I’ve never asked a man how many women he’s slept with. Honestly, I’ve never wanted to know. What I do ask is when was the last time they were tested, can I see the results and if they practice safe sex. If the question isn’t asked, it leaves no room for lies.  But I’ve been asked and I’ve never lied.

When people hear my number, for some reason they’re amazed. I guess being in my mid 30’s and still in the single digits isn’t something people come across too often. I tell people I attribute that to recycling. In my mind, a repeat person doesn’t count as a new person. Makes sense to me. It doesn’t add to the proverbial notch on a belt.

Because there are still gender bias amongst a lot of people, people tend to judge others when they hear a number that seems high. I’ve done it myself. I’ve also had a guy friend tell me that he started having sex by the time he was 13 and at 42, he’s slept with over 200 women.  He actually stopped counting after 200. That’s a lot of vaginas.  But of course, rarely does anyone pay attention to the number of partners a man has had.

When you speak of women with high numbers of sexual partners, it more often than not, turns into “slut shaming”. A few weeks ago, on Twitter, even Oprah tweeted something that received a side-eye from me:

 

So women are giving it up too soon? But not men? Got it.  It’s these attitudes about sex and the biases surrounding it that lead people to lie about how many partners they’ve had.  If you like sex, and like to have it with a lot of people, who am I to  judge.

According to the The National Health Statistics Reports, 8.3% of women and 21.4% of men have had 15 or more partners. While the number of sex partners increased with age, by the age of 24 more than 14% of men and 7 % of women have had 15 or more sex partners. This data was collected from in person interviews with over 13,000 men and women.

If you like sex, and like to have it with a lot of people, who am I to  judge? I would just hope that you’re protecting yourself while you’re doing it.

Is there a such thing as a high number of partners? Does it matter how many partners someone’s had?

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  • grateful

    “But of course, rarely does anyone pay attention to the number of partners a man has had.”

    i guess i am rare.

  • Jaslene

    I don’t think there is a high number unless you think it is. I’m 26 and have had casual sex or one night stands which has made my number a little high. I lost my virginity at what many would consider to be an old age of 19 and for a few years I decides to abstain from sex due to some things that happened in my life. I won’t ever disclose to a man the number of people I have slept with because either way one will be too many.

  • Chatty Kathy

    Hmm, well I feel like guys want to give up their number. So many have told me stories that make me want to clutch their pearls. Others have bumped into so many ex lovers it makes me wonder how they had time to work a job in between sexing. I think it depends on who you’re with – if you’re confident, it shouldn’t matter, but most people can do the math if a guy is telling you EVERY story about their sexual escapades before you. That being said, if they are tested regularly, then it shouldn’t be a problem. But I think it’s on a case by case basis. Some guys might have been in a lot of committed relationships, others like the casual sex thing. Going that way can be risky, but honestly have more friends who have gotten stds from being in monogamous relationships than friends who have casual sex with anything with a penis….its funny how that happens…

    • Nic

      I guess I wonder though, with people like that, how is it ever special? What do you do for someone you really care about or love?

  • TJH

    I think there is a difference between having sex too soon and having sex too much. I think the former, which was what Oprah’s text was in reference to, is more about women thinking they have to have sex when they don’t really want to. This usually ends with women having lowered self-esteem and giving themselves away instead of sharing themselves freely. The latter, what people commonly refer to as ‘slut shaming’, is a judgmental belief that a woman has had too many partners. When to have sex and how many people you have it with is a personal decision and no one should feel pressured to tell another person the number. You can get an STD from 1 just like you can get it from 100–so safety should be the main concern.

  • Not to be the Debbie Downer here, but can we please not forget that a guy showing you his papers doesn’t mean a whole lot when there are STDs that men can have but won’t show up (either with a test or with symptoms)? HPV is real and although common and often the body wards off the virus while we are blissfully unaware we ever had it, that “clean” penis could cause you cervical cancer. And condoms can help prevent STD transmission but I don’t put a whole lot of stock in that when it comes to skin-to-skin transmission. Sex is a very active experience (if you’re doing it right LOL) and I know damn sure when I’m doing it, there’s little skin to skin contact that ISN’T happening.

    That said, I don’t care about his numbers and I would expect him to not care about mine (and he doesn’t). Monogamy matters more than numbers in our relationship.