Thoughts On The Number

@Katy_red was asking on twitter today [17th September, yes, I started writing this a while ago] “should you tell your partner how many people you’ve slept with?” I’ve been planning a blog on this for a while, because I feel asking “How many people have you slept with?” is an utterly pointless question.

I’m very pleased that The Girl has never asked. I’m just as pleased that she recognises I have no interest. It’s simply not relevant to how we relate to each other. 

So often when a date is going well, this question crops up. And suddenly there you are on your first date, who knows where it may lead, and already you’re both lying to each other.

The range of answers is huge. I’ve heard them from none to three figures or “I’ve lost count.” (Really). Okay, I’ll accept if you’re talking to a virgin then perhaps this information is useful. You’re going to be taking on the responsibility of someone’s first time, and that’s an important formative experience. But I suspect if you’re beyond your mid 20s then you’d be likely to have an idea already if your date is that inexperienced.

But what if it’s 5, 10, 20, 30, 100? What difference does it make? Do you have a number in mind that you judge to be acceptable? An upper limit perhaps? And who are you to judge? Or perhaps you feel intimidated by a number too large, or just one larger than your own.

And there’s the rub, I think. Many men want to feel the they have more experience than the girl they’re with. They lack the confidence that they’ll hold their own (no pun intended), or be able to impress.

And this is where the problems start. There’s the old joke that when you ask the question, women divide their magic number by three, men multiply theirs by three. While that’s probably not entirely true, it is true that the answer you get is so often untrue, that on the rare occasions you get a truthful answer you probably adjust it a little in your head to allow for the tendency among girls to want to appear less experienced and among men to appear more.

Certainly there’s the bizarre statistic that the average number for women is several lower than the average number for men. That’s a statistical impossibility. People are lying, even in surveys.

So, if it doesn’t make a difference, and the answer you get is likely to be less than truthful, what’s the point of asking in the first place?

Who cares? Who cares how many people someone has in their past anyway? What do you include as “slept with”? For instance if someone has had anal sex with 100 people, could they still be “technically a virgin”? If you’re going to include anal, what about oral? Where exactly do you draw the line?

More importantly, surely it’s none of your business. It might be your business who they sleep with next. If that’s you. It might be your business how many and who they sleep with from now on, if you’re in their life and they’re still sleeping with you. But how many before you? Who do you think you are to ask?

So how many people have you slept with? Tell me if you like, don’t tell me. It’s none of my business, and don’t expect me to ask: The answer isn’t important to me.

© Charles Rochester 2015


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