My Girlfriend Has Had Too Many Partners

A man asks Eli and Josie how to deal with the fact that his girlfriend has had one-night stands and too many partners in the past.

Originally appeared at She Said He Said

Dear Sexes: I have feel very bad about my girlfriend’s past, I dont mind about the 2 boyfriends but I can’t understand the fact that she had a couple of one night stands, she’s had around 10 guys that she told me, and this bothers me a lot, I think it is very disgusting to have sex with someone that you don’t even know. We are from different countries, I’m from Brazil and she is from Denmark, so we are very different, I love her and know that she enjoy our sex, I just feel very disgusting about this, what should I do?

She Said: First, her sex life before the two of you committed to one another is not about you. It has nothing to do with you. Leave her alone about it.

I want to be compassionate toward you about this, because I can hear that you are feeling really bad about it. But it’s hard for me to do that because this seems really controlling. She is her own person, completely separate from you, and I hate the thought that you’re making her feel bad about sex she had before you were even in the picture. Sure you can ask her why she did it, you can try to figure out what was happening in her psychology when she chose to have some one-night stands, but why does it matter if she’s true to you and good to you now that she’s with you?

The only thing that matters is that you both honor your commitments to one another while you’re together. Get the rest out of your mind, or break up with her and move on. You aren’t doing anyone any good wishing her past were different than it is. Then she can find a truly accepting, loving guy and you can find a girl whose past is more to your liking.

He Said: Do you have a magic eraser by chance?  If you do, you can erase your girlfriend’s past, along with her one night stands you don’t approve of.  If you don’t have such an eraser, you’re going to just have to accept her for who she is NOW.  If she’s a good girlfriend to you, isn’t that the most important thing?

If she’s loving, loyal, and committed to you, isn’t that all you can ask for?  Everyone has a past. And most everyone has made decisions they’ve regretted, at some point (I’m not saying your girlfriend should regret her past decisions, but it sounds like you regret them for her). Who knows, if your girlfriend knew everything about your past, she might be disappointed by some of YOUR history. If you’re concerned about the amount of men she’s slept with, then that’s a different conversation, but one you certainly can have. And if you’re so disgusted with her past, practice safe sex (we here at She Said He Said advocate sex safe anyhow).

If you’re interested to know WHY your girlfriend made those decisions, it’s certainly your prerogative to discuss it with her. But if she’s good to you, and you love her, I would try to distract yourself from that part of her past, and focus on (current) issues you can actually fix today. And remember, nobody’s perfect!

Got a question for Eli and Josie? Ask it here!

 

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About She Said He Said

Eli and Josie, friends since college, realized how lucky they were to have one another—an honest friend of the opposite sex who tells it like it is. They wanted to share that with the world and so www.shesaidhesaid.me was born.

Comments

  1. I think the thing that many women don’t seem to understand is that when a guy falls in love with and commits to a woman he holds her in very high regard in his mind. Many men view this woman as if she is a queen and treat her as such. To us if we are going to view you and treat you like a queen then we want to know the woman we are this emotionally invested in is deserving of our love and adoration. Its hard to feel that way about a woman who has shared her body with so many other men. Its hard for us to accept that the woman we put on a pedestal was just a piece of a** for the night for some douche bag(s) to bang and go on about his (their) way. Many men view women like that with disgust and would’t be caught dead walking around town with a woman like this on their arm. I know women hate to hear stuff like this and I’m sure are fuming as they read this post bc of the double standard our society has about male and female promiscuity but there are lots of double standards in this world. Some work in your favor and some don’t. Not every guy feels this way. Some guys wouldn’t hesitate to marry a woman who had a train ran on her by the entire Dallas Cowboy football team the day before he met her, other guys may not like a woman’s promiscuous past but can accept it and move on, and then there are guys who wouldn’t waste a nanosecond moving on if he knew a woman had slept around. To each his own. I’m just saying in general with all things being equal, most men prefer women with lower body counts. Guys generally don’t want the love of their life to be the gal the every Tom, Dick, Harry, Mike, John, David, George, Steven, James, Brandon, Bobby, Vincent, Joe, Don, Will, Bill, Aaron has had a piece of. Its a huge turnoff.

    • Well said, Sean. You summed it up wonderfully. I think you also hit the nail on the head in terms of how most men view a woman with an abundant sexual past.

  2. jamesmoore says:

    So this is my problem I’m going out with a girl who has many sex partners 16 to be precise. She lost her virginity to a guy she liked at 13 in her sleep she chased him for 2 years before he tells her that he never liked her never wanted her and rejected her. During this 2 years he had many girlfriends and after he rejected her she started looking for sex to piss him off to get revenge. He died at 16 17 and she blamed herself and this is when her problem started. She was actively looking for sex on dating websites at house parties all meaningless sex apparently so long as she felt needed. Then she met me number 17 she was totally honest an about her past but I find it hard to except, we argue and talk and in one of the arguments she let me look through her old messages when she was looking for sex. She would organise nights out travel arrangements just to get a shag and the way she did it in her messages were so disgusting to me. I find it hard to except because she was my first I just feel like the good boy she has just decided to stay with to stop her sleeping about I don’t feel special to her and when we have sex I just don’t feel its special to her because she’s had her experience she’s had her fun and I don’t feel good enough for her because of her past I just feel like a number at the end of the day the next tick in the list number 17 because of her past. I feel so disgusted by her past I get visions and images of her sleeping about when I dream as cheesy as it sounds when I get one of my days where I do think about her past my skin crawls when so goes to give me a kiss or a cuddle because I feel so disgusted by her past, yea I get y she slept around but it doesn’t make it easier if it was 5 I would be able to cope but 16 people and where both 19 16 is a big number and I just don’t feel gold enough for. The way she was looking for sex, literally anywhere with anyone just so she could get a shag is disgusting to me, yea I no that sounds harsh but that’s the way I feel, I do love her with all my I don’t want to end it, but what can I do. Thank you

  3. Just by way of update; I broke up with her a few days following the last post. Though sad, I knew of no other way to resolve this. I also realized that although her past bothered me (and probably in and of itself wnough for her not to be the one), the fact that her present views were not very different was more problematic going forward. I think it is difficult to understand for women that for some men, this is a no-go and nothing you can do about it.

  4. It seems like some people view this more as a political/philosophical issue rather than what I mean it as: I am a man who really likes a woman, wants to be with her but cannot get comfortable with her past — more specifically with her “casual sex”. I wish I did not feel this way but I do. I wish I could make it go away but I cannot. I wish I could just get over it but I am having a very hard time. I do not want to end this, but I see no clear solution: if I end the relation, I know there is light at the end of the tunnel though a vey painful process, but if I stick it out, it seems like I will be upset forever. This sucks! It is not about me versus her either. I wish she would have never told me..but she did. I asked her not to tell me stuff about her past….but I think she felt a need, and in doing so made it my issue too.

    I am a man who does not want to hurt her, but is hurting. I think it may be more difficult for many of us men to accept promiscuity from our girlfriends than vice versa. I wish it was not so.

  5. @Rick … you have every right to feel as you do. It’s who you are and no one should tell you you’re wrong for feeling the way you do. I can’t believe some of the responses making you look as though you’re not being fair. Who is anyone to say you’re right or wrong?

    I commend you for your showing compassion for her and not wanting to hurt her but when all is said and done, this is your life and accordingly, you have the right to feel as you do.

  6. She called me and came over and we spoke. I spoke about our differences in values, no set of beliefs better than the other, just different etc…reading this page helped me with word choice. I really did not want to hurt her. She insisted that her views had changed etc.. I know better from conversations and told her she should be true to herself just as I intended to be true to myself. I told her that I was sad to learn of our differences in perspectives on the matter and that it was a big deal for me; that if I felt I could learn to not be sad or bothered by this, that I would let her know but that if I couldn’t, it was better to find out now.

    We had sex. Afterwards, she told me it was the first time she felt I did not want to kiss her during sex and that it was a good idea for her to go home. I did not stop her; walked her to her car and said good night. She told me she would give me space until I knew it I could live with it.

    I feel a sense of loss, she is a good person, I find her very attractive, we have very good communication but it is not fair to either one to go forward if I will hold this against her or if she will not feel trusted. Frankly, I do not want a future spouse who feels its fine for an attractive stranger to stick his thing in her if we ever have a downturn or in general.

    PS – Nick: race is not a moral value, it is happenstance and as such says nothing about the character of a person.

    • I had a feeling that that might be where it was coming from – a place of insecurity. Somebody who enjoys casual sex, one night stands, or is ‘promiscuous’ is not necessarily going to let a stranger stick his penis in her just because you’re having relationship troubles. I was with my ex for nearly seven years. I have a very casual attitude toward sex (as long as all adults are consenting, I say go for it). I love one night stands. But I did not one time, no matter how bad things go, ‘let a stranger stick his penis in me’. Not one time. The ironic thing? At that point in my life, I had had 3.5 times as many sexual partners as he’d had, and HE – the one who did not believe in such ‘promiscuity’ – was the one who cheated. You cannot equate an appreciation of casual sex with cheating. I may enjoy casual encounters but it doesn’t mean that I can’t/won’t commit. You could find the most chaste woman in the world, someone who reviles casual sex, and it doesn’t mean she won’t cheat.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      Explain to me how the number of partners someone has is a moral value. I don’t think you understand what “morality” actually means. You’re saying that casual sex is a sign of bad character (and yet, you still fucked her even as you held her in low esteem). Why is having casual sex morally bad. What ethical precept is violated, what harm is done, in having had casual partners in the past? She’s not cheating on you, right? Has she said she believes it’s okay to cheat on you, or given you an indication that she’s willing to cheat on you? In neither your story nor the original article have the women suggested that they don’t intend to honor monogamous commitments they’ve made; instead it’s about past consensual sexual behavior.

      Many people couch insecurity, bigotry, and tribalism in the language of “morality.” I don’t buy it. It never stands up to critique; the beliefs always retreat to fuzzy thinking and conceptual vagaries. The beliefs continue to be strongly held while the supporting structure of those beliefs shift and wobble about underneath.

      So, why exactly is having had consensual, casual sexual partners in the past without regret a “bad” thing? What exactly does that say negatively about their character?

    • I can’t believe you went on to still have sex with her! (Actually, I can, typical “nice” guy)… you’re a bad person and a hypocrite. Bye!

  7. I am in a similar position as the guy who wrote the letter. I am thinking of just letting go and moving on. I do not think it gets better. We all have preconceived notions of what we are looking for. My views are not better than or worse than others, they are simply mine and I do not want to be with a woman that believes sex is a sport. If she made mistakes in her past, that is one thing, but if she believes what she did was OK, then she does not have views similar to mine on this issue, and this is a big issue for me. To me, a woman who has had one night stands is not promiscuous but one who believes this is acceptable and sees this as fine, she is promiscuous. And a woman with a formed habit of promiscuity to me is the definition of a slut. And this is not what I want for myself. This is something I would never express in general because I think I would make some women feel bad and it is not my intent to hurt anyone — it is my intent to find what I am looking for, however.

    I have many female friends who are promiscuous and I have no problem with that. I can be friends with people of very differing beliefs, but for something more serious on this matter, no thanks.

    I am certain others will disparage my own viewpoint. To them I say: why is my viewpoint not OK for me to personally have, provided I do not externalize it to any women that may feel bad about it? Why do I have to conform to your set of beliefs? You marry a promiscuous woman if you want, but why do you want me to do it? To each his own.

