It’s hard to forget the scene from Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” when the main character, Dante, and his girlfriend decide to exchange information about how many sexual partners they both had prior to the relationship. For those of you who haven’t seen the film, it did not end well to say the least. After learning that his girlfriend had a lengthy sexual history, Dante angrily proclaims to his co-worker, “My girlfriend sucked thirty seven dicks!”(1) Naturally, she storms out furiously after the horrible turn in their conversation and Dante digs himself into deeper trouble by running after her advising her to, “Try not to suck any dick on the way to the parking lot!” (1)
While tension filled scenarios like this can make for comedy genius on the big screen, couples who find themselves in a similar dilemma in real life will rarely end the conversation in laughter. For me, this scene begged the question: Is there a better way this could have gone? If they had, perhaps, had this conversation sooner in the relationship, would Dante have been less shocked by the revelation and more receptive to his girlfriend’s past? Or is this a conversation that should have taken place? Maybe the past should be just that – the past.
There are numerous reasons why the “number” question comes up between couples but I think there are three very prevalent causes for this issue to arise.
It’s not uncommon, especially among young couples, to use their partner’s “number” as a way to assess risk of sexually transmitted infections if their partner has not been tested (as if infection is cumulative). The general mindset is that if ‘Amy’ has only had three previous partners, she’s much less likely to be infected than someone who has been with twenty previous partners. There are, of course, several major flaws in this line of thought. Countless factors go in to determining your level of risk for infection. Was safe sex always practiced? How many partners did the previous partners have? The fact of the matter is, studies show a quarter of teens in the U.S. to be infected with an STI. With statistics that high, the ONLY way to be sure you are safe is to get tested regularly.
Guilt and Reassurance
Ladies, I’m talking to you! Many sexually active women are worried that having had multiple partners will make them a “slut.” This cruel branding has been a double standard throughout the history of our patriarchal society. A lot of women feel the need to seek assurance from the person they care for that they are within a normal limit of previous partners and won’t be thought of as having been promiscuous. Unfortunately, most people’s opinion on what does and does not constitute a “high number” is relative to how many partner s they themselves have had. Basically, what may not have been a big deal to your ex, may make you look like the town’s sperm dumpster to the new boyfriend.
Openness and Honesty
This may be the most common reason to have “the talk.” When you’re with someone new that you are really excited about, you often feel the burning desire to know every detail about them. Where did they grow up? How many siblings do they have? Did they have a favorite hobby in high school? Most of these questions are completely harmless and may help you to feel closer to your partner. However, as we learned from Dante in “Clerks,” sharing too much information can quickly turn foul. Be honest with yourself: Do you really want to picture your significant other being intimate with somebody else? Probably not. Sex is a very emotional experience and, even years down the line, can stir up powerful emotions in the best of us. Why risk hurting your partner over information that is probably irrelevant in light of your new feelings for each other? Rather than worrying about the past, look forward to your bright future together. And, if you find yourself getting curious, go to the ice cream parlor and find out what their favorite toppings are instead (this information may later prove useful in the bedroom!).
Posted by Britsy Nicole on June 20, 2011 01:28 am
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