Heidi Muller of AskMen asks, "Would you honestly tell a woman that you had bedded over 20 women, or would you be ashamed?" Interestingly, she also advises that when queried by their girlfriends, men shouldn't "give a ballpark figure like 'somewhere between 15 and 30'; that's like women saying 'it's somewhere between two and 17.'" It's not completely clear from this what the male-to-female sex conversion factor is — how many partners for a dude is equal to one for a woman?
"Dozens and dozens"
Says Ed Housewright of Single Dad House, "For a man, having dozens and dozens of sex partners means he’s cool (at least to some people)." For a woman, he recommends around 5.
In a poll on The Frisky, a respondent named Lana said, "I would say the average for a guy is probably 40 to 50 women. That is just too many. Ideally, I would like a guy to sleep with 15 to 25."
Respondent Erin told The Frisky, “If a guy told me he slept with 200 women, I would be put off, but mostly because I would be worried about disease, not really about him being a womanizer.” If she was upset with 200, she might not be psyched about 199 either, but the number she threw out is all we have to go on right now. Also, she seems to suggest she might be fine with 200 as long as the guy was STD-free.
Blogger Jason Mulgrew writes, "a man should never, under any circumstances, admit to having slept with more than fifteen women." He adds, "Any more than that and you’re entering a world of pain — your girlfriend will make Torquemada look like the guy at the local 7-11 who’s been selling you cigarettes since you were 12." Of course, this is the number he thinks a man should admit to — that is, the number he thinks women find appropriate. He doesn't put a limit on how many partners guys should actually rack up, as long as they keep quiet about it.
That's how many male respondents in one study chose as the ideal number of sex partners for men, according to Men's Health. Female respondents apparently thought five was the ideal for women.
People who believe premarital sex is sinful usually apply that to both men and women. But it's also common to claim that sex before marriage — or sex with a variety of partners — is more harmful to women than to men. The Catholic News Agency paraphrases controversial sociologists Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker: "the more 'lifetime partners' a woman has, the more likely she is to be depressed and show signs of poor emotional health. Not so for men."
One of the most common answers to the number question is that for men, more is always better. In fact, just Googling phrases like "how many partners should men have" tends to turn up hits about women's numbers instead — counting up men's partners doesn't seem to occur to a lot of people. Or if it does, it's a measure of accomplishment — says a poster on one forum, "strange is like money, so more is better." Of course, there are practical limits on how many people a man can bed in his lifetime — Warren Beatty's alleged total of 12,775 is often cited as the pinnacle of what a man could hope to achieve.
That's the average of the above if you throw out "infinity" — and if you use 24 for "dozens and dozens" and 20 for "15-25." This average is even less scientific than our average for women. But it also matters less — even finding 9 data points was a difficult task. People aren't nearly as obsessed with men's "number" as they are with women's — when it comes to sex partners, guys are just supposed to take as many as they can get.