So I know the idea of disclosing past sexual relationships might seem like a no go zone for many people — even my first reaction to this question is ‘hell no!’ – but when it comes to safety and sexual health I’m wondering if it is in fact beneficial to talk about your past sexual relationships. It might help you get on the same page sexually, help you build a stronger relationship, or give your current partner an understanding of any sexual health risks you’ve taken in the past.
What do you think? Would you tell your current partner how many people you’ve had sex with?
I haven’t been asked this question by a partner in a while, but my answer is an honest one – I don’t know because I haven’t counted. I feel like this question is so loaded, especially for women. If your partner deems the number too high, you’re a slut. If it’s too low, you’re either lying or you’re a prude. It’s kind of a no-win situation – unless of course, your partner isn’t a douchebag and has moved past all that judgemental crap. Even though I’ve tried to be supportive, every now and then the thought/mental image of my partner sleeping with one of those previous people will creep into my brain and make me kinda jealous and cranky.
I really like the idea of framing the conversation around being on the same page and learning more about each other in the pursuit of better sexy times. Takes some of the judge-y pressure off.
I would switch the angle that I approach it from with a new partner at least to start off with. I would be asking them when the last time they were tested and then ask if it was done in between their last partner and you. But even having the numbers conversation when you are well into the relationship it is still confronting.
@Kit are we talking disclosing numbers or names? (and how much information about each partner – given we all define sex differently) And at what stage are we talking about disclosing? During/after the first date? Before your first time together (even if it risks ruining the mood)?
Me, I’m not much for talking, but I’m not good at talking about the weather, so discussing about more intimate subjects is a lot of anxiety for me. Though my partner and I have had the conversation (and then never really revisited it again).
Same here @Curiosity. I would take it from a health perspective and ask when the last time they got tested was. I don’t really think the number is what really matters. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d want to know – it might create too many anxieties.
I’m not sure how you can bring it up without making it awkward. It’s just an all-around awkward topic.
I have found it different in each relationship I have been in. It can definitely be an awkward topic to bring up. I have found with a couple of ex partners it has brought up anxieties and jealousy, where as others it was more health related and just getting to know where we stand in needing to get tested.
Date night jar that has the paddle pop sticks with ideas on it – one says go get an STI test together
Doubt it would go down very well
It’s always a tricky topic! I try to avoid brining it up but I am pretty easy going in regards to these things.
@Curiosity Love that safe sex framing with the testing – great idea! Thank you
@MsBlueStreak Woah! Names is a bit full on for me. I’d wonder how that was helpful, and if my partner brought up ex names I’d be backing away slowly from that train wreck waiting to happen. 😀
It’s definitely a tricky conversation but I don’t think it always has to be awkward, right? Especially if you’re talking safe sex or ‘this is what I’m in to’. The timing of the conversation is probably more important to get right. @ElleBelle you said you haven’t been asked in a while, and @mak_trouble891 you said it was different in each relationship you’ve been in – so where were you both when you last talked about it with a partner?
I’ve totally lost count (does that sound bad??, because it really isn’t), I know I’ve been tested several times and I just think it’s not really relevant to my situation now so I’ve never discussed it. But I think for a while I was terrified of someone finding out the “number”…
@NickiPower I don’t think losing count sounds bad at all. It sounds like you knew what you wanted in the moment and went for it (and did so safely).
I actually often wish I didn’t have so many hangups and was a little more free before I met my other half. I let those hangups ruin several potential hookups (of the friends with benefits nature).
Hmmm, I know it was never a discussion in my last LTR @Kit. I think the last time I was asked about it was by a guy I had been occasionally seeing who was several years younger than me. I got the impression he felt a bit insecure about his level of experience compared to mine, given the age difference. As for exactly where, it would have been in bed post-sex.
Hmm… @Kit well for me it was my partners comfort at the time of the discussion that was different in each relationship. Funny enough like @ElleBelle from memory most of the discussions were in the bedroom after sex. With my current partner, although it was a post-sex discussion and we were quite new at our relationship, it wasn’t a bad or negative discussion. And if either one of us felt insecure we communicated those feelings which I think definitely helped.
Thanks @MsBlueStreak! I decided that it is what it is, there’s no need to be ashamed. But it’s funny how, as a female, you instantly think over a certain number can be seen as a negative.
@NickiPower I can totally relate to not knowing ‘the number’ but also being preoccupied with counting or someone finding out when I was younger. It’s funny to look back on this now.
@ElleBelle @mak_trouble891 How interesting that it was in the bedroom post-sex. Insecurity can certainly do funny things to good times and post-sex (especially with a new partner) is a pretty vulnerable time.