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BF told me he had sex with a prostitute

(44 Posts)
snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 18:33:40

He told me last night. I am shocked and appalled.

It was a long time ago (more than 20 years ago), he was very young, on a lads holiday to Amsterdam.

He asked me if I thought bad of him (three times) and each time I replied, "Yes I do think less of you to be honest"

I hate the sex industry I tried explaining to him about coercion, exploitation, abuse, women as commodities etc. He was comfortable with his simplistic view of empowered women choosing to freely sell sex as a way to make good money on the free market. I know that I challenged these views, which he has held on to, unchallenged for a very long time. I'm not sure what he really thinks/believes and I am struggling with the whole thing today.

I am finding it hard to forgive and forget but don't feel that I am in the right place emotionally to make any clear decision about this relationship at the moment (separate, external factors, signed off work etc)

Any perspectives on this?

Mrkidd have a biscuit

howdoo Sat 01-Dec-12 01:21:54

Completely agree with Ophelia upthread - I wouldn't be happy but, really, 20 years later? You do seem to be looking for something to get on your soapbox about.

fridgepants Sat 01-Dec-12 00:28:07

"If a woman is prepared to sell her body for clothes/drugs/champagne lifestyle, then she deserves to be treated as an object. It's her own choice to sell herself - no circumstance on earth would lead her to it unless she was actually prepared to do it."

Even if the woman hasn't been trafficked, I doubt very much the average hooker decided to go into it because they'd get designer clothing. Some women feel that they don't or never will have the skills to do anything else. Some women have hard drug addictions that have long passed the point of being a 'choice'.

"You don't exactly have men approaching normal women and offering them money for sex because they deserve more respect than prostitutes."

No, but I've seen plenty of men treat 'normal' women with a great deal of disrespect. I also know 'normal' women - as in, women who have indeed chosen to work in the sex industry - whom clients would not dare to treat as an object.

Please pick your privilege up off the floor, my dear, you're making a mess.

marvelousM Thu 29-Nov-12 16:11:41

Well you have the right to feel appaulled by it, we're all different, I thought when I read your title of the thread you meant while your still together, but 20 years ago, well we all have a past? My ex husband told me about a trip to amsterdam once and yes he had sex with a positute, but he was the most gentle respectful man you could get, obviously not perfect or we'd still be married lol but I'm just saying he respected women, wasn't a cheater or a sex pest, but it was something he did once on a lads holiday. I wouldn't be too hard on him tbh unless there is something else that worries you x

fromparistoberlin Thu 29-Nov-12 16:01:20

I think you need to consider the fact that it was 20 years ago

both my brother and my DP did this when they were alot younger. like tawse said

I dont like it, but I did some pretty shitty stuff when I was 20 too

If it was last month, then thats a different kettle of fish

20 years ago I used to shoplift, for example

expatinscotland Thu 29-Nov-12 16:00:32

'It's her own choice to sell herself - no circumstance on earth would lead her to it unless she was actually prepared to do it.'

Sadly, that is patently untrue in many cases. Many women are trafficked and forced into prostitution.

mrkidd85 Thu 29-Nov-12 15:57:56

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 29-Nov-12 15:21:58

How did this bombshell get dropped? Was it one of those 'you'll never believe what I did when I was a teenager...' type nostalgia trips? Were you talking about prostitution? Or was it completely out of the blue?

Most of us have got some big fat skeletons in the closet that we are totally ashamed of. It's always a risk sharing them with a loved one and often the smart thing to do is to keep your trap shut. So I'd be trying to set this in context, working out why he chose to tell me, judging whether he seemed genuinely embarrassed or remorseful and taking it from there.

Charbon Thu 29-Nov-12 14:38:49

Good post lucky.

I can remember 1992 very well and in fact it was more frowned upon then for men to pay for sex. It hadn't yet been normalised as much as it is now and in those days, the internet and the easy access to paid sex, was in its infancy.

luckybarsteward Thu 29-Nov-12 14:31:50

Sorry, but I'm an 'ordinary man' and even though I have been to Amsterdam many times (from the age of 16 in fact - and that was alot more than 20 years ago ) not once have I thought it would be okay to use a prostitute, simply the term use is a big enough clue as to the dynamics of the situation. Neither, to my knowledge have any of my friends over the years (outside of the armed forces) admitted to using prostitutes.

