His Take: “Why Are Guys So Territorial About Sex?”

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Why are (some) guys so weird about sex? I’ve only been with four other men and my boyfriend has been with more women than he can count, but If I ever say anything even vaguely alluding to the reality that I had sexual relations with other people before I met him, he gets all uncomfortable and says he doesn’t want to think about that stuff. All I care about is that he’s only having sex with me now, and I don’t feel in any way threatened by past partners whom he doesn’t even see anymore. Why would I? I ask him how he can he feel threatened by my number when he has been with WAY more people, and he just says, “It’s different.” How is it different? I asked him if he wishes I was a virgin when we met, and he laughed and said, “No, that’s ridiculous!” So what gives? Guys I’ve talked to say that men are “territorial” about sex. What does that even mean? Does he think those guys from my past still have some kind of claim on me? And if so, why doesn’t he also think that he still has some kind of claim on all the women he’s been with? Why is the sex I’ve had so much more meaningful to him than the sex he’s had? Please explain! — Numbers Game

ANDREW: If you mean it when you say “All I care about is that he’s only having sex with me now” then leave him alone and stop talking about your ex-boyfriends all the time. It makes him uncomfortable. He doesn’t have to explain to you how every part of his mind works if he doesn’t want to. Your making problems where there aren’t any. He doesn’t want to talk about it. Talk about something else.


ERIK: This is probably the simplest His Take I’ll ever be asked to respond to. Your boyfriend is insecure. A lot of people are. He probably doesn’t want to think of you as enjoying sex with other people, and he may worry that someone in your past was more talented between the sheets than he.

And to answer your question: It’s not different. It’s just easy for him to recognize in himself that his previous partners are old news but somehow he is unable to apply that same thinking to you. Everyone’s a little crazy in different aspects of their lives, it looks like you’ve just found that part of your boyfriend.

DAVID JAY: Are guys territorial about sex? Hell no! We’re jealous, possessive, insecure, paranoid, and irrational, but NOT territorial! Every past love has a claim on us; either a wistful reminder of what “might have been”, or a deep dark regret. So to that extent, your boyfriend DOES have a “claim” with his past girlfriends; the same claim your past lovers have on you.

The virgin question is a classic trap. His discomfort with that AND your past sex partners indicates he has genuine feelings for you. He wishes he were your first (and maybe your last). But that can’t be changed now, so why hurt you with an honest answer? He’s watching out for your feelings. GOOD! And the reason you should care about his number is because it makes a statement about his character. If he gives it away easily it means there is nothing special about you… at least MORE special than the others.

It isn’t that YOUR past sex life was more meaningful than his, it’s just that you can never defend that the sex you’re having with him now is MORE meaningful than it was with your past partner (unless you make the “ultimate hookup” and marry him someday). Your boyfriend’s weird reaction is BECAUSE he loves you. I’d be much more concerned if he didn’t care. Now, just put it to rest and avoid the subject at all costs.

* If you’d like to ask the guys a question, simply email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.


  1. LW, it is kind of silly that he gets worked up. But it doesn’t really seem like the hugest deal. Is there really a need to talk about it with him? Obviously he doesn’t like it, so it just seems respectful to just drop it.

    1. Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich says:

      That’s what I was thinking as I read through this, much like Drew’s response too. If he’s not turning every mention of another man into a huge fight, but instead gets uncomfortable and says he doesn’t want to think about it, let him not think about it. If you’ve had the safety talk, I don’t think any more details from your previous sexual experiences necessarily need to be shared. Some guys (and some girls!) just prefer a DADT policy about ex-sex.

  2. BoomChakaLaka says:

    Interesting answers although I’d have to Erik’s answer is more along the lines of what I was thinking.

    It really shouldn’t matter; what happened in the past is past. If anything he should appreciate/accept your past because it made you the person he’s with today.

    1. I thought Erik’s response made the most sense, too. For some guys, the fact that their girlfriend has slept with other guys means that she has had other lovers to which she can compare his skills. The last thing he needs to do is be reminded of this.

