Let’s start with some facts: the average male reports a total of 6 to 8 sexual partners in his lifetime. The average female, on the other hand, sleeps with about 4 partners in her lifetime.
But think about how many people your partners have slept with. And their partners’ partners. And so on and so forth. When you start doing the math, the average adult has slept with way more than four, six or eight partners.
But this isn’t simple math. It’s pretty complicated, so fortunately some British researchers figured it out for us. Based on British statistics, which are pretty similar to numbers from the US—6.3 total partners for women, 7.65 partners for men—researchers developed a calculator to determine your total number of lovers.
This calculator, called “the six degrees of separation,” pays homage to a famous theory that suggests that no person is more than six steps (or degrees) away from another. Basically, the calculator takes into account your total number of partners and the average number of partners five generations removed from yourself, and then does some tricky work with exponents to produce your true number.
So how many people has the average person slept with? A whopping 2.8 million!!
That’s a lot. But let’s take a major variable into account: protection. Using condoms can, more or less, shield you from your partner’s previous relationships and any unwanted baggage they are still carrying around, e.g. sexually transmitted diseases.
When sleeping with one person (without protection), you are essentially exposed to anyone and everyone they have slept with—all 2.8 million and that can be a little unsettling. Fortunately, a simple STD test and HIV test can put your worries to rest. STD testing can let you know whether you or your partner has picked up an unwanted STD of the course of your sexual journeys.
When you look how many people you have really slept with, STD testing is pretty good idea, not just for you, but your partner and other their future partners. If positive, STD testing stops the spread of these infections and allows for treatment to take place.