some form of the herpes virus. Every time you have sex with some body you have a one and four chance of sleeping with someone who has herpes. However, consider the rule of large numbers. If you sleep with four people we expect that you have slept with one person who has herpes. If you sleep with eight people we expect you have slept with two people who have herpes. Your odds of contracting herpes do not go up as you sleep with more people! Every time you sleep with someone it is still a one and four chance. But we can expect that after so many times you will come into contact with herpes every so often. This is just like flipping a coin. After flipping a coin ten times we expect half of the flips to be heads. But every time you flip it is a 50/50 chance of heads. This rule applies to all the other sexually transmitted diseases as well. I think a relationship should be based on more than just sex. I am tired of hearing women complain about men calling them sluts. Men who sleep around should be called sluts as well. The negative reinforcement can encourage positive behavior. I suppose you could compare sex to buying a car. However, you can’t always fix the problems or return the problems. Asking someone their number will definitely cause tension. I maintain it is your business, but I think you can get the answer to the question in an indirect manner. Take the time to get to know this person. Ask probing question. You might never figure the exact number but at least you will get an idea.

  9. 39
    joe

    Yeah I always want to talk about my partners sexual history (not the graphic details) but I should know them and that’s a big part of their life. If your not ashamed about it then that’s great , no reason to be if your honest. Keep in mind that I never judge anyone as to some moral standard of how many people they should sleep with. That’s their business as long as they don’t want to sleep with me. The problem I have is when some one thinks they should get to take risks for me without my knowledge.

    CEJ is right. STI’s take 6 months to a year for most to show signs or often even be able to show up on a test. The doctors will tell you to come back in 6 months and some times again in 12 AFTER having not had sex with any new partners other wise the test is not relevant to the current window.

    I’m sure most people that say just get tested are not clearing the minimum 6 month window and getting retested with no new sex partners in that span so that they could even know what they actually had at any given time. more likely they are not actually even bothering to get tested or they would know that.

    I didn’t used to care if a girl had 10 times the number as me in her past, I tried not to judge people as long as they were open, honest , upfront and responsible. Turns out dating is judging wither some one is right for you and so you do have to do some judging after all. Especially when they are going to be sleeping with you.

    Unfortunately those girls with high counts also tended in my experience to have a very different attitude about sex in the present though (other than what they claimed was in the past) as well as different ideas on things like having multiple partners (cheating) , lying or concealing STI’s. Nothing like finding photo’s of your church going girl friend swinging on the internet or having your fiance cheat on you with more people than you’ve ever slept with period and just in the time you two were engaged. So yeah go ahead and date that girl with the past she doesn’t like to talk about or whom doesn’t think it’s her boyfriends business. You’ll be sorry. Then again maybe they just lie anyway and your doctor will be the one to tell you someday instead.

    Turns out those who think knowing the risks your taking to your health is not your business and who don’t seem to care to find out what risk they may be taking with you have already told you all you need to know, unfortunately they will often just lie.

    They can’t think a condom protects from herpes and all other common STI’s or that the tests are instant. They probably get drunk and say screw the condom half the time anyway. I don’t see how they could even be getting tested or they would know these things as the doctor will discuss them. Most likely they are just rationalizing and talking safe sex when they want others to think they are “clean”.

    Yes talking about your sexual history is personal and private but sex is personal that’s why it’s sex not a handshake. If you think it’s too private or embarrassing to talk about with someone your considering sleeping with then maybe you don’t know them that well and maybe you don’t tend to do that much considering in the first place.

  10. 40
    Michael

    Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease. It can be transmitted without symptoms.
    Herpes can be spread by touch as well.

    So can syphilis, for that matter.

  11. 41
    omg

    “This is a classic don’t ask, don’t tell situation, on par with Are you dating anyone else right now? and Have you ever had a drug fueled orgy with six Polynesian dwarves?” If you say yes, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do, and frankly, you shouldn’t have to explain.”

    Yeah and they might inadvertently make you feel guilty shame on them! Or decide not to sleep with you, pfffft what makes them think they have the right! Jerks! The nerve of some people!.

