The average number of sexual partners for men and women in the United States is 7.2, reports a recent Superdrug survey.

The U.K.-based health and beauty retailer asked more than 2,000 men and women in the United States and Europe to explain their thoughts and experiences on sexual histories.

While the average varies based on gender and location, the survey shows that — when it comes to what’s average — “normal” doesn’t actually exist.

Sexual history varies, and that’s totally normal. What’s important is that you’re safe and taking precautions to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

As it turns out, the average number of sexual partners varies drastically from state to state.

Louisiana residents reported an average of 15.7 sexual partners, while Utah clocked in at 2.6 — but the difference makes sense. Over 62 percent of Utah’s residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which promotes abstinence until marriage.

Given the variance within the United States, it comes as no surprise that the average differs throughout Europe. Respondents in the United Kingdom averaged seven partners, while Italy averaged 5.4.

Unfortunately, data on areas outside of the United States and Western Europe isn’t readily accessible, so it’s hard to extend the comparison further.

According to the survey, 41.3 percent of men and 32.6 percent of women admitted to lying about their sexual history. Overall, men were more likely to increase their number of sexual partners, whereas women were more likely to decrease it.

Still, 5.8 percent of women and 10.1 percent of men admitted to both increasing and decreasing the number, depending on the circumstance.

Honestly, it’s easy to understand why people might lie about their number.

Outdated social expectations might lead men to believe they need to increase their number to seem more “impressive.” On the flipside, women might feel they have to decrease their number so they aren’t seen as “promiscuous.”

Either way, it’s important to remember your sexual history is your own business. No one should ever feel pressured to adhere to society’s — or any specific individual’s — standards.

Eight percent of respondents said they were “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to end a relationship if their partner had too few sexual partners. But what is “too few”?

According to the survey, women said 1.9 partners was too conservative, while men said 2.3.

On the flipside, 30 percent of people said they were “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to end a relationship if their partner had too many sexual partners.

Women are generally more flexible than men when it comes to their partners’ sexual history, viewing 15.2 partners as “too promiscuous.” Men said they prefer partners with 14 or less.

Clearly, the “ideal” number varies from person to person. And although some may have a preferred number in mind, others may not want to know about their partner’s sexual history. That’s OK, too.

Remember

  • There’s no real average. It varies based on gender, location, and background.
  • Your number of past sexual partners doesn’t define your value.
  • Sharing your “number” is less important than being honest about your STI status and taking precautions to keep yourself — and your partner — safe.

American men and women tend to agree, citing a respective 7.6 and 7.5 partners is “ideal.”

But the survey found that what’s perceived as ideal varies based on location. Europeans were more likely to give a higher “ideal” number. The ideal number of past sexual partners in France, for example, is 10.

More than 30 percent of respondents think it’s appropriate to talk about your sexual history within the first month of your relationship, which makes sense. It’s important to share your sexual history — like whether or not you have any STIs — early on in your relationship.

Overall, 81 percent think it’s something you need to talk about within the first eight months.

While it might be scary to talk about your sexual history early on in a relationship, the sooner you talk about it, the better.

Discuss your sexual history — and get tested — before engaging in sexual activity with a new partner. This ensures you’re both able to take the appropriate steps to stay safe.

Everyone should get tested at the start of a new relationship, regardless of their sexual history. It only takes one unprotected sexual encounter to contract an STI or develop an unwanted pregnancy.

There isn’t any data to suggest that having a higher number of sexual partners increases your risk of STIs. At the end of the day, it comes down to safety.

The World Health Organization reports more than 1 million STIs are acquired every single day. Many don’t cause symptoms.

To practice safe sex, you should:

In reality, the value placed on your sexual history is entirely up to you. Everyone is different. What matters for one person might not matter for another.

Regardless of your number, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about your sexual history. Always be honest about whether you have any STIs and take precautions to keep yourself — and your partner(s) — safe.