The Number of People You've Slept With Does Not Matter

As someone who doesn't care about a partner’s sex count, and expects that attitude to be reciprocated, I mistakenly assumed that everyone around me had the same mindset as I do. So when my friend told me that she would not date someone who has had sex with four or more people, I was shocked.

For me, sexual pasts have never really been topics of discussion. Prior to sleeping with someone for the first time, my personal concerns are whether either of us has contraception, if he has recently been tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases, and whether we both want to have sex with each other (Remember: consent is the most important aspect in sex).

In 2015, Bustle examined a study that was conducted by popular sex toy company Lovehoney on sexual histories and how they impact relationships. Researchers studied 6,000 participants and found that out of those who have admitted to lying, women were more likely to lower their numbers of past partners while men were more likely to raise their numbers.

So what does this all mean? And why are so many people not telling the truth?

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Society has constructed an emphasis on sex count where one needs to have the “perfect” number of sexual partners, whatever that may be. And if one has a number that society deems as too high or low, they will be subjected to judgment. According to the same Lovehoney study, 29 percent of women and 21 percent of men would be turned off if they were dating someone who had a “high number.”

But what even is a “high number”? The term is extremely subjective and can vary from person to person; a “high” number for one person can be a sign of prudishness for another.  Whether someone has never had sex or has slept with 100+ people is solely their business. No one should ever be patronized for their number of previous sexual partners, especially by their partner or close friends.

If you hold a high value on one’s sexual past, I strongly suggest that you reconsider your stance. I understand that in many cultures, having sex with more than one person is looked down upon. However, I personally think that the number of people one has had sex with doesn’t matter because it doesn’t change who they are as a person. Even if you don’t agree with the choices your friend or partner has made, it is still important to respect their decisions.

If someone asks you about the number of people you have had sex with, do whatever you want. Tell them or don’t tell them, that is strictly your decision to make. But if you begin to feel bad about your number, please remember that it doesn't really matter: your sexual history does not and will never define you.