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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – My NUMBER

Oh boy.  Where to start?

OK, let’s start here – Only an idiot would ask a question that he didn’t really want to know the answer to.  And yet…

Last week Tom Miller  wrote an amusing column on Sexual History and why a woman’s specific number doesn’t count. I’m not going to parse it here. Losplum already did that in her blog (no we aren’t planning these double attacks).  His inspiration seemed to come from a post at The Frisky on Sexual Partners That Don’t Count.

I’m coming at this from a totally different place.


Now I realize that I’m older than Tom and the writers at and Lostplum, too.  So sure there is an actual age difference to factor in.  But my number stopped being a topic of conversation around the same time I stopped playing truth or dare.  You know – back in college.

It seems utterly ridiculous to me for adults to be having conversations with their romantic partners about how many other people they’ve slept with. As Tom pointed out, quantity is irrelevant.  All I want to know is that someone’s been practicing and that they’ve been getting regular, appropriate (read=HIV tests) check ups.  A guy who’s had 8 partners but never wore condoms and has never had an HIV test is a hell of a lot more of a danger to me than a man who’s had 50 partners but who’s always practiced and gets tested every 6 months (especially since I gotta believe those 8 partners have also had unprotected with other men – factor that out a few times and it makes my skin crawl).

And furthermore, any man stupid enough to ask me that question is going to find himself very, very sorry.  Not only won’t I answer it, but I’m going to think a lot less of him for asking.  Because every guy knows or assumes that every woman is going to lie.  And no matter what the number was, there’d be a reason for you to be unhappy (too high, too low, someone you knew).   So why the fuck would you ask?

Consider this my rant for the week.

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14 to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – My NUMBER”

  1. RVASarah says:

    Great post!
    My ex would always make allusions to his number being low and mine being higher than his –we never divulged our numbers though. Whenever he would pull that crap, I would shake my head, put my fingers in my ears like a little kid, and say, “I don’t wanna know. That is your business.” Childish? Yes. Effective? Definitely.

  2. Singlegal says:

    Ha! Actually not sure I’ve been asked this by a guy in a very long time. I think you hit an age where there is a certain don’t ask/don’t tell rule. Although oddly, I read not too long ago in a women’s magazine that it’s a women’s right to know her partners, but not for him to ask? I couldn’t make heads or tales of that one.

  3. drumdance says:

    Maybe I’m an outlier, but I personally think it’s a turn-on. I like to learn more about my partners’ history and don’t feel threatened if it’s a big number. I dated a girl who had had 50+ partners once and it was fun hearing the stories of how she got there.

    Sadly, this appears to be another one of your tests. I should feel “very, very sorry” for asking you about something that’s a turn-on? Rules rules rules…

  4. Veka says:

    What’s a turn on for someone is probably not always going to be a turn on for someone else. I personally don’t want to know numbers of my partners and I am perfectly content not knowing. Likewise, I don’t feel like I should have to tell anyone else. My number is my number and it’s no one else’s business.

    It’s funny you wrote about this today, because I was actually thinking about this last night…

  5. periken says:

    oh well, if someone asks me, they get my honest answer. “Sorry i have no idea” or “lost count”!

  6. drumdance says:

    Veka, that’s cool if it’s not a turn-on to you. My issue is, why be judgmental about it? Pretend instead of asking your number I’d asked if you’re into bondage. Would I be “very, very sorry?” Simone is making the assumption that “there’d be a reason for you to be unhappy” with her answer.

    Assumptions are bad. Which is why, I suppose, she warns men: “Not all women want marriage, kids or even monogamy. Please don’t make assumptions about what I want.”

    You’re free to say “none of your business” if I ask, but don’t make assumptions about my intentions.

  7. Momma Sunshine says:

    Personally, I don’t want to know his number, because that’s none of my business…and I’d just rather not have that running around in my head.

  8. Simone Grant says:

    That sounds like an appropriate enough way to deal with it.
    That makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would it be a woman’s right to know but not a man’s. I guess they’re working on the assumption that we all have much lower numbers than our guys and need to know for our own protection? What a load of crap.
    Darling, I’m quite happy to be able to rule some men out because I find what they think is hot to be creepy. Quite happy. And rules are good, too. As I’ve said, many, many times. I’m not unhappy being single and have no problem if I stay that way. At this point in my life I’d rather be ruling men out than letting then, indiscriminately, in. Your “sadly, this appears to be another of your tests” seems misplaced to me. If anything, my romantic history is a lesson in how I need MORE TESTS.
    I can’t imagine why anyone would think your number is their business. It’s insulting.
    That’s the answer I gave the last time I was asked.

  9. drumdance says:

    Can we at least agree that if you decide you don’t like my question, then it’s a matter of sexual incompatibility? If I’m not into bondage and my partner is, I’m not going to say she’s creepy.

    I personally subscribe to Dan Savage’s GGG principle. I’m willing to try almost anything (save probably scat) with a partner. And even if not I’m not going to decide they’re creepy unless it harms other people or hints at it (like looking at fake kiddie porn).

  10. rugger says:

    I think it would be so weird to ask that question to someone in a dating scenario. And by the time it gets intimate, it’s pretty much a moot point. If someone is great in bed, then they learned it somewhere. Just enjoy it.

  11. drumdance says:

    rugger – oh absolutely. I don’t ask that before intimacy. It’s only after we’ve gotten a feel for each other sexually that I might bring that up. Like I said, it’s fun for me, not anything serious.

  12. Simone Grant says:

    I very specifically used that word – not because I think that or any kink/desire should be labeled creepy, but because I wanted to turn the conversation around. You have no trouble pointing fingers and being judgmental towards others, but are very sensitive about people potentially judging you.
    Welcome to the blog. Your comment makes a lot of sense to me. A lot.

  13. Gray matters101 says:

    This topic came up last night with a new friend on mine, and I found myself at the “to know” or “not to know” crossroads. We were drinking and chatting randomly and somehow sexual history was brought up, at which point she told me that she once had sex with eight different guys in a single night at a party. Not at the same time just choosing one then going to find another with no protection. lol .. a very, very, very, long and awkward pause followed her comment. I try to stay as stoic as possible during these history lessons because I have a few genius moments myself, but this info was very shocking to me. She’s really an awesome person with tons of serious romance potential, but I can’t seem to get over this image of her. It actually disgusts me to think she has the capacity for this. It’s frustrating to say the least, because she confessed her desires for a relationship the next day. Should I just “Grow the fuck up” or dig deeper into the rabbit hole?

  14. Simone Grant says:

    -Gray matters101
    First, welcome to the blog. No one can give you the right answer to that question. Only can know if her past is something you can be OK with. I’ve learned to be OK with all kinds of things from men’s pasts. Just know that whatever decision you choose to make, no one has the right to judge you. And if they do judge you, you should tell them to fuck off.