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Maybe you can count all of your sexual partners on one hand, maybe you lost count years ago — or maybe, you fall somewhere in the middle. But no matter, that number can often inform how you feel about sex. It can be complicated or simple — or, again, something between the two, often because our relationships with ourselves and our partners change over time, and from partner to partner. Sex can make us feel powerful, but there are also times when it can take away our power. It can be a statement of commitment or a totally no-strings-attached adventure.
That wealth and range of experience and feeling is a tremendous thing. And, although in the past, women's sexual histories have been used to shame or silence them, things are beginning to change. In many places around the world, women are claiming the expression of their sexuality in big and small ways.
But, there's still an element of mystery around sex partners — many of us feel uncomfortable with the idea of sharing our "number" with others, both fearful and curious to learn how we compare.
In reality, there's no comparison. And there's no right or wrong. But, it's interesting to see what history and experience looks like outside of our own lives. To dig a little deeper — and since no two women have the same relationship with their sexuality — we asked 12 women in their twenties and thirties to tell us about their sexual pasts. Ahead, their stories in their own words.