My boyfriend wanted to know how many guys I slept with before we met. He told me hed slept with 12 people. I told him I slept with more 14 knowing full well the answers closer to 50. I feel bad that I lied but even with my lie he looked at me like Id caused the Gulf oil spill. Im convinced hes the one and I totally see myself married to him, but Im not sure bringing the subject back up so I can undo my lie is a good idea. Still, how can I pretend that honesty is important in our relationship if I tell flat-out lies?
Lyin n cryin
You admitted having more sexual partners than he did, so broadly speaking, you didnt lie. You just got the kind of mileage out of the truth that Toyota would kill for.
Lets face it, theres a huge double standard attached to the question of how many people youve slept with. We think badly of men who have too few and worse of women who have too many.
The result? Everybody lies. Heres what the latest sex survey of lifetime partners by the CDC showed men: seven, women: four. The latest British survey of lifetime partners? Men: 12.7. Women: 6.5. In most surveys, men report having between 40 percent and 75 percent more partners than women.
Theres just one problem. The numbers dont compute. Its mathematically impossible for heterosexual men to have more partners than heterosexual women. David Gale, an emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley proved it with a theorem in a recent New York Times article. So why the discrepancy? One reason is that men have sex with populations of women who arent surveyed (prostitutes, women in other countries when theyre on vacation). But, come on, that cant even begin to explain a 40 percent to 75 percent difference. Most observers agree the biggest reason for the difference is that men exaggerate and women underestimate. Whether its the size of their equipment or the number of their conquests, mens math goes something like this: 2 + 2 = 22. And whether its their weight or the number of men theyve slept with, womens math goes something like this: 22 + 22 = 2.
I dont mean to get ugly, honey, but youre feeling bad about lying to somebody who lied to you. I would not go back to your boyfriend and straighten out your math. First, hes already judging you like a sausage at a vegan potluck. Putting a numerical value on your sexual past (which Id describe as, One kiss and its heels to Jesus) doesnt make sense.
When a man asks how many men youve slept with, hes not looking for a number, hes looking for a verdict. Hes trying to put you in a category virgin or whore. Enlightened guys arent much better. Their categories are Virgin, Virgin Lite or Whore.
Ladies, if your man asks you how many lovers youve had, the correct answer is, What number is acceptable to you? Believe me, hes got one. And if youre north of it, let me know how that honesty thing works out.
The whole subject of sexual quantity should be tabled until we stop persecuting women for what we praise in men.
Buzzfeed has a chart showing how many women famous men have slept with (winner: Fidel Castro with 30,000 and counting). When Buzzfeed charts the number of men that famous women have slept with, youll know the double standard has come to and end. Until then, my advice is to steer clear.
Right now, youre obsessing about honesty for honestys sakes. A dangerous mentality. You know what they call couples who believe in being absolutely honest on every subject? Divorced.
Truths restorative powers are greatly exaggerated. They only work on issues that help the relationship move forward (financial and marital infidelity come to mind). How does giving him your true number deepen your relationship? It doesnt.
Got a burning or a why-is-it-burning question for the Sexorcist? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Midtown resident Mike Alvear hosts HBOs The Sex Inspectors, blogs at mikealvear.com and teaches monthly blogging workshops with Hollis Gillespie.