I am trying to learn from that mistake and accept myself for who I am, and I’m ready to put this behind me. Maybe it was a good thing to get a little bit of promiscuity out of the way. I would never even think of doing it again because I believe I’m a good person. I do care about people, but, at that time, I was just foolish and horny. It’s not like I’m the first or last guy to do it (a lot of men just won’t admit doing it), but I know that’s not the point.
I learned through this that I am a relationship guy. Do you think that my sexual history has damaged my chances for a relationship? Down the road, should I tell my partner? I know I’m young and have virtually my whole life ahead of me to date other women. I try to be an honest person, but I think this might be a skeleton that will never come out of my closet. Thoughts? — Escorts in the Closet
My thoughts are that you are being too hard on yourself. So you slept with a few escorts. So what? As you said: you aren’t the first person to pay for sex and you won’t be the last person. And you know what? As long as you are disease-free and don’t have kids, your sexual history is no one’s business — not your friends, not your family, and not any future partner. You are allowed to have past experiences that are and remain entirely yours and they don’t need to be shared with anyone. You are allowed to have a past. You’re even allowed to be glad you had certain experiences, even if they aren’t experiences you’d ever want to repeat or recommend to anyone else. Those experiences made you who you are today, and, as you said: you’re a good person.
But here’s the thing: even good people pay for sex sometimes. You can care about people and still pay for the experience of having sex you may not be able to have otherwise. Trading cash for physical intimacy isn’t a symptom of being bad. You know what is? Treating people disrespectfully. Being unkind. Being a racist or a misogynist. Blaming others for your own low self-esteem. Being close-minded. Taking, taking, taking without ever giving back. Hurting people intentionally because you’re hurting yourself and you can’t stand anyone else being happy. And people who are all of these things — even people who are “bad”— are still just human like the rest of us, making mistakes and maybe even learning from them and growing from them.
We’re all on our own journeys, celebrating our own minor and major victories and battling our own demons or insecurities or general shit that gets us down. Most of us are doing the best we can, and some of us are even pretty good at hiding the ugly stuff, the hard stuff, the stuff that keeps us from being the best versions of ourselves we can be. But we all have that stuff. All of us. Every single one of us. So… stop being so hard on yourself. Stop beating yourself up for being human and having experiences in your past you aren’t 100% proud of. You are the sum of all of your experiences, not just isolated ones that represent a teeny tiny percentage of your entire history. You are the kindness you’ve shown others and the work you invested in reaching a goal and the moments you’ve fallen a little bit in love with someone you just met. You are the good days and the bad days and the weeks you’ve lost to being sick. You are the races you’ve won and the jobs you didn’t get and the exams you aced after too much or hardly any studying. You are all your first days of school and summer vacations and the dates you’ve had with someone you were trying to get to know. You are the sum of ALL your experiences, and you are under no obligation to share with potential partners any of the isolated experiences you feel uncomfortable with or ashamed of or that don’t effectively represent who you are now.
Don’t let a handful of experiences define your past or steer your future. Your life is so much bigger than that. And so are you.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.