    That statement goes to show people can rationalize anything they want to. Many people don’t use critical decision making but instead they just start with what ever the heck they want to be doing anyway and then work their thinking backwards from there. That’s why it sounds like it’s complete nonsense. Then they tell everyone else they are being wrong for not giving them a free pass to do what ever they want when ever they feel like it regardless of consideration for consequences for others.

    That is the most insane thing I think I have heard in quite a while. Yes your right it is on par with knowing wither your relationship is expected to be monogamous, or exclusive or if your one of many especially if they like to test drive 3 or 4 of their dates in bed and can’t wait to evaluate people one at a time but are splitting their love life among several. If you must multitask here (god forbid you spend a little time getting to know one person at a time) then the least you can do is be upfront about it so the other person has the correct expectations.

    Yes if you have routinely engaged in IV drug use , orgies, prostitution, anonymous sex or internet sex, seeing other people while banging them, and any number of other high risk sexual or deviant (deviating from the norm) behaviors you might have a lot of explaining to do and yes you should have to, in fact they shouldn’t even have to ask you should be telling them to begin with.

    It’s like the guys who say “Heck yeah I’m greedy my question is why the heck aren’t you?” There is nothing noble about being shamelessly self serving. There is nothing more selfish than thinking you have the right to be selfish without being labeled selfish. Your just deceiving as you fear others might presume to hold you accountable for your actions and there is a reason you fear this it is because it is often actually the case when you encounter rational considerate people.

    Of course some people will happily say it’s normal and healthy to lie to their wife about tagging a hooker , and shooting meth on the way home form their girlfriends house, but don’t try to pass off some self centered , self serving reckless behavior compounded by deceit as some type of common sense moral position.

  12. 42
    ATL

    If someone asks, it matters to them. If they keep pressing for an answer, it is more than mere curiosity. People have been raised to think differently about sex. Many still believe that intimacy and sex go hand in hand. I dont want to be with a woman who has had lots of partners or one night stands not because I am jealous, but because it means that something that is very important to me (intimacy/sex) means little to nothing to her. When I make love to a woman, she is always satisfied, and I dont stop till she is. I can give a woman the best sex she has ever had, but only if I love her and if she loves me. I unfortunately know the number of sexual partners that my current girlfriend has had. She is my age (25) and has had 12 partners for every one of mine (Ive had 6 including her). It bothers me often, but I also know that I am the best sex she has ever had. If I had a time machine though, I would go back and we never would have found out how many we each had been with. Our relationship would be much better.

  13. 43
    Karl R

    ATL said:
    “If someone asks, it matters to them. If they keep pressing for an answer, it is more than mere curiosity.”
    Evan said:
    “it’s not that numbers don’t matter. It’s that they can be deceiving.”

    ATL,
    You want to know the answer to one question (does my partner love me like I love her). But instead of asking that question, you’re asking how many partners she’s had. You’re assuming you can correctly interpret the answer to the important question if you know “the number”.

    Why not directly ask the question you really want the answer to?

    People’s attitudes toward sex change over time. When I was younger, I was a bit promiscuous. Eventually I decided that lifestyle didn’t work for me, so for the last decade or so I’ve only had sex within exclusive relationships. If a woman wants to know that information, I’m perfectly willing to tell her. Most of it could be relevant to my current relationship.

    The exact number of partners I’ve had is irrelevant.

  14. 44
    cej

    Forming an absolute opinion about someone based on one question is foolish. When in a relationship you should consider all the questions. Take the time to get to know the person. However, not all questions should be asked, but no question should go ignored. The question of the number of partners and how much someone loves you could be two different things. Health and love are certainly two different things. It should also be noted that every one has a different definition of love. Part of getting to know someone is decoding their definition of love. For many of us sex and love go hand in hand to some extent. To what extent? Therefore, it is usually necessary to ask questions about sex in order to decode the definition of love. We want to figure out what role sex plays in are partners definition of love. For some individuals sex has little or nothing to do with love. For others sex has everything to do with love. What does it mean when your partner says I love you? Some individuals may say they love you, but be gone tomorrow. ( does my partner love me like I love her ) ATL. This question cannot be answered with one simple question. The answer to this question comes from a careful study of our partner. This study is highly complicated. Asking questions is only part of it. Number of sexual partners may be a part of this study or it may not. Every relationship is different.