      1. Oops – “…he needs is to be reminded of this.”

        To some of the points below, yes, it’s obviously a sign of him being insecure, but it’s a concern that many guys have.

  3. AnitaBath says:

    People are acting like she’s always bringing up her past sexual encounters and forcing her boyfriend to listen to her about it, and that just doesn’t seem to be the case to me. It sounds like even the tiniest reminder is enough to do it, which I think is ridiculous. Just stop talking about it? Pretend that you’ve never ever ever even kissed another guy because the boyfriend is insecure and believes in the double standard? That seems to be a little much.

    1. I agree. My impression was that the LW was just curious why this guy (and possibly guys in general) seem to be a bit more territorial with their partners in terms of sex. Personally, I’ve been with some very progressive guys that did not apply a double standard to me in any way… but even they expressed that for whatever reason, guys do generally have a slightly harder time picturing their mate with someone else physically, whether that be before they came into the picture or even after they’ve broken up with you. I think their brains are just kind of wired to focus more on the physical stuff, whereas girls might focus their jealousy, if any, on the emotional. LW is curious as to why this is… but, I don’t think that the *why* matters. Guys and gals just think differently. So, I say let go trying to understand *why* on this matter. I don’t care to explain to my fashion-clueless boyfriend *why* Marc Jacobs is my fave designer. We don’t have to pick apart every nuance of our brain differences in order to love each other, so long as we connect on the big things that matter.

      I know I’m generalizing so I’ll add the caveat that of course this isn’t always true, but in my experience it is. Just because girls and guys think differently doesn’t mean one is better than the other, by the way.

      1. Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich says:

        I can’t really contribute about how the men in my life have dealt with me bringing up previous partners because I think I’m the female equivalent. I really don’t want to hear about my BF’s previous experiences, good OR bad. The best way for me not to create insecurity about how I compare to his previous partners is to pretend like they don’t exist. I know I’m pretending, he knows I’m pretending, but it somehow helps.

    2. I agree. Sometimes these things come up in normal conversation. My past is part of who I am and I am going to share it with you.

  4. Good Answers!

    LW drop the subject! My fiance does not like the thought of me with other men in that past… and that’s fine with me!! If anything I love it that he cares!!!!

    Don’t bring it up again… and stop over analyzing everything about this topic.

  5. I hate it when guys get possessive about past sexual experiences. I almost dated this one guy who freaked out when he found out I’d only been with women before. Guess it was too much pressure for him. Girls don’t seem to have that problem though. Either way, unless it’s a big deal to the LW to keep pressing the issue I would recommend just dropping it.

    1. Freaked out? I can think of at least four reasons why that piece of information would automatically be a “win” in my mind.

  6. He’s either bad in bed or he just thinks he is.

  7. It’s called a Double Standard and it’s alive and well.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    My boyfriend was totally this way. He was completely jealous and wanted me all to himself and we had many many fights about this. Didn’t matter that he had slept with three times as many people or that I had been in committed relationships. You’re not going to change his mind about him thinking it’s “different” so don’t waste your time on that one. What you can say is that “Look, dear, I’m only interested in YOU. We both have dated people in the past, but what matters now is that you and I are together. It is unfair and hurtful that you are trying to make me feel that I should be guilty about my past.” Anyway, after 3+ years together it doesn’t come up anymore because I say it’s not a subject that we are discussing because it adds no value to our relationship. We’ve already hashed it out, talked about it, I know he gets jealous etc thinking about me with anyone else. Now, he can talk nonchalantly about his exes (in certain situations of course, they don’t come up that often) as can I (for the most part, although I generally avoid ex talk as a rule).
    My suggestion: if he’s trying to make you feel bad, be firm that this is not a topic to be discussed anymore so you both can move on. But know that he’s a guy and for what ever irrational reason, he gets jealous. Not a red flag (although it is if he’s belittling you or being emotional abusive..then get out!!)

  9. GingerLaine says:

    David Jay said:
    “And the reason you should care about his number is because it makes a statement about his character.”

