The CW
Karen Fratti
August 23, 2017 9:13 am

A new study of over 2,000 adults in the U.S. and Europe aimed to find out the average number of sexual partners a person has in their lifetime. Depending on your own sexual history, you might be a little shocked by the numbers. According to the research, the average number of sexual partners for Americans is seven; In Europe. the average number is six.

A more specific average number of partners depends what state you live in. On the high end, people in South Carolina, Nebraska, and Oklahoma averaged more than 10 partners throughout their life, which was on the the higher end. People in Mississippi, Kansas, and West Virginia were all on the lower end with fewer than five partners. One of the lowest averages was in Utah, where people reported sleeping with 2.6 people on average.

Can you trust the accuracy of people self-reporting their sexual partners though?

Everyone has a different sexual history, but when you look at the average number of sexual partners that people have across the country and then the data on their opinions about number of sexual partners, something seems a little off. Like, people are either exaggerating their number or cutting some people from their list. For example, in the U.S. people reported that they think having just two partners is too little, that seven was ideal (which, you might remember, was the self-reported average), and that any more than 15 was “promiscuous.”

If you like having more sexual partners and don’t want to be judged about it, France, Portugal, Spain, and Belgium reported that 10 or so partners was “ideal,” while in places like Italy or the Netherlands, that was already too many.

Then again, it’s hard to know what’s really up with all of this data, since the study also found that men are way more likely than women to lie about their sexual partners, though both genders are guilty of fibbing. And it doesn’t even matter whether it’s increasing or decreasing the number of partners. Basically, people will tell you want they think you want to hear when you ask them about their sexual history.

So what does this all mean? To start, don’t let any “national average” number intimidate or shame you when it comes to how many partners you’ve had or would like to have. If just one or two partners for life feels good, so be it. But remember that being “promiscuous” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The actual meaning of the word means “indiscriminate” sexual behavior, which is not the same as preferring as to have as much sex as possible. If you’re making decisions and consenting to sex, who cares what someone in another state considers “too much” or “too little?” Stand by your choices and your needs, and DGAF what anyone thinks of your number.

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