How many sexual partners have you had? It's an incredibly sensitive area, even though we should all just be open and celebrate the number of people we've had sex with. But safe sex is so important and Lloyds Pharmacy in the U.K. has highlighted this with a tool to show how many people you've indirectly hooked up with. It's called Sex Degrees Of Separation. That's right, they've taken the "Six Degrees Of Separation" Concept and sexed it up. And the numbers are a little shocking.
As Lloyds notes: "We've calculated how many people your partners are likely to have slept with before they slept with you. Then we calculated your partners' partners, and their partners' partners, and so on — for just six degrees. It's shocking how quickly the numbers grow."
Real talk: I tried it and I was in the millions. But it's not meant to scare you or make you question your sexual decisions, it's about reminding you of the importance of safe sex and regular testing. Because it's not just about trusting your partner, it's about safety.
The website reminds us that "even if you use condoms you are still exposed to several types of STI; including genital warts and herpes which can also be transferred through skin-to-skin contact, oral sex, and even sex toys. So the key message is to practice safe sex, but also to get regularly tested for STIs."
So it's important to be safe. If you and your partner choose to forgo condoms you are still putting yourself at risk, and should be tested regularly. Remember there aren't always symptoms of STIs, so the only way to be sure is to be tested and be sure.
But like I said, it's really not being freaked out at the number of people you've had sex with. In my opinion that doesn't really matter, here's why:
1. Because Even If You've Slept With One Person...
I put in the information for if I had only had one male sexual partner between 20-24 years old, and it said I was indirectly connected to 270,660 people. That's still mind-blowing. So how safe you are matters a lot more than how many people you have sex with.
2. Because It Doesn't Say Anything About How You Feel About Sex
Maybe you've only had sex with three people, but they've all been one night stands. Maybe you've had sex with 15 and they've all been in relationships. Or threesome. Or ten-somes. Who cares?!
Your number doesn't reflect your attitude toward sex, let alone who you are.
3. Because We're (Finally) Becoming More Sex-Positive
FINALLY. A great step forward with millennials, is that studies have shown we're way more open-minded about sex and premarital sex than older generations. I'm a firm believer that loads of people are having extra-relationship sex and yet for some reason we have trouble admitting that. As the stigma goes, maybe we can be honest (and even happy!) and all of this awesome sex we're all having.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our video on sex positions for small penises below: