What to Answer When Asked, “What’s Your Number?”


Back in my twenties, I remember dating people and in the early dates they'd ask me, "How many men have you been with before me?" I remember panicking and lying, and I made up a number that was still not satisfactory to them. You say something too big --SLUT. You say something too low -- Boring Jesus freak. I couldn't win, and thankfully, now that I'm in my thirties, no one asks because people either don't care or assume you're lying anyway.

But there are still people out there, of all ages, who still ask the dreaded “What’s your number?” when it comes to sex partners, and the question remains really fucking awkward. Should you lie and say something higher or lower? Or should you tell the truth? What if the person asking has way more or less lovers than you? Are they going to judge whatever you say? Answering the numbers question is like playing a game of social roulette, but luckily, one study has given us the answer of what average people are doing. And by those numbers, it seems like average people are not freaking as much as the movies would have us believe.

SuperDrug Online Doctor, a company with a direct but ridiculous-sounding name, polled 2,000 people in the U.S. and Europe about their sex lives. With their results, they proved what most people already knew—men inflate their magic number and women water it down. They also found out that most people are slut-shamers. Surprise, surprise.

Most women (64.7%) and most men (58.6%) said that they’ve never lied about their number, but since this is a self-reported poll, we’re going to assume they’re lying about that too. The women polled thought that anyone with 15 partners or more were “too promiscuous” while men thought the number 14 was too fucking high for fucking. And just like I thought, while men and women were squeamish about too much experience, they were also judge-y about people with too little experience. Women thought a man who slept with 1.9 women (what kind of numbers are these?) were losers and men thought women who slept with 2.3 partners were too conservative.

But like Goldilocks, men and women have a just right number for the opposite sex. For men, they think women should ideally have an average of 7.6 partners. Women similarly said men should have 7.5 partners. Interesting enough, men reported having fewer sex partners than women did, and men and women also only slightly differed when they felt it was okay to share their sexual histories. 31.2% of women felt it was cool to share sex details the first month of dating while 33.8% of men said the same. 

But no matter how slut-shaming or prude-shaming people were, most admitted that if they liked someone enough then their partner’s number wouldn’t sway them enough to walk away. Because come on, sex is sex, amiright?


Lastly, the study confirmed another thought about modern sex—that the younger generations aren’t doing it as much as their forefathers. Whether it’s because they have more entertainment options or that they’re less likely to want intimacy in general—Gen Xers and younger have on average 10 sex partners throughout their lifetimes while Baby Boomers reportedly have fucked 11 people total. That’s not a huge discrepancy, but really—why are younger people screwing less? That unfortunately was out of the scope of SuperDrug Online Doctor’s survey, but it is something to think about.  
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