The ideal number of sexual partners is the same for both men and women.

There’s one question that’s pretty much guaranteed to come up in any fledgling relationship:

“How many people have you slept with?”


Of course, the right answer is either “None of your damn business” or, you know, the actual truth. But it turns out there is a specific number people want to hear.


Yep. According to a study conducted in the UK, both men and women identified three as the ideal number of notches in their partner’s belt. Any higher than that, their interest in pursuing a relationship with that person begins to fall.

The results, obtained by researchers at Swansea, Bristol and Nottingham universities and published in The Journal of Sex Research, seem to undermine the idea that sexual promiscuity is more acceptable among men.

“Contrary to the common notion that male promiscuity is tolerated whereas female promiscuity is not,” the authors wrote, “both sexes expressed an unwillingness to get involved with someone with a high number of past sexual partners.”

We should point out that of the 188 people surveyed, all were heterosexual and ranged in age between 18 and 35 years, the average age being 21.

So keep that in mind if you’re thinking three partners seems a tad, erm, low.

Also, while the participants picked three as the ideal number of past partners, their actual ones were higher: for men, on average it was 8.4 and for women, 5.81.

We’ll have to take their word on that one.