Discussing Previous Sex Partners When Dating

At some point, the subject of how many sex partners you (or your partner) have had in his or her life is bound to come up in a relationship with someone you are dating. The problem is that answering this question, or hearing the answer from your partner can often turn into a ‘deal breaker’ that eventually ends the relationship. Truth is, that the amount of sex partners you have had can easily become a defining factor in what kind of person you are. According to statistics, this is especially true when it comes to women.

In the 2008 Durex Sex Survey, women, on average had 10 partners in their lifetime while men’s numbers hovered around the 20 mark. And as far as men are concerned, the less amount of sex partners the person they are dating has had, the better. In fact, a man and a woman with the same amount of partners equally twenty or more, seems to unveil the double-edged sword that is the monster of the double standard. While it is perceived to be okay for men to have multiple partners, women are accused of being promiscuous for having the same amount of partners.

The problem with this thinking and with discussing previous sex partners when dating as a whole is that the answer does not always seem to be indicative of what kind of morality another person has. In fact, even in the Durex survey, people likely lied in order to cover up their own insecurities about whether they have slept with what could be perceived as ‘too many people.’ According to psychologists, this question is rarely, if ever answered honestly, because it carries with it so many social ramifications. But what is often not considered, is the fact that since the 1980’s, sex outside of wedlock – with multiple partners has become more mainstream in society. Additionally, people are waiting longer to get married and have long-term relationships (meaning 6 months or longer) with an average of 6 more people today than they did just 20 years ago. So even without the one-night stands and the drunken college nights, most people come to a relationship with at least 5-6 partners under their belt. (Or at least so they say!)

The question here however is not how many sex partners you have had, or what is an acceptable number of sex partners – but whether or not you should be discussing it with people you are dating. The answer, is likely no. Of course the subject is going to come up at some point or another – but the truth is that your sexual history is strictly your own. Even though you may think that your partner shouldn’t care about how many people you have bed down with before the two of you got together, the truth is they will. If you tell the truth, and your number is one that seems too high to your partner – it can sabotage the relationship. Similarly, if your partner told you that they have made love to 71 people, the sexual relationship that you share would somehow be devalued or less special. Additionally, revealing sex partners and talking about the sex you have had with other people can insert a sense of insecurity into the relationship you are. Unnecessarily of course.

The 7/11 Rule

One journalist recommends that men actually use the 7/11 rule, meaning that if they have slept with less that 7 women – say 7, while use 11 as an answer if they have slept with more than 11 women. These numbers are normally considered generally safe as an amount of sex partners for both men and women. And even if those numbers are a sheer lie, perhaps this is one of the lies that are better told. After all, is the person you are dating really going to check up on you somehow, or be able to KNOW for sure how many people you have made love to? And even so, is it really any of their business?

If your partner is pressing you to give answers in this department, you have to give pause and wonder why this in particular is so important. Many people become insanely jealous or insecure after revealing ‘their number,’ and depending on what kind of idealism your partner lives with in their head – you could be setting yourself up to be abused or manipulated in the relationship. What starts out as one simple question, then becomes a question of how well your new relationship ranks sexually among all of your other sexual relationships. And relationship experts ALWAYS recommend one thing when it comes to dating. Leave your past in the past! Just like you don’t want to date a man or a woman who talks incessantly about their ex – you also don’t want to be dating someone that you know has slept with 125 other people. Even if you like the guy or girl a lot, this WILL somehow, eventually cloud your emotions.

The best policy when it comes to discussing sex partners with someone you are dating is the ‘don’t ask don’t tell,’ policy. Sure, you might be curious. But before you ask a question like this of someone else, you have to decide if you really want to know to begin with.

Bottom line is that some questions are quite simple not meant to be answered. In many cases in your life, it is better not to know the truth, and this is definitely one of them.



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