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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?

MmeLinDude Wed 28-Nov-12 18:36:26

I would base my decision on how he feels about it now, particularly when you have talked to him about the exploitation of women in the sex trade.

Not on a one off experience that happened 20 years ago.

My DH didn't know how bad it was for sex workers till I told him after reading about it on MN. I don't think it is common knowledge.

How is your relationship aside from this?

snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 18:38:39


Are there any links to research etc that I can show him?

Apart from this, things are great. And I am glad he was honest, I would rather know iyswim.

MmeLinDude Wed 28-Nov-12 18:40:56

I can look some out for you.

Don't ruin a good relationship over something he did a long time ago. Certainly wouldn't hurt to tell him why you find it so abhorrent, but don't blame him for his naivety.

Charbon Wed 28-Nov-12 18:42:19

I'm not sure what he really thinks/believes and I am struggling with the whole thing today.

He believes what he told you last night. That it's okay for men to pay for sex that women are prepared to sell.

If he is challenged by your different views, he'll go away and do some independent research about the realities of the sex industry. I'f find it surprising though that he has lived in a vacuum all these years and hasn't heard the truth from anyone. It's more likely that he's just disagreed with the contrary view but thinks it's too dangerous to do that with you.

snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 18:44:12

That's what concerns me Charbon, is he naive or a misogynist.... Hmmm....

cronullansw Wed 28-Nov-12 18:45:49

20 years ago...........


I'm sure other MNers will advise you that as he's done it once, he's likely to do it again, leopards and spots dontcha know, but come on, it was half his life time ago. He is a different person now, so leave it and move on.

MmeLinDude Wed 28-Nov-12 18:46:22

My dh is certainly not a misogynist but he simply hasn't read about the abuses in the sex trade and wasn't aware of the scale of the issue.

God, till I started using MN, neither was I.

It is not widely known, outside feminist circles. Sadly.

ImperialBlether Wed 28-Nov-12 18:48:25

Actually, OP, I don't think it's up to you to forgive him. He didn't do anything to harm you, did he?

He must be pretty blinkered and unthinking if he hasn't thought of the way many women in the sex trade are treated, but that's a different argument. Hadn't you noticed he was lacking there before you learned about his experience?

Charbon Wed 28-Nov-12 18:50:11

I wouldn't be doing his research for him incidentally. By all means read it yourself if it strengthens your resolve, but it's so easy for someone to be spoon fed information and appearing to agree with it, while privately hanging on to a 20-year belief that paying for sex is acceptable. We've got more information at our disposal than at any other time in history, which makes me a bit sceptical about the 'who knew?' defence.

snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 18:53:33

If a person has done something immoral then surely forgiveness comes in to it?

No, he is otherwise very thoughtful and considerate. This has really shocked me.

snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 18:55:21

So do we "punish" people for their actions 20yrs ago or for the private thoughts that may or may not have?

JuliaScurr Wed 28-Nov-12 18:58:58

snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 18:59:15

We have plenty of information at our disposal, yes. However we will only ever be exposed to 0.00001% of it during our lifetime (apparently).

Do you actively search out information that contradicts your beliefs? How many people actually have the time or motivation to do that FFS?

deste Wed 28-Nov-12 19:00:00

No in my opinion you don't. Have you never made a mistake. I know I'm a different person to the one I was 20 years ago and I'm sure I made a few. I think you have to let it go.

snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 19:00:06

Thanks Julia

Charbon Wed 28-Nov-12 19:02:24

I don't think your forgiveness is the issue here. It's his of himself. And in general, we don't think we have to forgive ourselves for something that we've never considered is wrong.

I agree that there are lots of people who are unaware of the intricacies of the sex industry and what really goes on - and even more who are unaware of the bigger picture, but I don't think it's unusual for people to think it's not okay to pay a woman for sex and never to have even entertained the idea.

I'm assuming this is a fairly short-lived relationship for you to be finding out that you've got very different views about sexual politics?

snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 19:04:36

Also, he is almost totally computer illiterate. He literally struggles with copying and pasting. He does a manual job and has never needed to use computers so wouldn't have a clue how to search online for academic articles. Hence me finding links to research etc

snailfiddler Wed 28-Nov-12 19:07:13

He is not asking for my forgiveness. I think that he has done a "bad thing" and I trying to work out if I able to understand/justify/forgive this in my own head in order to move on and get past it iyswim

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

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 19:16:30

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.

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.

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.

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.

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