The Star (Nairobi)

25 January 2013

Kenya: My Husband Paid Prostitutes

column

Hi Valentine,

Thanks a lot for your column. I found out the other day that my husband of two years used to pay for prostitutes before we were married. One of his friends said it as a joke a few months ago. I asked him and he confessed. Imagine now I can't look at him? I think he is disgusting. I am wondering who I married and I don't want to touch him.

What do I do? I have thought of ending this marriage and moving on.

Evelyn

I am so sorry Evelyn. I completely get the 'EEEWWW!' factor when you find out someone you love has been doing something that you don't agree with and find disgusting. I also understand that this can lead you to wondering what else you do not know about him. You may also be looking at your sex life with this man and thinking it has been defiled by unsavory types. You didn't say whether he was going to prostitutes while you were dating but from your tone, it sounds like he was. Perhaps you are wondering if he is still doing it. You may also wonder about his values and his standards for sexual partners.

Unfortunately, I am the wrong person to ask. You have to talk to this 'disgusting' man whom you married. Ask him to sit down and hear your thoughts and feelings without interruption. He should also be the one to answer your questions and assuage your huge and valid concerns.

Before you have that long discussion though, please bear in mind that prostitution is the oldest trade and it persists for a reason - huge demand. A lot of men pay for sex. Sometimes it is about the thrill of doing something forbidden or naughty, sometimes it is easier than dating or pretending to want a relationship with a woman, sometimes it is just easy. Other men like the simplicity of paying a professional to perform an act well and then leave.

Also consider that your disgust may not be about your man at all. Maybe you are intimidated by the acts that you imagine prostitutes can perform and you are wondering how you rate as a woman and a sexual partner? I find that when I have a very strong reaction to something or someone it is usually about me and some fear that I harbour. Are you afraid of infidelity and now his list of potential sex partners has leaped from the girls in the office to include the hundreds of prostitutes in Nairobi?

Take some time to figure out how you are feeling and what you are afraid of and then talk to your husband. Consider that it is your perception of the situation that is torturing you and you can always change your mind. He is still the man you married; you just have a new piece of information about his past. Perhaps you will come to the conclusion that a prostitute is really just a woman he slept with and the terms just happened to be different - instead of dinner and a movie, she preferred cash up front.

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