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Being open about our past sex lives makes for a better marriage

When it comes to sex, there are no secrets in my marriage. My husband and I have been married 13 years and know pretty much all there is to know about one another — Deepest sex fantasies, strange proclivities, and all the details of every single past relationship. Nothing is off the table. Which is why a recent study showing that there is a “right” number of past sexual partners (14 for women, 15 for men) and that very often, men and women lie to one another about their “number.”

Say what?

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Now, it’s possible this only pertains to people who are dating and not long term married couples. But I do know quite a few couples who have been married a long time who opt not to share either their numbers or any details with their spouse. To each their own and all that, but I can’t imagine spending my life with someone I didn’t know everything about.

I want to know about my husband’s past. I want to know about what the girl he slept with in high school was like. I want to know what he learned from her, what she liked, what he liked with her and I want to tell him the same about my past romances. Is that weird? Maybe. But my marriage has always run on extreme honesty. If my husband asks me if he’s gained weight, he better be prepared to hear the truth. And vice versa.

For us, that honesty is what facilitates trust. I have had numerous flirtations since my husband and I were married and I tell him every detail. A few weeks ago I asked him why he’s never jealous and why it doesn’t bother him.

“Because I know you’d tell me,” he told me. “I completely trust you.”

And that’s just it. It may seem like a small lie to say you’ve slept with five people when the number is more like 20. But it’s still a lie. And lies grow and expand over time. If I think a guy is hot I tell my husband. If I flirt with someone, I share that. If someone flirts with me, I let my husband know. Our pasts are all on the table, too. He knows my ex-boyfriend’s favorite color. We may go too far in the other direction, but I’d rather err on the side of extreme disclosure than hold anything back that might lead to mistrust.

It’s not always easy. For a long time, I hated all of his exes. When I saw a photo of them, I would tear them up or take them out of photo albums. But that was long ago. At this point in our marriage and relationship, I value the truth above all else. It has cultivated an aura of trust.

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So tell your partner the truth. Tell them how many people you’ve been with. If he says it’s “too many” or slut shames you, then you know he’s not the kind of person you want anyway. And that’s invaluable information. There is no such thing as too much truth between lovers.

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