    People’s attitudes about sex can change over time. However, most individuals live within a certain range of personality, beliefs, or attitudes. We do change over time but we only change within a certain range so to speak. People who really know who I am know my range. They know exactly what I am capable of and what I am not. They can easily call my bluff.

    I still believe that the number of partners is a health concern. That does not mean that I think you should always ask how many partners. You should always consider it. You may or may not want to ask the question for a variety of reasons. However, health may be the most important consideration. If you believe that every disease has been written about in some health book then you are severely underestimating the natural world.

    Hypothetically
    Imagine you go into a tattoo parlor. You have two dirty needles to pick from. One needle has been used to tattoo 100 people. The other has been used to tattoo 1 other person. Which one would you pick? You might also want to know who the needles were used on. What kind of people were they? and so on. All the same love is a beutiful thing.

  15. 45
    Joe

    OK, let’s say you go into a tattoo parlor and have two needles to pick from. One has been used 100 times. The other has been used once. Both have been autoclaved (or whatever tattoo parlors do to sterilize needles). Which one do you pick?

  16. 46
    kenley

    One major issue with that question is that I suspect the majority of people don’t answer it truthfully.

  17. 47
    cej

    I believe tattoo parlors are supposed to always use a new needle that is part of why the question is hypothetical. The hypothetical question is supposed to draw at the probability and statistics of the situation. Sexually transmitted disease is with out a doubt a probability and statistics problem. Not to mention there is no autoclave for human beings. Once you are infected you could be infected for life.

    Yes, people don’t always answer questions truthfully. However, not all questions are answered in a direct manner. Some questions are answered through interpolation and extrapolation. It may be possible to get the answer to the question through simply getting to know the person. You may not find the exact answer but you will get an idea without ever have asked the direct question. The answer you get through your own deductions will probably be closer to the truth. Just because we cannot get a clear and concise answer does not mean that we should ignore the question.

    This question could also spell the end of many relationships for a variety of reasons. For instance, what happens when you don’t like the answer? I personally, rarely ask this question directly. I only ask when concern has been raised through some other source or some other deduction. In the end, it is whatever you are comfortable with. For me safe sex consists of three things. These things involve the following.

    Keeping the number of partners I have and my partner has to a minimum. (Probability and statistics)
    Using protection (condoms)
    Getting tested.

    It may seem that this would be 100% effective, but nothing is 100% effective. Therefore, it becomes what ever you are comfortable with.

  18. 48
    K

    Yeah my husband asked and I told him it was my past and none of his business well he got very angry cause I wouldn’t tell so I fianlly did and it is 7 higher than him but come to find out he slept with me while we were dating and some other girl was I wasn’t even that last number on his list butmy number gets brought up everytime we fight he pretty much calls me a whore and I can’t deal with this, this marriage won’t last because of that number but let’s count how many times he cheated on his ex wife, this is my first an last mariage.

  19. 49
    Seductress Within

    Since my divorce 3 years ago, no man has asked me my “number” and it has never even crossed my mind to ask theirs. Granted I’m in my early 40s and dating men in their late 40s, early 50s and I believe that has something to do with it.

    At a certain age, maturity level, experience with relationships, marriage, divorce….most people realize it’s who you are now, not 20 years ago that matters. And any insecure feelings imagining him with his past lovers-like when I was in my 20s have long left this woman.

    Frankly it is no one’s business. His behavior and character today will tell me what I need to know about him, not his “number” from his past because like it was mentioned above, a person can change and evolve and I’m not holding the fact that he may have been a “player” in his 20s against him.

