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Sex Advice/Oral Sex/Have I had too many partners?

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Question
Hello,

I am a 19 year old girl, sophomore in college. I first had sex when I was 17, great experience, was definitely ready to do it, no regrets, and everything was great. That was senior year of high school.

Now I've been in college for two years, I've had sex with 16 people (all boys). I thoroughly enjoy it, and I can honestly say that not one of them has made me feel regretful. A few have been boyfriends, a few have been guy friends, and a considerable number of them have been one night stands. But I don't feel bad about them. The only unprotected times have been with boyfriends and one guy friend. I'm STD/STI-free. I am on birth control and make sure, even when I'm super drunk, that there are condoms involved. I don't dress slutty/advertise myself to anyone.

My problem is that society tells me that this is way too many people, and I should feel ashamed of myself. I feel no sense of shame, but I have been wondering why this is. On paper, I probably seem like a "slut" or some of those terms, but I honestly don't feel like one. I don't have sex to feel good about myself as a person. I am legitimately attracted to everyone I've slept with (intoxicated or sober). It's fun, they're attractive to me, it's safe sex... but society still tells me this is bad and wrong.

I just want to ask you... should I be feeling bad about it? I am scared to tell future boyfriends my number because of the stigma, but I also don't want to not have sex just because I'm afraid of the future. When I enter relationships, they're serious. I don't take those lightly, and I don't have a new boyfriend every month.

Should I feel guilty? Should I stop having sex? Or am I okay as long as I'm safe/not hurting anyone?

Sorry this is so long, I am just confused. I am not addicted to sex in any way and I feel that I am mature!

Answer
You say you don't regret anything you've done, so then, by definition, you ought not be feeling bad about it.  At some point you're going to enter into a serious relationship with a man who will want to know your sexual history.  You should straightforwardly tell him what you've told me (plus whatever you've added since then) and not make any apologies for it.

Even so, your number of partners in only two years is very high, and you mention a history of drunken sex.  At some point you're going to let down your guard, and that's when you will invite disease or unwanted pregnancy into your life.  Some STDs are incurable, and the rest are easier to prevent than to treat.

Most females your age are most interested in a long-term monogamous relationship.  Until you do, I think your number will continue to ratchet higher.

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Doug Adams, Ph.D.

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