Planned Parenthood
December 20, 2014 10:00 am

Taylor Swift is an adorable weirdo who also happens to be a musical and marketing genius. Not only are T-Swift’s songs catchy, but they’re also obviously written from the heart, as her songs often reference specific people and events in her life. Because of this, some people think it’s okay to draw conclusions about her love life.

It’s very possible that I have been listening to Taylor’s new album on repeat, which has got me thinking a lot about the issue she gets asked all the time: How many partners is too many? (Hint: There’s no right answer) So, in this month’s Ask Elizabeth column, I’ll be answering reader’s questions to address the idea that there isn’t one right answer. And Tay-Tay, if you’re reading this, I want to send a personal thanks for bringing more awareness to some of the double standards our society has for men and women!

Q: Can someone have too much sex?
People decide to have sex for different reasons. Part of the decision to have sex is when and how often a person will engage in intercourse. It’s up to each person to think about their values and what they’re comfortable with. It’s equally important to communicate with partners to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and that both partners are giving and getting consent. Regardless of how often someone chooses to have sex, using protection every time and getting tested regularly will help reduce the risk for STDs and/or unplanned pregnancy.

Q: How many partners are too many? How many partners are too few?
There is no right answer to this question. Even though we might hear stories in the media pointing fingers at all of Taylor’s exes or praising Leo for dating another model, there’s no set number someone should strive for. Women and men get different messages about what’s acceptable and what’s not. But, ultimately, each individual needs to make this decision for themselves based on what feels right for them. If you aren’t ready for a relationship or aren’t ready to have sex, that’s OK, and you always have the right to say no. If you choose to be in a relationship, remember that communicating with your partner is really important. If you choose to be sexually active, use protection and get tested regularly. Limiting the number of sex partners can also help to reduce the risk of STDs. However many partners someone chooses to have, and whether or not they are sexually active, you can always go to your local Planned Parenthood to get information to help you make healthy, safe decisions that are right for you.

Q: At what age should a person start having sex?
That is a really common question. Deciding to have sex is a very personal decision that can be influenced by lots of different factors, such as values, family, tradition, culture, feelings, body image, partner, and just overall feelings of readiness. There’s no right age to start having sex, and many people choose to wait until it feels right for them. If and when a person decides to have sex, they want to make sure they’re making a choice that goes along with their values and that they’re ready to do what it takes to protect themselves and their partner(s) from STDs and unplanned pregnancy. This may include using condoms or latex barriers, getting birth control, communicating with their partner, and getting tested regularly. And remember, even if someone has had sex before, they can always choose not to have sex at any time in their life.

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