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Has having multiple sex partners before marriage affected your relationship with your spouse?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Dating, Marriage problems, Sex<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (15 February 2011) 11 Answers - (Newest, 31 May 2013)
A male Canada age 26-29, anonymous writes:

Hi, so we read here on Dear Cupid a lot about people having jealousy over the number of sex partners their husbands or wives have had. But this question is a little different. It is for those married people who in their single days had multiple sex partners. By multiple I do not mean 2, 3 or 4, but like 10 or more.

I am curious to know, honestly, if you feel it mattered in your marriage? Did having sex with so many people make you less sensitive to your spouse, or make you more cynical about sex or anything else?

And, if you were to live your youth over again, would you still do it?

I am curious because some say that having multiple sex partners badly affects your marriage later on, while others say it does not make a difference.

Thanks for your answers!!

View related questions: jealous

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A male reader, tristram.j United Kingdom +, writes (31 May 2013):

Well, I am 25 years old. Had between 25 and 30 partners. Not sure exactly and couldn't tell you if I sat down and counted.

I never thought that I would be with more than 5. But it adds up pretty quick. I fell in love with a woman, who was very emotionally abusive. She was my number 4. Withing a 2 year period I racked up over 20 girls. Most of whom I don't remember or know their names. It was a way for me to move on... So I thought. I feel it does inhibit chances with other potential partners. I am sort of ashamed about being with that many. I just thought I would never be in a serious relationship again, so screw it. I was quite imprudent. Until I met my girl now. She makes me a better person. It makes her insecure about how many people I have been with, but its difficult to explain. For me it was about the chase. Just to see if I could. I never enjoyed the sex. And I know that I am not missing out on anything. The sex you have between someone you really care about, is unequal to that of being with someone you have never met before. It is difficult to explain that without sounding like a whore, or a liar.

I would trade in all who I have been with for this one girl. They all mean nothing to me. It gets so old and boring after time. But when you are young you don't realize it.

However it does change you. I can't tell you how many of them had boyfriends or husbands. Most of them did. It seems to me that everyone cheats, and sex is just as precious as a telephone conversation, with a friend. That's how it's changed me. I prefer the old fashioned way of thinking I guess. I would rather not know what I do now... The plus is, I am not as superficial, and do not chase girls based on looks. The down side? I'm screwed for life...

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A reader, anonymous, writes (8 March 2013):

I found this site after having the conversation with my girlfriend (and wife to be) about her past, specifically the number of people she had slept with - a guy posted a question because he was having trouble dealing with the knowledge his girlfriend had racked up 32 previous partners.

I have always had a big hang up about the thought of my partner sleeping with anyone else, my first girlfriend and I took each other's virginity and were together about 7 years after that. When we split up I had to learn to come to terms with the fact that everyone has a past but it's always been hard - another girlfriend told me I was #13 and that shocked me at the time.

However, fast forward to now - I'm in my mid 30's as is my fiancée. We met last year and very quickly fell in love with each other, we both have kids from previous relationships, but strangely this didn't bother me at all, her children are part of her and I love living with them. We have always been totally honest with each other, she will tell me anything if I ask but doesn't just say things about her sexual past without being questioned. I knew from early on she had a fairly "interesting" past and was under no illusions about this, she used to say the number of people she had slept with was "a lot" but a lot to one person might not be many to someone else.

I decided I was ready to get a more specific answer about this, partly because I love knowing all about her and what brought her to the point in life where we met, and partly because maybe I have to have something wrong with everything (sounds crazy but it seems I have a morbid fascination with things that I know I won't like knowing about). First I asked "What's a lot, 2 figures, 3 figures, 4 figures?" while hoping that it would be 2 - my own tally is 16, half of which were during a horrible depressed stage in my life where I was sleeping with people to try and feel better. It didn't work. Anyhow she said "3 figures" and I felt that horrible tightening in my stomach that comes with news you didn't want to hear.

I left it at that for a few days, coming to terms with it in my own way and guessing it was 130 or something, still a lot but better that 4 figures right? She had explained that where she grew up it was just the done thing that you went on a date and slept with the guy, she was a bit of a wild teenager which I knew.

We had a really good talk one night until about 3am about our pasts and it didn't seem so bad, she explained about being a rebellious teenager and a period later in life after she lost her dad and got into drugs (nothing too serious) and again slept with people seeking happiness. I should explain that for three years before we met she did not really have any relationships as she never found happiness sleeping around.

The next morning I woke up and felt I was ready to know the actual number - she wasn't keen on telling me for fear of hurting my feelings but I insisted as it felt better to know than have some unspecified number in my head. When she told me I was utterly shocked, she couldn't tell me an exact figure and even her margin of error was at least three times the entire number of people I'd slept with.

I felt physically sick for days, couldn't sleep and even had thoughts about taking my life, I love this woman so much and what we have together is the best thing I've ever experienced, I just couldn't see how I was ever going to be intimate with her again knowing what I did. How could I ever hope to compare, it felt that anything we did she would have done before.

It took time, but eventually I realised that someone's past is just that, it cannot be changed no matter how much you might want it to. She is the most important thing in my life and being with her is more important than how her past made me feel. Perhaps more importantly, neither of us has ever felt so strongly about anyone else, and she is always telling me our sex life is much better than anything before, in her words she feels she's been cheated until now! I'm sure there are people reading this that think she's just trying to make me feel better but I can assure you she doesn't say anything unless she means it.

