What is a reasonable number (of sexual partners)?

A similar thread was created back in 2005, but I think times may have changed somewhat over the past 17 years.

In conducting research for some other threads about the PUA movement and INCELS, I came across a number of videos related to number of sexual partners. A few data points (I’m not going to bother finding the links, so take them as you will):

  • Average number of sex partners for high school grads: 3
  • Average lifetime number for men: 7 (often said in a derisive context)
  • Estimated lifetime sex partners for Gene Simmons from Kiss: over 5000
  • Estimated lifetime sex partners for Mick Jagger: over 8000
  • 22% of men have had more than 20 sex partners
  • Many of the videos presented people who look under 30 with 15 to 50 sex partners as fairly typical

I suppose there is no “right number”, but it seems to me (at least the way the media presents it) there is some ideal number or range where too few, you are not considered “experienced” enough (whatever that means) and too many is kind of gross.


You cannot judge people’s sex lives and decide they have too many (or too few) partners. Just play responsibly (some people don’t, unfortunately).

As long as they’re practicing safe(r) sex, who really cares? Number of partners really doesn’t enter into it.

I’d say the most reasonable number is one’s own number. Any fewer and the person is an inexperienced loser; any more and the person is out of control.

That’s a jokey answer of course, and more from a traditional male perspective. The real answer is, there’s no ‘reasonable’ number. Someone might find their perfect match life partner early in life, and stop at a few, or just the one. And good for them! Others might enjoy playing the field for awhile (responsibly, hopefully) until they settle down.

My own personal number, in case anyone cares (57 yo hetero male, happily married so I don’t expect my number to ever change, for the record):

Somewhere between ‘Average lifetime number for men’ and ‘Estimated lifetime sex partners for Mick Jagger’.

…okay, more toward the lower end of that scale :wink:

I would perhaps have liked mine to be higher, but it would have required me to have a different personality and sex drive, so maybe not. Other than that I concur with the “there’s no right number crowd”.

I absolutely hate the “too many/too few sexual partners”-trope, but not as much as I hate the “I haven’t had sex in months”-trope.

That there’s no real point to that number?

How much fun you have with the partner(s) you do have is a much better metric. Even if the only partners you have ever had are Mrs Palm and her five daughters.

What is a reasonable number of burritos to have eaten?

How many do you want?

What people report and what they actually did are often two drastically different things. People who think the number matters, in either direction, are very likely to lie about it.

The right number of partners is going to vary with the individual, and may be anywhere from (and including) none at all to many. I’m not going to put a figure on “many”; except to say that I very much doubt anyone who actually has hundreds, let alone thousands, of partners was paying much of any attention to most or any of them.

I suspect the sex will be better if the parties involved aren’t concerned with the body count.

As with most things in life, I suppose enough of a variety of sufficient quality to see if you like them, but not so many as to shit yourself.

The bed seems to get too crowded above five people; I guess some are more flexible than others…

There’s no meaningful answer to the OP’s question, but I think the number itself can be meaningful – depending on the circumstances and the people involved.

Hypothetical: You’re a straight woman in your 20s who’s had five partners. You become interested in a guy and the question comes up. Your assessment of him will be very different if he says “50” vs saying “five.” It doesn’t make him a bad guy, or a slut, or even necessarily wrong for you, but now you’re aware that there may be some very different values and priorities at play.

Think outside the box. Midgets. I’m just saying…

How many partners does the woman in the hypothetical say she has?

I hypothesized that she’s had five. Are you asking if she tells the truth, or makes up a number to suit the guy based on his answer?

Well, if I’m writing the screenplay, and the guy says “five,” she says, “Wow, me too!” And if he says “50,” she says, “Hmm, fewer than that.”

If I’m writing the screenplay and the guy says “five,” she says, “Wow, me too!” And if he says “50,” she says, “52”

And what exactly is a “sexual partner”?

Had girlfriends in High school that happily gave me hummers and handjobs but never let me into the promised land. If they are added to those that did my HS average was well above 3.

Note: The use of the word Midget is often offensive in the current times. We encourage you to choose a less offensive term for people of small stature.

To add to What_Exit’s note, the people who have been described by that term prefer being called little people or people with dwarfism, or in some cases dwarfs (although some object to that, as well, I think.)

The “M” Word (lpaonline.org)

The George Carlin Equation!