2017 work published in The Journal of Sex Research investigates the extent to which a prospective partner’s sexual history is important to singles.
188 participants in Wales were asked to rate their willingness to enter into a relationship with individuals who had different numbers of sexual partners, ranging from 0 to 60+.
The study found that the number of previous partners had a very large impact on the attractiveness of of the individuals.
“Average willingness ratings initially rose as past partner number rose, but then fell dramatically”, the authors report.
People with zero past partners were voted less attractive than those with between one and six, while those with seven or eight past partners were rated about the same as those with zero.
Those with 15 or more past partners were rated as the least attractive on the scale.
For short-term relationships, men were more willing than women to date someone with a high number of past partners.
For longer relationships, however, there was virtually no sex difference in willingness to enter into a relationship.
This challenges the assumption that male promiscuity is tolerated while female promiscuity is not, the authors note.
It also found that individuals with high sociosexuality were more open to dating someone with a high number of past partners.
Such participants were also more reluctant to date anyone with a low number of past partners.
The study only concerned young, heterosexual adults, so there is a good chance that attitudes may vary from population to population.
Find the study here.