Why does the doctor ask about the number of sexual partners?

We don’t think anyone equates going to the gynecologist with having fun. Sitting naked in a paper gown with your feet in stirrups, waiting to get probed with metal tongs is about as invasive as things can get in a quick, routine visit.

Then, there are the questions that give many of us pause. One of the more dreaded ones? How many sexual partners you’ve had in your life.

In our modern day and age, many people don’t count anymore, so the question may come with some confusion and a glossed-over number as you guesstimate.

For the most part, it seems that a rough guesstimate is enough for the doctor to know how to proceed. The reason they ask the question is to know which tests to order as they try to figure out how your sexual history might influence your exposure to certain diseases.

If you’d like to keep things a bit more private, you can reveal the number of partners since you last got tested. Your gynecologist’s aim is simply to get on the same page and make sure your health is not compromised, so if you’re not ready to discuss your whole sexual history, be open and honest and ask how you can best help without going into too many details.