It’s called the Dolphin Theory.
I invented it after someone once told me that when you see a pod of dolphins swimming on the surface of the ocean, there are three-to-four times that amount swimming below the surface, the ones you can't see.
And because almost every person I have ever known has lied about their sexual past at one time or another (i.e., their “number”), it made for the perfect analogy. Guy tells his new girlfriend he’s slept with seven people? Add 21 below the surface. She said she’s slept with 10? Could be pushing 40.
Then again, what difference does it make? As long as sexual health is discussed honestly, the number isn’t necessarily relevant — in fact, it's something most of us don't really want to know.
But according to recent study from Superdrug, my Dolphin Theory may be all wet.
A majority of their respondants (67.4% of women and 58.6% of men) claim to have never lied about their sexual past. Which means dolphins are meaningless or lots of people are lying … about lying.
We're prone to think the latter. The reason: the average number of sexual partners people report having in the survey is seven for men, six-point-four for women. (I can't help feeling a little sorry for the guy who rates a point-four.) But more important, even seven seems a bit low in the era of right-swipes, f**k-buddies, friends-with-benefits and whatnot.
And then there's the finding that just 14–15 partners makes someone "too promiscuous." C'mon. In your life?
There's certainly no shame in the less-than-seven sexual partner game. But unless a large portion of this 2,000-person survey consisted of individuals who are currently or have in recent history lived in a monastery, well to put it politely, there's something rotten in the state of Denmark.
But fine. If the words Tinder, Match or OkCupid have never breezed past your lips or fingertips, you get a pass. But we live in a time when it's positively acceptable to sleep with your age and not your shoe size.
Oh, and the "ideal number"? Seven-point-five for men. Seven-point-six for women. Got that, Flipper?