Most importantly, you should never make anyone (not even that voice in your head that says mean things – especially not that voice in your head that says mean things) feel bad about your past. But if you find yourself in shock when you tally up your totals, (or are even afraid to do it) here are some questions to ask yourself.
1. Why do I need to know my number?
Ever noticed how we try to measure pretty much every aspect of our lives in numbers? (Number of hours between texts, number of beers, calories, etc. Who knows why. Maybe it’s a way of compartmentalizing things in our brains so we can be confident we’re not going to go off the rails wild. But a sex life is much more than the sum of its lovers. Your number may reveal the tehcnical amount of times you’ve gotten down and dirty with someone, but what about the people? The relationships? The dates? The romance? When we try to quantify our love life by calculating our number, all the variables (the stuff that really matters about it all, goes out the window). And math just ain’t sexy. Who said they should ever mix?
2. Who do I want to tell?
If you’re adding up your number because you’d like to talk about it with someone (a partner you’ve agreed to share it with, for example) ask yourself why it’s important to you to exchange this super personal info. It’s a pretty vulnerable place to be after you’ve revealed it, so make sure you’re not going to feel judged or compare or drive yourself bonkers wondering about all these other people. You and your main squeeze can totally talk about your sexual pasts without revealing the hard fact of how many people there have been. Keep in mind that a lot people lie about their numbers, even in the most intimate of relationships. The number itself doesn’t really mean much (see number 1.) so it’s ok if you want to skew it.
3. Why does it bother me?
If you’re really bothered by your number, think of some ways you can come to terms with your past. We’re all living, breathing humans who go through phases, rocky patches and learing curves. Just because you lost count at 19 doesn’t mean you’re a nympho, or if you’re friends are lapping you in with firey torches blazing doesn’t mean you’re inadequate. Anyone who tries to tell you you are is probably insecure about their number and will forget yours the next day anyway. What matters most is that you can find a way to be at peace with your past so you can get on with your life and make decisions the way you want, now.