    Yes, a statement that he is a sexually experienced person. Sheesh. I guess I fail to see a direct correlation between a person’s number of sexual partners & their character. Maybe they started early. Maybe they were previously a sex addict who sought help. Maybe they’re into orgies, and every person there counts as one more notch for the ol’ bedpost.

    Too bad we aren’t all required to wear our numbers around our necks – it’d be so much more effective a judge of character than actually getting to know a person before you paint them with broad, meaningless strokes. (/end sarcasm)

    1. demoiselle says:

      What *could* be a reflection on his character is the fact that he’s OK with having himself had many partners in the past, but he’s simultaneously not OK with his girlfriend having had a few… That’s a pretty uncomfortable double-standard.

      Perhaps he’s just not thought out the cultural messages he has gotten, and can learn to examine them critically. Although I haven’t read it yet, something like Jessica Valenti’s book “He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut” comes to mind as a good resource for exposing the problems with these underlying assumptions about sex. Men don’t have much impetus to examine the problems with their assumptions. However, it shouldn’t always be the woman’s job to educate their partners. Tough bind, isn’t it?

      I wish this sort of stuff was taught in middle school. 😉

    2. GingerLaine says:

      LOL. What’s happening, mystery down-thumbber? Wanna talk it out?

    3. Thanks GingerLaine. I think the fact that you have difficulty making any correlation between a person’s number of sex partners and the quality of their character points out the problem better than I ever could. Therein lies the great cultural divide!

      1. AnitaBath says:

        So if a person has had a lot of sex partners, that means you matter even less? Sex partners aren’t numbers that factor into percentages. My boyfriend has had 20 sex partners. Does that mean I only carry 5% importance in his sex life?

        People view sex differently. Just because someone chooses to have sex with more people than you doesn’t mean those people they had sex with matter any less. Any person who judges someone by their “number” rather than their actions and attitudes is someone I don’t want to be with, not someone who’s had what I deem to be an unacceptable number of partners.

      2. Their actions and attitudes IS their number! Put it together!! 🙂

        “Just because someone chooses to have sex with more people doesn’t mean those people they had sex with matter any less.”

        Correct… it just means that the current partner doesn’t matter any more. That is part of what is driving our boy here crazy.

      3. AnitaBath says:

        I think partners have as much importance as you give them. Since the LW is with her boyfriend and not the other dudes, I’d say she’s given him a heck of a lot more importance.

      4. AnitaBath says:

        Sorry, I may be misreading your comment. At first I read it as, “You don’t put any importance on the number and, well, there’s your problem!”

        Now I don’t know if I should have read it more as, “And that is why people view it differently!”


    4. GingerLaine says:

      Geez. I know we get into this every time there are majorly opposing views on a topic, but…

      ARGH! Having 10 thumbs down with no disagreeing responses (other than David’s, of course) is pretty annoying. I have to wonder what I said that was so disagreeable to SO many people…

      All I’m saying is don’t judge people by their history because nothing is necessarily at face value. A person isn’t a whore just because they’ve had sex with 40 people, just as a person isn’t a prude just because they haven’t had sex at all. What’s so wrong about that? 🙂

      Damn! Somebody even gave my comment about getting thumbs down a thumbs down! (I actually laughed about that. I figure that’s just good humor.)

      1. I didn’t thumbs-down you, but I do respectfully disagree with you, so I’ll respond anyway.

        To me, a person’s number of sex partners IS indicative of his/her character. Not in a judge-y way, but in a fundamental values way, and for that reason alone, you should care what his/her number is. I wouldn’t say someone is a whore if they’ve had sex with 40 people, but I would say that their views of sex, it’s importance, and it’s role, is fundamentally different than the views of a person (not a prude) who has had sex with only 1 person.

        While I wouldn’t want to judge people in general by their number of sex partners (I don’t care how many partners my friends have had), I do judge potential partners by their number. If one partner believes that sex should be reserved for a long-term, committed relationship, and the other partner believes that sex can be Saturday afternoon fun with a stranger, that could indicate an incompatibility you may want to pay attention to.

      2. GingerLaine says:

        Thank you, LennyBee!! Such a sweet response. I do appreciate it.

