From a LW:
I have been married to my husband for a little over a year but only have been living together for 2 months since he was living in a different country while I lived in the USA. We have a beautiful daughter together and a son from my past relationship.
I have recently just found out that while my husband lived in Australia he would frequently visit brothels. I asked him about it but he refuses to talk about it and tells me he wants to keep that part in his past. I didn’t know him while he was living in Australia. It really bothers me that he won’t talk about it. Should I be worried as to why he won’t talk about it or should I move on?
This has been putting a big strain on our relationship and I don’t know what to do or who to talk to.MMRSeptember 28, 2017 at 8:28 am #719121
Ew… that’s a pretty unsavoury thing to find out about your husband. First port of call: Get yourself and him tested for STIs.
While I agree with the general rule that you shouldn’t judge your partner on their previous sexual history, this is less about sex and more about respect for women. There’s a “women’s bodies are commodities” aspect here that needs to be addressed. I don’t know a lot about Australia’s brothels in particular, but there’s a terrifying likelihood that sex trafficking plays a part.
If he’s half decent, there’s a good chance that he’s embarrassed about this part of his past, but that’s not a good enough excuse to refuse to talk about this. If he were single now, would he still go to brothels? Is he aware of the horrors of sex trafficking? This conversation is doubly important because there are kids involved now.
Are brothels legal in Australia? I have no idea (and really don’t feel like googling it) but that would probably make for a lower likelihood of trafficking being involved. I can understand why that revelation would give you pause, especially since he won’t talk about it. It would be really useful to know how you found out. Overall, if he’s otherwise a good man I don’t know that there’s a huge difference between visiting brothels and having a lot of casual sex. If you were obsessing about the latter I would tell you to let it go and it’s not your business. I’m curious what the rest of the folks here will say.
There’s a massive difference between visiting brothels and having casual sex, because brothels (and prostitution in general) have a huge sex trafficking problem. Especially if the women he was sleeping with there were not Australian. If they were from a poorer country, then the likelihood that they were sex slaves goes way up. If you meet a rando at a bar and go home with them, they’re probably not a sex slave. Huge difference.
I agree, there are a lot of willing participants. Do the “johns” know which ones are willing and which are not? Of course they don’t. Which means that every person who hires a prostitute is risking that they’ll be raping a sex slave. And they’re ok with that.
I have nothing against prostitution conceptually. I’d love to see it legalized and have regulations around it to protect the sex workers. But that doesn’t exist right now, and there is a huge amount of trafficking. You can’t separate it from the conversation until it actually gets removed from sex work. It’s part and parcel of it, right now.Northern StarSeptember 28, 2017 at 9:38 am #719140
Does it really matter whether the prostitute was a sex slave or a junkie or just someone who never learned a job skill, so fucking is her meal ticket? If you’re a “john,” you’re basically a loser.
I want to know how this LW found out her husband was a loser. Sounds like he didn’t tell her… wonder if the brothel sends out frequent customer punch cards?FyodorSeptember 28, 2017 at 9:53 am #719142
“Does it really matter whether the prostitute was a sex slave or a junkie or just someone who never learned a job skill, so fucking is her meal ticket? If you’re a “john,” you’re basically a loser.”
Yeah, I think it matters quite a bit. It’s one thing to be a “loser” and another thing to be intentionally or recklessly complicit in rape.
Prostitution as I understand it, is legal in varying forms in most of Australia but heavily regulated. I know that one of the ostensible goals of these legal-but-regulated regimes in many countries is to avoid coercive arrangements but I don’t know how it works in practice.
All right, look, all that aside, the legalities, the possible trafficking, etc., the actual problem here is that you’re really disturbed and maybe disgusted by this, you feel like information was kept from you that makes you feel differently about your husband now that you know, and you’re not sure you can trust him going forward, to tell you the truth, to not use prostitutes, etc. Right? You’re probably not going to be able to work all of that out on your own. I would see if your health insurance lets you see a therapist / counselor who deals in relationship / sex / trust issues. Go talk to that person on your own first and let your husband know you’re doing so because you’re really upset about what you found out and you need to deal with it. You’re probably also going to need to get a referral to a couples counselor, because your husband MUST talk with you about this. He has to discuss it so you guys can work through it. If he refuses… I wouldn’t stay.
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This is a horrible analogy and I fully acknowledge that up front but I look at ‘Johns’ the same way I look at people who buy dogs instead of rescue. There are reputable breeders who care for their animals and know what they’re doing when it comes to animal care and lineage. Purchasing a dog from one of these I would liken to a guy visiting an independent sex worker who is fully empowered, safe, etc. There are back yard breeders and folks who don’t spay/neuter; they’re not great but they care for their animals. I would liken that to visiting a legal brothel-idiotic and overall lame but not really hurting anyone. Then there are your puppy mills and I would liken these to your trafficked sex salves. People who go to them (or buy a dog from them) are too fucking stupid and selfish to be cognizant of the needs of others and ignore the obvious telltale signs of evil.