In today’s video, I discuss the touchy topic of a ‘wife’s number of sexual partners,’ and a new way to think about it.

Read or watch below to learn more about this sensitive topic – a wife’s number of sexual partners…

Zachary Stockill: I get a lot of emails and comments from men on my YouTube channel and on this website asking me how to deal with the discrepancy between their sexual history and their wife’s sexual history.

In other words, a lot of husbands have not been with a lot of women in the past, while their wives have been with significantly more partners.

In today’s video, I’m going to address a specific comment relating to how to deal with this discrepancy between your sexual history and your wife’s.

My name is Zachary Stockill, and since 2013, I’ve been helping men and women from all over the world overcome retroactive jealousy and save their relationships.

This is a question that I received on my YouTube channel a little while ago:

“I was sexually inexperienced when I met my wife, and my wife is not sexually inexperienced. My wife had an unacceptable number of partners from my perspective. How do I get over this? My perspective is twisted because I was very inexperienced when I met her.”

My first point is the most important thing I can tell you in this video. It’s something I tell men and women all the time. And the message is that…

You are not a victim of your partner’s past sex life.

There are a lot of people on the internet who want to make you feel justified in feeling like a victim, who want to encourage a victim mentality, and who want to encourage you to think of yourself as a victim because they get more views and they build more allegiance with their audience that way.

I don’t know how that works. And I don’t care.

If you’ve watched my channel for any length of time, you know I’m focused on action, I’m focused on solutions, and I’m focused on resisting the victim mentality as much as I can.

So if there is one iota of your subconscious or your being that is thinking like a victim, you need to eliminate it. Your partner’s past is not your partner’s “fault.” It is what it is.’

You shouldn’t be blaming them for the way that you feel about their past. Your partner’s past is simply their past.

They have a right to that. They have a right to their mistakes, their triumphs, and everything in between, just as you have a right to your past and the decisions that you’ve made.

So you are not a victim of your partner’s past sexual life.

That said, of course, I get it. I understand being a man and feeling relatively sexually inexperienced compared to your wife. I can imagine how that would feel because I’m a man and I can put myself in that place.

This is not an issue that I have experienced in my personal life, but I’ve worked with hundreds of one-on-one clients who are married to women who had more partners than they have.

A major myth about retroactive jealousy is the idea that…

“Retroactive jealousy always comes up when your wife’s number of sexual partners is higher than yours.” Not true.

Not by a long shot.

wife's number of sexual partners:

Some retroactive jealousy sufferers write to me, and they have 10 times the number of past partners in their partner. They’re still struggling with the painful, unwanted, intrusive thoughts, the mental movies, and the curiosity.

They’re still dealing with the exact same symptoms that you are probably dealing with.

So I mentioned that to help you realize that, imagine if, by some miraculous circumstance, you had the exact same number of past partners as your partner.

There’s still a very good chance you’d be struggling with retroactive jealousy. You may still be struggling with the intrusive thoughts, the judgments, and all the rest.

The “numbers” in terms of your sexual experience compared to your partner may not matter as much as you probably imagine they matter.

I’m also reminded of one of my favorite quotes:

You can have almost everything you want in life, but you probably can’t have everything you want in life.

In other words, don’t go looking for perfection in a relationship, in a partner, in a situation, in a city you live in, or in a job. There’s always going to be something about something you love that isn’t your favorite thing in the world.

And your wife, for example, may be incredible in all kinds of ways. She may be a doting mother a wonderful lover and a supportive partner.

And still, you may not love her past. Everyone’s going to have something that you don’t love about them. Don’t go looking for perfection. It’s a pathway to misery.

I also think if you’re feeling this way, it’s very important to realize that you are a free man. You have options. You have choices. And I mention that because a lot of men in your situation think of themselves as having no options.

They think they’re forever stuck with their wife, feeling there’s no escape, and are resigned to the thought of their partner being more experienced.

It’s very important in moments like this in life to realize you have options.

