It may be invasive, but it seems like the question, "how many people have you slept with?" inevitably comes up in every relationship.
While it can be an awkward conversation to have with a new partner, it may be necessary to know in terms of potential health concerns, like if there's a possibility your significant other could have a sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
According to The Journal of Sex Research, individuals said they deem their mate's level of attractiveness with how many of sexual partners they had.
Researchers conducted an online survey, where 188 people rated their "willingness to engage in a relationship with a hypothetical individual with a specified number of past sexual partners, ranging from 0 to 60+."
The number had a significant impact on the participants, who were initially more inclined to have a significant other with a certain number of previous partners, than none at all. However, once that number reached a certain point, their willingness significantly fell.
For short-term relationships, men were more lenient if their partners had more sexual encounters compared to women, but the difference was not large.
For long-term relationships, both men and women expressed an equal amount of hesitation to be involved with someone with an extensive sexual history.
"A prospective mate with an overly extensive sexual history is statistically a poor bet as a faithful, committed long-term mate," the study found.
While participants who had a high number of mates were more tolerant of prospective mates who also have a similar partner count than those with a low number of previous romantic encounters, they were less receptive of potential partners who have only slept with a few.
"Contrary to the idea that male promiscuity is tolerated but female promiscuity is not, both sexes expressed equal reluctance to get involved with someone with an overly extensive sexual history," psychologist Dr. Steve Stewart-Williams said.
But this information makes us wonder, what is the optimal number of sexual encounters their partners have had?
But what is the "magic" number?
While the "magic" number can vary from person to person, The Journal of Sex Research reveals woman are put-off by men who have had more than six sexual partners, while men are weary of women who have had more than 11.
While this survey indicates the double standard between men and women still exists in today's society, another poll expressed differing results.
Another perspective says...
Research conducted by Superdrug's Online Doctor says men believe women who've had 14 or more sexual partners were considered "too promiscuous" by men, while women are put-off by men who've had 15 or romps with different individuals.
Having these similar numbers in mind, it's not surprising to learn three in 10 people of both genders agree having a high number of sexual partners could be a deal-breaker when choosing a mate.
Ultimately, women cited an average of 7.5 as the ideal number of sexual partners one should have in a lifetime, while men believe it should be slightly higher at 7.6. This is compared to a woman's actual average of 7 partners and a man's total of about 8.8.
So when should you disclose this information?
Sharing the number of previous sexual partners with your newfound significant other is up to your discretion, doing so could produce vital information.
As it was previously mentioned, it may be important to disclose your number in an effort to protect yourself and your partner from any STDs, that can haunt you both for the rest of your lives.
While it's universally known it only takes one unprotected sexual encounter to catch a disease, only 31.2% of women and 33.8% of men said they believe it's expected to exchange your respective sexual history within the first month of dating a new partner.
However, an increased number of participants believed it's more appropriate to wait between one to four months before disclosing this information.
Both genders agreed with this sentiment, totaling to 36.3% of women and 35.3% of men.
On the other side of the spectrum, 3.8% of women and 2.8% of men would wait at least a year to disclose their sexual history at all, while 10.9% of women and 11.3% of men wouldn't disclose this information at all.
What do you think is the right number of former sexual partners your significant other should have?