What Is Your Number? : The Sensitive Subject of How Many Sexual Partners A Person Should Have In A Lifetime

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Once upon a time #zlotybaby caused some serious drama which eventually resulted in poor little #englishrosiee being savagely evicted on to the street 4 days before the end of the month simply by starting a Friday night drinks discussion around the subject of how many sexual partner’s a person had had. Understandably, this can be a sore spot for some. You’d think those that’d be more sensitive about revealing their number would likely be the 30-something virgin or perhaps the WISO who’d lost count of their conquests. However, what our case study from yesteryear highlighted that regardless as to where you stand on the spectrum of sexual experience : ‘What Is Your Number ?’ remains a question that tends to stir up a bunch of emotions.

Why does it matter?

It shouldn’t, really. However, let’s face it. The world is one hell of a judgmental place.

Obviously, it depends on the context one is operating in but your number has the potential to say a lot about you. You are all well aware of feelings about 30-something virgins, and I know for sure that most people around me feel the same way, although they may not be so brutally vocal about it. We live in a society that is pretty sex-obsessed, holding onto your V-card so late in life would be seen to be rather odd. However, in a deeply religious society the reaction would be quite the opposite. As hard as it may be to believe, there are still societies where you’d never dream of walking down the aisle with a popped cherry! Then again, as sex-obsessed as our society is, if your sexual conquests start to hit double or triple figures, chances are you’ll still get judged for being sexually promiscuous. Clearly, there is no pleasing some people.

And naturally, living in a man’s world the nature of the judgement you’ll face when comes to talking about notches on your bed post is likely to vary depending on your gender. There are plenty of people that’ll say things are changing but to be honest guys are still more likely to be openly bragging about their conquests than us chicks.

How do you handle such a question?  

Of course, ‘What’s Your Number ?’ along with a whole host of other personal questions such as : ‘When are you going to find a man and settle down?’, ‘When is he putting a ring on it?’ or ‘Why are you waiting so long to procreate?‘, are invasive and quite frankly none of anyone’s business. However, most people don’t give two hoots about your personal sensitivities and will go ahead and ask anyway.  So how do you deal with it?

Well, you can be brutally honest and say, call them a pervert and tell them to do one because the minutiae of your sex life has nothing to do with them. But that isn’t likely to win you any mates. You also have the option to lie. Pull a number out of the sky and go with it. Who is going to know any better? And if it shuts the gossip mongers up for a bit then it’s all good. Finally, you can totally just be out and proud of your number. Look them in the eye and let them bring on that judgement. That though, is probably easier said than done.

How about in a relationship?

So it’s one thing telling a random down the pub to keep their nose out of your business or lying to a bunch of chicks at a hen party but how about when it comes to discussing your sexual history with a significant other? It’s bound to come in conversation at some point or another. And sure, they are into you and an arbitrary number won’t necessarily change that. But let’s be honest, the judgement is still going to be there although it maybe a bit more subtle and hopefully a little less mean-spirited. There is always a some degree of comparing yourself with your person’s past. Imagine having to follow in the footsteps of a former geisha or a yoga instructor Pressure’s on! And let’s not even get started on the responsibility that’s placed on your shoulder’s if you know you’re somebody’s first time!

Whatever the case though, if you are with a good human who truly has feelings for you, even if some judgement (or panic) exists following a discussion of your sexual history,  hopefully it won’t be much cause for conversation, they’ll get over their issues pretty fast, move on to more important things (read: the bedroom!) instead of dwelling on the past.

What about the facts?

As I said in my recent post about the Sex Recession, because we live in an age where we are bombarded by images of sex, songs about sex, blogs about sex (hehe!), we are often tricked into believing that everybody around is getting loads of lovely, lovely bedroom acrobatics on tap.  The truth is though that it would probably be unwise to give up your Virgin (In) Active membership so soon because most people, including both those in and out of relationships, cannot rely on their fellow humans for their cardio sessions.

So for the facts. According to the most recent survey I could find quoted on the interweb, the average number of sexual partners a person has in their lifetime is …. (about) 7! Obviously, that figure changes depending on your sex (i’m sure most guys are gonna be higher), location (the survey was based on people in the UK/US), sexuality (gay/straight/a-sexual or undecided), as well as your propensity to lie (as it how you judge your own number and what you regard as prudish/sexually promiscuous!)

So, basically its really difficult to gauge an average number of sexual partners a person should have had by a certain point in their lives. It’s an incredibly complicated matter. For instance, you could have had a lot of (s)experience in terms of number of partners but never experience good sex and the big O. At the end of the day, while one’s sexual history can put some of us on edge, these types of invasive question provide nothing more than ice-breaker for those somewhat mindless booze-fueled conversations. It’s not a topic that should necessarily make you re-think your life or change the world. So get angry, lie, deflect or stand your ground. It’ll be yesterday’s news soon enough.  From a more serious point of view though whether you choose to hold your V-card for evermore or treat sex as a sport and play the field, be safe, try to make sensible decisions that you can live with the morning after and don’t come home with anything that can’t be cured by antibiotics.