        I hear what you’re saying. And it makes total sense to me. I just disagree on how it’s being termed. To me, character consists of things like fortitude, kindness, honor, integrity (see m-w.com for a dictionary definition). Something like a person’s views on sex might be part of their LIFESTYLE or their VALUES, but not their CHARACTER. And I do agree that people with conflicting lifestyles/values are going to have compatibility issues.

        As for me, I don’t even know my husband’s number. We’ve had the conversation, but I can’t even remember how many he said. Because it’s unimportant to me. We were both tested early in our relationship. He was clean. I was clean. I knew that he was (and still is) a good, upstanding, moral person RIGHT THEN so how many people he had sex with before me is really of no consequence. It’s not like he had some kids or convictions I didn’t know about. Just other sexual partners in a period of time in his life during which I was not present. As far as I’m concerned, people deserve the right to explore, to grow, to change, and to make mistakes. I’m not proud of every sexual experience I’ve had either. But I would feel especially bad about it (and yes, JUDGED) if after recognizing that I wasn’t proud of it, some romantic interest had completely written me off altogether instead of accepting that the past experience played a role in how I became the person I am NOW. You know, the person they were feeling good about before they heard an arbitrary number.

        Now see. If someone would have said this to me, oh, 11 thumbs ago, this could have all been cleared up! 🙂 Thank you for giving me an opportunity to clarify how I’m framing this situation vs. how others are, LennyBee! High five!

      3. ape escape says:

        “To me, character consists of things like fortitude, kindness, honor, integrity (see m-w.com for a dictionary definition). Something like a person’s views on sex might be part of their LIFESTYLE or their VALUES, but not their CHARACTER.”

        YES. Yes yes yes.

      4. Hallelujiah! I think we’ve discovered intelligent life on Earth!!! 🙂

  10. People just react to that sort of stuff differently. My boyfriend could care less if I mention my ex-boyfriends (in passing, obviously – no details) but I hate hearing about his ex-girlfriends. We are just different, and respect each other’s comfort levels. So I would just drop the subject – he is loyal to you so if talking about former lovers makes him uncomfortable, give him that.

  11. I totally agree with Erik. I suffer from the same logical fallacy, ie, I know that my relationships with exes, past flings, etc., mean nothing, but it’s hard for me to assume the same about him. If anything, his previous sexual encounters and relationships with exes meant even less! Logically, I know there’s nothing to worry about, but emotionally, I get insecure.

    Also, my boyfriend is exactly the same way. We usually jokingly refer to each other as having been virgins when we met, even though that’s far from true. It might help him if you find something new to do (a new position, sexual act, etc) with him that you’ve never done with anyone else.

    1. Christina says:

      That’s what my boyfriend and I do! That’s funny. He is ultra sensitive about any thought of me having been with anyone else. One time he hugged me and joked that he was glad that he was the only boyfriend that I’d ever had ever. It totally diffused the tension we had been having over the issue. He was just irrational about it and said he knew it but couldn’t stop being bugged by it. I’m just more careful not to even accidentally talk about any time I’d spent with an ex and I’ve chosen to find it charming that he wants to be the only man I’ve ever loved and depended on. My only boyfriend ever.

      1. Me too, I think it’s really cute actually! It gets annoying when he gets all sensitive when I mention exes in passing (since some of them are friends), but we both honestly feel like each other is our one and only ever 🙂

  12. My boyfriend is the exact same way. The boys raise valid points, but sometimes when I am frusterated, I start to feel that I am the one being accepting and understanding of his sexual past-but I dont recieve any of that back. I do see it as a double standard, In my more feminist moments. Also, my boyfriend and I don’t bring up the past unless needed…

    I feel that the men that act like that need to work a bit more on themselves, and think about how/why they are reacting the way they are. Of course their are bigger things to think about in a relationship, but I do agree this is a valid topic to discuss. Its nice to know I am not the only one! 🙂

    1. demoiselle says:

      The commonplace that men and women just think differently about sex makes it very easy to avoid examining double standards and having to work to overcome them.

