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Politics and religion are among the sensitive subjects we're often told to steer away from on the first date. Another taboo topic: the number of sexual partners someone has had. Though some people enjoy playing up their romantic prowess while decidedly more private daters prefer not to kiss and tell, it's natural to be curious about how many people your potential mate has slept with, especially if you're concerned about sexually transmitted diseases. On that note, Insider recently revealed the average number of sexual partners that women and men have over their lifetime is surprisingly lower than you think.
In a study conducted by SuperDrug, 2000 people in the U.S. and Europe shared their intimate experiences and sexual habits, including the most "desirable" number of sexual partners. The findings revealed "the average person who identifies as a woman has seven sexual partners in her life, while a person who identifies as a man has around six."
According to the research, women and men seem to agree on the "ideal number" of lifetime sexual partners, with women stating that 7.5 is their ideal number (which was 0.5 partners above their reported average) while men saying that 7.6 partners was their ideal (1.2 partners fewer than their actual average).
Other interesting factoids included the amount of time that people felt it was appropriate to disclose their sexual history (one to four months after first meeting a potential partner), which countries led the head count in sex partners (U.K. respondents reported an average of seven, while the Netherlands were a close second at 6.9) and which had the lowest numbers (Italy's average was 5.4 partners).
Here in the U.S., study participants in the state of Louisiana ranked the highest at 15.7 partners while participants in Utah admitted to an average of 2.6.
It's worth noting that the study itself explains that not all of the numbers may be accurate. For one, only 67% of women and nearly 59% of men admitted that they told the truth about their sexual history 100% of the time. In addition, the definition of "sexual partner" may be skewed as a result of the varying ideas of "sex" by people of different genders and sexual identities.
Are you surprised by the findings? Share your thoughts in the comments below.