    • Seriously? “why is my viewpoint not OK for me to personally have, provided I do not externalize it to any women that may feel bad about it?”

      You just said women who enjoy consensual sex, as much consensual, non-committal sex that they want are sluts. That’s why your viewpoint is not okay.

      It’s okay to say “I do not wish to be with a woman who views sexual encounters differently than I do.” That’s fine. Nobody is going to bemoan you that. It’s good to be with people with similar values and belief systems. It makes relationships easier when we have similar views. It is not, however, okay, to say that someone who has different viewpoints from you is a ‘slut’. I love one night stands. I have them as often as I please. This does not make me a slut. It makes me someone who has different views on sex than you do. And how dare you make value statements about my choices?

      Otherwise, I’d agree with you – if you’re really that judgmental of your significant other because she’s treated sex casually or has been promiscuous, then perhaps it’s better for you to be with someone whose values align more closely with your own. That’s your call. And perhaps she’d be better off with someone who values her judgments about what to do with her own body. I know I wouldn’t waste a minute of my time on someone who doesn’t appreciate my sexual agency.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      And a woman with a formed habit of promiscuity to me is the definition of a slut.

      I have many female friends who are promiscuous and I have no problem with that.

      Yeah, but I’d bet they’d have a problem with you if they knew you were calling them sluts. How noble of you to hide your disparaging opinions of them to protect them from feeling bad.

      I am certain others will disparage my own viewpoint. To them I say: why is my viewpoint not OK for me to personally have, provided I do not externalize it to any women that may feel bad about it?

      Because not all opinions are created equal. No one is forcing you to conform, but instead calling you out on your misguided thinking. When a viewpoint is laced with misogyny I think it not only fair to call it out, but that it is our duty to challenge it at every turn.

      And really, reread what you wrote there. If I had asked why it’s not okay for me to think blacks were inferior and better off as slaves, but I don’t “externalize” it to any negroes that “may feel bad about it” you’d really be okay with that?

      I think you should tell your slutty friends how you truly feel about them.
      I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands, even if he’s wrong, than the one who comes up like an angel and is nothing but a devil. – Malcolm X

  8. i might have the same problem… can someone tell me how I should approach this open discussion everybody keeps talking about. (whether I should accept or whether she agrees with my viewpoint) Also, Im scared that if I break up with her for whatever reason, Ill regret it because I really can’t know a good thing until its gone, and itll be too late. Background: I love her and we’re really great for each other, she’s caring and I am too. But the problem still remains…

    • Why is it a problem? Who is it a problem for? Just you? Determine that, the reasons you consider it a problem (the beliefs behind it, and values) and then maybe that will provide more clarity. It sounds like you love her very much and that you have a good relationship that you don’t want to lose. So why is her partner count a problem?

      • its a problem because
        1. 10 other guys have been there, done that ( seen my gf naked, penetrated my gf ), theres a lack of accomplishment, for example, oh Ive been dating you for 3 months and I finally feel like I can give you all of me
        2. It makes it seem like shes easy, which makes it seem like theres no real way she can be soooo into me when shes been into 10 guys enough to let them in.
        3. It makes it seem like ” ohhh Ive had my fun now its time to find a good guy who will care about me and treat me well” Im sorry please if this is offensive im super sorry and apologize in advance. I mean, it might not even make sense.
        4. I kinda wanted to share it with someone who would also be sharing the experience with me

        pleasseeeeee tell me what my problem is

        • 1. Why the need for a sense of accomplishment (in that sense at least)? Yes while it is true that other guys have seen her naked and have had sex with her the part that matters is that (assuming this an exclusive relationship between the two of you and she is not cheating on you) right now you are the one that is seeing her naked and you are the one that is having sex with her. That lack of accomplishment may be some unconsious desire to hold her sexual past against her. That’s not cool at all.

          2. Bear in mind that just like most people she is trying to make her way through the world of relationships and dating and sex. There are a lot of people out there that have had sex with people that they didn’t “live happily every after” with. Don’t take those past 10 guys as a sign she is easy, perhaps take them as a sign that she just hasn’t found what she is looking for yet.

          Flip if around for a moment if you will. I don’t know your history in dating/relationships/sex but if you have had many partners in the past would it be right for your current girlfriend to wonder if those past partners meant you were easy? Or if you have only had a few (or none) how would you feel if she were to hold that against you in the form of having a problem with a guy that doesn’t have much experience or not wanting to waste time on a fresh guy or something like that? (I’ve met women that have actively said they don’t want to waste time on an inexperienced guy because in the bedroom, and i quote, “He should already know what to do, I shouldn’t have to tell him”.)

          3. No it makes sense. I think it makes sense to think that being with a person who has had a lot of partners in their past means being with a person that is trying to have their fun for as long as they can and then find one to settle down with. But as I said in response to your point two it doesn’t necessarily mean that she is just about looking to have fun. She could be looking for a guy to go long term with but she hasn’t found him yet. Who knows she might be thinking that you are the one she wants to go long term with. Please don’t let your fears based on her past mess that up for you.

          4. This is understandable as well. I’ll admit that I was kinda of the same way but to me I concluded this was ultimately limiting my possiblities of finding something to connect with. It’s understandable to want to find someone who is in a similar position as yourself so that the two of you can “embark on a journey” so to speak. Wanting to be with someone that would be sharing the experience with you is no more inherently wrong than a Christian wanting to find a Christian or something like that.

          But with that said please don’t let your preference for finding someone in a similar state as yourself cloud your vision and prevent you from missing out something that could be great.

          • Hey Danny,

            I have no idea who you are. You have no idea who I am but I owe it to you to thank you kindly. I want you to know that your perspective to my problem has enlightened me to see my relationship very differently. Please know that a truly beautiful relationship has been saved partly from what you’ve taken the time to write here today. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to answer my problem. Thank you

            • No problem.

              We are all just trying to make our way through this world. Two other things.

              1. Something else I wanted to warn you against was the idea that as a man it is somehow your duty to give an inexperienced woman some sort of first time mind blowing experience and failure to do so means you are less of a man. There are a lot of unrealistic expectactions heaped on women when it comes to sex and I think it’s worth mentioning that while those expectations must be challenged and done away with there are also unrealistic expectations that are heaped on men that must be done away with as well.

              I bring this up in case you were thinking something to the effect of thinking that it is your job to guide her through the world of sex.

              2. Take Julie up on her offer. She is quite able to help people in an indirect manner (I can personally testify to this) so I wager that if she were to actually focus on someone with the direct intent of helping them, it will do wonders.

              She already offers the insight that you seem to be trying to reconcile what you want in a relationship with what you think you are supposed to want in a relationship as a man. That “what you think you are supposed to want” is coming from an old and heavily gendered way that relationships were forged in. Those ways are changing as people are now speaking up about what they want and allowing themselves to feel what they want instead of just abiding by the old ways.

              Thing is the old ways did work to an extent and when compared to the uncertainty of the way things are changing now there is an understandable desire to just go with the old ways based on a fear of the uncertainty of not finding a fitting relationship by taking a chance of going for what you want and going for what you feel (or at least taking your feelings into account).

        • Feel free to email me at julie@goodmenproject.com. This is too long of a conversation to have here. For now, I’m a fan of this article on different models of looking at sex. There can be competitive models, as you are looking at it now (being first, “proof” of some kind of special things) and then there are more collaborative models.
          http://ducttapedance.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/toward-a-performance-model-of-sex-by-thomas-macaulay-millar/.

          This is about you and your framing of how sex is supposed to work and the cognitive dissonance you are feeling because you truly care for someone deeply who isn’t meeting your pre conceived narrative of “how things should be.” the answer is, in short, can you let go of that original model to let a relationship blossom into something new and original with you and she at the center, or will you hold this old model over her head and allow it, not you and her, to direct how you have a relationship.

          I’ve got lots of things to add but would be more comfortable in a dialogue offline.

          I know a lot of people who had 10-20 partners prior to marriage and then have had 20 year long marriages with lots of joy, pleasure and fun. The last partner was the last partner.

        • Anonymous says:

          totally agree

      • its not sacred 🙁

        • “1. 10 other guys have been there, done that ( seen my gf naked, penetrated my gf ), theres a lack of accomplishment, for example, oh Ive been dating you for 3 months and I finally feel like I can give you all of me”
          What is there to accomplish? I think you see sex as sacred between lovers but only one partner in their sex life, or very few. The only real concern should be STI’s, for which you can both be tested for but even people with only 1 partner get STI’s.

          “2. It makes it seem like shes easy, which makes it seem like theres no real way she can be soooo into me when shes been into 10 guys enough to let them in.”
          How old is she? If she’s 30, it could be 1 partner per year, not exactly a lot. If she’s 17 and had 10 guys you may feel differently. What is it about sex that taints her? Furthermore, what is she like NOW as a person, is she a great woman? Is it really worth throwing away this relationship because 10 other guys had sex with her?

          “3. It makes it seem like ” ohhh Ive had my fun now its time to find a good guy who will care about me and treat me well” Im sorry please if this is offensive im super sorry and apologize in advance. I mean, it might not even make sense.”
          Did she have sex with 10 guys in a short period of time, or was it just randomly spread out? You’re also shooting yourself in the foot here, who says it isn’t special with you?

          “4. I kinda wanted to share it with someone who would also be sharing the experience with me”
          Were you a virgin? I was a virgin, I slept with a virgin, it was awkward as hell and not like super duper mindblowingly special. It would have been special still if she had 5 or 10 partners, and the sex probably would have been better since only one of us would be inexperienced vs both.

          It’s not like her vagina is now flogged out and destroyed is it? She’s not used goods, she’s just a human who had human experiences. Why can’t it be that she has found this wonderful guy she truly is into, you’ll both fall in love, and have kids n live happily ever after? Sex is still going to be special because it’s shared between you both, the previous partner count doesn’t make it less special, the only thing it really does is introduce risk of STI’s but that risk can still happen with 1 partner.

          Get tested, put your mind at ease, and enjoy your relationship. MAKE your relationship sacred.

  9. your all missing the point says:

    People don’t care about sex what they care about is the TRUST between two people. When someone cheats its not that sex, its the break in trust that hurts. Thats why people look at cheating and swinging as different things. Its like telling a lie. My girlfriend had a fling with a guy as like a fuck buddy before we met. I really dont care but what I do care is that she waited several years to tell me. It still bugs me. Though I’ll probably let it slide. My point is things like that define your character. Its like your GPA.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      She probably didn’t tell you because she was worried you’d be a judgmental asshole. You have another chance to show her that you’re not an asshole by “letting it slide” and never bringing it up again.

      What exactly does my GPA say about anything? There is a difference between failing gym but receiving all As in your other classes, and receiving all Bs, yet they result in the same GPA. The first says I’m an ‘A’ student academically but perhaps not so coordinated. The second says I’m a ‘B’ student academically and athletically. Context matters, just as whether she had sex with those guys BEFORE she met you or AFTER she met you is the more salient point than the number of guys.

    • What ever happened to people learning past experiences or mistakes? (if she believes they were mistakes). It often takes people a while to learn from experiences. Making a mistake the first time and learning straight away does not always happen. In my case I feel that I have had too many sexual partners from casual hook ups. I do regret not stopping my ‘habit’ sooner. Not everyone will feel the same about their past. There is some merit in ‘past behaviour is the best predictor of the future’ but it is not the ONLY predictor.