Rinsers, it’s over to you. What’s Your Number? An overly invasive question or a good starting point for a bit of banter on a Friday night? How would you go about answering the question yourself? How much does it matter? And what does it say about the way we judge people according to the level of sexual experience? Are you surprised by 7 being a rough average? Let’s chat in the comment section below. 

 

 

 

 

 

23 comments

    • I also thought 7 was pretty low. But I think the number states one of two things. It either reinforces my belief that the media/society around us overplay this idea that everyone around is constantly having sex (that only happens in the movie). Or that people are lying – even though the survey is anonymous people might just say 7 (or there abouts) because they have an idea of how many sexual partners is seen as legitimate or respectable to those around them.

      Totes surprised that your son says that girls have more sexual partners than men but I am often surprised at what these younger folks are up too. It seems that drinking, partying and sex are less important to them than they were to my generation 10 ish years ago!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think back in the day when #zlotybaby and I were having that conversation with a few former friends of ours the average was about 12/13….Not 100% sure though. I think its hard to get an accurate estimate.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. My number in total: 3, but one was at knife point… Personally I think the average of 7 is low, but then again, like you said, there are many factors that affect people’s number, particularly age and upbringing.

    My thought is: if you’re uncomfortable in any way about your number, then maybe there’s an underlying personal issue that should be addressed. To me it’s like the issue of buying condoms: if you’re scared or embarrassed to go buy condoms, then you shouldn’t be having sex. If you’re scared or embarrassed by your number, then maybe you should reflect about your personal lifestyle. And if someone cares that much how other people feel about their number, high or low, again, that person needs to do some reflecting. I say own your number, whatever it may be. I’m not proud of my 3 since one was rape, but it is what it is. I’m also not embarrassed my number is comparatively low to most everyone else or even the average listed.

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  2. Thanks for commenting!

    You made a really good point. People should own their number and be OK with it instead of worrying so much about averages and what people think.

    It’s easier said than done especially when you are young and everyone around you seems like they are in a hurry to grow up. I wouldn’t blame a person for telling a white lie to get their peers off their back. But I think overtime you get used to things are realise you did what you did, when you did for a reason and you can’t exactly go back and do things over so you’ve just gotta accept and move on in a positive way.

    xx

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  3. I probably wouldn’t push anyone to share their number publicly anymore. Somehow these days sex life of others seems much less interesting to me – maybe because I have sex on tap now as opposed to being slightly obsessed back then with intermittent droughts being more of my reality, never knowing when the next person worth even looking twice at will appear in my life. In any case, I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of their number but maybe use it as a food for thought, especially if they’re still single. When I hear that someone our age (dirty 30) had two sexual partners I can’t help to think that they did very little exploring. I think there are some sexual experiences that are worth having: sex just for fun when you don’t have that much in common with a person to see a difference between lust and love better, bad sex to know that it doesn’t always just work out and sexual compatibility is important and of course great sex with a long term partner. I’m not sure whether there’s a perfect number and there’s for sure still a lot of stigma with women with higher numbers (say, above 20) which is something I don’t understand. The thing is especially for people with full lives, who travelled a lot in their twenties I’m not sure, exactly, how can they keep their numbers low. Does it make them any better if they just do dry humping or kissing around? Lol. Sex is natural but every person should decide what works for them. I think that three is a minimum that allows for a bit of flexibility with the seven you mentioned probably being more realistic. Most of people I’ve pushed for the answers in my life were around 10-12 on average with the higher numbers around 40 and lower at… none.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! People love to talk sex and draw comparisons especially after a few bevs! It’s a tough topic to avoid altogether.

      If I recall correctly the issue that caused all the noted drama was about the differing nature of kissing/dry humping and full on unadulterated sex. I personally find kissing and dry humping a way of sifting through the deadwood when it comes to figuring out if things are going to progress to the sex stage. In the sense that you’d use the kissing/dry humping to test the waters and see if there was any chemistry before disrobing! Perhaps I’m just one to overthink things when it comes to sexing, more so than basic kissing but I guess it’s a case of different strokes for different folks. I have heard people say that they treat sex as a sport …. just like the gym you need three sessions a week regardless of wether one is a relationship or not! I’d like to think because of its intimate nature, sex was different but like with anything if you do it enough with (enough ppl to lose count) then maybe the novelty and ‘big deal’ of it all wears off!

