Huge, Undiscussed Mistake Made in Relationships

There are so many mistakes made in relationships. We all know of the big ones, yet somehow continually struggle with them: open and honest communication (or lack thereof), personal growth (or lack thereof) and its effect, timing (i.e. when to leave), etc. One of these relationship blunders has slowly destroyed relationships left and right, but hardly receives any attention: asking about the past, specifically asking one’s partner their sexual number. The mere mention of it unnecessarily raises eyebrows and blood pressure. Suddenly this post seems “nastier” because a sensitive and often taboo topic has been encroached.

Men and women see this number differently, largely because of the way society has brainwashed taught us to think about promiscuity (or lack thereof) and its intimate relationship with gender. For example, last weekend, I watched a movie in which the female protagonist refused to have sex anymore over concern that her number (20) was too high. I kept asking the non-responsive television set, “By who’s standard?” While the plot aimed to highlight the necessary care and thought about whom one chooses to give one’s heart…and other body parts to…the dominant message was that there is something “wrong” for women to like sex and/or have many partners. As a result, to be “desirable” (sidenote: in the movie, she wanted to get married and concluded that her high number would prevent her from doing so) their sexual behavior needs to be “fixed.”

Meanwhile, the male co-star was known for “one night-ing” many women, yet his behavior was tolerable, if not understandable and encouraged. In fact, some of the funniest scenes were when he escaped  and ditched his one night stands. Same high volume of sex, yet two completely different messages. Similarly, the following words all carry mixed connotations that make us self-conscious about our number: pimp, playa, hoe, slut (sidenote: there is no positive word for a woman who enjoys sex and/or has a high number of partners).

The number can be misleading in many ways. More importantly, society’s predetermined connotation does not accurately reflect the value given to it by its owner, whose opinion is the only one that matters.

Let’s get the health concerns out the way first. You should be safe and know your partner’s status, in terms of sexual diseases. I absolutely, positively agree! You need to be safe, first and foremost. Yet, knowing your partner’s status does not mean that you need to know his or her number of past partners. The truth is that it only takes one time to contract an STI or STD. That one time could occur with partner number one or partner forty-five. Or it could never occur, even if triple digits are reached like a high scoring basketball game.

Society has scared us to think about others based on their number. If a man has too “low” of a number or perchance happens to be a virgin then something is wrong with me or he’s assumed to be “gay” (not necessarily a homosexual or queer but connoting inadequacy or failure). Conversely, if a woman has too “high” of a number then she is a slut and should not be considered for marriage. All relative! All bullshh!

My suggestion is: find out one’s partner’s status and then let the past be the past.

Here’s a secret that isn’t so secret: your partner had a past…before you. They somehow managed to live their lives before you entered it. Unless they are a virgin, they had sex with someone before you. So what? Do not let their past interrupt or disrupt your present and/or potential future.

Most people have gone through “the phase” where they want to be free and party. During that time their sexual history could have mirrored a pinball machine.

Who cares? They love you now.

Do yourself a favor and don’t ask where they learned that on-the-edge-of-the-bed move. Similarly, do let your mind wander about who helped them discover that they can do that thing that you like with their tongue. Everyone has a past. And everyone has that one person who made sex sex for them by letting them explore and be themselves. You do not want to know about those epic sexual encounters. Trust me on that one.

If you refuse my advice and decide to ask those questions, you will play the saddest edition of “What If” as you watch your once promising relationship crumble based on past experiences and an overactive imagination spurred by insecure curiosity. Suddenly, your partner looks different to you and consequently sex feels different to you. Sadly, it is not because of what they are doing currently. Nope. Instead of enjoying them, your mind is playing a painfully, imaginative loop of their past sexual conquests, with their number lighting up like the number of the day on Seasme Street. You are now judging them on decisions made years ago that probably involved alcohol, college, reduced inhibitions, and limited couth.

Personally, I would like to have a partner that has gone through their phase, has learned a few tricks along the way, and is ready to settle down because they lived that life before and realized that there is nothing out there other than momentary orgasms, hangovers, and heartache. Most importantly, they recognize that happiness and that lifestyle have a fleeting relationship and want something more real, more stable. I am not concerned with their past; I want them to be happy with me in the now.

But then again, that’s just me.

