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Body Counts: A guide to having the conversation

What's your body count? Translation... how many people have you had sex with? This evasive question can open a can of worms in ANY relationship at any point of development. The reason why the question is so taboo is because of fear of being labeled (good or bad). I mean, I guess the number can say a lot about you depending on the person's perspective. For most guys, the number is a sign of masculinity and desirability. For women, it's used as a judgment of her restraint. Because of this, the conversations that follow can be full of friction, polar opinions, and a host of other things, but what should you really grasp when someone shares this information with you? That's what I'm here to discuss.

Does this number really matter?

Some will say the number doesn’t matter, but nobody buys a car without knowing the mileage on it. It’s the same with getting into a relationship (whether purely sexual or not). You would absolutely want to know where your partner’s “been” prior to being with you. It’s natural. Anybody that says they don’t want to know is probably trying to avoid sharing their own number. (just kidding... but I'm kind of serious) I’ll say that for me, I don’t really want to know, but I want to know (if that makes sense). My imagination is pretty wicked and having that number gives me visuals (and then I start doing statistics, etc.), but it’s also important for me to know. The short answer is that it definitely matters and shouldn’t be taken offensively when a person with whom you are seriously involved asks.

What if you aren’t proud of your number?

So what?! We’re all adults here. Do you want to be with someone who judges you based on your number anyway? I wouldn’t. If you’re concerned about your number, put feelers out before disclosing it. Find out if the number is a deal breaker for your partner and under what circumstances.

High Numbers:

It’s understandable to not really be proud of what you consider a high number, but keep in mind—what may be high for you, may not be so high to the next person. Men are more likely to be proud of a high number than women are because of our culture rewarding sexual profusion in men. If this is their motivation behind the pride, they would expect to be viewed as a commodity and not a disgrace. However, women with high numbers are viewed as having little to no restraint (talk about double standard). Why is this? Well, because apparently women don’t have the problem of having to get someone to want to sleep with them *eye roll*. Therefore, a woman’s role is rejecting advances and reserving herself for someone special. This is what we’re trained to do. There are some men with astronomical numbers that pass judgment on women with “high” numbers because women are expected to be reserved and more calculated (sexually).

The expectation: With either sex, the expectation is that the person with a high number knows what they are doing sexually. While one may look on the “bright side” with this assumption, this may actually be more of a fable than a truth.

Low Numbers:

As previously stated, this is the expectation for women, but when a man has a low number, some women would be tempted to question what’s wrong with him. This is largely unfair considering the pressure those same women feel to maintain a low number. Unfortunately, as the world has rewarded levels of toxic masculinity surrounding sex, a man who just hasn’t engaged with several women could be viewed as weak or feminine. I view them as calculated and selective. For me, those are desirable character traits (but what do I know).

The expectation: As opposed to high numbers, both sexes would be expected to be sexually inexperienced if they have low numbers. This also could be more fable than truth. Think about it. Do you get more experience from several jobs or spending years on one job? Either way it seems like one would be experienced enough to be hired for another position. (Get my drift?)

What if your partner reacts negatively to your number?

Everybody isn't so forgiving of the past (especially when it's not theirs) and that's fine. It depends on their level of reaction and how they recover from it as to how you should move forward with the relationship. If they are just distraught by your number and can’t “look at you the same”, it may be best to part ways and not be judged for your past decisions. If they are merely shocked/disappointed and can get past it, then you’re golden (well maybe not golden, but you get the point).

What happens once you know your partner’s number?

While hopefully it's something that you can laugh about in the future, there should be no throwing of body counts in your partner's face in any circumstance! It’s the past. If you accepted it, that’s just it. It isn’t ammunition for when you get mad and want to shame them. Use it to grow with the person and bond over a vulnerable subject.


Now... I’ve given you more than enough information and perspective to have the conversation effectively and not become jaded by the answers you get. Remember, we’re all human and your perceptions about body counts may be unfairly skewed. Adjust your thought process, have the conversation, and… don’t freak out! 😊

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