Past sexual experiences

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When in doubt, keep your mouth shut. If there was ever an area about which to draw a blank, it has to do with past sexual experiences. Over, done with, irrelevant. Don't ask; don't tell, even if tempted. You'll both regret any departure from this policy.

All of us want to be loved not in spite of our warts but because of them. You want to feel that someone knows and loves the real you, but confessing sexual issues feels good for you for the moment but bad for the person who has to listen, and it will come back and haunt you both.


See any pattern in the following list? You should. All these topics relate to past sexual experiences to keep a lid on:

^ Previous love affairs ^ Previous one-night stands ^ Previous indiscretions ^ Flings with the boss

^ Flings with your best friend's significant other ^ Sexual preferences ^ Ménage à trois or more

If you have fantasies of being with someone else, remember that you're not the only person who has occasionally thought about an old love or a movie star when you're with your current date. The question is not "Is it okay?" but "How often does it occur, and how necessary does it feel?" If this type of fantasy happens most of the time, you're not ready to be with this person. If it happens only occasionally and, in general, you're pleased with your date, keep your mouth shut and enjoy the once-in-a-while forbidden pleasure of letting your mind wander.

You're an adult, and human beings aren't perfect. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Like everybody else, you're a compendium of everything that's come before: the people you've known (teachers, parents, sibs, the kindergarten bully, Sunday school teachers), the things you've done (your first kiss, dance lessons, strike-outs), and the things you've experienced (getting bad haircuts, developing crushes, receiving a favorite Valentine, getting a bloody nose, adoring favorite rock stars, losing report cards), and so on. Your sexual history is part of you, but the more you talk about it, the larger it's likely to loom. And a looming sexual history does nothing but taint your current dating situation. If you need to confess about past sexual experiences, find a priest or a therapist, but with everyone else, adopt the Clinton plan: Don't ask, don't tell. You'll both be happier and wiser.

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