So, the moral of my story is this: The past doesn't matter, it's who you are and what you do now that is important. My partner and I are very much in love and will be getting married soon. Everything that we both did before we met made us who we are today, and prefect for each other. In short, if you can't handle it - don't ask! You can't change it anyway.

Oh and her number? "About 500"

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (21 February 2011):

It affects relationships/marriages only if one has an issue about it. I was no virgin when i met my life partner and quite simply, he never had any issue and vice versa. I like sex it's fun and physical and many facets...do I judge my self on physicality or spirit...I go for the latter of the two...this is what makes me a good or bad wife and determines my relationships... The amount of men I have physically joined with does not determine who or what I am ...other peoples judgment determines who they are.

Emotionally it affects neither of us and quite rightly it should not. I have no shame or guilt about any sexual encounter short or long that I have had and would not be led by anyone else to think it wrong. No regrets loosing my virginity early either...I veiwed it as a doorway to life and sexual/emotional experiences...I wanted this journey because I learnt from it.

Would I be a better partner/wife had I been a virgin I could ask myself....no...would I do it all again....yes ...with no regrets.

Hope all goes well

spunky monkey.

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A male reader, doublejack United States +, writes (18 February 2011):

I don't believe emotional compatibility is adversely effected by having many sexual partners. The caveat is that one night stands aren't going to have any benefit when it comes to one's emotional maturity. Those are physical encounters and nothing more.

However, someone who has had a series of real relationships should, at least in theory, have a better idea of the type of person they are compatible with. That means when they choose a partner for a long term relationship their experience arms them with the tools to make a better choice.

To relate this on a personal level, I had very few partners when I married at age 23. I made a poor choice on many levels. I have much more experience now, and not only has that made me a better lover but I also feel that if I settle down again I will make a far more sound choice. Experience matters, therefore, and it helps on both a physical and emotional level. I don't think there are any shortcuts when it comes to learning about sex and compatibility. Everything has to be earned the hard way.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 February 2011):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I mean, do you feel your experience has affected your emotional compatibility with you partners?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 February 2011):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

OK, but I hear you both talking about sexual compatibility. What about emotional compatibility?

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (15 February 2011):

I think there are downsides to it but most people aren't going to admit it.

I think that most of what changes with a bunch of sex partners is the closeness that is MISSING. Sex eventually gets reduced to something much more like an indoor sport. Of course you play a sport better when you've practiced it more. That makes it sound like there is no downside to all that practice. But sex can no longer be a source of the same bonding and shared secrets so to speak.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (15 February 2011):

I love sex, always have, and have only had three partners. My wife has no knowledge of her numbers but long ago lost count.

Would have had more if circumstances had been different when I was younger, but I'm more of a long term guy in any case, and I was looking at all three partners as "long term" when I had them.

I've met people who had many times more sexual partners than I have, who never got the enjoyment that I get from it, and who seem to have no been able to "get it" despite multiple partners.

Many people get older and think "I wish I had" when they were younger, because of the problems they have had and the lack of satisfaction in their relationships both physically as well as emotionally. However, more partners doesn't mean that the future partners will be treated better or have better emotional or physical connections. What they are missing is not something that they get from more partners in the sack.

You get emotional and physical satisfaction from being connected and secure in long term relationships.

So, this anonymous guy, me, who isn't making this up, woke up this morning, opened my eyes and looked a horny middle aged woman with gray hair in the face, then I gave my wife an orgasm, then she made sure I had one, then I took my middle aged ass downstairs and made her a great cup of hot coffee and she brought me flowers to my work about three hours later...

If I'd had 500 partners, it wouldn't have improved on this morning. Yeah, she wakes up horny at nearly 50 years of age...and that wasn't always true, even before she met me.

If I had it to do all over again, she'd be the only one. If she had it to do all over again, I'd be the only one.

But, life happened. Life is to be lived, when you meet someone don't discount the past, but don't count it either.

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A male reader, doublejack United States +, writes (15 February 2011):

I think it can improve a marriage. Someone who has a lot of experience with sex tends to know what they like and what they don't like, and also how to please their partner. Those circumstances should make the fun between the sheets all that much more enjoyable.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 February 2011):

I don't fit the description of a married person with many previous partners, but I wanted to add that I keep running into women who are now in their 40s and 50s, were married as virgins or with little sexual experience. They are now divorced and claim that they wish they had played the field before their marriages or at the very least slept with men other than their husbands.

Their reoccuring complaint was that they discovered they were sexually incompatible only after it was too late. They merely tolerated sex with their husbands during the marriage.

I think if the person has had many partners and has decided to commit to marriage for the right reasons, their eyes are wide open and it is an informed choice. I think in that sense previous multiple partners can be a benefit.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (15 February 2011):

Having had multiple partners before I married (90+) and my partner (20+) I can tell you that it only makes the sex better. We both have experience and have a few 'tricks up our sleeve' to spice things up.

In reality it depends completely on why type of person you are. If you are confident (as both my partner and I are) then there really is no issues and we can enjoy each other in more ways than we would have been able to if we'd never had any different partners.

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