Dr Love: Is there a magic number of sexual partners?

Question:  I have been a single woman for most of my 20s and 30s, with a couple of relationships only lasting a few years. When I've been single, I've still had a high sex drive and have had affairs and casual sex. After talking with a few girlfriends my age (most of whom have been married or in relationships for many years) I easily double or triple the number of partners they have had in their life. I never thought of myself as sexually "loose" - I'm quite picky with who I sleep with - but would a man see it the same way if I was ever honest with him?

Is having more than 10-20 partners an obstacle to settling down with someone?

Answer: There's a myth that the magic number is five, or maybe it's seven now since times have moved on, a little bit, but regardless, anything above the magic number is somehow universally regarded as "too many" when it comes to the number of sexual partners one has.

Increasingly, men will understand that a woman who is single isn't going to necessarily "wait around for Prince Charming".

Women will acknowledge that a single man too probably has a sexual past.

What young men and women need to be more concerned about, beyond fictional standards of "reputation" are things like: is this person willing to share their sexual history with me so that I can be empowered to make a safe choice, can we be honest about our sexual desires with one another, do we practice safer sex every time, does this person respect me and have self respect, is this person caring towards me and show self care also?

These measures are far, far more important than a number to identify what kind of sexual choices a person has made in their life and how that may somehow reflect on their character.

Everyone grows and changes with learning in life and exploration of our sexuality is absolutely no different.

Rather than be concerned about what others will think of the number of sexual partners you've had, flip the script and be concerned about what you value in someone.

What's important to you in a sexual or romantic partner?

And don't ever compare yourself to other girlfriends, or anyone for that matter.

Eeveryone is different and our sexual choices, sexual privacy and values are each our own.

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