Sound Bites: How Many Sexual Partners Is Too Many?

Whoopi Goldberg recently revealed on The View that she’s had 50 sexual partners. Carla Bruni, pop singer and wife to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, has had 30. And little ol’ me has had 15. The three of us are comfortable with our numbers — though I am not necessarily psyched about the dudes in particular who occupy the notches on my bedpost. Though we retired the debate over what makes a person a “slut”, it nevertheless remains the case that each person has some general feeling on what number of partners they’re comfortable with, for themselves and for their partners. For one person, it may be five, for another 5,000 — after the jump, some sound bites from women on how many notches are too many. “I have friends who sleep with a different girl every week, practically. I’m okay with it, but I’m not sure I’d want to sleep with them, at least not until they settled down and could be okay with just one girl. So for me, the actual number might not matter as much as their attitude. That said, 100 sexual partners is a little promiscuous and I think 20 to 50, over a lifetime, is my limit. I don’t think I could sleep with more than that without feeling gross, personally.” – Jenni

“For dudes it’s a tough question. I will probably think that any guy has slept with too many and I would say the average for a guy is probably 40 to 50 women. That is just too many. Ideally, I would like a guy to sleep with 15 to 25. Personally, I’ve slept with 14 and I would rather not sleep with more than 30 in my lifetime. Also, what about if you sleep with boys and girls? Say you’ve slept with 20 dudes, but 50 women…is that too many? I don’t know.” – Lana

“More than 30 sexual partners for anyone is too many…actually maybe more than 25. Thirty is a lot too. I would say that goes for anyone, but I don’t really care how many people my friends sleep with as it doesn’t really affect my friendship with them. So I guess it matters more to me for sexual partners.” – Liz

“At 25, when I was able to tell my long-term boyfriend that he was my 10th, I felt like that was a good number for me — someone who had some relationships, dated, but no long-term commitments. I felt that 10 wasn’t so high that i screamed ‘easy’. However, if my boyfriend and I broke up tomorrow I think I would be quicker to sleep with men earlier on in dating than I was when I was 20 and worried about being called a slut in college. Now that I’m more comfortable with sex and sexuality in general, if we broke up tomorrow I could hit 20 by age 30 and I would be fine with that. And I would hope that if I were single at 35 I would have lots of partners as opposed to only a couple more. Sex with different men is what I envy about single women at this age and older. Sleeping with one or two more men for fear of being labeled sounds like a really boring way to spend my late-20’s and early-30’s if I were single.” – Casey

“I think over 100 is really excessive. People who stay single longer are obviously going to have had more partners, but now there are all sorts of things even condoms can’t prevent. If a friend of yours got crazy and slept with someone new once a month, I probably wouldn’t blink twice. But if they never have a dry spell or never get into a serious relationship through their entire 20’s, that puts them at approximately 120 partners by age 30. And usually my head snaps back when I hear someone, other than a porn star, has slept with over 100 people.” – Megan

“If a guy told me he slept with 200 women, I would be put off, but mostly because I would be worried about disease, not really about him being a womanizer.” – Erin

“I don’t really have a number that seems like ‘too much’. I think that sometimes very high numbers indicate that a person might be pathological. Of course, age and personality are factors, as is relationship history. I’d say anything over 50 for either men or women would make me take pause, not necessarily in a negative way, just in a ‘Dang, Gina!’ way.” – Laura

“Over the course of someone’s life, assuming they don’t get married and settle down — which presumably puts an end to the racking up of bed partners — all bets are off. If I had no desire to settle down and just went from relationship to relationship the way most people do, with little droughts and little slutty phases in between, I could very realistically be talking hundreds of partners by the end of my life. I don’t know that that would be excessive. As long as you’re not endangering your health or cheating on a monogamous partner or trying to fill an emotional void, I see nothing wrong with getting your swerve on regularly.” – Tanya

“Honestly, I never really think about it or care, but I guess once you hit the 20’s I think it’s kind of trashy.” – Emma