What is the acceptable amount of past sexual partners?: Ask Ellie
How many past sex partners is an acceptable amount?
A group of us, males and females, find that sex happens between dating couples usually between the second to fifth date.
Given that people are dating early — say, age 16 — and that most people will have multiple boyfriends and girlfriends before getting married (if ever), what’s the maximum number of sexual partners before it’s a warning sign to the prospective partner?
Or before you feel that the sexual history is excessive and leads you to believe the person isn’t “stable” and should be avoided?
We know it depends on the age, but when should the sexual history, whether of a male or female, be a warning sign?
Is it five to 10 partners by age 24, one to 20 sexual partners by age 20, etc ... ?
Or is there no limit for different sexual partners?
All of my friends know men and woman who by age 30 have had more than 50 partners. None of us felt comfortable about that.
Besides the possibility of disease, does the lack of what we feel should be a moral compass, plus a high number of sexual partners, related to age, show a definite lack of stability and judgment in that person?
We feel that most people usually do discuss their sexual history eventually with their partner.
Ever since the famous film scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, (released in 1994) when Andie MacDowell lists 33 previous lovers to Hugh Grant’s obvious discomfort (only nine), “the numbers” question has been fraught with problems.
Sexual history is a part of the person you meet. If he/she is “unstable,” you should be finding this out in many ways, not just by counting.
After all, a person can lie up or down the scale — boasting higher numbers to appear desirable, or less to hide promiscuity.
What matters more is not the other person’s judgment, but your own.
If you’re in the dating scene, you need to develop antennae about whether a person is a consummate cheater or a sex addict (terms applying to both sexes).
If neither, then it’s likely — depending on age and life experience — that the “number” is a factor of fairly normal opportunity and desire.
However, if there’s anything disturbing about someone with regard to sexual experience — say, excessively shy, coldly unaffectionate, disdaining intimacy — then the count isn’t as significant as whether you’re signing on to dealing with bigger issues.
Now, about moral compass.
Everyone actively dating has to develop a strong sense of what they can accept from someone with whom they’re going to become close, and what they cannot expect.
The “numbers” sometimes only reflect a small part of a person’s life — a period of abstinence, for example, or a time of chasing after approval and love.
In 2012, the American dating website SeekingArrangement.com asked 1,000 clients for the perfect number of ex-lovers anyone should have.
The answer, from both males and females, was 10. Respondents felt that more would be promiscuous, and less would betray an inexperienced or repressed participant.
Honesty in a budding relationship is not about divulging every past sexual encounter (do barely-remembered one-night stands count?).
Rather, it’s about being open about previous important relationships — though graphic details and sexual comparisons aren’t necessary or wise.
“Disclosure” means being willing to take blood tests to have a clean slate together or know otherwise, early on.
Readers, it’s now your turn.
Do you think there’s an “acceptable number” and that the discussion is needed?
Tip of the day
Don’t ask, don’t count. Assess a dating partner by his/her behaviour with you.
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