Bothered by Partner’s Sexual Past

Question: My girlfriend and I have been together for several years and are ready to move in together. Everything is wonderful except I’m having trouble getting past her sexual history. I know I’m not her first lover and for a long time it didn’t matter. But then I started asking her details about her sexual life. At first it was arousing but now it’s making me anxious and upset that I’m not her only lover.

Part of the problem is that I lost my virginity to her. I’ve had a lot of relationships, so my girlfriend thinks I know a lot about sex and that’s the reason I perform so well with her. The truth is that I don’t have much sexual experience at all. I just read a lot of articles about sex, watch a lot of videos, and am always open to talk about techniques, different positions and other fun stuff. Before her, my knowledge was definitely more theory than practice.

Now I don’t know what to do. Should I talk to her about it? Should I confess that she’s my only lover? Or should I just let it go?

Answer: Sex is an incredible tricky topic. In a lot of places, the cultural expectations and beliefs surrounding sex frequently turn what should be an amazing pleasurable experience into an interaction filled with anxiety. Sex between loving partners should be about making each other feel good, expressing your deep feeling and forging a physical connection. It should not be about staking a claim or enjoying it only because you’ve been there first. Too many people lose sight of that and it sounds like you could be one of them.

I wonder if you’re familiar with the old adage: be careful what you wish for. In this instance, you wanted to know about your girlfriend’s sexual past and you got it. Now that you cannot put the genie back in the bottle, this knowledge is starting to bother you. This is not uncommon as a lot of people who think they want to know such private information end up regretting it but the damage is done. Since you cannot unlearn what you know, you’re going to have to live with it. The best way to do that is to figure out what it is that upsets you. My guess is that, like many people, you worry that you won’t measure up. Because you have little practical experience, you may fear that you don’t know what you’re doing. Let me ease your mind.

As your girlfriend probably could tell you, experience doesn’t guarantee expertise. Sometimes having a lot of experience simply means that the person has been doing all the wrong things for a very long time. In no area is this more the case than with sex. Sure, having a lot of information about sexual techniques and methods of pleasure are important (as you demonstrated through your studying) but human beings are individuals and we like different things. What feels good for one person may not feel good for another. Consequently, good sex is all about respect, communication, and exploration. A lot of people forget that and instead concentrate only on what feels good for them or solely on various techniques. That doesn’t make for a fun time.

Instead of worrying about things you cannot control, why not concentrate on what’s really going on? Based on your description, it sounds like your girlfriend enjoys having sex with you. She is most likely thrilled to have a partner who is knowledgeable and caring enough to find out what she likes. While talking with her about your prior lack of experience would probably be fine, it doesn’t sound like it’s necessary. If she wants to know, she’ll ask. In the meantime, the best thing you can do is leave the past where it belongs, concentrate on the present and enjoy what you’ve got.

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