'I had an orgy with men I'd just met on holiday and now I feel ashamed'

Welcome once again to The Sex Column – our weekly series where experts guide daters through the choppy waters of love, sex, and relationships.

Last time, we advised a married man who was thinking of leaving his wife for his much younger lover.

This week, we help a 25-year-old woman who had drunken sex with strangers on holiday and now feels guilty.

Should she really be beating herself up over a one-off lapse of judgement?

The problem:

‘At the start of July, I went on a week’s holiday abroad with a friend. We were both about to be 25 so we thought it would be a good way to celebrate.

On the second night we met some really cute local guys and, when the bar closed, one of them invited everyone back to his place. It was a tiny studio flat, but we had a great time and, the longer we were there, the more wrecked we got.

Eventually my friend said she needed to go back to our hotel, but I was still in the mood for partying so stayed on.

Somehow, I ended up on the sofa bed having sex with one of them, while three of his friends watched.

I can’t blame it on drink or drugs – I knew what I was doing – but it felt fun and exciting, like being in a porn movie. Without going into details, it turned into a bit of an orgy with me at the centre of it.

By about 4am everyone had crashed out, but I was beginning to sober up and feel awkward, so I quietly sneaked out.

I didn’t tell my friend what happened and thankfully we never saw them again. The problem is, I just can’t forget it.

People think I’m such a nice girl, but I feel like a slut and am full of anxiety and guilt.’

What the expert says:

‘First things first – if you haven’t already, visit your nearest sexual health clinic. From what you say, you may not have been in a fit state to make sure you were protected properly. Having all the right checks will help put your mind at rest.

‘Bear in mind that casual sex like this can be very dangerous for a whole number of obvious reasons, so please put your own safety and wellbeing first, and learn from this experience.

‘No matter how much you enjoy partying, it’s important to stay in control of your actions. The more drink (and drugs) you consume, the more likely you are to lose your inhibitions and do things you might regret.

‘Meanwhile, it’s important to tell yourself that the way you behaved was out of character. Most of us have done things we’d rather forget, but if you want sex to be a more loving, intimate experience then stick to one person at a time and write this off as an isolated event.

‘You’ll never meet those guys again, so put them in the past where they belong. It might make you feel better to unburden yourself by confiding in a close friend or talking things over with a counsellor.

‘Look at the whole thing as a crazy experience that most people will never even try. Don’t beat yourself up over a one-off lapse of judgement that doesn’t reflect who you really are.’

The Expert:

Laura Collins is a counsellor and columnist.

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