Having said that, I also wouldn't want to be held to account for poor the decisions that I made when I was 16 either, ask him when he realised that perhaps it wasn't such a neutral act - he must have known there was something not right with it when he told you or else why ask if you thought less of him for it? It didn't take me 20 years to see my mistakes as bad decisions. And twenty years ago from now wasn't the dark ages, the female eunach had been published for 30 years, sexual politics was discussed and debated across all media - film, music, art, TV and attitudes were probably more progressive than they are today.

Just ask him how he feels about it and if his attitudes have changed put it behind you.

dequoisagitil Thu 29-Nov-12 11:59:00

I think the advice to love him all the more for his honesty is a bit half-baked, tbh. Honesty should be a given, not a cause for brownie points.

What matters is his current attitude to women, however.

GrumpyCynicalBastard Thu 29-Nov-12 11:34:44

Show me any one of us who is the same person now as they were a quarter of a century ago and I'll maybe start to try to understand why you think this is 'your' issue. Your reaction and 2 threads on the matter lead me to think that Ophelia and tawse and absolutely bang on the money here.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 29-Nov-12 11:31:39

He was comfortable with his simplistic view of empowered women choosing to freely sell sex as a way to make good money on the free market.

If this is his attitude, then you have a problem.

It doesn't take an educated person to not view human beings as commodities. It takes a decent one.

oohlaalaa Thu 29-Nov-12 11:29:10

Personally, at 20 years ago, I'd be able to look past it.

janelikesjam Thu 29-Nov-12 11:26:14

His opinions about women in the sex trade earning good money and doing OK for themselves could be a valid one. OTOH it could mean that he really treats women as sex objects and doesn't think much of them (which will include you).

What are his other views about women, what is his history with women (mother, ex-wife, girlfriends). I think you should also listen to your uncomfortable feelings/instincts on this. Do some of his other views or actions give you cause for concern? Is there something about him you don't particularly like?

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 29-Nov-12 07:13:12

Yes, what Somerset said

And I'd hate to think that something (not illegal) I did 20 years ago would be held against me now

SomersetONeil Thu 29-Nov-12 07:05:05

Yes, we're all well aware that many ordinary men use prostitutes, either frequently, occasionally or as a one-off. Most Mumsnetters don't live under rocks.

However, on the flip side, you've have to be utterly disingenuous not to realise that it's a Big Deal. Of course it is. Otherwise, why aren't there knocking shops next to every Gap store, and why don't people - well, men - freely talk about their prostitute use in front of friends and family?

Why did he need to 'fess up' to something done as a one-off twenty years ago? Why did the two of you even have to have this conversation? Why are you completely shaken by it, to the extent of starting a thread on MN about it?

He knows this is A Thing - something that he feels the need to be 'open' and 'honest' about; to exhume the skeletons in his closet for the sake of your relationship. He knows this full well.

So then to play the 'oh, is the sex industry not that nice...?' wide-eyed innocent card is pretty unbelievable, really.

The crux of the issue is, however, that it was 20 years ago. Aeons before you met. Not last week, when the two of you were together and committed. on this basis, and on the basis of his genuine feelings toward the sex industry now - can you get passed it?

Charbon Thu 29-Nov-12 00:26:38

Mumsnetters would not be at all shocked to realise just how many 'ordinary men' pay for sex. There are constant threads from women partnered with men who do so and this reflects how men's use of prostituted women has become more normalised since sex tourism to Amsterdam and other cities became an acceptable staple of men's stag and lads weekends.

Being realistic about how prevalent this is, doesn't make it acceptable.

OP I think so much depends on what he thinks about paying for sex now that you've made your views clear and he's thought/read about it. I guess I'm surprised that you think his moral compass about this would have shaped so much by the internet that he doesn't access, rather than other influences such as family/friends/previous partners and the mainstream media.

