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When Dating, Should Your Number of Partners Even Come Up?

number of parnersThere’s an interesting, interview-based piece on YourTango about whether or not the amount of sexual partners a woman has had matters to a guy she’s dating. Some men answered yes, that it matters, and they say that if a woman’s “number” is too high, it’s intimidating or makes her look like she’s not the type of girl to settle down with, especially if the woman’s number is higher than theirs. Conversely, other guys said it doesn’t matter, and that a high number can be a positive thing, because it means the woman is mature and experienced in bed.

28-year-old Pete told YourTango that if you’re going to ask a woman how many men she’s slept with, how and why you do it matters. He says, “I’m definitely curious about how many people a potential partner has been with and I’d be really careful about how I asked. It’s one thing to know because you’re genuinely interested — it’s another to ask because you’re going to judge them.” Excellent point, Pete! On a societal level, we’re still more accepting of men who’ve slept around than women who’ve done the same, and if we judge men with high numbers, it’s to say that they’re virile, not that they’re slutty. So is it worth even bringing a sensitive subject like this up, no matter your gender?

The post author, Irene Jay, says, “In college, I learned an incredibly valuable lesson from a colleague who was much older than me at the time. She told me that one of the highlights of her marriage was the fact that she and her partner chose to keep some things (ie: past sexual history) out of their relationships. “They’re my stories,” she told me, “and his belong to him.””

Now that I’m in my 30′s and dating after divorce, I can see the value in letting the past be the past, whether in terms of a person’s sex life or their romantic history. Anyone with experience in love can talk for hours about all of the hurts and highs they’ve been through, but those moments are over now, so what’s the point? The lessons you’ve learned in love are for you, not for your potential partners, and bringing up past relationships – for the most part – can only add baggage to your current one. So before you ask someone you like about how many people they’ve slept with or what went wrong in their previous relationships, think about what it might cost the relationship you’re trying to develop. Besides, if you give people a chance, they’ll usually tell you what you want to know, and you won’t even have to ask.

Photo credit: iStock

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