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Let Us Sex-plain: How many partners is too many?

Your personal wingwoman, Jillian Anthony, answers all your questions about dating and doing it in New York

By Jillian Anthony

I get it—being single in the city can be tough, and the ways New Yorkers are having sex these days can be surprising. But whatever your dating conundrum might be, I'm here to help. Consider me (Jillian Anthony, Time Out New York's Editor) your personal wingwoman, guiding you through dating and doing it in New York in our weekly "Let Us Sex-plain" column. Check out my answers to all your questions online and in the magazine every Wednesday, and submit your own coitus queries below!

A year ago I broke up with my boyfriend of four years. Before him I didn’t have many sexual partners, but after moving to NYC the number has grown exponentially. Is there an average number? Do people get put off dating someone who has slept with a lot of people?

Emma, Brooklyn

A 2015 study published in Archives of Sexual History—which surveyed 33,000 U.S. adults from 1972 to 2012—found that members of the baby boomer generation slept with an average of 11 people in their lives; Generation X got down with an average of 10; and millennials were on track to bed a total of 8 people. Now that you know this info—who cares?!? Liberate yourself from randomly appointed “correct” numbers of sexual partners, and live your damn life. No one has a right to your sexual history, and if you graciously choose to share it with people and they judge you, leave them far behind. Ain’t nobody got time for outdated, slut-shaming social constructs.

I’ve been with my girlfriend for two years (most of that long-distance). She’s almost “perfect” in every sense, except that we have the worst (and most infrequent) sex I’ve ever had compared with my previous relationships. We’re moving toward marriage, but sex is very important to me. Any advice?

Sean, UWS

A healthy sex life is a vital part of any relationship, so if you want to be with this woman, it’s time to put in some serious work. Sometimes great chemistry in bed just happens; at other times, it’s something you need to actively talk about and practice, which scares a lot of people. Start with an open conversation about what you’re happy and unhappy with when it comes to sex (be extra kind during this discussion). Be vocal about what you want in bed; your partner is not clairvoyant and needs your direction. And scheduling sex, while not inherently sexy, can help get things moving. Finally, consider seeing a sex therapist together. I believe in you guys!

I never stopped loving my ex. We recently reconnected to see Fifty Shades Darker, and I told her I wanted to get back together, but she said she’s seeing someone. The other day she told me they broke up and that I should be happy because he is now out of the way, but since then she has seemed heartbroken. Should I continue my pursuit or should I just go back to being friends?

Michelle, Harlem

Interesting choice of ex outing! End your pursuit and stop talking to her for awhile. She’s in no position to be a positive partner for you right now, and you should give yourself enough space to move on and start thinking about yourself again. You can always come back to this person once you’re both in a calmer space, but keep in mind why you broke up in the first place.

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let us sex-plain
Photograph: Shutterstock

Let us sex-plain

Sex and dating

Your personal wingwoman, Jillian Anthony, answers all your questions about dating and doing it in New York


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