  10. Eric M. says:

    Everyone that is shaming him is missing the problem. The problem is NOT the PAST. The problem is the present. The problem right now is that he considers sex an intimate expression of love and outpouring of emotion, whereas she considers it a function that can be shared with a stranger or a partner.

    The problem right now is she neither has adopted the other’s view of sex. The problem is that sex is that while sacred expression of love to him, to her it’s just sex. As a result, the sex they share is more special to him than it is to her, but NOT because of her past, because of the incompatible views of sex.

    By it’s very nature (because of their respective views of sex), their sexual realtionship is special to him, whereas it’s not to her. THAT is the issue, not that she had one night stands.

  11. @Jen … a recent article regarding Mitt was about something he did when he was a teen. A lot of people here at GMP were upset with what he did back then, 30 years ago. What you’re saying is that the past is the past .. take age and inexperience into consideration? I guess that works only with what they chose to look at as important?

    • Nick, mostly says:

      Tom, there are two implicit judgements you are making in your comparison.
      First, you are making a judgement of sex as a negative thing in suggesting that whether activities happened in the past or not is even important.
      Second, you are implying that bullying and physically assaulting someone is on par with having consensual sex outside the confines of a committed relationship simply because both acts happened in the past. Simply being “in the past” can not be the standard, and I don’t believe it’s the standard Jen or others are using.

      Rather, by “the past” we mean outside of the current relationship. If the subject of the letter had been in a relationship with the advice seeker when she engaged in casual sex, even if it had happened years ago, then her past behavior would be much more germane to her current relationship. Instead, the only thing that is relevant now is whether she shares his view of the specialness of sex (or lack thereof, as we might infer) and if her not sharing that is a deal breaker for him.

      Let me make one other point, if I may, about why I’m also focussing on him rather than simply the incompatibility. It is an act of cruelty to stay with someone who disgusts you. To hold one’s nose while consorting with someone you revile is no noble deed. We deserve at a minimum respect and acceptance from our partners, and It is better to be alone than to treat others this way or in like manner be treated. A relationship can not long last when one partner holds the other in contempt, and its dissolution will not come about quietly.

      • My Coffee says:

        “Let me make one other point, if I may, about why I’m also focussing on him rather than simply the incompatibility. It is an act of cruelty to stay with someone who disgusts you. To hold one’s nose while consorting with someone you revile is no noble deed. We deserve at a minimum respect and acceptance from our partners, and It is better to be alone than to treat others this way or in like manner be treated. A relationship can not long last when one partner holds the other in contempt, and its dissolution will not come about quietly.”

        Let me just say I agree with you completely on this. It’s why I think advising him to ignore the past or get over it won’t work – this isn’t a fear that she’s more experienced or something. A belief that what’s she’d done is disgusting is not something that can be swept under the rug, it will just explode later on.

        The only way I could see this relationship working is if either a) she, too, believes that what’s she’s done is disgusting, or b) he discusses this with himself long and hard and changes his beliefs. Not just what he says he believes, but the actual beliefs. That’s a lot harder, but not impossible. Barring one of these, I think this relationship is doomed.

  12. Most of us women have several one-night stands in our early years. A lot of us didn’t want them to be one-night stands, but they happened simply because it takes some experience to figure out that some guys are really dishonest and will say anything to get us into bed, including implying a level of commitment that’s not there. The only surefire way to avoid getting fooled like this is to be willing to hold out for a couple of months before jumping into bed with any guy. Of course, this isn’t the only reason one-night stands happen, and certainly some women just feel adventurous. The man who’s disgusted by his girlfriend doesn’t state whether she was naive and fooled or desirous of promiscuity. Did he even ask? Does having been young, naive and trusting at some point in our lives make us women disgusting to some men? Are we better off keeping our pasts secret for fear of being shamed about them?

    • Nick, mostly says:

      This particular framing is interesting to me, because it suggests—perhaps unintentionally—that the preferred, and possibly only acceptable outlet for sexual expression is within the confines of a relationship (I’m not convinced you’re making this argument). It’s a curious thing this idea of saving sex for a relationship, as if it were a resource in limited supply.
      It’s clear that both men and women shame each other – but primarily women – for their sexual behavior. Why she had any number of casual sex partners to me is wholly irrelevant. What interests me more is how she feels about those encounters, and if she isn’t concerned about them then neither am I.

  13. If he is disgusted then he should end the relationship.
    There is no need for her to suffer because he cannot let that issue go or compromise on it.

    The most hilarious part to me was that he thinks 10 partners is a lot.
    I had more than 10 sexual partners before I finished high school.

  14. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.
    The more partners a person has the less likely they to remain in a long-term relationship.
    So the question is… what is your own hope for a relationship with a person? Are you comfortable with letting a relationship run its course?

    • That’s some slut-shaming bullshit right there, Hondo. There is absolutely no indication that this woman ever cheated or ended relationships so that she could sleep with other men, so where is your logic in saying, “the more partners a person has the less likely they [are] to remain in a long-term relationship.”? How do you explain sexually open relationships then? How do you explain swingers? Where’s your statistical data to back that statement up? “Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior” my ass; tell me, you drink milk from bottles nowadays? You use sippy cups? You completely deny everyone (including you) the right to “learning from past experience” when you say that shit.

      • GracenWestburne says:

        Josh you are talking about the minority or the few who in our society who can practice swinging,threeways and other different kind of sex acts and still maintain a healthy relationship with a man or woman. These are the exceptions not the norm unless you can prove to me that Yale and Harvard who have conducted extensive studies on past relationships of whatever and how they affect future are false and full of crap. Take a couple of hours and google search the topic, more noted Psychologists and relationship experts agree that most but not all successful present relationships where the couples were to gether for more than one or two years who had fewer than twenty sexual relationships in their past were happy and stayed together longer. The real question about all of this is can the man or woman regardless of the number of sexual partners or trists in their past lives capable now of having a complete relationship with a now and existing partner.
        They include ( Mental, Physical and emotional). Sorry studies show that it is not cut and dry like you say or think. There is a problem and what you think or feel isnt totally correct. Read about it before you go shooting your mouth off the next time.

    • Jasmine says:

      Uh, yeah, there’s a vast difference between cheating and having a lot of sexual partners. And if ten is a lot… well, this guy would surely be disgusted with me. I always hate having the numbers conversation with men I’m thinking of dating, and often won’t, because I’ve found that it makes a lot of men really insecure and/or uncomfortable.

      Aside from the fact that I see no reason for anyone to judge another human being for the adult consensual sex that they’re having, I think it’s a little concerning that this man uses words like ‘disgusting’… mainly because my ex had similar views and I’m far more casual about sex and sexuality than he, and he was given to slut shaming (particularly when he was angry).

      • Emmanuel says:

        To him sex is special; something to be shared with someone you deeply care about. He’s bothered by the fact that, to her, having sex with him is nothing special, nothing that she wouldn’t do with a stranger. He cares about her but can’t get over the fact that he’ll never be anymore special than a stranger.

        • Jasmine says:

          The trouble with that statement is that it is absolutely, unequivocally untrue. I have had a lot of one night stands (because I enjoy them). It doesn’t mean that sex and intimacy with a loving partner is not ‘something special’. In fact, sex is typically a great deal better within a loving relationship because there is intimacy between the two of you. Having one night stands does not at all negate one’s capacity to have a special intimate relationship with a lover. And, frankly, it doesn’t really even make sense to make such a statement.

          • Emmanuel says:

            This is about them, not you. To him sex is a special expression of love. Sex and love are inextricably connected. From his perspective, sex with him can’t be all that special if she’s willing to do the exact same thing strangers.

            • Jasmine says:

              He hasn’t stated that at all. He’s actually said that he knows she enjoys the sex they have together but that he feels her dalliances prior to meeting him to be ‘disgusting’.

              • Emmanuel says:

                He finds them to be disgusting because to him sex is special intimate act, something to be shared only with someone you love. He’s disgusted because she’ll do it with people “she don’t even know”, let alone love.

                • They are not well suited and he should perhaps only date people like him, committing to mutual chastity until marriage. She should find a partner that suits her more who share her viewpoints on sexuality. I’m not sure why this is still even being discussed.

                  • Emmanuel says:

                    True enough. Better now than a costly divorce and the children being shuttled back and forth in a few years.

                    • Well, I can’t imagine living with someone who felt so ashamed of me and something I’d consider normal and natural. And I feels sad for him that he can’t accept that she loves him and wants to be with him because for all he knows, this is the great love.
                      I feel he’s limiting himself, but I ultimately believe she’ll be better off with a partner that loves her for all of her, including her past.

                    • There is also a lot we don’t know. He’s from Brazil, he’s possibly Catholic, he’s male, it’s possible he’s also been sexual with many women. She’s from Denmark, possibly Atheist or Protestant. Either way, it’s possible he’s from a more traditional culture and her from a more liberal one. He may have been virginal or he may just expect “good” women (the kind you marry) to be less experienced. Either way, I don’t see this working out.

                    • Emmanuel says:

                      What’s normal and natural? They disagree on what’s normal and natural. To her, sex with people she doesn’t know is normal and natural, to him, it’s not. He’s okay with sex within a relationship. It’s the stranger sex that he has a problem with. If they can’t even agree on that, they’re doomed.

            • And yet from her’s it might be. That he can’t allow for that possibility is sad. But if he can’t accept it, then he should let her go and find a parter better suited for her.

          • What I don’t understand is why people see it as simply black and white. It’s not always “all sex is special to me” and “all sex is not special to me.” Often times sex is extremely special, spiritual, and intimate. Sometimes it’s not. With one person it is, and with one it isn’t. In one situation it is, in another it isn’t. Just because it wasn’t special with some guy I hooked up with at college party when I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship or even knew where I’d be living in a year, doesn’t mean it isn’t special with YOU. The important part is that you’re both honest about your intentions early on and safe. Sex can be many different things. Even WITHIN a relationship, it can be many different things. It can be fucking, making love, boring, spiritual, a chore, mind-blowing, surprising, uncomfortable, etc. It happen for many different reasons, ranging from horniness to wanting to make a baby to an expression of love to stress relief. I agree with Jasmine on the other part as well. Sex within a relationship is often better and far more rewarding. I eat dinner with random people all the time. That doesn’t mean that a romantic dinner out with a man I love isn’t a million times more special. I’ve gotten many gifts in my life. That doesn’t mean the ones given to me by the most special people in my life aren’t the most important, worth keeping, and most memorable. Why is this concept so difficult to grasp?

            • because we are kind of messed up about sex? Amen on this comment.

            • Emmanuel says:

              On a hunch, I would wager that he doesn’t put eating dinner and exchanging gifts on the same level of intimacy as sexual intercourse. To some people it’s not, but it is to him.

              • Jasmine says:

                My own hunch is that this stems from a place of insecurity and/or ignorance. My having had a number of one nights stands (or even just friends with benefit type situations) does not at all mean that any future relationship I embark upon will be devoid of intimate sex. It doesn’t negate my capacity to be present and for my sexual relations to be special with another person. Some sexual encounters are about the casual desire to be satisfied, others are about the desire to be physically and emotionally intimate with another human being. And there are even some one night stands that are tremendously intimate and ‘special’.

                As Julie said, we really are kind of messed up about sex. And it’s a shame.

