Today’s reader question comes from Benjamin, who can’t stand the fact that his girlfriend had lots of partners in the past.

Benjamin writes “my girlfriend had lots of partners:”

How do you get over the fact that your girlfriend actively went out to look for sex and nothing else before she met you? How do you become alright with that?

Transcript below

Zachary Stockill: To start with, I want to read a passage from a book by Dr. Chris Ryan and Dr. Cacilda Jethá, called Sex at Dawn.

Despite repeated assurances that women aren’t particularly sexual creatures, in cultures around the world men have gone to extraordinary lengths to control female libido: female genital mutilation, head to toe chadors, medieval witch burnings, chastity belts, suffocating corsets, muttered insults about insatiable whores, pathologizing, paternalistic medical diagnoses of nymphomania or hysteria, the debilitating scorn heaped on any female who chooses to be generous with their sexuality… all parts of a worldwide campaign to keep the supposedly low-key female libido under control. Why the electrified high-security-razor-wire-fence to contain a kitty-cat?

This passage from Sex at Dawn gets to the heart of your question, I think.

And I could spend an hour or two or three, explaining my response to this question. We’re getting into deep waters here.

But in a nutshell, at the risk of sounding condescending, I think any man who struggles with the fact that his girlfriend had lots of partners–and I sure as hell did once upon a time–I think the answer lies in gaining a greater understanding and appreciation for female sexuality, gaining a greater understanding of women, gaining a greater understanding of sex and relationship dynamics, and the actual biology of sex… not looking at female sexuality as something to be controlled or something to be owned.

I want to make it clear that I’m not, by any means, one of these people who say that there are no differences between men and women.

Anyone who’s listened to my podcast is well aware of the fact that I have a real interest in tantra and tantric yoga, and tantric sexuality.

And tantra, to a large extent, is about highlighting the differences between men and women, between the masculine and the feminine, playing with sexual polarity, all that good stuff, which is a lot of fun and really valuable in the context of longterm relationships or sex and dating in general. So, there are differences between men and women, absolutely.

However, there are many more similarities between male and female sexuality, than there are differences.

And one of the similarities is that women can have extremely high sex drives.

The female libido can be very, very, very high. You’ll meet some women with a way higher libido than a lot of men.

So consider this: there’s a part of the female body, which as far as scientists know, has the sole purpose of facilitating sexual pleasure. So, anyone watching this, or most of you people, probably know that I’m talking about the clitoris. Scientists still don’t know the real purpose of the clitoris, beyond facilitating female sexual pleasure. Guys don’t have that. And I think that should tell you something right there.

And let me tell you, when you meet a woman and she’s free of sexual judgment, and she’s free of sexual shame, and you don’t judge and you don’t try to control her, or suppress her sexuality and just encourage her to be wild and be free, I mean, it’s stunning.

It’s a really beautiful thing and it’ll take your breath away.

Female sexuality is incredibly powerful, and it’s really stunning.

So, I would encourage you, and I would encourage any man struggling with the fact that his girlfriend had lots of partners, to let go of the idea that female sexuality is something to be controlled, or stifled, or be suspicious of.

As highlighted in that passage from Sex at Dawn that I read, women are very sexual creatures.

And I understand the fact that it might cause you some distress to think of your girlfriend as someone who just wanted to go out and get laid, but try to be empathetic to a certain extent. I mean, how many of us guys can relate to the fact that sometimes we just want to go out and get laid? I’m sure we’ve all, most of us, have had moments in our lives like that and your girlfriend is probably no different. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that.

When you struggling with the fact that your girlfriend had lots of partners in her past, ultimately, it comes down to making a values judgment.

And if there’s behavior in her past, where she’s made choices that you believe are fundamentally not aligned with you and your goals, not aligned with you and who you are and what you want, and you know all these things, then fine, maybe you don’t belong together.

But otherwise, women are sexual creatures, the same as men. They have a right to explore their sexuality the same way that we do.

And let me tell you my friend, the more you embrace a real love and appreciation for women, the more you don’t judge them, the more you encourage them to explore their sexuality and be free of any kind of sexual shame or feelings of judgment, the better your sex life will be, I promise you.

And if you’re with a woman who’s of a similar mindset and she’s letting go of that judgment, letting go of that fear, she will absolutely blow you away [No pun intended.]

But this stuff is tough.

A lot of it is about undoing a lot of cultural conditioning that we, as men, are subject to the same way women are. And you know, there are some really easy, basic steps you can take in this regard.

I always tell guys, “Make female friends.” That’s really, really important. Be kind and supportive and encourage them to be honest with you, and you’ll gain a lot of insight there.

There are also certain books you can read.

But step one is about appreciating and reveling in female sexuality, not being afraid of it, not judging it, and trying to make peace with the fact that your girlfriend is a sexual being with her own needs and her own desires, and that’s totally okay.

The most important thing is how she treats you now, how into you she is now.

And frankly, if she’s gotten some of her experimentation “out of her system,” so to speak, that’s probably a good thing for you. You know, she probably knows herself better sexually. She’s probably got some of the answers to the questions that she needs for her life, for her future.

And that’ll probably give you and your relationship the best shot at a longterm future.

Click here to learn more about getting past your girlfriend’s past, and overcoming retroactive jealousy.


Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of RetroactiveJealousy.com, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.