Before you ask your beloved how many women have had the pleasure of throwing him around the bedroom, writer Chris Danks would like to issue this warning...
Full disclosure: I have no idea what my 'number' is. I've never been good with maths. It's essentially why, like so many of my colleagues, I became a journalist.
If I'm unsure of my number, I most definitely don't want to know what my girlfriend's is. Of course, the number is quickly dismissed women are masters of lying by omission. But that's the least of my worries.
Regardless of the answer, it raises too many questions. What kind of encounters were they? Were they one-night stands who were forced out of the bedroom before 9am, the acceptable check-out time for a brief sojourn in the sack?
Or did they lie in bed all day in post-orgasmic bliss, discussing the various shapes they could make in her severely cracked and flaky ceiling?
From speaking to my mates, it seems the overriding fear isn't that girlfriends, past and present, have slept with more people than them. What's scarier is the thought that somewhere among the willing suitors was a friend of theirs. One of the boys who would forever now be (whether it's fair or not) the bloke who slept with their girlfriend, a constant reminder that this tantalising piece of territory has already been laid claim to.
Archaic? Probably, but an imagination running wild because of a number with no context cares not for such logic.
Just ask my former work colleague, Pierce. After leaving Ireland for our fair shores with his girlfriend, they both drunkenly confessed their numbers to each other one night. Her number was higher than he anticipated and, within weeks, his paranoia was reaching crisis point.
He started looking through her phone and accusing her of the subtext behind innocuous messages from mutual friends. It wasn't pretty. They broke up a month later; he just couldn't handle her history, even though she was as loyal a girlfriend as she could possibly be.
But not all of us are snooping through your phone every time you go to take a shower. My mate Mark has been with this girlfriend for a few months and his only qualm with her number is that she doesn't make him look stupid: "If she's slept with enough guys to fill a conga line around my dignity, I don't care. It's only a problem if she acts like she still wants to be carving notches into the bedpost."
It's not just what we'll think of you though. For my best mate Bryce, it's what you'll think of him. He never asks a girl what her number is, not because he can't handle the answer but because he hates being asked. Apparently explaining that a low libido keeps him from getting between the sheets as much as he'd like doesn't work so well with the ladies.
So I beg thee, wonderful women of the world, for the sake of us simple menfolk, let's adopt the US military's now-defunct "don't ask, don't tell" policy towards each other's past. We think we want to know, but we really don't.