He's Asking How Many Men I've Slept With
Ask Demetria: If your fiancé wants to know your "number," he's probably asking for something else.
The guys, all in their 30s, admitted that it had been years since they had asked or been asked about their number, and a couple even confessed that sometimes, hearing that their woman was "too experienced" could be an unnecessary blow to their ego.
The consensus of the group was to advise everyone to stop asking the question, and if you have the misfortune to be on the receiving end of the query, you should lie or dodge the question by getting to the heart of what the asker really wants to know by responding to the question with a question: "What is it that you're really trying to determine?"
Usually what the inquirer is trying to gauge is if you're more sexually experienced than he is, how well (or not) you're likely to perform in bed, the likelihood of your having a sexually transmitted infection or how likely he is to run into someone you've had sex with. If you're discussing marriage, I'd guess that your fiancé probably knows whether the two of you are sexually compatible. But he may be feeling insecure and wondering how he stacks up against other men.
If this is your situation, by answering the question you will only open Pandora's clichéd box. Continue to skip the answer, and give him some ego-stroking assurance by insisting, "You're the best, baby." Whether true or not, it's the only sensible answer to give a man you're planning to marry.
I'll assume if you're at the point of discussing marriage that you've been out together multiple times and he has a decent take on how prevalent your exes and former flings are in your shared social circle. And I'd hope by this point in your relationship that you two have been tested and have continued to get tested annually. If not, do not pass go; go directly to your nearest doctor's office or clinic to get your results together.
Occasionally you may encounter a man who just insists on knowing your number. Recognize it for the mauve flag that it is. He's likely not too enlightened when it comes to what matters in relationships, and once you tire of his badgering and answer the question honestly, he'll probably demonstrate that fact to you in other archaic and sexist ways. If it gets to that point, run -- don't walk -- to the nearest relationship exit. Your number isn't his only problem.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at email@example.com.