You’re not powerless. You’re not a victim. And your options, as far as I can tell, are one of two things.

wife's number of sexual partners:

So option one is to change the situation. Option two is to change the story you’re telling yourself.

I’ll get back to the “story” in a moment…

But first, option one: the situation. So you have the option to walk away from your wife. Of course, as a free individual, that’s your right. However, since you’re writing to me, I’m guessing you don’t want that option. You likely don’t want to destroy a great marriage over this one issue.

But by the way, as a brief aside, I don’t judge people who feel like they fundamentally need more sexual experience, as their wife’s number of sexual partners is higher than theirs. My fundamental value in this regard is honesty.

If you need more experience or if you want to go off and change your life, everyone has that right. My only concern is that you’re honest with people and that you’re willing to accept the consequences.

Sometimes men in your position write to me asking for my permission, such as, “Is it okay if I cheat? Should I cheat on my wife? Maybe that’ll solve my problem.”

That’s not going to solve the problem. It’s going to create more problems. And I don’t advocate lying or cheating in any regard.

But it’s important for you to realize you have that option. I’m guessing you don’t want to leave your wife. And thus, you have no other choice but to go to option two, which is to change the story that you’re telling yourself about this situation.

To change this story, first, you have to identify the story you’re telling yourself about the situation.

And by the way, when I use the word “story”, I’m not being patronizing, sarcastic, or anything of that sort. We all tell ourselves stories all the time about everything, our perspectives, and our vision of life.

That’s how we make sense of the world. That’s how we get through life. And you’re probably telling yourself a very specific story or a certain narrative about this issue.

You might think you’re a victim or view your wife as X, Y, and Z. You might believe you’ll never get over this. Or, you could be regretting things you didn’t do when you were single.

Whatever story you’re telling yourself, the first step is to identify it exactly.

What am I telling myself about this situation regarding my wife’s number of sexual partners?

The next question is, how can I start to change it?

The way to change it is simply to introduce additional information into the mix. So, for example, you can start telling yourself about all the reasons you value your wife.

And you can start telling yourself, “Maybe my wife needed those experiences to realize how wonderful I am”.

You can start believing that what I, Zach, say is true: people can work through this difficult problem. You can start telling yourself that you’re the type of man who owns problems rather than letting his life be defined by problems.

You’re a man who owns solutions, who goes looking for solutions, who takes action, and who works to change his perspectives when necessary.

These are just a few examples, but I hope this has got you thinking about ways you can start to change the story you’re telling yourself. Because that’s really the main thing you should be focusing on right now if you really want to solve this problem.

How can you start telling yourself a better story? And as always, as in all things, whenever you’re feeling nervous, angry, stressed out, or whatever, bring the focus back to what is within your sphere of influence, and as much as possible, try to disregard everything else.

So, what is within your sphere of influence in this particular situation?

What’s within your sphere of influence is number one—the story that you can tell yourself, as we just covered. The narrative that you’re going to choose to buy into regarding this problem, regarding this issue moving forward.

You have control over the story that you decide to tell yourself. You have control over the meaning that you make out of anything that happens in your life.

Secondly, you can start addressing your insecurities. If you have insecurities relating to your sexual experience or anything else, the point is that you need to focus on what you can actually control and what you can actually change.

You need to realize that focusing on the alternative, wasting all kinds of energy worrying about past events that you can’t change, or worrying about a future that may never come, is a complete waste of time.

The most miserable people in the world are the ones who spend most of their time focusing on what they can’t change.

So I hope this helps you work this issue out. And remember that you are not alone.

I often hear from men in your position, including those I’ve coached privately, who share this concern about their wives having more past partners than they do.

If you want someone to talk through this issue, if you want to know how to move through this issue and start getting clarity and perspective on what matters, I hope you’ll consider signing up for one-on-one coaching. [Subject to availability]

Or If you are currently struggling with retroactive jealousy, you can click here to sign up for a free four-part mini-course that will help you get started.

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, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.