On the “how many sexual partners did you have before me?” question
I’m a serious advocate for open communication between a couple. Yet, I don’t defend you should reveal everything about your sexual past. That’s your choice; one your partner should respect.
I defend that people in a relationship should be transparent towards each other; I can’t see any other way to make it work. But at what point this transparency should include full disclosure of your past?
I’ll go further on to say a couple doesn’t need to know every detail of their partner’s life, but that’s a different topic. I’m not defending secrets, only stating that despite being in a relationship, you’re still an individual with an independent life.
I never had someone asking me directly about my previous sexual partners, but I know for a fact it happens to many people. As I know that it sometimes impacts negatively the relationship.
There are several considerations to have when asking your partner about the sexual partners they had before you.
I’m not talking about questioning your partner on their sexual health.
It’s more than natural for you to want to know about their sexual habits and request an STD test, especially if you’re considering having unprotected sex.
But the answer to these questions has nothing to do with the number of sexual partners but with sexual behaviours, and how they directly affect your health.
If you’re tempted to ask your partner about their previous sexual partners, here are a few considerations for you:
Will the number matter? If so, why?
Asking how many sexual partners you had is a volatile question, particularly for women.
Society dictates that men who sleep with many people are sexually dominant, whilst if women do it, they’re sluts.
Scientific research shows that there’s a persistent double-standard regarding the acceptance of the number of sexual partners men and women had.
Regardless of your gender, consider — with sincerity — why do you want to know how many sexual partners your partner had.
What difference will it make? How will impact how you feel and think about your partner and how can potentially affect your relationship?
In my case, I know how many people my partner had sex with before me. But when we had the conversation, I had no hidden agenda. The topic came naturally in one of our conversations about him had been a swinger for many years.
The fact that my partner had sex with hundreds of women before me didn’t affect our relationship at all. I had already accepted the fact he was a swinger and, of course, that would imply a huge body count.
I respect his past, and I trust him. His past has no weight on our relationship.
Ask yourself: why do I want to know my partner’s body count and will a number make me uncomfortable?
If your answer to the last question is yes, don’t ask it.
Your partner’s sexual past it’s gone; it has no meaning to your relationship. If there’s a possibility that knowledge will upset you or make you trust less your partner, don’t go down that road.
Instead, think: if your previous sexual partners don’t affect your present relationship — I’m not talking about feelings, only sexual experience — why would your partner’s experience affect them?
Why do you want to know?
If you suspect your partner had an abusive sexual past or they suffered a trauma, it’s more than normal you want to know about it. Yet, you need to respect their boundaries, it can be very hard to talk about it; they will only do it when they’re ready, and there’s a chance they might never be.
Another reason for your curiosity is you might think your partner’s body count will disclosure things about their sexual preferences or sex drive.
Honestly, I don’t think it will.
Whatever it is you wish to know about your partner, the simplest way to get your answers is by asking. Also, by being alert to their actions. The way we act (and don’t act) says so much about ourselves. Often, more than words.
If your curiosity about the number of your partner’s sexual partners is merely that — curiosity — my opinion is that you have a good mindset to deal with the answer.
Yet, I suggest you’re prepared to hear an “I’m not telling you” as a response and, obviously, you can expect the same question put back to you.
Will a small number prove anything to you?
Let’s say you pop the question and your partner answers with a “small number” (let’s say, for the sake of it, two or three sexual partners). What does this say to you?
Maybe you think they’re lying, as you already know they had no long-term relationships. Maybe you think they have sexual problems or their sex drive might be insufficient for you.
Again, these are all speculations.
The number of sexual partners won’t dictate one’s sex drive, sexual preferences or sexual health.
What are you going to do with the information you gather?
Considering you asked your partner how many sexual partners they had, and they answered, what now? What are you going to do with the information?
If it was only a matter of curiosity as it was in my case, I think you can move on from the topic. But if you had second intentions with the question, now that you have the answer, what’s going to happen?
If the number is too high according to your standards, are you breaking off the relationship? If they’re too low, will you be worried?
The thing is, it’s the past.
When you’re in a committed relationship with someone, there must be trust between you. So if knowing your partner’s body count shakes your relationship, do you really trust them?
For me, if you have a reason behind the question, you’re risking opening a pandora box. Is it worth it?
One’s sexual past doesn’t reveal their sexual preferences, present libido levels, or serve to measure the loyalty one has to another.
Abody count is completely irrelevant to your relationship; it tells nothing about what your partner feels for you or the potential your relationship has to succeed or to fail.
Those indicators come from the present actions, not from lives lived previous to you.
So, if you’re thinking about asking your partner about their body count, think twice.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ask, I’m not a hypocrite. I did it myself — but it came out naturally in a conversation. And I will never use that information against my partner. I have no rights to his past, the same way he doesn’t have to mine.
What I’m saying is for you to be conscious about the reasons you’re asking and to consider if the answer you’ll get will impact your relationship or the way you see your partner.
If that’s the case, my opinion is that you shouldn’t ask.
And in the end, the most important thing is to respect boundaries and the right of your partner to tell you they don’t want to share. If that happens, don’t overthink it, don’t find reasons to justify their response.
Accept your relationship as it is, let go of your partner’s past.