Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “When it comes to the number of sexual partners a woman has had, do guys want to know? Even if they say they do, are they lying?”
Straight Single Guy (Mark Luczak): It’s the Information Age, and people in general are so conditioned to¬†gather and dissect every morsel of information they can find, that it¬†follows that this would apply in the bedroom as well. I suppose the¬†number of partners someone has had can serve as somewhat of a guage of¬†their experience, which in turn could provide a relative basis for¬†expectations, or at least a starting point for communication about it.
But communication-wise, far more important is simply sexual health history, regardless of that conversation’s catalyst (again, number of¬†partners could provide a guage, but one isn’t necessarily dependent on¬†the other). Past the health factors, sure, there are going to be¬†different degrees of curiosity about lots of things when entering into a¬†sexual relationship with someone (likes and dislikes, sex drives, etc.).¬†But at this point, we all have our pasts, sexual and otherwise, to¬†decide to share or not share, and at least for me anymore, the strict
number of previous partners is fairly low on the list of need-to-know’s.
Straight Married Guy (James Glazebrook): Yes, guys want to know — as long as your number’s lower than theirs. And if you think that’s disappointingly cliche of me, wait until you hear this: I’ve been known to feel threatened by the former sexual partners of women who’ve had fewer than I have. I’ve fixated on their size, their confidence and athleticism, the fact that they persuaded my woman to do things they regretted (but I wouldn’t mind trying) — any aspect of their prowess, real or imagined.
My only defence is that when I said I wanted to hear about this stuff, I wasn’t lying — I really wanted to be okay with it. In these enlightened, post-Sex and the City times, even men believe in sexual equality — that the number of people a woman has been with is no reflection on her, or at least no more of a reflection than it is on her equally promiscuous male equivalent. But the thought of another man being with the woman I love (and it only ever mattered with women I loved) is enough to drive me mental… until I’ve been with her long enough to deal with/suppress those feelings.
It’s probably telling that while I was obsessing about my now-wife’s handful of previous partners, she was worried about my relationship experience — that I’d been in love before, while she’d never had a proper boyfriend. But whether it’s love or sex, if we never cared about this stuff, it’s probably a sign that we’ve stopped caring altogether.
Gay Single Guy (Daniel): Being a queer man, I have honestly never thought about this question, i.e. how a man is affected by the number of partners a woman he’s interested in has had. My suspicion is that it doesn‚Äôt really matter to modern men unless they are from a religious background. But frankly, as empowered women, don‚Äôt be ashamed about how many partners you‚Äôve had. You don‚Äôt have to justify your sexual history to a man. If a man thinks you do, drop him, because neither one of you should have to justify your sexual history to the other.
Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. This week’s Straight Married Guy is James Glazebrook of Most Likely To; our Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; and our Straight Single Guy is Mark Luczak, a tech geek at Carnegie Mellon University. To ask the guys your own question, click here.