He Said/She Said: Does Your “Number” Matter?

[He Said/She Said is a new series designed to help all our wonderfully confused readers figure out what he’s really thinking. So every week we’ll be throwing out a topic for debate…and unlike our fave dude, these guys won’t be sugar coating anything for you. But before you jump into their heads (which seriously will make you feel like you need to shower), check out what we think!]

There are a lot of important numbers in college girls’ life – phone numbers, street numbers, number of times you been Facebook-tagged in an outfit, number of times you’ve considered dropping out of college, the number of calories in your next late-night study sesh meal. But there’s one number in particular that’s bound to stir up a commotion, whether it’s zero or in the double digits:

The number of people you’ve had sex with.

It seems now that the question isn’t just “Should you tell him your ‘number’?” anymore. It’s “Is the guy entitled to know something as personal as the number of people you’ve bedded”? And even more, “Does it really matter?!”

First and foremost, let’s just go ahead and get the health aspect of disclosing your “number” squared away. Many would argue that the person you’re dating has a right know your “number” as it could be a concern to their sexual health in terms of contracting an STD. I wholeheartedly disagree. The person you’re sleeping with has the right to know if you’re healthy, not how many people you’ve slept with. If they want proof of your sexual health, get tested.

With that said, I believe that your number is a very personal thing and is not something that you should be guilted or cajoled into disclosing. Yes, it’s important because it’s personal, but it’s not something your significant other should take personally. It’s your number and in most cases, it has nothing to do with them.

And that road goes both way, ladies.

If there comes a time when the topic comes up (and for the love of god don’t let it happen during a fight or in the throes of passion – do you really want your guy to throw it back in your face/get so distracted from that amazing thing he’s doing with his hands that he just…stops?), there’s a fine line between simply putting it out there and giving it far too much weight. You should give it enough value to sit down and talk about it, free from the influence of other parts of your relationship, but you shouldn’t give it enough weight to try and extract a deeper meaning from whatever the number may be. Remember, in most cases, the number of partners someone has racked up (be it 1 or 100) has nothing to do with the person he or she is currently dating.

Disclosing the number of notches on your belt has picked up this stereotype of being dangerous territory but it’s only as dangerous as you and your current guy make it. Swapping “numbers”, much like swapping spit, should be somewhat lighthearted. If you’re with a guy you’re already comfortable with, sharing your “number” is not a gauntlet where the both of you will be throwing down judgment. It’s your past and you can’t change it (no matter how many times you’ve claimed someone “didn’t count”).

I’ve learned there’s no use in wasting time trying to extract some kind of deeper meaning behind someone’s “number.” The more you try to find a complex in your partner’s dating resume, the more your own insecurity complex will shine through.

There’s also no use in altering your number to make it more “user-friendly” for your current guy. You can’t take back the number of people you got down and dirty with and no guy should make you feel like you want to. Our sexual histories are a part of us but they are not a defining part of who we are unless we make them. Embrace your number because it is a part of you, just remember it’s only one part of you. There’s way more to a someone than their “number.”

Still, let’s all get tested, K?

Want to see what he said? Check out the male response at



    1. […] Check out what SHE SAID at […]

    2. criolle johnny says:

      Sometimes the hamster in the writing is more obvious than the elephant in the room.

    3. Tricia Hein says:

      My personal opinion is that if you trust another person enough to have sex with them, then you should be able to trust them to not judge you based on your "number."

    4. Kristin says:

      What if your number is low? That could also cause insecurities in a new relationship.

    5. Kaylah says:

      My BF refuses to tell me his number. It's annoying because i've only ever slept with him and i'd just like to know. But at the same time I know if he tells me and it's way higher than I might have expected, it would probably make for a weird moment. Maybe it's best to not tell because i'll probably wonder who they were and thats not something i'd like to think about and so on. We'd probably end up fighting so I don't know, I guess it just depends on the relationship.

      1. mario says:

        Find yourself someone with no number as yourself, or a low one. If you knew this guy was a high number, why did you succumb to him? Finding out he's a high number might prompt you to increase your own number to make you feel equal. The result will be that you'll end up going from bed to bed trying to make sense of it all. And you'll think, I already fall for it, why stop now. This was the lie behind the sexual revolution. It offered a supposedly equality to women. Let me slip you a secret most guys don't want to share because it opens their vulnerability. A real guy would appreciate and treasure a 0 number because a 0 number is a jewel that is so rare to find these days. And these days most guys grow up with the idea that they have to make the highest number they can make because they think 0 number women don't exist anymore, and they want to avenge themselves from the women they're finally going to get because they secretly don't trust her, and they think she is just hiding her high number, and they feel they have to equal or surpass her with more numbers.
        So there you have. There's no man who can honestly appreciate you telling him you have a high number and that he feels proud of you because you are well experienced. Honestly, men hide the fact they would prefer a 0 number woman simply because they think they have no choice and because they feel their manhood would be threaten if the woman they are with knew that they prefer 0 number women. It's like this, Aren't you man enough to be with a high number woman? They want to prove they are man enough to have a high number woman even when deep down inside, they don't feel comfortable. Women would do a great favor if they encourage their daughters to be 0 number till they get married. If man knew that the only way they are going to bed a girl is through marriage, they'd stop fooling around. That would be the best thing that happened to society. Imagine no stds, no divorce, no infidelity and more.