                • Emmanuel says:

                  You’ve identified where he and she differ. I’m not saying that either one is right or wrong. But, unlike her, he doesn’t ever disconnect sex and relationships sex. That’s why he finds casual sexual encounters with strangers in order to satisifed disgusting.

                  • Jasmine says:

                    The problem I have with these statements is that unless you are this person, you’re only projecting your own beliefs onto this individual. We cannot know for certain exactly where the disgust lies without asking him himself.

                    • Emmanuel says:

                      In his own words. . .

                      “she’s had around 10 guys that she told me, and this bothers me a lot, I think it is very disgusting to have sex with someone that you don’t even know.”

                    • Jasmine says:

                      Yes, those are his words. What it doesn’t say is that because of that he feels like sex between the two of them cannot be special. That is making a leap that may not be at all accurate.

                    • Emmanuel says:

                      Special, as in something only done with someone special. However you frame it, they have a major disconnect because that’s hiw view but not her’s.

          • Anyone else think it would be interesting to see the comments section if this was a woman saying she found her boyfriend’s past sexual exploits to be disgusting? =D

            • My Coffee says:

              For what it’s worth, if I found out a guy had had 10 one night stands in the past I would be pretty repulsed and have to seriously consider whether I would be willing to settle in order to be with him. I don’t know if it would be a deal-breaker in the end, but I don’t know that I could be with someone who thinks casual sex is acceptable. I want someone who believes, like me, that it’s wrong.

              • Nick, mostly says:

                My Coffee
                I am really interested in why you think casual sex is wrong, and I wonder if you differentiate between different types of “one night stands.” Is it only intentional one night stands that you find repulsive, or do you include “first date sex” where the relationship didn’t progress to a second date as unacceptable as well? Does a guy who has had a long term “friends with benefits” relationship also repulse you?
                And what do you mean by “settle in order to be with him?”

                (aside: for those who deny the transactional nature of relationships, I think words like “settle” are telling)

                • My Coffee says:

                  I think it’s very empty. I find it devoid of the things that make sex such a good and wonderful thing in life – love, for one, but most importantly the celebration of an intense and close relationship with another human being. You can’t celebrate something that hasn’t been built yet. And there’s the trust involved. In sex, you’re at your most vulnerable, physically and emotionally. I really think it’s a bad idea to open yourself up like that to someone you don’t know.

                  As to intentional vs. accidental one night stands, that’s a very interesting question. I had to stop and think about it, and I think my answer is that it does make a difference. Not as far as what they did, but as far as what it signifies about their values and beliefs. I don’t think sex on the first date is a good idea, because it encounters all the problems I see with one night stands (assuming you’re date is a relative stranger, since most people don’t date from their friend circle), but I do think it matters that it’s predicated on the hope of building a relationship from there. Intentional one night stands, on the other hand, mean that he really believes in doing this thing that I think is a terrible idea. I wouldn’t think he was a bad person for having one night stands, but I would be convinced his values were utterly incompatible with mine.

                  Friends with benefits, on the other hand, I’m actually pretty okay with. I don’t think it’s ideal – mostly because I’ve seen those arrangements turn into a handy excuse to avoid seeking out an actual relationship – but I think they’re a long, long way from one night stands. It’s sex with someone you know, and trust, and care about, and I have no problem with that. It can invite trouble if one partner gets attached emotionally and the other doesn’t, but at least it’s not inviting strangers into your bed.

                  As for settling and the transactional nature of relationships, I used ‘settle’ pecisely because relationships are transactional. In my particular case, I want children, like, yesterday, and my single biggest concern is what kind of father he would be. (Well, my single biggest concern is weather he even wants kids, but I’m assuming if he doesn’t we’ve already ruled each other out.) I want someone whose beliefs match mine to a large extent, so that I don’t end up in a tug-of-war over what values to teach our kids down the line. This kind of weighing is highly transactional; I look at what else he has to offer a relationship and children, and I think “is he a good deal?” For my part, I want someone who would make a good dad and would teach our kids values I believe in, and I’m willing to sacrifice earning power and some physcal attractiveness to do it.

                  Random note: the best book about relationships I ever read, and which completely convinced of the transactional nature of them, is Marry Him: The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough. If you’re not convinced choosing a partner is at it’s heart a transaction, read this book.

                  • Nick, mostly says:

                    Thanks for indulging my curiosity, My Coffee. I find it interesting how strongly we hold on to our ideals of what sex should be and furthermore the origins of those ideals. Part of my motivation in participating here comes from having cast aside my own ideals to actively rebuild them as “ideals” rather than cultural prescriptions. I begin by asking myself, “why should sex be ‘celebration of an intense and close relationship with another human being?’ Where do we get this idea that sex is something to be rationed? What even makes our sexual activity a “values” question?” To me being a good person means respecting others as agents of their desires, and being honest in communicating my own intentions and desires. To that end, if we both desire to have a one night stand, where is the harm (morally or otherwise) in acting on that desire with the full knowledge and consent of someone else?

                    Sex is an infinite resource that has been made artificially scarce by our culture, in the process endowing it with some currency. Women are given the role of sexual gatekeepers, and are to use it to keep a man. By giving it away freely (i.e. without tying it to a future financial commitment) women are devaluing themselves and other women in the sexual marketplace.

                    I’ve read much of Marry Him (although not all, as it’s quite repetitive) and while it may be descriptive of our cultural norms around marriage, I think the reason the book exists is because those norms are in sharp contrast with our rapidly shifting ideals about relationships and gender roles and we’re struggling to reconcile them. We see this in our struggle with monogamy and with our declining marriage rates. And we continue to see our ideals of “equality” run up against our expectations of our potential partners that remain stubbornly gendered (how many women would marry an unemployed man not independently wealthy?). Tying our sexual expression, let along our romantic entanglements, to this set of market-based exchanges given our expectations of monogamy can’t lead anywhere good (and I think the evidence agrees).

                    In contrast to Lori Gottlieb’s book, have you seen Blue Valentine? If so, would you consider Dean to have been a “good dad” (distinct from the question of whether he was a “good husband”)?

            • Are you talking about the double standard?
              There are women out there who have an issue with their boyfriends number. But it SEEMS this is less of an issue.

          • Gracenwestburne says:

            Jasmine: I and most other men would never judge you if you had thousands of one night stands but from my personal experience women like you are not forth coming about your activities so i can asertain if you have practiced safe sex. Again not all but in most cases women like yourself have not done so. These are sworn testament from all kinds of relationship experts that either deal with you or your partner with relationship issues. I have met women like you and as far as i know i could of been one of your one night stands. i dont care, but dont sit back and say you can have or even develop a successful monogomous relationship with only one man if you so choose. I sincerely doubt that. I guess my biggest question to you would be tell me why you are so special and what can you bring to a relationship that another woman couldnt do? Can you even answer that without blabbing the stupid statement that most women like you say and it is this. Ask me any question i have nothing to hide. Ya,right…..

  15. “She can’t un-fuck those ten guys so I don’t see what the point is in litigating the past, other than to shame her about her behavior. So what if sex and intimacy don’t always go together for her? The real importance that has is whether she will have sex with other people during their relationship – not whether she had casual sex before their relationship or will have it again after this relationship has run it’s course. If she was cheating on a past boyfriend with those randoms, maybe that’s relevant? But I can’t see how anything else is.”

    Obviously, this is a big deal for him. Speaking openly about his views of her past is not litigation, it is discussing. You can respect someone’s choices and not agree with them. Perhaps she was in a relationship funk and behaved out of the ordinary for a while. Therefore, her past behavior would be somewhat out of character for her. In which case, perhaps they could move on with relationship in an open and loving way.

    All of these things are of subjective importance. I can’t decide for this guy what should be a deal breaker, nor can you. Sleeping around isn’t the issue. His disgust isn’t the issue. His “disgust” with her past behavior is the issue in having a good and healthy relationship. He obviously has a moral/value system that makes him feel disgusted with her behavior. That is important. He has all the right in the world to have his views. If they are to move along with their relationship, they should get this sorted out in an open, respectful, and compassionate way. But it may not work out, and that is OK.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      “Disgusting” is a judgement. It’s not “speaking openly about his views of her past.” What does he want from her? That she feel ashamed about her past behavior? That she feel as disgusted with herself as he does?

      I don’t want to decide what’s a deal-breaker for him. I think if it’s a deal-breaker for him he should move on already. I don’t think he should shame her for her past sexual encounters. She can’t un-fuck those guys, so either he needs to be okay with it or he needs to find someone who shares the same attitudes about casual sex that he does. I’m pretty sure if she shared his attitudes he’d know already, and wouldn’t have written in.

      • The only shot of this relationship working is if one of them converts to the other’s view of sex/morals.

        Either she accepts his view that sex with random strangers is disgusting and she regrets ever doing it, and commits to never doing it again – OR, he accepts her view that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having sex with strangers.

        Either way, if they don’t have a common moral view of sex, their chances of survival long term as a couple are nil

  16. Nick, mostly says:

    Sleeping around is totally fine, but it seems that, to him, it signals a non-chalance about sex and intimacy that makes him uncomfortable.

    It doesn’t make him “uncomfortable.” It makes him “disgusted.”

    However, her past behavior may not be indicative of her current views/values. If they can openly talk about his views and her past, maybe they can get past this.

    She can’t un-fuck those ten guys so I don’t see what the point is in litigating the past, other than to shame her about her behavior. So what if sex and intimacy don’t always go together for her? The real importance that has is whether she will have sex with other people during their relationship – not whether she had casual sex before their relationship or will have it again after this relationship has run it’s course. If she was cheating on a past boyfriend with those randoms, maybe that’s relevant? But I can’t see how anything else is.

  17. For the people who are criticizing this man’s reactions and perceptions . . . When we live in a permissive and open society, we must accept many different opinions and behaviors. However, accepting something does not mean that you have to condone it or that you have to squash down your opinions and impulses about it. If he is uncomfortable about her past behavior, that is perfectly fine. His reaction of disgust is perfectly fine. People can accept things and not agree with them. The goal of a permissive society shouldn’t be that people give up their moral value systems for a homogenized, “everything is cool” value system. The goal should be that we all accept and respect other people’s morals and values.

    On a more practical level, it seems that they may be incompatible, but we do not have enough context. Sleeping around is totally fine, but it seems that, to him, it signals a non-chalance about sex and intimacy that makes him uncomfortable. That is fine for him to feel this way. However, her past behavior may not be indicative of her current views/values. If they can openly talk about his views and her past, maybe they can get past this.

    Regarding the point about her past not having anything to do with him, that is complete garbage. A person’s past behavior is perfectly fair game for deciding whether to continue a relationship. She had sex with 10 strangers. Would 2 be better? How about 60? At what point would his disgust become acceptable? Her past shows that she can commit to people (she had 2 boyfriends), but having sex with 10 strangers shows that sex and intimacy do not always go together with her. If this is a deal breaker, it is good to know and to move on. For some people, this would be perfectly fine. It is his life and his choice. His judgements are the ones that matter.

    • ” At what point would his disgust become acceptable?”

      Never.

