Revealing the number of women you’ve hooked up with is fine when you’re throwing back brews with your buddies. Otherwise? Avoid the topic like the plague.
Here’s why: A majority of women will lose respect for you if they believe you have too much casual sex, according to new research presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.
Oh no—here comes the talk.
But let’s say your new fling won’t stop badgering you about your number. What do you do? Do you dish, regardless of whether the tally’s 5 women or 50, or do you keep your mouth shut like a steel trap?
Deliberate no more. Here’s your step-by-step plan for attacking the decision—and leaving your girlfriend’s place in one piece. (Have other pressing sex and relationships questions? Get all your answers by signing up for The Girl Next Door newsletter. It’s FREE)
1. Figure Out Your Stance
If you really don’t mind discussing the matter and you’re not ashamed by your sexual past, have at it. But if her persistent curiosity rubs you the wrong way, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a secret. “Sharing meaningful, powerful struggles from our past can be a great way to bond,” says M. Gary Neuman, author of The Truth About Cheating and creator of NeumanMethod.com, a marriage video series. “But I’m not one to believe that we need to shareeverything in our past just for the sake of sharing.”
2. Avoid Word Vomit
Suppose you’re in the middle of post-sex pillow talk when she randomly drops her number: 7 guys. Don’t panic. Don’t feel the need to automatically spill your side of the story. And definitely avoid lying or dropping a number that’s close to hers, just because you think it’ll smooth over the situation, says Neuman. Making up an “acceptable” number isn’t just dishonest; it buries the real mystery at hand, which is why she’s interested in the first place, he explains. (Don’t understand the fairer sex? You’re not alone. Click here to discover What Women Really Want.)
3. Uncover Her Motive
So maybe she’s just curious—and that’s completely fine. But usually there’s something more to her probing, Neuman says. Tell her you don’t mind having some discussion about it, but ask her why the number really matters: Is she worried about whether or not you’re carrying an STD? Is she concerned that she’s being compared physically and sexually to your past hookups? Is she scared you’ll see her as inexperienced?
“When it boils down to it, talking about the number is an unproductive conversation to have,” says Neuman. It can raise jealousy and insecurity, which is normal, since it’s hard to think about your partner being with other people. So put the number to bed, and get deep. “The goal is really the productive conversation you need to be having,” Neuman says. (Need help getting started? Here’s how to have 6 Tricky Relationship Talks.)
By Madeline Haller/Men’s Health