  13. LolaBeans says:

    Definitely agreeing with Drew here… just let him be.
    why are you even talking about past sexual relationships anyway?

    1. honeybeenicki says:

      Sometimes past relationships come up in conversation. It just happens. One place I’ve seen these discussions come up are “here’s what I like, do it this way” but I would advise people stick with “I like….” not “I loved it when ex-boyfriend XYZ did…..” You can’t pretend that your life started the minute you started dating the person you are with. Now, if she is talking about it a lot or is getting into nitty-gritty details no one wants to hear, then sure I agree that she should just let it go. But if he gets overly sensitive about a passing remark, there’s an issue. Sure, she shouldn’t harp on it even if he does get sensitive about it.

      1. LolaBeans says:

        i just don’t get how sex with others could come up that often.. other than you know, sexual history for the purposes of sexual safety etc.

      2. honeybeenicki says:

        I don’t know that it does (or should) come up extremely often for most people (I think in the 6 years I’ve been with my husband it has come up maybe 2 or 3 times), but sometimes it just does. And since we dont really know how often it seems to come up with LW its hard to judge if maybe she is overdoing it. And if she is, well then I’d agree she should back off. I had a guy once tell me that he decided I was a virgin when we met just so he wouldn’t have to picture me sleeping with anyone else and we had only discussed it once and it was a quick testing conversation. It really bugged him that I am still good friends with some of my exes (as he was with some of his) and he said he would picture me and certain exes “together” and it would bother him. That was his issue, not mine. And we didn’t last, especially after I figured out how jealous he really was when he flipped out about me going to lunch with 5 of my coworkers, 3 of which were male.

      3. demoiselle says:

        And some people are so jealous that even a casual mention of an ex can provoke anger … exes shouldn’t have to be barred from conversation.

  14. I guess it’s just hard for me to gauge from LW’s letter. She kind of makes it sound like he is overly sensitive about it, in which case, he should definitely chill. But maybe she’s also talking about it more than she thinks, and if that makes him uncomfortable, it’s kind of hard to argue with.

  15. I laughed out loud with Andrew’s answer. Such a guy! 🙂

  16. Thanks for everybody’s thoughts on my question. To clarify, I was not talking about sharing details about past sexual experiences, or yacking on about romantic encounters with exes. I was talking about saying stuff like, “I’ve always preferred x brand of condoms,” or “I’ve been on the pill since I was 18,” or “I’ve never really liked x sexual position.” You know, stuff that makes it clear that I had sexual experiences before him, but isn’t story-telling by any means.

    My question wasn’t about a “problem” in my relationship, it was about a difference I”ve noticed between men and woman that I wanted the guys’ take on. But some female commenters have said that they are more like my bf in that regard than their men. Interesting!

    As for the suggestion that I stop overanalyzing the way people’s minds work: that’s one of my favorite pasttimes, and I do not intend to give it up 🙂

    1. LW,
      Something that was edited from my original reply was that you were VERY SMART to be honest with him so it can never come back on you.
      Also edited were my comments about the double standard. That’s exactly what it is. Don’t subscribe to it… it’s bullsh*t. Men somehow expect women to “know better” and to accept that “boys will be boys”. Sorry guys, the knife cuts both ways. You have no right to hold someone to a higher standard than you hold yourself.

      1. Thanks, Dave. I think your viewpoint is interesting. I disagree with your assertion that past partners have a claim on all of us, because they are either a “wistful reminder of what might have been” or a “deep dark regret.” None of my past lovers are either of those to me. My past experiences are part of my story, and every part of my story is valuable to me in some way or another, but I don’t wish to go back to past lovers any more than I would wish to go back to 3rd grade. I enjoyed 3rd grade while I was there and I have good memories from that time that I don’t want to forget, but I have no desire to go back to being a 3rd-grader now.

        Also, the proof that sex with my current boyfriend is more meanful to me than sex with my exes is the fact that he’s the one I choose to have sex with these days, not them, even knowing what sex with them would be like. I think that’s kind of a no-brainer. By the same token, I am not even remotely jealous of his exes because, well, I’M the one who has him. I could see why they’d be jealous of me, but if they are, that’s their problem.