      I agree with you that if he feels disgusted by her past actions, he should just end the relationship. However, I also think that he is a sad, sad man if he believes that he has any right to judge, or even know of, his girlfriend’s past sexual experience. If he’s worried about STD’s, he can respectfully ask her to take a test, but NOTHING grants him the right to know about the personal relationships she has had with other people in the past. Those relationships are between her and those people; they are not, nor will they ever be, his business. And I think it’s rather farcical for anyone to be passing judgement like, “having sex with 10 strangers shows that sex and intimacy do not always go together for her” when A.) you have no idea how she even defines “intimacy” and B.) you don’t know her side of the story (which, once again I will reiterate, is none of your [or his] business to begin with). If her past sex life is an issue for him, then by all means he should go ahead and end the relationship; but it won’t be because she had sex with 10 other men in her past…it will be because HE is uncomfortable with this fact.

      • My Coffee says:

        “However, I also think that he is a sad, sad man if he believes that he has any right to judge, or even know of, his girlfriend’s past sexual experience. If he’s worried about STD’s, he can respectfully ask her to take a test, but NOTHING grants him the right to know about the personal relationships she has had with other people in the past. ”

        I have to disagree with you wholeheartedly there. People *should* know about the personal histories of the people they let into their lives; this goes far beyond a “did you catch anything” safety measure.

        When I ask about someone’s exes I want to know about the relationship itself, not diseases. I want to hear how what drew them in, what the deal-breakers were, how the relationship fell apart. I want to know how these people shaped you, how they affected you emotionally, mentally. What effect the relationships had in your life. These aren’t questions that can be answered by some blood work. STDs are distant second to me when I talk about our pasts with someone.

  18. I don’t get it. She had 10 one-night-stands. So what? How on earth can that be a problem?

    His options are to 1) grow up, or 2) move on.

    • Eric M. says:

      “His options are to 1) grow up, or 2) move on.”

      I agree with #2. He needs to move on and find someone who doesn’t believe in having sex with random strangers. She needs to move on and find someone who does.

      People who don’t believe in having sex with random strangers that are no more immature than those who do.

      • People who don’t believe in having sex with random strangers that are no more immature than those who do.

        Which completely misses the point.

        No matter your choice of partner, you are never going to agree on everything. You’re not going to have the same positions on everything. To have a lasting relationship, you must be able to see beyond minor differences. He may look at the 10 one-nights stands and say, “I would never do that”. Fine. He does not have to agree it’s a grand thing. But to be hung up about his gf having done it the way he is – *that* I believe is immature. If differences like that are going to be deal-breakers, there’s going to be a lot of them.

        • Eric M. says:

          “No matter your choice of partner, you are never going to agree on everything.”

          Of course not, and they seem to agree on most things but not this.

          “To have a lasting relationship, you must be able to see beyond minor differences.”
          They both have to agree what is minor and what is major. She thinks sex with strangers is minor, he thinks it’s major. They have a fundamental difference in their view of morality, which WILL end their relationship eventually.

          By the way, many women feel the same way he does. I haven’t seen anyone so harshly criticize them, telling them to grow up, calling them immature, etc.

          “He may look at the 10 one-nights stands and say, “I would never do that”. Fine. . .But to be hung up about his gf having done it the way he is – *that* I believe is immature.”

          That’s your opinion, and it’s likely her opinion. It’s probably the opinion of many people who feel like she does about sex. But, the view of the writer and many women who agree with him is no more immature than her view.

          “If differences like that are going to be deal-breakers, there’s going to be a lot of them.”
          Evidently there aren’t a lot of differences. If there were, this wouldn’t be such an issue. He could easily just drop her and move on.

          • I agree completely with you. This isn’t a question of him not having the ‘right’ values, it’s a matter of their values being fundamentally different. He *shouldn’t* just move on and ignore the past – if they try to sweep this fundamental difference under the rug it’s only going to come back to bite them. What he needs is to think long and hard about weather her attitudes to sex are a dealbreaker for him – and if they are, he needs to break up with her and find someone else before he gets even more attached to her.

  19. The real issue in this matter is the incompatibility in the attitudes of both partners. The guy feels probably feels that the girl had mentally separated sex from romantic relationship and doubts whether she would be sexually faithful to him in the future. The girl does not have any problem enjoying sex outside the boundary of romantic relation. It is the bone of contention.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      Absolutely. The first step is to recognize the incompatibility and move on.

      Now if as a second step we can just get everyone to see that there’s nothing “wrong” with that person that doesn’t hold the same beliefs about sex as you do, perhaps we could make some progress on reducing the amount of judgement we have for one another.

      At the same time, I do believe we need, as a third step, to engage in some serious introspection about how we came to hold particular beliefs. We’re all so prone to believing things, both reasonably and unreasonably, and to simply say it’s a heartfelt belief does nothing to help us grow as people. We need to move beyond believing everything we think, and start looking at our cherished beliefs from multiple points of view, and actively challenging them to see if they hold up in the face of critique or wither away.

      • Eric M. says:

        “Now if as a second step we can just get everyone to see that there’s nothing “wrong” with that person that doesn’t hold the same beliefs about sex as you do, perhaps we could make some progress on reducing the amount of judgement we have for one another.”

        He has no problem with the person. It’s her beliefs about sex that he has a problem with.

        • I think the disgust over her sexual past is what prompted that. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t agree with that.” its quite another to say “Something is wrong with you for that.”

          But about this letter writer’s attitude. I wonder if she had 12 boyfriends instead of 2 boyfriends and 10 on night stands would he have found it disgusting. I’m wondering if his problem isn’t the number itself but what that number is a count of. He equate a one night stand with having sex with someone you don’t know. Would it ease his soul if she knew them (ie: they were boyfriends and not one night stands)?

      • Gracen Westburne says:

        I have read hundreds of these men issues with girlfriends past and wives past. In conclusion i have found that the more sexual partners that a woman has in her early and late teen years does affect how she will perceive and act in later life. Again most but not all women who proceed to get into a monogomous relationship after coming from a long list of sexual encounters of flings,hookups, FWBs and all other kinds of sexual trists do not put a lot of emphasis on a complete and healthy sexual relationship with their new man or new husband. I read numerous stories were the woman even confessed that she gave oral sex to a string of men in her past but now in a committed monogomous relationship would refuse to perform such. When asked why she said she was drunk,under the influence of drugs or just wanted to get her lust on. So my final statements are as such. A man today should find out everything possible about his women whether she freely volunteers the information or you have to go to a local watering hole and buy everybody a few drinks to find out if your woman was the town bicylce. If that doesnt work hire a invesigator to find out everything. Then men take it from there. Again reading all these past posts i find when confronted with their sexual pasts and questioned they just say they made terrible mistakes. They dont want to do sex they did in the past but if they cannot or will not commit to a healthy sexual relaitonship that is mutually satisfying to both parties then don not marry her do not continue the relationship with her. Send her back to those feminist women with their own agendas, and that includes Psychologists who say her past is none of your business. And I firmly believe thats a bunch of crap.By reading hundreds of posts from different sites the evidence cannot be discounted. Whether a woman can turn the valve off or not ,think of sex as only a act that is fine, but the moment you cant give me a complete relationship mentally,physically and emotionally then take your twisted rational and your 50 plus lovers and go back to them. Leave us honest caring and deserving men alone. We want the complete package and it is not our fault you are tired or worn out or just plain stupid because you didnt have the will power or guts to say no and keep your legs and mouth shut.

  20. Eric M. says:

    Yeah, he needs to cut his losses and move on. It’s not a matter of her past; it’s that they hold very fundamentally different views toward sex, which dictated her behavior. But, holding very different views in this area will come back to bite them, even if he can get over his ill feeling about her past behavior.

    For an absolute, documented fact, holding fundamentally different value systems is a death knell for long term relationship success. It’s not a matter of if; it’s only a matter of when the relationship will fail. Better for him to cut his losses now and find someone who feels that sex should be in the context of a relationship and for her to find someone who has no problem with  no strings attached one night stands with strangers. Those two ideologies will not co-exist successfully long term.

    • Great point. It’s not a matter of whether or not it SHOULD bother him, but the fact that it DOES bother him. He’ll probably find a girl some day who would be bothered by the same thing. And so when they have sex for the first time, they’ll both know exactly what it means to each other.

  21. Eric M. says:

    Yeah, he needs to cut his losses and move on. It’s not a matter of her past; it’s that they hold very fundamentally different views toward sex, which dictated her behavior. But, holding very different views in this area will come back to bite them, even if he can get over his ill feeling about her past behavior.

    For an absolute, documented fact, holding fundamental differences in value systems is a death knell for long term relationship success. It’s not a matter of if; it’s only a matter of when the relationship will fail. Better for him to cut his losses now and find someone who feels that sex should be in the context of a relationship and for her to find someone who has no problem with  no strings attached one night stands with strangers. Those two ideologies will not co-exist successfully long term.

  22. Another issue is that female promiscuity is linked to low social status in traditional cultures (or aristocratic social status, but I guess he’s know whether she was a duchess). So it’s partly classism; he’s partly looking down on her for acting like a trashy disenfranchised woman. Privileged women don’t have to abide by those rules because there’s no question that they’d need to get money by being sexual – they don’t. He may not emotionally “get” that. But really that’s the source of the double standard, where male promiscuity shows high status but loose women are hookers – that’s the reality in a culture that doesn’t have a large middle class.

  23. Promiscuous PEOPLE are more likely to have personality disorders, but that’s not always the case. Since it’s a red flag, I can understand being cautious. What if you found out your partner used to shoplift? Set things on fire? Get in fights all the time? High-risk behavior is actually pretty telling.

    • Actually, you have a point. You’ll probably get flak for it, probably some reasonable flak, since it’s a pretty rough conviction.

      Maybe, the problem isn’t so much in calling promiscuous women “sluts”, but in hailing promiscuous men as “studs”.

      Next the response would probably be: “Well, guys should stop admiring them, then.”

      To which I respond: “Well, girls do it, too. How else would they attract so many women?”

      • ….To which someone responds: “Well, girls like that are just sluts.”

        To which I respond with a simple word: “Bingo!”

        • There are a lot of emotionally damaged people out there having crazy indecisive sex with each other. And we admire them for it, because “look at all the sex they’ve had. they MUST be doing something right. They MUST be lovable.”

          And thus, we end up admiring the most messed up of the bunch, and we start trying to be like them. It’s how dumb became popular, nerdy became horrific, girls go around trying to look like Snooki, guys trying to look like they’re from Jersey Shore. The only reason they are getting laid so much is because there are people as dumb or emotionally-damaged as they are, looking for the same thing.

          • Hey Web, let’s go out for a beer …. Only problem I have with you is that you say what I’m thinking before I can. Damn …. The only thing that I can add is that I’m not surprised that so many still steriotype men, that many men want is to get into bed and have sex, that men actually have notches on their bed posts. C’mon people, are you serious? Yeah, there are guys like that but damn, ya really think they’re the norm?

            If ya have a one night stand with your neighbor, best friend, post man or any one else, this guys isn’t comfortable with it. And ya know what, even if he himself is a man slut, it doesn’t matter, he’s entitled to how HE FEELS.

            • “If ya have a one night stand with your neighbor, best friend, post man or any one else, this guys isn’t comfortable with it. And ya know what, even if he himself is a man slut, it doesn’t matter, he’s entitled to how HE FEELS.”

              As long as you also believe that a woman who does a lot of flirting and has had a lot of sex is entitled to her feelings to not want her man to flirt with other women or have had a lot of sexual partners.

              • Again, I state this: You’re not entitled from someone any more than you can give.

                If you’ve had a lot of sex, you really can’t complain if your girlfriend has, too.