What do I know; I’m single.

What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Why or why not?

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6 thoughts on “Huge, Undiscussed Mistake Made in Relationships

  1. You want no parts of dancing with her past sexual skeletons. Let those old bones lay where they may. Let the past remain where it belongs, in the past. If not, feelings are bound to be hurt because you’ll force them to share who their ‘best’ was…and your ego cannot handle the truth that it’s not really you. Smh.

  2. I completely agree. As a woman, it’s hard to get out of the self-checking/ self-deprecating state of mind, ingrained within us- no matter how feminist/ womanist and socially evolved or mature we are. Essentially, by society’s standards, we are like cars- after being driven off the lot, as the partners increase, we depreciate in value. In my own case, my husband was my first. And while that, at the time, for some reason seemed like some accomplishment, I began to bristle at the fact that my body, my sexuality was not my own. He laid claim to it, as the first, like a conqueror of some foreign land. And though, as my husband, we were bound to each other- still, over time, as the romantic notions slowly dissipated, I began to feel uncomfortable with the fact that my husband seemed to love me “more”, or see me as more serious, and good wife material because he was the first. I often began to ask him, what if I hadn’t been a virgin when we got together, and the question often went unanswered.
    After we split, I couldn’t help this nagging feeling, outside of feeling grief stricken, disappointed and, broken-hearted, that somehow I was approaching singledom at a disadvantage, now seeming less desireable- though I still felt that what had to give, physically among other things, was strong, beautiful, and worthy.
    I’ve had a partner use my sexual number against me: out of hurt that I had moved on (even though he chose to be with an ex and had initiated the split- but let that go). I left his apartment feeling soiled, and dirty- like my sense agency and empowerment that led me to my next partner was somehow cheap. With his brandishing my number like a sword against me- in that moment, I gave up my power and my sense of sexual and physical empowerment.
    I am a sexual being. Always have been. I believe my body is my temple and my instrument, as I use it in my career, and it is the force with which I embrace the world around me. Every energy: sexually or otherwise, that I come into contact with, I absorb. I know the ability to create a life is a kind of sacred power, an intrinsic gift that lives within me. And i see that as special. As a blessing- it affects my perception, my world view: as one who posesses a sacred feminine outlook on the world. Whether or not i can have children is a technicality- either way- i walk the earth as a woman- capable of a nuturing, compassion and unparalleled faith that comes with having a body to mother.
    Still, I also like to enjoy and explore the sacred feminine physically, sexually, sensually. Therein lies the push-pull that leaves us as women at war with ourselves. We are sacred, and yet human. Madonna or otherwise whore. Our chastity is brandished like a weapon, a warning, a golden chalice against us. In that lies the expectation of love for eternity; of a steady relationship. The problem with numbers is that they don’t factor in chance or experience. What if, as in my case, you save yourself for your husband and it doesn’t work out. What if you connect with a man and the promises of friendship and connection turn out to be bullshit? What if you are in a relationship and it turns out you were better off as friends… Or strangers? The numbers don’t factor in the times where you were searching for a connection, or had one and lost it, or just wanted to be held or just wanted to destress, be touched, and forget for a night. Numbers are not reflections of actual human beings.
    As a woman, inasmuch as I’d like to, I cannot say I’m liberated from the numerical way of thinking, though I regret nothing I’ve done- whether the fallout and consequences were good or bad: they’ve all led me to where I am today. When I hold attraction with a potential partner, I do sometimes think of the number… Which inevitably puts pressure on an already delicate connection. I don’t know the answers, but all that I hope/wish/pray/seek to do is act authentically, honestly, and as a fully realized woman eating life.

  3. Interesting article though there is that underlying gender equality theme running through it. The reality is that sex has different consequences for men & women. Many of which can be mitigated through responsible execution. However, unintended pregnancy and psychological hurt seem to always adversely affect women. At least that’s what I hear in the name of victimhood by groups concerned with the welfare of women. So, either the double standard against women is justified or we can stop the business of making women the victims when feelings are hurt (always when sex is involved).

    • once again an interesting and thought-provoking comment. you raise a great point about how the adverse effect of multiple partners may seemingly justify our society’s double standard. And then you add the piece of victimization in there. Wow! Got me thinking.

      Thanks for the comment.

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