Relationship Novice: Sexual History 101

Revealing the number of people you’ve fooled around with is a lot like calling your grandmother. It’s one of those things you feel like you should do, but you really don’t want to. Why? Because you know you’re going to have a loooooong, drawn out conversation that essentially makes you feel uncomfortable. Sorry, Grams, but it’s true.

While you might lie to your grandmother about that time you jumped on top of the bar and took your shirt off, lying to your new boyfriend about your “free and easy” stage is a stickier subject. So what DO you tell him? And when?Statistics show that most women lie about the number of sexual partners they’ve had. Why? Because as much as we want to think the standards are the same for men and women, especially when it comes to sexual conquests, they’re not. Even Angelina Jolie, someone we tend to think as a woman who wouldn’t care what anybody thinks, defended her “wild child” image to Cosmopolitan magazine by saying she’s only slept with four men. I’m no mathematician, but I’m gonna gamble and say that that number is like my SAT score…lower than it should be.

I’m of the philosophy that when you’re starting a relationship with someone, you shouldn’t start it off lying. If you’ve slept with 26 guys, but you think a more acceptable number to tell him is 10, then you’re essentially weaving a web of lies you’ll have to live with, if you end up with this guy, FOREVER. And trust me, there’s going to be times when you’ll casually mention a concert you went to, or a road trip you went on, and when you have to lie about who you went with (because the person you actually went with was #13 on your sex list) you’ll find yourself creating Charlotte’s Web II.

Aside from the lying thing being an issue, telling your real number can also be a good way to bring you and your boyfriend closer together…or find out if he’s a total creep. If you tell the truth and your boyfriend can’t deal with it, what other things won’t he be able to deal with? If he thinks you’re “slutty” because you have a high number, then you’re probably dating a conservative prick and you should run, not walk, to the nearest exit.

When the two of you decide to have the big talk is completely up to you. I had the talk with my current boyfriend six months into the relationship. It was at three months with my ex, so it varies. It’s essentially when you feel like you’re in a loving, secure, exclusive relationship with someone.

When you do decide to spill the beans, just make sure you’re in a comfortable setting, and don’t be afraid to set some ground rules. Tell you’re boyfriend that you’re going to be completely honest with him and that you expect the same from him. That means that if you don’t want him to freak out about your number, you can’t freak out about his. We all have our pasts, and the number of times you guys have jumped in the sack with other people doesn’t make your current relationship any less meaningful.

Depending on how you feel, you can also tell him that it’s a subject you don’t want to revisit everyday. That way you can both do your best to squash any jealous tendencies before they arise and you don’t spend the majority of your relationship rehashing every orgasm (real or fake) you’ve ever had.

As a side note, the “numbers” conversation is a good time to ask your boyfriend about STD’s, and how many times he’s been tested for them. If you’re going to stop using condoms and go on the pill (if you’re not already), you’ll want to know you’re in the clear. Your Grandma will be so proud.