I think I'd feel differently about this if it was a youthful mistake that he regretted on maturity, but as of last night he was still defending it 20 years later. This would make me concerned that those views are quite ingrained in a man who must be in his late thirties or forties and I think it's going to take a bit more than a few conversations and some reading to alter a set of attitudes that go to make up that sort of mindset. While I do think that people can change all sorts of attitudes once they are shown the facts and have the impetus to change, IME it's rarely a Damascene conversion and more of a slow process.

deliasmithy Thu 29-Nov-12 00:11:35

He could easily not told you, OP, and you'd be none the wiser. He deserves thanks for his honesty. One issue is his actions, and the other, his beliefs. It sounds like you are more upset about his beliefs than what he did.

It's difficult in relationships when someone's view is the polar opposite of our own. I.don't think you can force it down him, but you could have a constructive discussion or find a recent media story that demonstrates the other side of the coin. In fairness to him, there are some people who entirely voluntarily become involved in the sex trade. We all know this is very much the minority. He quite naively just hasn't thought about it that deeply.

tawse57 Wed 28-Nov-12 23:40:48

OpheliaPayneAgain has written the most sensible response in this entire thread.

It is not for you to 'forgive' him, or anyone, for what they did last year let alone 20 years ago, presumably before you even knew him.

You appear to be looking for a reason to end the relationship? You need to be honest about this with yourself rather than coming on here and expecting others to do the dirty for you and tell you to end the relationship.

An awful lot of women - including many, many Mumsnetters - would be shocked to realise just how many men have had encounters with prostitutes at some time or another. These are not seedy men in flasher macs but men you pass in the street, men who serve you in shops, work with you, educate your children, treat you in hospital, arrange that mortgage, etc, etc, and, yes ladies, in the cases of some Mumsnetters even some men who get in bed and sleep next to you each night.

This is not to condone or condemn such men - it is just being realistic.

If you love this man then love him all the more for being honest with you - not judge him and persecute him.

If you wish to end the relationship then have the guts to admit that it is you that wishes to do this and that you are just looking to use his honesty as an excuse.

OohWhatAPalaver Wed 28-Nov-12 23:27:26

Was the sex industry the same 20 years ago- I really don't know.

I wouldn't finish the relationship over it. He's heard some things that might have made him feel shit if he didn't know before (which is not unreasonable to believe, from what you've said)

Give him the benefit of the doubt, keep talking and see what happens. The lad he was 20 years ago is not single handedly responsible for every abused sex worker in the world.

He's a human being, who might be feeling upset and rather ashamed of a long ago mistake.

OpheliaPayneAgain Wed 28-Nov-12 22:21:03

20 years ago I didnt know about global warming blah blah blah ... what you do a s youth is very difernt to what you do as an adult.

I am finding it hard to forgive and forget - you have no right to 'forgive' something that happened 20 years ago - as for forgetting - you seem to need to latch onto something as an excuse to terminate the relatuonship.

snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 19:16:30

He didn't enjoy it apparently. We went yo bed about midnight and were still chatting at about 3am so I was knackered and not really concentrating fully.

I did point out to him that if sex work is really so "benign" then he would surely be happy for his daughter/sister to do it. The penny did seem to drop at this point.

He normally voices his opinions quite confidently and we are both happy to agree to disagree over certain contentious issues. I think he would have tried harder to justify himself if his beliefs were that strong.

Apologies for the multiple short posts, I'm on my phone.

MmeLinDude Wed 28-Nov-12 19:09:52

I agree that it is not your place to forgive him, for something he did 20 years ago. The question is how he sees it now.

I know that my DH has always found the idea of going to a prostitute quite abhorrent, even from a young age (we have been together for 20 years) but I am willing to believe that a 20yo, on a weekend away with pals in Amsterdam could well have been persuaded that it was no big deal.

Did he say why he only went that one time?

snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 19:08:31

8 months. We seemed to be on the same page politically etc until this. Hence the shock

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