When it comes to our partners’ sexual history, new research suggests we’re pretty picky.
In a study on the dating habits of British singles, researchers at Nottingham, Bristol and Swansea universities found that those looking for love want a partner with some sexual experience, but not "too much."
The study, which was published in the Journal of Sex Research, found that while both men and women are reluctant to get involved with someone who has never had sex before, they also don’t want a relationship with someone who’s had heaps of partners.
After polling 188 people – 104 of which were women – the researchers discovered that men are less picky about a woman’s sexual conquests if they’re only after a one-night stand.
While women by-and-large said they weren't keen on hooking up with men who had had more than six sexual partners, men reported being cautious of women who had had sex with more than 11 other people.
“A prospective mate with an overly extensive sexual history is statistically a poor bet as a faithful, committed long-term mate,” the study read.
For both men and women seeking serious relationships, it seems a new partner’s ideal ‘number’ is two. If it’s just a fling they’re looking for, on the other hand, both sexes would prefer a bed-mate who’s had no more than three past partners.
“Both sexes expressed equal reluctance to get involved with someone with an overly extensive sexual history,” said psychologist Steve Stewart-Williams.
The only significant difference between the sexes, according to the researchers, was that men were more willing to get involved with someone who had little-to-no sexual experience.
“In the long- term context, the highest willingness ratings for both men and women were for two past partners, in the short-term context, it was three.”
Ironically (but not exactly surprisingly), the study participants, who were in their mid-thirties, didn’t meet their own sexual standards. The average number of past partners for female participants was 5.81, and 8.4 for men.
h/t The Independent.