        I could actually see feeling more insecure with a virgin, because they’re more likely to be curious about the “what ifs” of what else is out there. Someone who has been around the block a time or two and has lots of options but picks me as his very favorite, now that makes me feel special.

  17. I actually asked my husband a similar question some time ago. In our case, I had a considerable number more partners than he did, but he had experience in some areas that I never explored. Although he is grateful that I wasn’t a virgin when we got together (it made it easier for him to discuss specific turn-ons with a partner with experience rather than someone who didn’t), he does not want hear about specific details about experiences that I had with my previous partners, even if the details were G-rated, like kissing technique.

    He made an analogy to my sexual history like a vintage action figure – he knows it’s special and he knew it was well-loved but he doesn’t want to hear about the damage that made it good, experienced condition rather than mint. I bluntly countered that he just doesn’t want to picture other penises aside from his inside me. And he agreed to that observation too.

    We just acknowledge that it’s there and leave it at that. Discussing past sexual history can be a bit of a downer sometimes. It’s much more fun creating a sexual history together.

  18. sarolabelle says:

    Maybe the title of this should be “Why do I want my boyfriend to care about my past sex life?”

    1. GingerLaine says:

      Who ever said she’s talking to him explicitly about her past sex life?

  19. AnitaBath says:

    I for one am just glad my bf isn’t like this. We both know about each others past sex lives in detail, and I’m so happy we can be that open with each other. Since my first partner was a douche, there are certain acts that I’m not fond of or that we had to work through to get comfortable with. It makes it so much easier that I can just tell him why I have trouble with it and the root of the problem, rather than feeling like I have to ignore the subject with him or say something like, “Hypothetically (because it’s not like I’ve ever had sex with anyone who had a distinctive name or face, but instead just had this anonymous blob where his identity and our past relationships were), I may or may not have had a troubling experience with some faceless guy. As such, you have to take it easy how you got about putting your penis in my mouth, just in case at one point or another, hypothetically, some other guy did it in a not so nice way. You know, but, uh, hypothetically, ’cause it’s never happened before….”

    1. I envy you! I mean, as far as your very trusting, secure current relationship, not your unpleasant past experiences with Mr. Douche.

    2. Thumbs up X 1000!

  20. Ok, I’m the LW, and I posted my comment as LW, but the comment thingy didn’t like that and says “awaiting moderation,” so I’m going to out myself and use my usual sn.

    Thanks for everybody’s thoughts on my question. To clarify, I was not talking about sharing details about past sexual experiences, or yacking on about romantic encounters with exes. I was talking about saying stuff like, “I’ve always preferred x brand of condoms,” or “I’ve been on the pill since I was 18,” or “I’ve never really liked x sexual position.” You know, stuff that makes it clear that I had sexual experiences before him, but isn’t story-telling by any means.

    My question wasn’t about a “problem” in my relationship, it was about a difference I’ve noticed between men and woman that I wanted the guys’ take on. But some female commenters have said that they are more like my bf in that regard than their men. Interesting!

    As for the suggestion that I stop overanalyzing the way people’s minds work: that’s one of my favorite pasttimes, and I do not intend to give it up. 🙂

    1. GingerLaine says:

      I thought this was the case. I was a little annoyed because it seems like a lot of the commenters kind of ran off with your statements a little bit. It never seemed to me that you were talking to your current BF in any explicit detail about past sexual encounters. Thanks for the clarification, Thyme.

    2. Elizabeth says:

      I’m picking up what you’re putting down.

      One of my good friends (female) is very similar to my boyfriend, yet she expects her boyfriend to be more like me (not really care about the previous encounters etc). I always joke with her that I’m dating the male version of her! Guess it just goes to show that it can be a ‘people’ problem rather than JUST male or female.

      Simple questions like you’re saying.. yeah he needs to chill out. That’s not even fair.

