The " body count" subject can be a tricky one depending on who you ask. Some base their idea of what counts as sex solely through a heteronormative lens and some expand their definition beyond sexual activity centered by penile-vaginal sex. Others see it as a socially constructed notion to the point where they ask "Does it even matter?"

Recently I found a poll on Twitter asking what people think is the "normal" or "acceptable" body count for a woman.

Though I don't believe there's such a thing as a "normal" body count, I do think it was an interesting poll. So I created my own and altered the approach a bit. I surveyed 60 men on what they believe the average number of sexual partners a woman their age has as well as 60 women to see what they believe the average number of sexual partners a man their age has. The age group for both samples was between 18-29.

Most men in my survey guessed that the average number of sexual partners for women their age is between 11-15:


Tatyannah King

Whereas most women in my survey guessed in between the 16-20 range for sexual partners of men their age:

Tatyannah King

The numbers that were guessed weren't that important to me. However, the justifications for the answers are what I found even more intriguing. When the respondents explained why they estimated the number they concluded, there was a common answer for the guys whereas the girls had a myriad of follow-up clarifications.

Most guys followed up by saying even though they guessed a certain number, they believe it's probably higher because they have suspicions that girls lie about their sexual partners:

Male, 23

"I'll guess 10, but in reality you gotta multiply that by 3 because you know they like to refresh their body count each year."

Male, 25

"I don't have many friends who are girls, but the few that I do have don't count all of the dudes they've smashed if it was trash so I could be way off with the number I guessed."

Male, 28

"It's hard to say...but whatever answer I eventually come up with will be multiplied by 3 because women stay lying."

The women, however, included different scenarios as to how many sexual partners a guy had based on his looks, location, and social status rather than age:

Female, 21

"I'm guessing a lower number because I live in one of those small towns where people get married right after high school and don't branch out much. I imagine it'd be different if I lived in much bigger cities like Miami or LA where people have more access to potential partners."

Female, 22

"If he's an average looking dude with no extra-curricular activities, then he's probably only been with 5 women. If he's a hot frat guy then he's probably been with at least 20 women. If he's an athlete regardless of looks then his body count is most likely in the 50s."

Female, 26

"It's nearly impossible to guess. There are too many factors that go into it...like how tall he is, how famous he is, where he lives and if he actually has any game...which most of these guys DO NOT."

So what is the truth?

According to research, there is a little bit of truth in all of these reactions. However, it turns out men lie about their number more than women and in a different way. Results from a SuperDrug survey on perceptions of sexual history indicate that 41.3 percent of men and 32.6 percent of women admitted to lying about their sexual history.

While women were more likely to lie by decreasing the number of their sexual partners, men were more likely to lie by increasing it.

Also, the survey described multiple factors (gender, location, and background) that were taken into account when deciding what is the typical body count for someone. Although it's interesting to see what assumptions people have about what is considered "average,", no matter what angle you look at it from, it shows that a "normal" body count doesn't exactly exist.

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