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Sexual Encounters – Is your number a big deal?

“How many people have you slept with?” – For the most part, this is a question that fills so many people with dread. Usually, numbers are over or under-exaggerated – girls don’t want to admit that they have actually slept with as many people as they have, and guys usually add a few more on for good measure. It begs the question though – is your number really that important?

Take Kate for example. She is a 28 year old female, once married and now separated, and has a string of failed long term relationships behind her. Despite bouncing from relationship to relationship, she has racked up a considerable number of men – 38 to be precise. She never knowingly slept with a married man, although it did happen a couple of times, and she normally wore a condom with every new partner she had slept with. Does this make her “easy?” Take a look at the girls on the hit TV show Sex and the City – each of the four girls had racked up a considerable number of guys, and the occasional girl – they certainly weren’t easy by anyone’s standard; they were just making their way from man to man, trying to find “the one” and disregarding the ones that didn’t make the cut.

Now let’s take a look at Jamie – he has slept with just five women in the 25 years of his life. He tells people that he has slept with 20 girls of course, but does this make him on the other end of the scale? Should he have racked up a higher number?

We all get to that point in a relationship where the other person asks us how many people we have had sexual encounters with, but do they really have a right to know? Let’s be honest; few of us actually tell the truth anyway – we either shave off or add on a few just to make it seem less embarrassing. What’s the big deal anyway? Does our sexual past have any bearing on our sexual future?

Of course, this important question doesn’t take into account how much sex one is having – it just takes into account how many different sexual partners there were. Kate may have had sex with 37 different men, but how much sex was she actually having? Maybe she has only ever had sex 60 times in her entire life? What about Jamie? He may have only bedded just five women, but he could have been having sex with all five of them in one day for all we know! We live in a society now where people are more free and easy about their sex life; it is not as taboo as it once was. How do we know that our parents weren’t really sleeping with everyone in town? Why do we just assume that they have only had sex with our other parent?

The good news is that with the growing openness about sex, the numbers are raising and people are not blinking an eyelid. A girl may admit to 20 guys when she is 25, and this would seem about normal. A guy could admit to sleeping with 50 girls at the age of 25, and again, this would seem normal. Has the growth in sexual awareness lead to the growth in honesty? Or we just having more sex?

In reality, the best way to deal with the question is to explain that you don’t want to answer it. There are certain questions that you shouldn’t ask someone, and perhaps it was about time that this one was one of them?