Wise Guys: Does It Matter If You've Slept with More People Than Your Partner?

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Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: Does the average hetero guy really care if his girlfriend/wife has had sex with more people than he has? And if so, why?

Straight Married Guy (Jamie): I may be somewhat in the minority here in that, while I have an extremely liberal philosophy about sex, I haven’t had a particularly high number of sexual partners (I was always a “girlfriend guy” and just didn’t rack up the big numbers).  I’ve also never bought into the whole men-as-players/women-as-sluts double standard.  Many of the female friends I admire most have had lots of sexual partners, but are also all well-adjusted, independent women.  To be honest, I’ve always been more attracted to women who have an air of worldliness.  I think it’s a turn-on to be with a woman who is confident sexually and knows what she likes.  And if that confidence came at the hands (or whatever) of more former lovers then I’ve had, well that’s just fine by me.

Gay Engaged Guy (Joel Derfner, author of Swish): As a gay man living in a major metropolitan city, I’ve lost track of the amount of sex I’ve had.  How then can I hold a partner to a different standard?  I recommend that everybody have enough sex so that both the boy and the girl can honestly say, “I’m not really sure,” and leave it at that.  That said, I asked my straight cousin, whose wife has always been very sexually free, and he said that his biggest worry had been that their kids’ attitude toward sex would develop far too early as a result, but this has turned out not to be the case.  I loathe children, so I’m going to stick with the “I’m not really sure” recommendation.

Straight Single Guy (L.A. Chris): Totally. He also cares if she’s stronger, smarter, or wealthier than he is. It comes down to our primal need for dominance. Unless a guy’s got a fetish or extreme dominance in one of those areas (i.e., a body-builder won’t care about a girl’s bulging biceps), it’s a turn-off to be second banana or subordinate. Truth be told, he’ll also feel a little bit jealous (it’s a big competition between guys since we were teenagers). And lastly, we want our girl to be a virgin slut, and we need to pretend that if we’re not the first, then at least we’re the best.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Gay Engaged Guy is Joel Derfner, author of Swish. To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. To SoCalGuy

    Just throwing it out there – but is it possible your wife is regaling you of the stories of how exciting sex was “back then” because she is feeling out how you might feel about spicing things up now? If you think you are missing out on something, you may want to raise it with your wife. Sexual experience or expertise does not have to be gained with multiple partners – you can do it in the context of a committed, monogamous relationship.

  2. To SoCalGuy:
    It is obvious from both your experience and ways of thinking that you are a sensitve man who understands a woman is not an extension of you but a whole entity within herself with the full right and capability to be wild, reserved, and make silly mistakes. i applaud you for your maturity in even looking at your wife (and hopefully all women) from that angle. Furthermore the very problem/insecurity you are dealing with only drives the situation even closer to home. The feelings you speak of are not only what most women feel through the course of their life…due to the fact that we normally have older partners who have lived their life to the fullest (and was lucky enough to be judged by his character as opposed to his very worth as a person tied in with his sexuality as his core being), as well as the fact that people barely encourage women to live for themselves often subconsciously instilling in them the idea that they better trap a man in her matrimonial claws tying him down-after all you are a “whore” for just giving it up because ironically he hasn’t bought you enough to receive what everyone seems to believe is an act enjoyable only by him….I am not trying to make you feel guilty-exactly the opposite-just understand what you feel is what women are not only forced to -but even encouraged to feel-for the course of their entire lives. Personally I believe we all as humans reserve the right to trully live life for ourselves (after all you will inevitably be judged anyway)…and do the best we can to understand others the same. I hope every thing works out for you and your wife (as she seems to be an intelligent and brave woman herself) but most importantly I hope you find what is right for you. You honestly gave me a strange hope-(not to see anyone else be subject to such contrasting psychology) but to the fact that even though its not easy to find (just as no one encourages indepdence in women-even less do I see any attempts to stop society’s tendency to simply justify men’s behaviour/subconscious sexism) but to the fact that there are men like you with the rare woman that your wife seems to be…and that in itself shows me times are shifting (very very) slowly into a state of true synthesis and above any and all else TRUE and HONEST mutual respect.

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