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      • So I find this attitude strange because I kissed maybe one guy I wasn’t attracted to in my life? I think I just knew whether I was attracted to someone or not just from the vibe we had, even before the kiss. When I opted for just kissing/dry humping that was mostly when I was just happy with getting some attention and actually still with my heart set on someone from the past but trying to get over them. I think it’s sad if a person feels really attracted to someone and they don’t sleep with them because they have some perception of sex such as it’s a sin/it’s not good/it’ll make me a slut or whatever it is. On the other hand, it’s even more sad if someone DOES sleep with someone they’re not attracted to, to prove something to that someone, someone else or themselves. In short, sex should be fun and you should get it when you want it and not have it when you don’t, regardless of what people around you think.
        I don’t really believe people who tell me they treat it like the gym or they need new sexual partners all the time. I saw so many of these oh-so-casual about sex people pining for their last sexual partner or lost love and I’ve seen prudish girls telling me it’s not sex if it’s anal 😉 People like to talk but it’s much better to draw conclusions based on what they do.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. @zlotybaby I wouldn’t necessarily say its always religion/morals that plays a part in people maybe holding out for longer. There is a lot to be said for body confidence/self-esteem. Some people aren’t necessarily comfortable enough to strip off in front of someone, even if there is chemistry and they are attractive as hell. I think that’s why kissing and dry humping is a nice middle ground, I suppose. There are lots of mean people in the world. I know of one guy who left a chick 5 pounds after a one night stand – he thought it’d be ‘funny’ to pay for the service. I’ve also heard of guys calling a cab for the chick after they’ve done the dead. Pillow talk is overrated it seems. I’m sure girls do mean things too. I think if you are a fairly self-assured person, you might laugh such incidences off but if you are a little more sensitive/less-experienced such episodes could potentially cause more damage.

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    • I try to believe that human beings are decent… I mean I’ve definitely obsessed about similar scenarios in my life but there are husbands in this world who ghost people so I guess one should just listen to their gut feelings and hope for the best. If you don’t trust someone to be decent enough, you shouldn’t sleep with them or do anything else. What’s there to say they won’t trash talk you because of the way you kiss? Or that they won’t lie that they’ve slept with you, anyway?

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      • I guess we also become better judges of character as we get older and have more experiences. Also having a rubbish experience, being played by someone feels like crap in the immediate aftermath but eventually it does become old news and you learn from it…a few weeks, month or years down the line those bad episodes are less of a big deal. I agree with you on some level, holding out too long for ‘the one’ (who may not even be the one) and denying yourself sexual experiences (good and bad) in the process is just a bit sad. But I also think its a bit about finding a middle ground too… I don’t really believe in the ‘sex as a sport’ attitude, there does tend to be some emotional impacts there even if the so-called WISOs of the world deny it. I guess everyone needs to figure out what works for them…and avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do wonder who actually treats “sex as a sport”. I mean sure, I’ve read this book called “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” and this guy was really really crazy with his sexcapades but I really think it’s just an exception to the rule. I think saying things like this is people’s self-defence mechanism for when they’re asked when are you going to find yourself a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife and they’re like “Never, man. So boring to be having sex with the same person over and over again.” They’re just trying to make other people feel bad to protect their fragile egos.
        You just don’t get chemistry with everyone to have that many sexual encounters. Unless you have no standards I guess…

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      • Totes agree. I think its similar to dating. If you are somewhat pretty, have a bit of banter and make some effort it is easy enough to line up a few Tinder dates but the issue is you won’t have the same chemistry with them all. That why I think its lucky when you find someone you do have it with and its not even just about looks. There are guys out there that I can objectively say are handsome but when I arrive on the date I am just a bit disappointed because there is no sparkle. So yup, sure you can get sex everyday with a different person if that is what you go after but the chance of it being good everytime is unlikely. Better to just find a person you click with and try and roll with that for as long as it works out.

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      • Exactly! I guess one just has to go around their business and smile when people overly brag about their sexcapades. Last but not least, they say that dogs that bark, don’t bite 😉

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      • An update here: even the I’ll fuck everything that moves, monogamy is boring guy who has written the book I’ve mentioned is now married with a kid… Go figure 😉

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  5. Hate to sound like a prude but that;s very intrusive. Only should be discussed if pursuing a relationship with someone exclusively and feel it will impact that said relationship, but to make it a topic for discussion on a slow Friday night ….smh. Besides how do you know everyone in the room is telling the truth about how many?

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    • For sure it’s intrusive but you know what people are like when they have alcohol in their system.

      Even in a relationship, it can be an awkward question … from a personal perspective I think most guys I’ve met will tell you they’ve lost/count forgotten their number. I dunno about chicks. I think there is still a judgement placed on someone’s number.

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  6. I don’t think you’re obligated to tell anyone your “number”, especially if it’s a group of people down the pub. But hey, there’s no reason to be ashamed either 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup…I have to admit I’ve lied in the past just to shut people up and have them move swiftly on to the next topic of conversation. People often get to the invasive questions once there is booze in the mix.

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