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 COEDmagazine.com