“How many have you been in bed with?”
A question that is likely to be asked at the beginning of any relationship. The answer to this is mostly a lie.
Our sex partners are extremely intimate and the number is actually none of anyone’s business.
But that doesn’t change the fact that everyone would like to know from other people how many sex partners they have already had. Especially with people with whom we are considering starting a relationship, the notorious question about previous sex partners is burning on the tongue.
Peter and Alice
Alice heard that question for the first time when she was 22. The most delicate of all questions. Peter got to know Alice then and was totally in love with her. They had sex and when they were in bed afterward, he asked her, “How many have you slept with?”
She wasn’t prepared for that and actually didn’t want to tell him. But he emphasized that it was very important to him. So, she named a number. Not the right one, but a slightly smaller one — and he was stunned. He said he didn’t know if he could continue this relationship with her. And that’s how it happened; nothing came of them.
Was it really the question that broke their beginning relationship? I don’t think so. On the contrary. It just made it clear more quickly what was set anyway: that they didn’t go together.
What’s really going on with that question?
The question about previous sex partners is a very crucial question for every relationship. Therefore one should deal with it as early as possible in whatever way. You learn a lot about the potential relationship candidate, their attitude towards partnership and sexuality, and whether they fit your own. And especially with men, the reaction reveals a lot about their idea of equality and emancipation.
I recently had a talk with a friend of mine. He had just met a girl who asked him the sex partner question. As soon as he gave his answer, he wanted to hear hers. She said 18 — a number less than his and an average mediocre. But he reacted similarly to Peter back then with Alice. He actually told her that he couldn’t cope with it somehow.
He’s obviously a modern, cosmopolitan man. What exactly was his problem? He had slept with more women than men she had slept with. The truth is that
when women have alternating sex partners, they are often still considered sluts, both by men and women.
It may no longer be spoken out in public because men don’t want to be rude, but when it comes to their partner, it comes to the fore the possessive patriarch who would love to marry a virgin. As many women know this, they often give a wrong number — and cheat down, never up.
But some women also have a problem if their new partner had previously an active sex life. They dream of a reliable man who has never had a one-night stand and has waited for the one and only woman in his whole life. And then living out his romantic and by no means instinct-driven sexuality only with her.
Philipp, a friend of mine, had a dissolute sex life for years. He used to hook a different girl at home almost every weekend. When he finally was in a relationship with Melanie, he gave her the cute number three to the sex partner question — because Melanie had a very conservative attitude and he knew that any other answer would lead to a huge scene, if not to a breakup. Nevertheless, they two are no longer together.
If you have to lie in order to save your relationship, you can actually break up straight away!
However, if you have the same idea of how to deal with it, you have a good chance. I learned this from Jane, whom I met when I was 30 and she was 28. On our second date, she made a calculation… If you’re 28, have been single for most of your life, and have an average of one to two sex partners a year, the bottom line is that the number is quite high. Consider that this kind of sex life is not even particularly much active. Jane found it totally wrong that women are often referred to as sluts. I thought Jane was great for that. And I then realized that it was good to talk about this topic early in my relationships.
When things got serious with my last girlfriend, I brought up the matter directly. I told her that I had a sex life before her, but there wasn’t a need to ask me for a specific number. She wouldn’t get an answer.
She was totally relieved. She didn’t want to know and she didn’t want to tell me her stories either. Our shared attitudes brought us closer together and showed us that neither of us was a jealous person and that we didn’t see our partner as a possession. Nor as a second-hand product which we should have checked how worn it was by the previous owner before we bought it. That was life before us and at that moment we had a life together that should remain untouched by our past.
The sex partner question clarifies a fundamental attitude that is crucial for a relationship
This is why the sex partner question is so important. It clarifies a fundamental attitude that is crucial for a relationship. To find it out at an early stage in a relationship, the question should be addressed directly. And then you name a number or discuss the topic differently — and get to know each other pretty well in a very short time.
Originally posted on Medium