By Colin Allen, published on April 1, 2003 - last reviewed on January 23, 2015
You partner has most likely had a more active sexual past than you
know. A new study finds that most people underestimate the number of
people their partner has slept with. Also, most are unlikely to know if
their partner had a one-night stand or sex for money or drugs.
Researchers talked to 300 couples at the State University in New
York at Buffalo. They found that women had 6.3 partners on average, while
the men they were dating believed that number to be closer to 5.3. Men
reported an average of 10.4 partners, while women they were dating
thought they had sex with only 8.5 people.
M. Lynne Cooper, Ph.D, from University of Missouri at Columbia
found other discouraging news about secrets and extramarital affairs.
Nearly a quarter of those surveyed admitted to having sex with someone
other than their partner in the last six months. Some 55 percent of these
partners knew nothing about the affairs.
Cooper is worried that couples in long-term relationships may
underestimate their risk of sexually transmitted diseases. The
researchers found that people judge their risk on what their partners
have revealed. Partners who trust their mates the most were also the most
at risk at underestimating sexual diseases.
The researchers reported their findings during the conference of
the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
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