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?