                The reason THIS issue bugs me so much, is because I’m a virgin. So no matter who I find, she’ll basically have had infinite times the sex partners I’ve had, AND it’ll probably have a heck of a lot more value to me than to her. Unless, of course, she’s a virgin.

  24. GirlGlad4TheGMP says:

    I do agree that whatever she did before him is none of his concern, but it’s easier to advise him to get over it than it is for him to actually do so. Right or wrong, he clearly feels strongly about this.
    I think he should spend some time on his own, without her. When he can objectively see what she brings to his life and judge whether or not it’s more important than the number of partners she has had, then he should act.

    I have never judged my partners on how many people they previously slept with, nor how many one-nighters they had. That’s silly. What matters in that arena are issues of protection, non-coercive behaviours, emotional stability…if they were of sound mind as were their partners when they made those decisions, then what do I care?
    Don’t drag your partner’s sexual past into your own sexual present.

    • Well I think one part of her sexual history is very important to him, safe sex/STI risk. I’d want her to have an STI check (and I’d get one too), if it’s all clear then it’s all good but if it comes up positive with something then that could be a dealbreaker depending on what it was.

      • GirlGlad4TheGMP says:

        Archy,
        I do agree with you there. An STI could be a deal-breaker and that is fine.
        I did gloss over that because, in this day and age, having the conversation about disease and safe sex (and oftentimes, joint testing) is par for the course/social norm before settling into a long-term relationship. And regardless of the duration of the relationship, safe sex should always be the norm (be it protection use, or testing/monogamy, etc…there are so many combinations here).

        • It’s a social norm now? I hope so. The comment below us seems to show it’s not the norm for all though.

      • Personally I get an STI check when I change or add partners to the mix. I’m honestly surprised how few men and women both get any sort of STI checks. For me it doesn’t matter if someone is with one past partner or king/queen of the orgy scene. All it takes is one person to infect another person.

        So for me while sexual history is mildly important what is more important to me is how someone handles the responsibility of making sure they are STI free regardless of number of partners.

        For the original question I agree with the others who have said if it bothers him that much needs to just walk away from this relationship. He used some strong words in there that will come out in a fight or disagreement at some point. Sounds like he’s always going to see her in a shameful light. She can’t go back and un-screw those people she slept with. So he is really only left with deal or leave. He makes it out as thought this is a deal break for him. That’s fine. So leave.

    • “I have never judged my partners on how many people they previously slept with, nor how many one-nighters they had. That’s silly. ”

      What about a guy who has been to prostitutes? Because I think that is comparable to women with high partner count.

      • “What about a guy who has been to prostitutes? Because I think that is comparable to women with high partner count.”

        First of all, I think a guy with a lot of one night stands is far more comparable to a girl with a lot of one night stands. But to answer the question, for me, it would depend. There’s the why, when, and how of it–why you chose prostitutes instead of casual relationships, one night stands, or committed relationships. Was it because you had bad luck in the dating scene? Did you want to get the loss of virginity over with and/or to gain sexual experience in a no pressure situation? Do you plan on continuing visits to prostitutes? Did you brag about visiting prostitutes when you went? Do you get bored sexually easily in a relationship? Was it just to take the edge off when you weren’t in a relationship?

        Most of all, it would depend on how you treat me. If you make me feel like the sexiest woman in the world and we get along, have good, frequent sex, there are no STIs, and you don’t plan on sneaking off to prostitutes behind my back…it wouldn’t be a huge deal. The more chemistry we have, the less I’d question your past.

      • I am really curious how you can compare a woman with many partners to a man who sleeps with prostitutes? I wouldn’t compare the two. I would compare a woman who sleeps with many men to a man who sleeps with many women or wishes they could (but can’t because they just don’t get willing, unpaid participants).

  25. Soullite says:

    It’s amazing how the notion of ‘deal breakers’ goes right out the window the moment it’s a woman being judged… This guy has the right to break things off for any reason he wants to. While I personally think we have the right to judge him for it, a whole lot of people here that usually claim to disagree seem just fine judging this guy for his reasons.

    Personally, he if he’s really happy with this girl, he should get over it. But if he can’t get over it, then he can’t get over it and things between them have to end. You can’t reason with emotion, and logic will never win out. You feel what you feel, so you may as well go with it.

    I remember when I was a kid, like 19 or so, I knew this girl who told me how much she liked me. When I wanted to do something about it, she was like ‘whoa… hold on there. I want to mess around with a bunch of other guys and then, in like five or six years, try to see if it works with you. We can do drunken hook-ups, though’. I dropped her like a hot potato, even though we’d be friends for years (the real kind, not the ‘friendzoned’ kind. She was a joy to be around, particularly when we were in our mid-teens). I adored her, but there was no way I was going to watch her sleep around for years, and then take her when she was bored with the rest.

    Women often don’t get how important loyalty is to men, and they refuse to believe that there’s a high correlation between the number of partners a woman has had and how likely she is to cheat on you. But men, we notice these things. I don’t bear a any ill-will toward promiscuous women (that girl, obviously – there was no reason to call me out and make me open up if she was just going to stab me in the heart. We had a long-settled dynamic, if she didn’t want to shake that up, she should have kept her mouth shut), but things are the way they are.

  26. LOL, just as I said in one of my responses to objectifying women … don’t look at a women too long but it’s okay to use them for one night stands? Just looking at some of the responses here, I see people condemning this guy for “judging” his girlfriend for her one night stands but also condemn the guys who simply look at women too long. And was she “objectifying” these guys by using them as no more then a tool to get off? Which way do ya’ll want it?

    Let’s reverse this for a moment. A women writes in and says she’s uncomfortable with her boyfriends past. He was a womanizer … had one night stands. All of a sudden it takes on a different light. Anyone that says it doesn’t is lying.

    • I agree, Tom B. (I apologize for the rhyme.)

      Though when it comes to this topic, the double-standard seems more mild, and women have their own double-standards on this front as well.

      But there does seem to be an overall “color” to things, in that whatever a woman does, any judgement by society is deemed offensive and oppressive, even if it’s her judgement we’re talking about.

      -He has a lot of sex, she has a right to judge him.
      -She has a lot of sex, he has no right to judge her.
      -He judges her sexual history, he’s in the wrong.
      -She judges him for his sexual history. He shouldn’t have been such a sleaze in the first place.

      I’m not a fan of any unnecessary judgments without context. And everyone has a context that should be judged more than the actions themselves. But it seems like we have a tendency towards, as Bill Maher puts it, “making women nod”. That is, directing the heat towards other men, because we desperately try to avoid making women uncomfortable.

      • Actually, in the light of my other post about asking “why”, I have a clarification.

        How things go in general, there’s a tendency of society as a whole to judge men’s actions and rationalize women’s actions.

        When a man is put in prison, we judge him for his misdeeds and don’t think about it much further. But when women are put in prison for similar crimes, we ask “what would have driven her to do it? Self-defense? Stress?”

        You can debate this theory if you wish, but it has been demonstrated with the UK’s proposal to close women’s prisons and only give them community service at most. The idea? The women in prison became criminals out of some failure by society, and so imprisoning the women would be unfair. So what about the male prisoners?

        • @Web …. Are you serious about closing prisons for women? You are so right on about how we look at men and women as criminals. And the bit about judging men and rationalize women … wow, right on again.

          • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13666066

            “The increasing incarceration of women is a disgraceful situation which must be challenged.”

            But for men? “Bigger prisons!”

            “We are continuing to develop policies that address the needs of women offenders.”

            I’ve never heard a gender-neutral version of this here in the States. It’s usually about the needs of those poor women in prison, and for men in prison, whether or not solitary is “sufficient enough punishment.” Remember, there are more violent offenders coming out of US prisons than going in. It’s an abusive environment that turns music-pirates, hackers, and pot-smokers into rapists, abusers, muggers, and other violent criminals.

            “At the forefront of the justice system is the development of community based women’s services, which aim to address the underlying reasons for many women’s offending, such as drug and alcohol addiction, mental health and their often long histories of domestic violence and abuse.”

            Again, is this not why most MEN become offenders as well?

            “Instead of a punishment of last resort, women’s prisons are now seen as stop-gap providers of drug detox, social care, mental health assessment and treatment and temporary housing – a refuge for those who have slipped through the net of local services.”

            Funny, because it’s often considered the same for men as well. Except out “net of local services” has about 100-mile holes. If I need help, I don’t have free self-defense lessons, shelters, or help groups in every city. All I’ve got is the local Alcoholics Anonymous. No idea where it even is.

            All of these quotes can just as easily apply to women. But I guess they see women as more “fixable” because of the smaller prison population. If there is a dominant group in prison, (in the case of race, blacks,) is that not a sign that there is an underlying problem? Or do we just assume that’s how men are, the same way a racist would assume a black guy is a criminal because of his skin color?

      • Christy says:

        Web, thanks for your comment; it really made me think and change my assumptions on some things.
        Re: “…in that whatever a woman does, any judgement by society is deemed offensive and oppressive, even if it’s her judgement we’re talking about.
        -He has a lot of sex, she has a right to judge him.
        -She has a lot of sex, he has no right to judge her.
        -He judges her sexual history, he’s in the wrong.
        -She judges him for his sexual history. He shouldn’t have been such a sleaze in the first place.”

        I think some of this comes from a feeling among many women that many men consider having had many sexual partners an admirable thing for men but a shameful thing for women. In addition, it has in the past generally seemed to me that when women talk about a particular man having had “too many sexual partners,” the concern is about whether he is likely to be interested in/capable of a long-term commitment to his girlfriend, whereas when men talk about a woman’s sexual history, again there is more that feeling of them thinking of it being shameful or dirty, rather than as much of a worry about her ability to stick around for long. I do think I need to tweak both of these assumptions of mine, fairly significantly. I’m sure there are also plenty of women who would see a man’s significant sexual history as shameful and plenty of men who might see a woman’s significant sexual history as concerning in terms of ability to commit and/or as*not* a shameful or “dirty” thing. Basically I think if the genders were all switched in your points above, many women would feel that many men think that way about women, and I believe that that neither set of assumptions is good for either gender.

        Another point: my friends (and I) who would be annoyed at a woman being judged for having had, say, 10 sexual partners would *not* think it poor form for a man to have had that same number. I’d like to think that most men and women would at least have the same threshold number for both genders for that sort of judgement. I hope that the women who think we shouldn’t be judged by men for having had multiple partners would be fine with a man having had roughly the same number, and that women who think poorly of men with multiple partners would also think poorly of women with the same number. And likewise with regard to men.

        • Exactly. don’t throw stones at glass houses.

          I’ve been trying to pick apart the slut/stud and pure/pathetic dynamic for quite some time, because it seems to be such a soft spot in people and raises emotions rather quickly.

          I think part of the reason stems from our rather conservative approach to dating here in the States.
          -Sex seems all about men wanting a service that a woman is gracious enough to give. That is, if a couple has sex, it’s not a bonding gift for both of them, but that’s a reward she gave him for good behavior and now he owes her because “Well, I gave you my sex!” (Umm, he gave it back, too.)
          -While this is changing, the US, more than most other western nations, still expects men to start the relationship, pay for the dates, buy the gifts, etc. While the effort is mutual in the relationship, most of the forward effort is placed on the man.

