But according to this survey, 67.4 percent of women and 58.6 percent of men always tell the truth about their past sexual experiences. Interestingly (though not surprisingly), 17.5 percent of men who lied inflated their number, while 18.6 percent of women who lied decreased their number.
This would suggest that, on some level, men and women still associate a higher number of sexual partners with promiscuity in women and sexual prowess in men. And while it's true that women are more permissive when it comes to a partner's number, the difference is small enough to be almost negligible. Men believe that 14 sexual partners is the threshold of sexual promiscuity, while women put the limit at 15.2.
But what about the other end of the spectrum? Is there a point at which a partner becomes too sexually conservative to be desirable? Turns out, there is. For men, 2.3 partners suggests an undesirable level of sexual conservatism; for women, that number is 1.9.
So, we know how many partners is considered too many, and how many is considered too few. But what's the magical Goldilocks number—the ideal number of partners? Turns out men and women are in almost perfect agreement on the ideal number of lifetime sexual partners: Women cited 7.5 as the ideal number, while men bumped that up to an even 7.6.
Curious how this stacks up to the average number of sexual partners people have in their lifetimes? Well, it's not far off the mark. Women average 7 sexual partners in their lifetimes, while men average 8.8 partners.