    6. […] Does the number of notches you’ve got on the bedpost really matter? – College Candy […]

    7. My boyfriends' number is pretty low. Interestingly enough, mine was higher.

    8. Alli says:

      I don't think my number is anyone's business, and I'm not interested in knowing my guy's number…no good can come of that sort of info sharing because whatever either persons number is, it's either too high or too low, there's no right answer.

    9. YES your number does matter and its not really about the number, but more about the people and having somebody who's been passed around like a burnt dvd…nobody wants to be seen with the high school jumpoff…

      Four Loko Death Calculator: How Many 4 Lokos Would it Take to Kill You? Quiz < Would take 4 for me…:/

      1. PrettyAmiable says:

        … No adult uses the phrase "high school jumpoff." No adult cares what you did in high school.

    10. Erika W says:

      I definitely enjoyed reading this post and i agree with it 100%. So what about the notches in your belt? Y judge someone for the people and actions of the past? If thats the case, then its no point in being in a relationship…

    11. Keira says:

      I think no good can come of swapping numbers, all of the people (or lack there of) you have both slept with has been a thing of the past, so why bring it up? It would most likely cause static between both of you thinking about the other having sex the amount of people and who those people could be. Why focus on the past, when you have the present?

    12. Nyet says:

      A high number is strongly indicative of a character defect

      1. Lalaine says:

        Um, not at all.

        I've slept with DOZENS of people but my current partner will tell you I am the most loyal, compassionate, and right-minded person he knows. Some people just like to have sex. I am one of them. I would never, ever, EVER cheat or even think about cheating on my boyfriend, but when in the past I did what I wanted–never slept with anyone married or in a relationship, never got STDs, never got pregnant, never "homewrecked", either.

        So Nyet, YOUR statement is indicative of a character defect–you are obviously far too insecure.

      2. criolle johnny says:

        MORE shaming language (from both parties, male and female). I think these two comments indicate the importance of communication. If Nyet feels the way he does, and Lalaine feels the way she does, those two should never date, much less sleep together.
        This does NOT indicate character defect in either party. It indicates they are not right for one another.
        This is also where I have to disagree with Alli. Keeping this information from a partner, and having it come out later in a relationship can be devastating.

      3. PrettyAmiable says:

        Sure, if you're horribly insecure, it would be devastating.

    13. I think the only time your "number" should matter should be when it's really low, like 0 or 1. So your partner would know that you're not too experienced and take things slow. Apart from that, it really shouldn't matter.

    14. Olivia says:

      The number should matter when it comes to unprotected sex – Ladies, so what if the guy got tested? THERE IS NO TEST AVAILABLE THAT CAN DETECT HPV IN MEN and so if you have unprotected sex with a guy (with a clean test result) but a high number, there is an increased chance of catching an HPV strain.

    15. mario says:

      Of course it matter. Whoever comes out with the lowest number loses. And the higher the number your partner has, the more he or she will compare you against those individual numbers. So the more comparison, the more vulnerable you are. The real question here is, Would you be proud to marry a high number person or a low number person? or, Would I be proud of knowing that my parents have a high number, or my kids should be proud of me because I have high number?
      Think about it. We are not animals that just do it because of their survival instinct. We should be highly reasoning beings, capable of channeling their urges in a union call matrimony.

    16. Ali says:

      I don’t think that a person’s number is a big deal, but I’m certainly not ashamed to tell anyone. Ive met people with numbers high and low, what does it matter if you’re healthy?

      Maybe I’m nosy but at some point I always ask. The answer itself never matters, but the comfort of having the person you’re with confide in you shows their trust.

      There are definitely people who have contracted STD’s and have a low number, and on the other side, there are people who have a huge number, but couldn’t navigate the female body if they lived in one themselves.

      Don’t forget about people who have a low number, but have been in a few consecutive long term relationships. You can bet they’ve had the most sex out of anyone, so if you’re worried about history – think about that.

    17. intoyourblueeyes says:

      Actually number matters somewhat…
      If you have a larger number then, it simply indicates that you was not get settle with this much of person…
      no doubt it has nothing to do with your future relationship but it simply indicates that you choose little bit wrong person for you or you have select him/her quickly….
      Number below 5 is good according to me, because it show that you have choose almost appropriate persons for you….
      So, this will help you in future and when you really need stability, you can get it….
      After all, wise partner selection can give happiness and peace…

      And ya, I think one should tell his/her partner that you have this much of past relationship, but not appropriate in the initial phase of the relationship…

      How To Make a Guy Fall In Love With You

    18. tarek says:

      ohhhhhhhhhhh good

    19. Kiara says:

      I find the article interesting considering I believe women are the ones most obessed with knowing this, and men would be smart not to answer for any reason. Women, if you have a man that is asking you, leave him. He's way to insecure to be asking a pansy ass question like that.

    20. […] to induce a side eye. But this month, everything was so…blah. Key points include: everyone lies about their numbers, guys have disgusting habits, and sometimes when you’re in a relationship, sex gets kind of […]

    21. Andrea says:

      all this talk of high and low makes me curious, what is considered high and what is low?

    • You Might Like