On the scale of the least to most awkward exploratory convos you can have with your partner in a budding relationship, the “Um, how many people have you slept with?” inquiry may even surpass the, “So, are we exclusive?” one. But even if the idea of a heart-to-heart makes you squeamish, a new survey reveals that the question is top of mind for more paired-up lovers than you may think.
By quizzing 2,180 respondents—917 who identified as female and 1,263 who identified as male—in the United States and Europe on their sexual history, Superdrug Online Doctor collected a slew of thought-provoking stats on what people’s expectations are when it comes to their new boo disclosing the deets on old flings. Specifically, opinions on the number of previous sexual partners a person has had and how far into the current relationship the info should be shared.
In America, significant others viewed 2 or fewer past sexual connections as conservative, 3 to 7 as “ideal”, and 8 to 15 as “promiscuous.”
In America, significant others viewed 2 or fewer past sexual connections as “conservative,” 3 to 7 as “ideal,” and 8 to 15 as “promiscuous.” But these Goldilocks-esque results differed greatly by country. For instance, Australians tended to view up to 7 past sexual connections as conservative, while Belgium capped its ideal rating at that same number. And when it came to what stage in the relationship the chat needed to happen, the highest percentage of people globally (36.3 percent of women and 35.3 percent of men) believed the 1 to 4 month mark to be the sweet spot, with only 10.9 percent of females and 11.3 percent of males believing that there was really no need to disclose the dirty details at all.
Of course, the surveyors point out that the best time to divulge your former romps is before you actually do the deed. Approximately 36.9 million people in the world are still living with HIVs, and 1 million STIs total are spread each day. And ultimately, the vast majority of respondents said they would be unlikely to end things just because their new loved one had more less sexual partners than they deemed optimal.
Sexpectations that keep safety and feelings in mind? That’s a combo to ship if there ever was one.
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