  20. 50
    sma

    My better half wanted to know how many partners I have had sex with. He told me he wants an open and honest relationship. I did not want to tell him but finally after he would not let up and knowing that he has had intimate relationships with more women than he could ever imagine counting I told him both how many I have had traditional sex with how many I had anal sex with and how many I did anything else with because it was so important for him to know. Now he has a physical written list and counts them and reads over the list daily to see if I maybe forgot one. When he is mad at me he uses there names not just first names but first and last names and calls me names like a whore. Remember I did not want to tell him because because I believe you have to live with your choices don’t make your partner live them also. I have never found it to be healthy. Now I am sitting here with a man that I love with all of my heart and he still has been with many more partners than me and I am trying to save the relationship because he feels I am a slut and devious.

  21. 51
    Jennifer

    @SMA #50- tell me you’re joking about reading the list every day and checking to see if you forgot anyone?!

    This isn’t normal. You may love this guy, but you can also love a guy that won’t behave this way towards you, and he can love you back.
    Try writing *that* down and remind yourself of it every time your guy breaks out your ‘list’. Until you finally feel like leaving him.

  22. 52
    Kenley

    Please do not continue to love a man who hurts you. He certainly does not love you. If he did, he would not treat you the way he is. I think you have to face the facts that the relationship is over. I have a feeling that his behavior and treatment of you is only going to get worse. End the relationship as quickly as you can and don’t look back.

    Remember the lesson that you have learned. Some men have a double standard regarding women and sex. In the future, you should adopt a “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy. All he needs to know is that you are free of disease. If he insists on more information than that, walk away.

  23. 53
    Joe

    Why are you still with this loser?

  24. 54
    Karl R

    SMA said: (#50)
    “My better half wanted to know how many partners I have had sex with. He told me he wants an open and honest relationship.”

    Did he disclose the same information about himself? If he was truly interested in “an open and honest relationship” he would have volunteered to share that information with you as well.

    Or it could be that the “open and honest” claim was just a ruse to manipulate you into revealing details that you weren’t inclined to.

    “I did not want to tell him but finally after he would not let up”

    So he bullied you into revealing private details about yourself that you did not want to share … when he felt no need to share those same private details about himself.

    “Now he has a physical written list”
    “When he is mad at me he uses [their] names not just first names but first and last names”

    He recorded the details so he could remember them and use them against you at a later date.

    “When he is mad at me he […] calls me names like a whore.”

    He verbally abuses you.

    “knowing that he has had intimate relationships with more women than he could ever imagine counting”

    And he’s a hypocrite.

    “he feels I am a slut and devious.”

    He’s trying to make you believe that you are these things. He’s trying to undermine your self-confidence … specifically so you won’t have the confidence to leave him (or throw him out).

    “My better half”

    Better half? He’s abusive, controlling, manipulative … and he’s trying to undermine your self-esteem.

    “I am trying to save the relationship”

    If your best friend came to you for advice on how to save her realationship with her abuse, controlling, manipulative boyfriend, what you you recommend that she do?

    I realize this guy may be a terrific person 90% of the time and a verbally abusive jerk only 10% of the time. There’s a description for people like that. They’re called abusive jerks. Terrific people are the ones that never abuse other people.

  25. 55
    Adam

    But is it a red flag when a girl doesn’t ask? Does it mean she has had a number of partners and doesn’t want to tell you that?
    cause i have had a relationship with a girl for two years. We had sex on the first date. She lied about here number once to me. And I care about her but it is getting to the point that I can’t trust that she hasn’t had anymore then she says and that when we break up she doesn’t just go after whoever. I think I got myself into a bad situation and bad relationship.

  26. 56
    Anita

    There are lots of valid reasons for a given person to want (or not want) to know the number of partners their partner has had, and limiting the acceptableness for why one would ask for such information is losing out on an important discussion/compatibility point. 
    Maybe there are some relationships where this info is irrelevant or not required, but if it's not required, no one would ask for it.
    I also don't understand the cynicism for assuming women will lowball the info and men will inflate (or the reverse, depending on the stereotype to conform to).  This makes the number-question even more important, if people can't even own up to it maturely and with honesty.  It obviously has some baggage to make people recoil like this and be cagey.  All the more reason to drag the number out into the open!
    If anyone is a blood donor, for example, some of the questions involve the experiences of the donor's *partner(s)'* sexual history.  It's information one should known, to be shared and honestly reported. 
    If you can't respect your partner's concerns then do them a favour let them find someone more closely matching their standards for disclosure as well as sexual comportment.

