Q: Last weekend, a few of my male friends were talking about how most guys keep a list somewhere of the women they have had sex with so far in their lives. This is a two-part question: why do men do this, and how do I go about asking my boyfriend if he keeps a list of sexual partners?
A: I would definitely not say that MOST guys keep a list of sexual partners, but some do. And this is not an exclusively male thing to do. Plenty of women keep the same list.
But it’s important also to note that just because a person doesn’t write down his or her sexual encounters doesn’t mean that they don’t remember them. If you go through life having sex with so many people that you can’t remember how many people you’ve had sex with, then you might be banging too many people (and you are also my hero).
There are myriad reasons people keep sex partner lists that I will try my best to outline in brief (concentrating mostly on heterosexual male reasons, because they say to write what you know):
- This is, I think, glaringly obvious: it is beneficial to ensure you remember the people you have been inside of and roughly when the fornication took place, in case diseases or accidental pregnancies rear their unfortunate heads. Would you prefer a guy who has tangible knowledge of his past, or a guy who says “hell if I know” when you ask him how many women he has slept with (if you ask him this, which you probably shouldn’t, but we’ll get to that in a moment)?
- If you keep a list somewhere handy, it’s easier to conjure up masturbatory scenarios based loosely on factual events. For the lonely nights. We call this “The Spank Bank,” and sometimes listicles and/or spreadsheets are involved, in the interest of verisimilitude.
- Pure, unbridled nostalgia. As a woman, you may not have fond memories of your first few sexual transgressions. But trust me: no matter how embarrassed the guy was about his dismal performance, it was one of the best moments of his life to that date, and he is on some level very frightened that he will forget even one of them.
- So that they can respond in earnest if/when you ask them how many women they have had sex with. Some dudes keep records in an effort to be honest.
- So that they know what number they should divide by three if you are ever to ask them how many women they have had sex with. Some dudes are not honest.
- A list of people with whom one has made the two-backed beast can realistically be a way for the list-keeper to monitor how he has grown and matured through the years. In present times, experience and maturity levels should mean more than years lived, and gauging that through a look back on the people you have been intimate with is as good a way to analyze personal and sexual growth as any.
- Sometimes it’s pragmatic, like studying game tape. A guy will look to his list to remember what worked and what didn’t, so that he may be able to find and please your clitoris.
Now onto the second part of this question.
I don’t see why you would ever ask your boyfriend if he keeps a list of sexual partners, or why you would ask your boyfriend how many people he has had sex with in the past.
Because, obviously, that shit is in the past. Focus instead on being the final entry on his list.
If your boyfriend seems particularly beautiful and/or charismatic, like someone who has no problem getting laid, then go you! Your conversation should be geared more toward how… clean he is than how many women he has had sex with. You might even just want to be like “so I don’t want to know how many people you have smashed, but if we’re getting serious*, could you please get tested?”
One more thing to consider: how significant is it really to know how many people a person has had sex with, especially in comparison with the number of times the person has had sex? I’m just as wary of someone who has been boning the same person for three years as I am a person who has slept around a little bit while they’re single.
*i.e. quitting on the condoms