          How does this create the dynamic? Well, a woman can expect to be hit on, told she’s hot, or heck, whistled at in random places. Good and bad attention. A guy basically gets no such attention, because noone is trying to make a move. To some, it seems like girls aren’t even interested in guys, taht they don’t want a relationship, and thus a man has to convince her otherwise.

          And with the whole ton of judgement on how and when guys make a move, and that they have to be “good enough” to “earn” a relationship, this means a guy who has slept around has been doing really well in the dating department.

          Since girls may expect guys to make a move, date, etc, and get a lot of sexual attention throughout the day, getting sex isn’t much of an accomplishment. If you really want sex, just say yes to one of the guys asking. It’s common knowledge that girls get sex much more easily. And so a woman who has as much sex as a “studly” man would be seen as “exploiting the system”. That is, a man has to work, pay, and dedicate himself to “earn” sex, she just has to receive the generosity.

          Now remember, I talk in viewpoints here. The accuracy of this idea isn’t as important as what the OTHER gender thinks is going on.

          I came to this conclusion when studying Swedish culture. (I considered moving there. So now I reference Sweden all the time.) Over there, equality is in everything they do. (heck, they are #1 in gender representation in government.)

          Both genders ask each other out. They go for a coffee break, each paying for themselves. They’ll often have sex after the first date. To Americans, the girls seem easy. To them, our dating ritual seems over-the-top. A Swedish guy doing the same thing would seem desperate. Yet a lot of foreign girls can’t stand the practice, because they want the guy to “show his worth” first.

          Lo and behold, there is little slut-calling for girls, little admiring of hyper-sexual men, and virginity isn’t really considered a sign of undesirability for men. Less sexual jealousy, too, I believe.

          So to me, it really comes down to the dating dynamic.

          • Christy says:

            I absolutely agree that the traditional dating system in the US (guy does the asking and covers date expenses) is a huge problem. I was lucky to go to college where at least this was generally only the first date, with shared expenses after that. This was quite some time ago (late ’80s)–I had hoped things had improved in this area!

            My social circle is primarily tabletop RPG gamers, and is heavily male. Several of them (not the majority) basically can’t read facial or body language and truly cannot figure out when asking a woman out would be welcome to her. It kills me that these very interesting men who would love to be in a relationship and would make fantastic partners are thoroughly held back from doing so because they literally don’t have the ability to know when to approach a woman, and the social mores here so thoroughly train women not to do a direct ask. I’m quite sure they would be in great relationships by now if women weren’t completely discouraged from making the first move.

            And don’t even get me started on how horrible I think the “man pays for all dates” system is–she’s symbolically being bought, he’s being expected to prove financial viability; some women expect him to pay and others are offended if he always tries to pay–it must be impossible for a guy to navigate without getting burned, and it creates disturbing expectations on both genders.

            The Swedish dating mode seems so incredibly much more healthy for all involved. I am entirely on board with promoting that kind of dating equality.

            • I know right? I mean, I’m hoping I’m not just running on some idealism about the Swedes. But that system seem so much better. Imagine the respect women would earn. How much more laid back sexuality (could) become. They focus on equality for everyone, not just the group that claims to be oppressed or the group with the biggest movement, and that’s how they gain so much support.

              As I posted on GirlsAskGuys, knowing there are societies like this out there, I hold women to those standards. Because if they don’t meet them, I can just go elsewhere. So the idea that the guy somehow owes something to the girl because she agreed to go out with him is preposterous. If she feels he owes her the meal, he might feel she owes her sex. And thus, sex becomes a “masculine desire” and money becomes a “feminine desire”. And with a setup like that, you’re just asking for a rocky relationship.

              That’s really cool to hear about you and your friends. By cool, I’m referring to the fact that you just kinda get what’s going on. DnD’ers, in my experience, have great imaginations and expressive personalities, and passion for what they do, though a rather niche activity. So there’s a lot of potential for a good partner, but it’s so rarely realized.

              • Thanks! That is *exactly* what I think about my RPG-player friends. Plus, they don’t look at me bug-eyed when I start talking science fiction like my soccermom circle does lol. (Honestly, when I first attended the game con I now help run, I felt like I’d finally stumbled across a group that spoke my own language.) Yes, great imaginations, expansive and in-depth knowledge in various areas of history and the kinds of books and movies I enjoy, willingness to talk in depth on interesting subjects, creative problem-solvers, etc. etc.!. If I wasn’t already married this is certainly the group I’d want to be dating in. (And I’d know that for some of them I would need to do that initial ask!)

                When I was still dating, after the first date it was pretty much a given that you’d either go dutch or switch off paying. I’m very disappointed that this has not caught on here more–it is much better for everyone!!!

            • “I’m quite sure they would be in great relationships by now if women weren’t completely discouraged from making the first move. ”
              Have you ever tried to teach them, or is it something that can’t be taught by one person? As a guy who was like that I would have LOVED to have a female friend help me understand them better.

              • Christy says:

                I am helping out with that where they want me to. Hoping it will pan out for them–they are great guys!

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Simple:

      It’s a woman’s choice what she does with her body. If she chooses that, it’s her prerogative.

      If you choose to stare at her or make her uncomfortable, that’s YOU infringing upon her comfort.

      They’re vastly, vastly different. I can see now, though, why you don’t get the whole “objectification” thing.

      • But guys are still expected to make the first move the majority of the time, are we not? If a girl goes about her life not making a move, she’ll still get plenty of dates. If a guy doesn’t make a move, he’ll probably have trouble, and get all the blame.

        I say this, because, while whistling and cat-calls are one thing, making a move in itself is risking the discomfort of the other party. You can’t tell a girl you’re interested in her without risking her taking offense. Which means either girls should start being expected to make the move just as often, or she needs to learn how to brush off unwanted attention.

        If you expect guys to make a move, but consider most times and places for approaches inappropriate or offensive, you basically prevent any means of forming relationships outside of sheer dumb luck.

        So I agree that women shouldn’t have their comfort infringed upon, and that guys shouldn’t be crude in their approaches. And I understand how women may be treated as objects of sexual desire.

        But as it is, women get this attention without much effort either way. Guys hardly get attention unless they coax it out of others. To get the same attention, girls don’t NEED to approach guys. They can go about their daily lives and get their fill, if not too much fill. So the very nature of our “relationship initiation dynamic” creates situations of guys asking girls out in inappropriate places or times, or sometimes inappropriate ways.

        It’s statistical noise, more that systematic oppression. The same thing occurs when girls DO make the move. My school is about 70%-80% women, so I’ve been cat-called before, had a friend visit me and tell me she wanted to show me “all the moves”, and another case where some girls on the streets wanted me to show them my junk. It usually doesn’t bug me, except that if the genders were switched it would be considered offensive, and that instead, I should “accept the attention they gave me, because I probably didn’t deserve it.”

        So in a case that forces women to have to make a move, you see the same behavior from women. The main thing determining who is approaching who in inappropriate ways, is who is doing the approaching in the first place.

    • @Tom B- You seem to be under the impression that one night stands always involve one of the people involved being exploited. That just isn’t true. It may be true sometimes, but one night stands can also be great, enjoyable experiences for both parties. I have had a one night stand, with a friend (and one night stands can be with people you know, not just strangers; I wasn’t in a relationship with this guy and I haven’t slept with him since, so it’s a one night stand), and it was a great experience for both of us. No one felt exploited afterwards and our friendship maintained as it was before. I have also had one off sexual experiences with strangers and again, no one felt exploited afterwards. I’m not saying that this always happens by any means but it is definitely possible. This woman the question asker is talking about does not have to be a female equivalent of a womaniser, it does not follow that she has exploited any men, and he never mentions worry that she will cheat on him (which would be far more understandable, to me at least, than him just finding her past sex life disgusting). He doesn’t give very much detail so we can only go with what we have. This is why people are calling slut-shaming and sexism on this. (the sexism, granted, is assumed, but this is because of the long history our culture has of calling promiscuous woman dirty and disgusting, so I would tend to agree.)

      I agree with the advice: this man must come to terms with his feelings, and will have to see that he must either end the relationship if he really can’t handle the idea, or if he really wants to stay in the relationship he will have to accept his girlfriend’s past and not give her a hard time about it. It’s not like she can make it so it never happened, after all.

    • I don’t see the connection here AT ALL. You can still have a consensual one night stand and have both parties be respectful to each other. As long as everyone is honest about their intentions and no one feels threatened or coerced, it’s very different from objectification. It’s two (or more) people enjoying mutual pleasure. No one is violated and no one has to be hurt.

  27. Two sides to this coin. If he feels that strongly that he can’t get past it, then it’s his choice to get out of the relationship. And no one has the right to judge him for his doing so. Then again, because I work with the population that I do (addictions) I believe that people can change and that everyone should be looked at as to hwo they are today and not stuck with their past.

    They both have the right to be happy and it’s not fair to her that they continue a relationship that has any level of doubt. He feels the way he does and he should be able to own that feeling. Gee, I see so much here at GMP talking about how men should work with their feelings but when it comes to this, he’s wrong for feeling how he feels?

  28. I must say, this post was kinda……usual. Not bad, but just predictable.

    People ask this question a lot. And the response is, of course, a rhetorical “Why does it even matter?”

    But no one answers the question, “Why?”

    Why does our partner’s sexual history bother us so much? Why is it such a difficult task to overcome? I’m fascinated to find the origins of this strong emotional response. Is it Envy? Jealousy? Disappointment?

    The first relationship I had, the girl I was with had had some 8 partners. Not too bad or anything. Apparently 6 of them were girls. Again, no biggie, even though I was a virgin, and the prospect made me nervous.

    After we broke up, I discovered that all of these experiences were over the last year. She lost her virginity, and afterwards, would get basically ill if she went without a lay for a month or so. One of the cases was with two men at once. (Or a girl and guy, don’t remember.)

    Even though we were already separated, this prospect left me in emotional distress about sexuality for the next several months. There was no logical reason to feel this way, so why did it impact me so heavily? Here’s what I came up with that following summer:

    -She used to say how much better it is to be with women, and that women “deserve” sex more than men. Hearing her history just added to it.

    -She broke up with me, leaving me single for who knows how long. Her sexual history made it clear that finding love was just a matter of raising her hand and people flocking, while I would have to summon the courage, make the move, pay for the dates, be sexual without being sexual. She could dump me like I’m worthless because she has so many options. The density of her partners made me feel inadequate. It was supply and demand, and she had an endless supply. She was worth more to me than I her, and this image had already been played out in how/why she dumped me.

    -My image of her was rather different than her actual self. Her actual self matched her history and it made sense. She wasn’t my type. But my image of her was that of…well, I don’t want to use the word “purity”, but that’s the best fit. I threw myself for a loop by not being present, a problem which I feel affects a ton of men.

    So I mean, there are millions of articles out there that talk about leaving her past in the past. But none of them that TACKLE the origin of this feeling. It’s like asking “why don’t I have a girlfriend?” and getting the response, “you have to get one”. Umm, that’s basically an axiom. The point is not “What to do”, but rather “Why is it so hard to do it.” And if we get an article like that on this site, you can be sure I’ll be there to discuss it.

    -Cheers.

  29. Maybe the letter writer needs to keep reminding himself that his girlfriend is from Denmark. From what I understand, Scandinavian countries are pretty sexually open and don’t have the same level of negative attitudes about promiscuity that exist elsewhere in the world, such as in the U.S. and Latin America.