    3. Thanks for clarifying. And I also hope you understand that it can be up to the commenters to try to make inferences based on the letter, because not everything gets put in there, so it’s actually kind of nice when an LW comments on it further. And that’s really frustrating that he acts that way! /:

    4. sarolabelle says:

      does he really just tell you to stop talking like that? Seriously? If so he needs to chill out.

  21. justpeachy says:

    From her letter, I thought she made it sound like she wasn’t so much talking about her past, but maybe hinting at things she likes in bed based on previous experience and that’s what he’s having problems with. If she knows what she likes, she shouldn’t have to pretend that she’s discovering it with her boyfriend for the first time. I’m not saying she should say, “I love it when my ex used to touch me here…” but she should be able to talk about what she likes with her boyfriend without him thinking she’s some sort of slut. I think he boyfriend just wishes she’d act like a virgin. I think most men wish their women would act the complete opposite way in bed…

    1. That’s exactly what I meant, thank you. He really doesn’t appear to want me to “act” like a virgin though; it seems like he wants me to act just the way I am, a somewhat sexually experienced person, but he doesn’t want any of the people I’ve had sex with to actually exist. Therein lies my confusion. It seems like it’s way too easy for him to start “picturing” me with other people, and I can’t relate to that. I know he’s been with others, but I never “picture” it.

      1. justpeachy says:

        If I’d only been five minutes faster, I would have seemed so insightful. Foiled again!

  22. Andrew, great advice! Woman thinks there is a problem, man doesn’t. Solution: Sweep it under the rug, never talk about it again, til it inevitably bubbles over into a huge fight. GREAT!

  23. He should probably know better than to go on about how weirded out he is. But really, you should stop talking about your past sexual partners. I’ll share stories about exes with guys I’m dating, either because they are funny or relevant to something. But never about sex. It just seems inappropriate and kind of rude to me because there’s no reason they need to know anything about previous sexual encounters. Like someone said above, it’s fine to talk about what you like or don’t like, but no need to tie it to a specific person.

  24. SpyGlassez says:

    See, in my relationship I’m the one who has gotten jealous. It’s different for us, though, because I am a virgin and he is not. His “number” only mattered to me because I was worried about his perception of me still being v-carded. Where I got jealous was that one of his earlier exes was the last gal he lived with (years ago, but still….) and he had told me that he had even been thinking of proposing to her before she broke up with him. It made me hurt because (at the time) he was still very much in the mindset of “let’s just take this one day at a time and I’m not ready to think about the future.” However, as our relationship has become more solid and we have started talking about engagement/marriage/kids, I find I am less bothered by her existence.

  25. Anne (I Go To 11) says:

    I just watched “Clerks” last night for the first time in a long while, and I can’t help but think of the argument between Dante and Veronica about previous sexual experiences when I read this letter. LOL

    Dante: “37! My girlfriend’s sucked 37 dicks!”
    Customer: “In a row?”

  26. fast eddie says:

    I guess it’s a dominance thing. We’d like to imagine ourselves as the only one that’s been there even with knowing it’s not so. My wife’s mother told her to get a lot while she’s young and she took it to heart. During the sexual revolution of the 70s our numbers went up, way up. With the advent of AIDS and herpes it matters a lot more for health reasons. But the LW’s right, it’s a double standard for sure.

    1. But why does being the “only one whose been there” make a man feel “dominant”? It’s not as if my current boyfriend was ever vying for my attention with my past partners; I was long broken up with and way over them by the time I met him. It’s hard for me to relate to having strong feelings of any kind about people who slept with my SO well before he even knew I existed, unless, you know, they were mean to him or something.

  27. bitter gay mark says:

    Interesting…gay guys don’t seem to ever get so hung up like this with regards to previous sex partners… I suppose I could have just had really good luck here, but no, I honestly don’t recall any of my friends running into this issue either. Whew. Good thing, as it sounds super annoying. I definitely would be irked if I were the LW, that’s for sure.

  28. He has already told you what it’s about- he just doesn’t want to think about it!

    If he kept bringing up girls from his past, and not just referring to anything sexual, but talking about how beautiful/funny/interesting/etc. they were, don’t you think that would bother you some?

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