Spread the Health

Ask the Sexpert: Nothing But a Number

Welcome to Ask the Sexpert! This blog series focuses on sex, sexuality, and relationships. Read on for BU Sexperts Sophie Godley and Dr. Teri Aronowitz’s honest, truthful answers to students’ scandalous questions.

Dear Sophie,

How can you ask your partner how many sexual partners they’ve had without making them think you don’t trust them?


 sexpert_cropped NOTHING BUT A NUMBER copy


Hmmmm… this is a really interesting question.  Here’s the thing: I’m not sure it really matters how many other sex partners your partner has had.  There are a lot more important things for you two to talk about – protection from STIs, contraception (if applicable for your relationship), what kind of sexual relationship you want to have… As long as you are protecting yourself from STIs, or deciding to both get tested, treated, and stay monogamous with one another, then why does it matter how many partners you have each had?  This is a really private, and sometimes touchy subject for people.  I think asking about someone’s sexual history so that you can both learn from past mistakes and be safe is fine – but often this question leads couples into dangerous territory about judging one another’s sexual past, or feeling ashamed.  Focus on you two, right now, right here, instead.

Sophie Godley is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. She has been working in the field of sexual health and adolescent health for over fifteen years. Sophie believes being sexually healthy is part of being a healthy human.

Got a question for the Sexperts?
Submissions are confidential.
Email us at wellness@bu.edu

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There are THREE ways to enter the giveaway: (1) Share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter and tag/mention us (2) Leave a comment about this post below (3) Tweet at us or comment on our Facebook page about this post or the Ask the Sexpert series.

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