    • We don’t even know how old this woman is. What if she is 35? She may have had two boyfriends for a year or so each and then had sex less than once a year since then. We know nowhere near enough to call her a slut which is what some people are crazily doing. I don’t care whether you come from a more ‘permissive’ country like Denmark or a more uptight country like the US (just carrying on the ridiculous stereotypes and nonsense comments being made here -12 partners is not a big deal and is not something seen only in permissive Denmark!). Personally I want to know if the Brazilian has the same expectations for himself or if he only expects his partners to only have sex with people that mean something to them? Perhaps he’s a man whore who thinks it’s perfectly reasonable for men to sleep around but not women.
      Perhaps not, but this is my point – we don’t know enough about either the letter writer or the poor girlfriend (who in my opinion should get out while she can!) to get into such heated debates.
      (edited for personal referencing. your issues with the comments are noted)

      • That’s true too, 10 partners is really not remarkable, especially if it’s over a few years. And even then I know a lot of women who went through a “wild stage” in college and slept with 6 or 7 different guys in a couple years, through a combination of casual dating and hookups. Combine that with a few serious boyfriends and it is not too difficult to reach 10 by your mid-20’s. Most of those women settle down and get married and never have another one-night stand.

        Attitudes shown in this letter explain why so many women lie about their “number.”

  30. Choice of word use here is ultimately telling. The guy uses the word “disgusting” a couple of times. I wonder if he thinks casual sex in general is disgusting or just when it involves a woman choosing to pursue one night stands. It seems to me like he is shaming her behavior and that is not a place to plant the seeds for growing a relationship. This thing is going to wilt and probably never recover. It amazes me how it is such a big deal for people to know their partner’s sexual history, the number of partners, and all that detail but the same people couldn’t tell you if they like cream and sugar or take their coffee black. There’s so much more to knowing someone it is a total waste of time trying to form an opinion of them based solely on their past. People get lost in the past and can’t let go of something that bothers them that they totally lose sight of all the great things they could be enjoying by getting to know the person in front of them in the here and now.
    The writer of this question is making his judgment of his partner’s qualities based on 1 aspect of her past. If you ask me, he is the one losing out on a great opportunity to explore a relationship with a woman who might be very alluring and interesting.

  31. I think ‘one night stand’ needs to be defined in clearer terms before people start saying this woman is devaluing herself by sleeping with people she doesn’t know. It may be that she’s had sexual partners that she was not in a committed relationship with, this doesn’t mean she didn’t know them in some capacity beforehand. Relationships are never cut and dry, and sex is simply a piece of the puzzle that makes up a relationship. Just because a person has sex outside a committed relationship doesn’t mean they value it any less when they are in a committed relationship. The man also never mentions his sexual history, for all we know he may sleep around all the time. This whole letter, for me at least, reeks of misogyny and the idea that a woman is dirty if she sleeps around too much.

  32. If you are uncomfortable with it and think you can’t handle it, dump her. If you think you can work it out and really care for this woman, stay with her. Either way do not be shamed into ignoring your relationship priorities.

  33. Get a full STI test and put your mind at ease. Realize that she is still the person you loved before finding out, and if the STI test comes back clean then it should help.

  34. Jamie Parsons says:

    I can empathise with him. He sounds like he loves and cares for her very much and thinking about her with other guys is just eating at him. The only thing he can do is put it out of his mind.

    I’d say he thinks that having sex with someone you don’t know is putting yourself out there as an object, a thing to be used for a night then never seen again. Sex to me is about love and having one night stands with people you don’t even know is devaluing the sex you have with someone you do love. Because you treat the person you love and the person you don’t know in the same way, having sex with them, the most personal of acts, I think he feels that she doesn’t respect herself, or him.
    It’s an act of love. It’s a personal act and he would feel like she loves him to be willing to have sex with him, but the love and the respect seem diminished when he learns that she is willing to have sex with someone she doesn’t know.

    It’s like he’s saying ‘you have sex with someone you don’t know, what’s so special about me then?’

    • Nick, mostly says:

      Jamie, you do see that this is how you define the specialness of sex, right? Your premise is that having sex with someone indicates that you think they are special. I don’t know if you are aware of it or not, but your phrasing of the question, “you have sex with someone you don’t know, what’s so special about me then?” explicitly equates believing someone to be “special” with having sex with that someone.

      That type of attitude is like monogamy++. It’s not sufficient that your partner only have sex with you, they need to have only had sex with people they thought were as special as they think you are. Good luck with finding that special someone – you should probably put that out there early on in your dates if it’s the dealbreaker it sounds like it is.

  35. I hope he brings it up with her and she dumps his sorry ass.

    • Jamie Parsons says:

      If you feel people like this man should not judge others for having many sex partners, then you yourself should not judge a person that respects their body and puts love before various sexual partners they do not know. There is nothing wrong with being a ‘prude’ as I am sure you would call it.

      • raindizzle says:

        It’s sort of offensive to say that someone doesn’t respect their body just because they’ve had a higher number of sexual partners. Not everyone believes that sexual experience reflects directly to how much respect a person deserves. And defining people who abstain from sex as those who who “put love before various sexual partners they do not know” is a very loaded way to say that people who are sexually promiscuous put people they don’t know above those they love. Again, not everyone feels that the amount of love you have for one person is diminished by previous sexual experiences.

        Maybe the judgement you feel for being a “prude” has less to do with your values and more to do with you coming across as having a judgmental, holier-than-thou attitude toward people who don’t share your conservative values.

        • Jamie Parsons says:

          I didn’t say they didn’t respect their body. I said they don’t put respect over sexual prospects.

          This is exactly what I was talking about. (edited for personal attack)

          You are the one judging people. I said if you expect others not to judge promiscuous people then don’t judge traditional, monogamous people (edited). I don’t have conservative values and i don’t come across as ‘holier-than-thou’ not that you would know. I was defending people who are seen as ‘prudes’. I was trying to be fair but you just skipped ahead, ignored all that and judged me on a basis that wasn’t even there. You assumed that because I was defending a group of people, I had to have the same opinions. (edited for personal attack)

          I can tell you this much, people who just want to get off and sleep around, well they aren’t thinkng about finding the one they are to marry or be with forever, they are thinking about their own pleasure and their own immediate selfish wants, they aren’t thinking about how their future partner will feel about it.

          And I can also say from personal experience that people who sleep around put people they don’t know above the people who love them. If someone loves them but they discard them to sleep with random people who don’t respect them, who is that putting first? It’s putting yourself first, then the people you sleep with, then the person who loves you. As they are the ones getting their feelings hurt. They are also showing a lack of respect for those that they do sleep with, as often that person will have feelings for them but will be discarded in the morning. I know a lot of men and women who don’t give a damn about the people they sleep with and that is wrong, as people get hurt.

          • Nick, mostly says:

            Jamie, Jamie, Jamie. I had hoped from your discontinued participation in the other threads you had taken some time for self-reflection and to education yourself a bit more about the things you care about. Obviously that was not the case. Just look at all of the invective you’ve spilled here, the defensiveness, the name calling. I think you need to get yourself into some therapy to help you process some of your personal experiences.

            As to your original comment:

            If you feel people like this man should not judge others for having many sex partners, then you yourself should not judge a person that respects their body and puts love before various sexual partners they do not know.

            The way you have phrased your response puts “having many sex partners” in juxtaposition with “respecting your body” and “putting love before various sex partners they do not know.” It suggests that having many sex partners and respecting your body or making your love interest primary are mutually exclusive. They’re not.

            I can tell you this much, people who just want to get off and sleep around, well they aren’t thinkng about finding the one they are to marry or be with forever, they are thinking about their own pleasure and their own immediate selfish wants, they aren’t thinking about how their future partner will feel about it.

            Here you are clearly stating that having multiple sex partners (unless you’re changing the subject and forgot to tell us again) is selfish. Who’s judging who again? Have you considered that they’re fine having multiple partners because they don’t expect their future partner to be a judgmental asshole?

            And I can also say from personal experience that people who sleep around put people they don’t know above the people who love them.

            I’ll tell you again, in vain hope that it will sink in at some point. Your personal experience, as traumatic to you as it appears to have been, is very limited. You are manifestly ignorant on this topic as is evidenced by your grossly inaccurate and wildly simplistic generalization of others based on your one experience with one girl. My personal experience says exactly the opposite. So who gets to generalize from personal experience? (Hint: it’s a number less than 1 but greater than -1).

            To close, I have another book recommendation for you. This one, Mating In Captivity by Esther Perel, speaks to the wide variety of relationships and places their discontents against a backdrop of our modern expectations of love and commitment. While not entirely apropos to this thread, I do believe it relevant to your own personal situation. And if you need help finding a counselor, let me know and I’d be happy to recommend one to you.

        • Jamie Parsons says:

          And I do not find it surprising that you are quick to defend promiscuous people but quick to attack non-promiscuous people and their views.
          ‘Not everyone shares your beliefs’, yeah, well not everyone shares your beliefs either so why do you attack those who don’t? How hypocritical.

          • @Jamie …. I think what you said was accurate. Afterall, doesn’t GMP promote men letting their feelings out? Just as the guy who wrote this letter is looked at as being judgemental, so many see you being the same but they do NOT Raindizzle who was as, if not more judgemental.

  36. Quadruple A says:

    Since I don’t think having a one night stand is disgusting I can’t really sympathize or empathize with this guy. I think it can be the very opposite of disgusting. Though it is interesting because women seem more likely to say that one night stands are disgusting than men. I’m actually surprised that a Brazillian man would say this based on some of the things I’ve heard about Brazil being a more sexually permissive culture- I’m trying to find some research to back that claim.

  37. I say go ahead and bring it up now before things go too far. If this is pressing enough that he is seeking outside advice for it then it’s serious to him. If it’s that serious then he needs to bring it up now or run a very high risk of it festering and coming out later. And festering is almost never a good plan.

    I’m wondering why he thinks it’s disgusting. Maybe it’s just a safe sex issue? If that is the case then I definitely say bring it up sooner rather than later because I don’t care what walk of life you are no one should be expected to keep quiet about their safe sex concerns. If it’s just the old “a woman that’s had too many partners is dirty” then he should just move on.

  38. In these matters I usually like to give a simple advice: “When in doubt, don’t.” If the letter write is so uncomfortable that he is seeking advice from others about this matter, then he should not continue the relationship.

  39. John Anderson says:

    “The only thing that matters is that you both honor your commitments to one another while you’re together.”

    That doesn’t seem to be the only thing that matters to him.

    “Get the rest out of your mind, or break up with her and move on. You aren’t doing anyone any good wishing her past were different than it is. Then she can find a truly accepting, loving guy and you can find a girl whose past is more to your liking.”

    I think it’s unfair to categorize him as unloving. If someone you loved committed a crime, would you stop loving them? Would your continued love equate to acceptance of their crime? I know she didn’t commit a crime, but in his mind, she did something wrong, not accepting that is not the same as not loving her.

    I almost agree with your advice, but I don’t think he needs to or should get it out of his mind. It’s in there and denying the feeling isn’t going to make it any better for the two of them. It’ll just build up and come out probably at the worst possible time. He has to decide whether having her around is worth the past baggage. If he could decide that in their relationship, make the decision and let her know if he wants to go his separate ways. If he can’t, then he needs to ask for space so he could work things out. Use it to figure out if she’s worth it. If she won’t agree to wait for you, she’s not the one you want.

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