It may be invasive, but it seems like the question, "how many people have you slept with?" inevitably comes up in every relationship.
While it can be an awkward conversation to have with a new partner, it may be necessary to know in terms of potential health concerns, like if there's a possibility your significant other could have a sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Researchers conducted an online survey, where 188 people rated their "willingness to engage in a relationship with a hypothetical individual with a specified number of past sexual partners, ranging from 0 to 60+."
The number had a significant impact on the participants, who were initially more inclined to have a significant other with a certain number of previous partners, than none at all. However, once that number reached a certain point, their willingness significantly fell.
For short-term relationships, men were more lenient if their partners had more sexual encounters compared to women, but the difference was not large.
For long-term relationships, both men and women expressed an equal amount of hesitation to be involved with someone with an extensive sexual history.
"A prospective mate with an overly extensive sexual history is statistically a poor bet as a faithful, committed long-term mate," the study found.
While participants who had a high number of mates were more tolerant of prospective mates who also have a similar partner count than those with a low number of previous romantic encounters, they were less receptive of potential partners who have only slept with a few.
"Contrary to the idea that male promiscuity is tolerated but female promiscuity is not, both sexes expressed equal reluctance to get involved with someone with an overly extensive sexual history," psychologist Dr. Steve Stewart-Williams said.
But this information makes us wonder, what is the optimal number of sexual encounters their partners have had?