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Past Promuscuity Guilt

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From the U.S.: I’m a 20 year-old female, and in the past I was on the promiscuous side. My downfall started when I was 16, and was coerced into having sex with a 20-year-old guy I wasn’t even into. From there I had several more casual encounters. I acted like I wanted it, and was proud of “being a slut”, but to be honest I died a little on the inside every time.

At 18 I was in a casual relationship that started from one such hookup. At that point I was still deep in denial over enjoying sex. This issue, combined with my partner’s drug problems, led to the relationship turning emotionally abusive.

I got out of that relationship in the end. A couple times after I tried to have a couple more random hookups, but couldn’t bring myself to do anything more than kissing, as I’d realized that I honestly didn’t enjoy it that much. I would rather have not even made an attempt, but I also couldn’t bring myself to just say “no.”

This past semester, I was sort-of sexually assaulted at a party. I tried to say no–but the party was at an outdoor weekend event with a group I hadn’t known that long, and the perp’s car was where I’d planned on sleeping that night (I know, stupid decision). I decided to go along with it, so I could at least make sure we used a condom. During the same time period, my oldest friend (we’d known each other for 7 years) started touching me inappropriately, and bribed me to have a threesome with his girlfriend. I ended that friendship, and drank an entire bottle of cherry wine to “symbolically restore my virginity.”

Things were looking up for a while, after I accepted that I just didn’t want sex, period. I suspected that I was asexual for a while, but had a ton of doubt about it considering my history, even if I hated every second of it (and I was doing the sex thing all wrong anyway).

Very recently I was introduced to a new guy, and we hit it off, and went out on a date this past weekend. We really click, but I’m absolutely terrified of getting physical. Partly because of terrible experiences, and I’m also afraid to find out that I won’t enjoy sex even in a relationship.

Why am I like this?

Past Promuscuity Guilt

Answered by on -


You have struggled with this far too long. From my point of view, your introduction to sex was a rape. Like many rape victims, you tried to gain some sense of control by acting as if casual sex was okay with you. It wasn’t. It isn’t. You are still reacting to that initial experience and to your desperate efforts to resolve it. The result is that you have only two settings for sex: Victim or Disconnected. You don’t mention a single relationship in which sex was a deeply satisfying, loving connection. That’s understandable, given what you’ve gone through, but it’s also very sad.

Please consider seeing a therapist to help you resolve your feelings about sex. With some time and attention, you can reclaim your positive sexual self so you can have the loving intimacy in your life you deserve.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Past Promuscuity Guilt

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Past Promuscuity Guilt. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 17 Apr 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.