  27. 57
    Selena

    Anita,
    In what kind of relationship would the disclosure of number of previous sexual partners be required?
     

  28. 58
    aroundtheblock

    when u find ur perfect person and want that special exclusive lifelong relationship    and you get married and then go to the bedroom  to show your Special love, you . . . . give something uv given to several  . . .dozens of others?   
    I guess its a tradeoff,  having excitement and fun with all those short-term flings,   in exchange for having nothing special to give sexually to the love of your life.       Can't see any argument that it hasnt been cheapened by giving it away to all the others.  
    You know for hundreds of years, the man could assume that the woman he was marrying, with good probability, was a virgin and was giving the special gift of sex only to him.  Men were highly upset if that was not true.  Could it be that we, in this generation, are the ones that are fucked up by accepting that she has already given it up to every Tom, Dick and Harry, with nothing special left to give?  

  29. 59
    Karl R

    aroundtheblock asked: (#58)
    "you get married and then go to the bedroom  to show your Special love, you …. give something uv given to several  … dozens of others?"
     
    First, you have your order of events backwards. If you had sex with dozens (or several) others, you probably don't wait until marriage to have sex with your spouse.
     
    But to answer your question: Yes, when you have sex with your spouse, it's probably similar to some of your previous partners. Hopefully a bit more special than most, but it's likely that a few of them (if there were dozens) were somewhat special as well.
     
    aroundtheblock asked: (#58)
    "I guess its a tradeoff,  having excitement and fun with all those short-term flings, in exchange for having nothing special to give sexually to the love of your life. Can't see any argument that it hasnt been cheapened by giving it away to all the others."
     
    Love and sex are two different things. Therefore, having sex with someone you love (instead of someone you like, or someone you just find sexually attractive) is special.
     
    And there's an obvious tradeoff that you're overlooking. If you're a virgin when you get married, you're probably rather clumsy and clueless about how to please your partner. If you have some experience, then you've had the opportunity to learn how to make the sex feel amazing.
     
    aroundtheblock said: (#58)
    "for hundreds of years, the man could assume that the woman he was marrying, with good probability, was a virgin and was giving the special gift of sex only to him.  Men were highly upset if that was not true."
     
    Really? There are countless examples of men marrying widows (and divorcees) throughout history. I doubt these men were so naive to believe their wives were coming into their second marriages as virgins.
     
    aroundtheblock asked: (#58)
    "Could it be that we, in this generation, are the ones that are fucked up by accepting that she has already given it up to every Tom, Dick and Harry, with nothing special left to give?"
     
    Do you always see things as being this black and white? Even at my most promiscuous, I was never that indiscriminate about whom I slept with.
     
    My girlfriend was married and had a few other long-term relationships before we met. I had a previous serious long-term relationship as well. My girlfriend is special to me. This isn't cheapened because someone else was previously special to me … or that a few men were previously special to her. Love isn't an exhaustable commodity.

  30. 60
    Kari

    Here’s the deal: if you’re afraid of being judged, you’re not comfortable with yourself. And if you’re with someone who’d judge you harshly for telling the truth about yourself, maybe you should find a new partner.

    If you’re dating a woman who feels she needs to know this number, and you’re not comfortable giving it to her, then maybe what you should be saying is, “I don’t feel like we’re headed into a longterm relationship so I don’t want to answer personal questions.” If that’s your reality, let her in on the news. It’s only fair.

    It’s hard for me to imagine spending my life with a man where we couldn’t have conversations about our sexual pasts. Whatever your story is–too much, too little, compulsions, insecurity, or apple-pie perfection–it would be just too weird to have one “No Trespassing” area in the relationship.

    Do you have any other off-limits topics, or is this the only one?

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