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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

13 College Women Get Real About Their Sexual Histories

Some people can be incredibly forthcoming about their sexual experiences, others look at the subject as incredibly taboo; no one needs to know their “number” but themselves.

We talked to 13 college women about how they feel talking about their “number” and their sexual history – check out what they said below.

“I feel I’ve had too many partners. I’ve slept with six people. At 20 I feel that’s a lot. However, four were from committed, year-long relationships. As for the other two, I was hooking up with both of them for a good amount of time. I wish I had less because I feel, as a girl, six sounds bad. For a guy, it’s not bad. I hate the double standard.”

-Cristina, Villanova University Class of 2018

“I have no issue talking about my sexual partners. A woman’s ‘number’ is so shamed in society when really, it should be no big deal. I have personally only slept with my long-term boyfriend but I know many women who have yet to have a steady relationship but still sleep with men or women. I don’t care how many people they’ve slept with as long as it’s safe and consensual and I think most people should look at it that way. I feel totally comfortable letting people know I’ve only slept with my boyfriend because that’s important to me. In fact, I’ve had more people judge me for only sleeping with him. I think everyone’s ‘number’ should be as private or as personal they want it to be. To each their own.”

-Caroline, St. Michael’s College Class of 2019

RELATED: The Truth About Your ‘Number’

“I am usually completely open when talking about the number of sexual partners I’ve had because I truly don’t feel like it’s as big of a deal as some people make it out to be. If I’m comfortable with my ‘number’ (which is eight, by the way) and that number can’t be decreased, why would someone else’s opinion matter? I used to regret some of my sexual experiences, but now that I have settled down with an amazing man that I plan to marry someday, I feel like the past ones don’t really matter and just allow me to appreciate my current partner even more.”

-Tianna, University of Illinois Class of 2017

“I do not feel very comfortable talking to other people about the number of sexual partners I’ve had. Mainly because many of them were, not mistakes per-se but they weren’t people that care about me and my life. I’ve had easily over 45 sexual partners, and that’s probably not counting the mistaken drunken hookups senior year of high school and freshman year of college. I do not feel ‘comfortable’ with my number; I wish I’d had fewer partners. The last few men in my life have been the most important ones and when they bring this conversation up it’s embarrassing to tell them I had so many wild days and nights. I’d rather tell them I had a number in single digits like them so they wouldn’t look at me in such a disapproving manner. They also often get judgmental and make accusations shortly after we’ve discussed my ‘number.’ So, yes I do wish I had less partners for the sake of my future relationships.”

-Sydney, Kent State University Class of 2017

“I do feel comfortable talking about the number of sexual partners I’ve had. I enjoy talking about sex positivity and talking about sex as a pleasurable experience, not one that carries guilt or negative feelings. While I do like being educated on the topic, I’ve never had sex with a partner so my ‘number’ is zero, and I am comfortable with that. I don’t think people should feel pressured into being in a relationship, having sex, or falling in love right now. College is a time to really find yourself and I know that it’ll happen for me when the time is right.”

-Melissa, Montclair State University Class of 2017

RELATED: The Truth About Virginity in College

“I feel comfortable talking to people about my number of partners or lack thereof because I feel like I’m misconceived as being a ‘slut’ because I’m pretty and I am in Greek life and talking about this gives me a chance to kill those assumptions. I’ve only ever slept with one person but at this point in my life I wish I’d had more because I feel like it’s a turnoff whenever I tell guys and try to sleep with them because if I’m ever drunk they get too nervous or they assume I want a long-term thing when really I’m just trying to have fun like they are.”

-Kaitlyn, Bryant University Class of 2016

“Even though my ‘number’ isn’t something that I tend to toss around in conversations with just anybody, I don’t mind talking about it. Sexuality is something that should be celebrated, as long as you’re going about it safely, no matter if you’ve had one or hundreds of partners. Personally, I’ve only had sex with one person. I’m happy with that, as this person is someone with whom I was/am comfortable, and I don’t regret doing it. As long as you’re being tested periodically and having safe sex, your ‘number’ really is just a number.”

-Olivia, University of North Carolina at Wilmington Class of 2018

“I have only been with two people and I’m not ashamed to talk about it. I had my reasons for decisions about both situations. Never be ashamed of something you had total control of! If my number was bigger, I think I’d still feel this way.”

-Anna, Gettysburg College Class of 2019

“All of my sexual experiences were all conscious choices that I was happy with and as a feminist and a sex positive woman I think talking about sex is part of removing the stigmas of females having sex that we have in today’s culture. And I’m happy with the number of partners because they were all consensual and I like to think each partner helped me grow sexually and vice versa.”

-Laura, Georgia College & State University Class of 2018

RELATED: Here’s Why No One Should Actually Care About Your Number

“I love talking about sex. It’s freeing and invigorating, and incredibly interesting. I’ve ‘hooked up’ with a total of four guys so far in my life, some were relationships and others were not. With each experience I have learned something new about myself and the fascinating ‘sexual sphere’. There’s so much to learn… It’s definitely something you have to get good at, and then it’s so much fun! I am comfortable with my number because the guys I got with were not random. I would say that I’m extremely picky, but there will definitely be more guys.”

-Alix, Franklin & Marshall College Class of 2019

“I am comfortable talking about it because I think it’s important to as to stop the inherent slut-shaming in our culture. I have had 12 sexual partners, and I don’t wish I had more or less because it’s simply a number. As long as we continue to focus on safe, consensual sexual encounters there is really no reason to focus on the number of partners you choose to have so people should not be ashamed to talk about it.”

-Cieara, Boise State University Class of 2018

“I think the same rules that apply with salary apply here. You don’t want a person to know much you make so they can judge you solely off of a number. In the same respect, you don’t want someone knowing your number whether it be small or large so they can make their own assumptions about who you are because of some digit. I have had five partners in my lifetime and with that being said some people may find this number to be too high and others might find this number to be decent, but their opinion does not matter. Only mine does and in terms of being comfortable, if I could change it, I would have wished that I only had one partner. This partner was the only one that truly showed me what it was like to be in love and taught me that when I have that same feeling for another person the way I did for him, that is when I know I am ready.”

-Anna, George Washington University Class of 2016

“I’m pretty much an over-sharer when it comes to everything—including my sexual history. I tell almost-strangers my number (it’s 14). Not all of these were positive experiences; actually, most of them weren’t, but I don’t regret any of them. I really think I’ve learned something from each of these times. Additionally, my ‘number’ doesn’t define me in the slightest. There are so many different circumstances surrounding sex that judging someone based off a digit or two is beyond ridiculous and unfair. I remember reading an article (the movie What’s Your Number was loosely based off of it) in which a number of women talked about their number, what it meant to them and how proud they were of it. These numbers ranged from 0 to 100 and it was so empowering… eff those double standards.”

-Amanda, UCLA Class of 2016

Cara Sprunk has been the Managing Editor of Her Campus since fall 2009. She is a 2010 graduate of Cornell University where she majored in American Studies with a concentration in cultural studies. At Cornell Cara served as the Assistant Editor of Red Letter Daze, the weekend supplement to the Cornell Daily Sun where she also wrote for the news and arts section and blogged about pop culture. In her free time Cara enjoys reading, shopping, going to the movies, exploring and writing.