Is it really a big deal how many people I’ve slept with?!

Is it really a big deal how many people I’ve slept with?!

My boyfriend and I have been together 5 months and whilst sometimes it’s beyond amazing I’m still waiting for him to say those magic words. We’re building the relationship slowly, and sometimes it’s tough, but I know he’s not the greatest communicator so that’s ok… That said, something slipped out this weekend and it turns out that one of the things holding him back is that he’s worried that I’ve slept with more people than him and as he puts it been ‘more adventurous’.

We’ve never compared numbers (and I wouldn’t want to). I’m sure he’s only slept with a handful of girls whilst I’ve slept with a multiple thereof (of boys that is)… but that shouldn’t be held against me. How do I get him over it? He doesn’t like to talk about it, but I can’t defend myself then either. Does it really matter what I’ve done and who I’ve slept with in the last 15 years before I met him, and what is it really that he’s hurting about? Paddington Anon

Look, our party line at RC HQ is no judgement. Who gives a flying martini how many guys you’ve notched into your bed post? It’s totally great that you’ve been able to have lots of adventurous sex – good, consensual, safe sex is emotionally healing, boosts your happy hormones, makes you feel close and connected with other humans and strengthens your pelvic floor. It seems like you get this. You’re not being coy and untruthful with this rocking new boy. You’re telling him your history. You’re putting your past out there and saying, love me for who I am and all my imperfections and rolls in the hay.

Unfortunately your bloke can’t handle this history-sharing. It’s old fashioned, but it’s kinda sweet. He really digs you, so doesn’t want to imagine you naked with a multitude of other dudes, doing God knows what. He wants to close his eyes and think of you knitting on a hilltop wearing a peasant dress, your plaited hair blowing in the breeze. Or something like that.

So here’s what you came for. The advice bit. It doesn’t matter to you (or us, for that matter) who you’ve slept with over the last 15 years. You only get one life, right? But it matters to your man. He’s a sensitive soul with values. That’s nice, and rare, in this day and age. So tone it right down. Cease with all the disclosure and just focus on him and what you two have got going on. It sounds like it has potential. We don’t think we’ve heard anyone describe their partnership as ‘beyond amazing’ before.
Have one last conversation about your sexual history. Yours and his. Simply say this: “I really like you and I want to focus on what we have together. If it’s okay by you, I’d like to concentrate on our own sex life and forget about our other experiences. Let’s just enjoy each other and not dwell on the past”.

And the love thing? Yup, it feels like an eternity waiting for the ‘I Love You’ sometimes. Particularly when you hit that all important six month mark. But try not to place too much importance on it. You’re building, getting to know each other and jumping over some hurdles. Let yourselves arrive at that moment naturally, without any pressure or expectations. And one final piece of advice. Never, ever compare numbers. You are not a number. You are a person. Nothing good will come of holding up scorecards.

Love, reality chick

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. Bubble Girl 9 years ago

    I agree, not relevant. I keep remembering something someone told me years ago about the “tally” – men double it, and women halve it. Doubles standards huh?

  2. Author
    reality chick 9 years ago

    Thanks for that insight Been There. So sorry it didn’t work out for you guys.

  3. Been there 9 years ago

    Having been through this exact situation I have to share. My ex – yes ex – had the exact same problem. That is why we are no longer together. He simply couldn’t get past it. No amount of talking about it changed his mind. I can’t change the past and he couldn’t get past it. Anytime we went out he was worried we’d run into some guy I had slept with. Unfrotunately he couldn’t see past that and we broke up. I think you need to really make him communicate and find out now if this is something he can get past, don’t wait. We did and 8 months later we broke up and it broke my heart. Good luck with it though and I hope it turns out better for you both.

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