Certain conversations are doomed from the start and when it comes to relationships, the “how many people have you slept with?” inquiry is one of those losing chats. Don’t let yourself get sucked in! Plead the fifth!
There is not one single solitary reason for your mate to know your sexual number. Swapping numbers with your man can create insecurity (“I have so much less experience. Does he even think I’m good?”), judgment (“Damn! She’s just out here sexing like that?”) and other complicated, potentially damaging feelings. I always think of that old Chris Rock joke? “Two men? TWO MEN? Including me? Who raised you?” A man with more notches on his bedpost than dollars in his bank account can be quick to turn around and get brand new when he finds out his girl has slept with eight men in five years. Sad, but true.
When it comes to sex and numbers, the double standards game is off the hook. However, I don’t advocate keeping your personal score personal so that you might preserve your innocent or “worthy” image in the eyes of a dude who may be a total hypocrite about your sexual behavior and his. While I acknowledge that men (and women) have been socialized in the way that has made the parameters of female sexual freedom very narrow, I think the bigger picture here is the inherent unsexy-ness of spending so much energy discussing past sex with your current flame.
I am aware of the fact that someone is reading this right now and judging me. And I do not care. Knock yourself out. Whatever astronomical number of partners you think I may have had is wrong; multiply it by two, carry the one and add three more. Won’t hurt me none. I’ve been responsible and deathly serious about protection, so I don’t have anything to worry about. I don’t hide my total from my beau because it’s super high and I’m embarrassed about it. It simply isn’t any of his business.
It has nothing to do with shame. There is simply no value in sharing your number with your partner. Some things are simply meant to be personal. What your man does need to know, however, is about your history of using protection. When was your last STD screening and what were the results? Are you on birth control right now? Are you having sex with anyone else at the moment? It isn’t the number of notches on your belt that can impact your honey; its how your sexual behavior was when you were with them. You can have unprotected sex with 20 men and come out fine, whereas the girl who sleeps with the same man sans protection can find herself with a lifetime of woe.
If your honey attempts to start this conversation, simply say “With all due respect, that information is personal. Let’s talk about how safe we’ve been instead. I’ll go first” and kick the facts about your sexual health. If he can’t get past the numbers game, then there may be some insecurity there for some other reasons, possibly unrelated to you. Just keep emphasizing the fact that you’d hate to worry over what he was doing with other women prior to you and that you would prefer that he took the same approach.
A tip: if he needs little ego stroke to get past his immature fascination with what you did before you met him, say “The other lovers I had don’t even matter anymore, because all I can think about is you.” If he’s silly enough to be obsessive over your number, he might fall for something corny like that. Word to the wise: the more fixated he is on learning that number, the worse his reaction will be if it’s something he deems to be high. Keep your mouth shut and your sanity intact.