Soul Ties Are A Thing: Is Your Sexual Past "Haunting" You?

Sometimes our past sexual experiences are more a part of our present than we give them credit for.


I know. You probably think that since I used the word "haunting" that I'm referring to something eerie like a ghost or spirit. Nope. If your sexual past has you seeing things, I gotta be honest and own that I'm not qualified to help you out with that. Naw, when I'm talking about your past sexual experiences being able to haunt you, I'm coming from the perspective that, no matter how much you try to shake some of them off, they keep coming into your mind and heart, almost like they are taunting you and keeping you from getting on with your life. It could be a particular man, it could be the sexual experiences that you had with a few men or, it could be the act of sex itself.

The reason why I do feel like I can speak on this kind of haunting is because, for many years, I was haunted by different forms of my sexual past. It seemed like no matter what I did or how hard I tried, certain partners and experiences, I just couldn't seem to shake. Because of that, it was very hard for me to emotionally heal and move forward. And trust me, staying stagnant is a surefire way to set yourself up for some pretty unhealthy—or at least totally counterproductive—approaches to life and relationships with other people.

Time is precious; far too precious for sex to be haunting you instead of blessing you. So, if you're reading this and there's something tugging you to not click off of this page, I'd say that's the first sign that something in your past may be taking up way too much of your present. Just to be sure, here are seven spot-on signs that you may be sexually haunted.

You’re Always Making Comparisons


Knock virginity if you want to but waiting until marriage does have its benefits. For instance, there's someone I know who's been married over 15 years now, who used to say all of the time, "I don't know if my husband is great in bed or not. I know he's great to me because I don't know any different."

Those of us single gals who won't have her same testimony on our wedding night might find it to be a little sad that she didn't get to "kick it" before saying "I do". But you know what? I've dealt with my fair share of couples who have some pretty sucky sex lives and, a big part of it is because, their spouse isn't as good as someone from their past. Sure, they love their husband or wife but if they had to pick someone to join them in the bedroom, some other names would come before them.

You can't control the past that you had or even the memories that come from them. But if you're currently sexually involved with someone and you can't enjoy them because you're always comparing them with someone else, this is one sign that your sexual past is definitely haunting you. Not just haunting you but having way too much power over you too.

You Keep Going Back (to the Sex not “Him”)


There is someone from my past who I had sex with, off and on, for years. For a myriad of reasons that are about a book-length long, we knew that being together, long-term, wasn't gonna work out. But that sex was sooooo good (WHEW!) that we kept coming back for more. Then one day, out of the blue, he told me that I was like crack to him and he chose to no longer be addicted. I never heard from him again.

A few years ago, I looked him up to see what he was up to. I discovered that he was doing very well. I left a message on his work phone saying, "This is crack" and I asked him to give me a call if he got a chance. He called that night and we spoke for about eight hours straight. Y'all, he still looks and sounds just as fine as I remembered him. Anyway, when I asked him what made him blindside me with that phone call almost 20 years ago, he said that he was so caught up in what we had going on that it was sidetracking him—"Shellie, I was literally considering leaving college and moving to Nashville, just so we could have sex all of the time. It was getting out of control." He tells no lies there.

The moral to this story—sex is a part of a relationship but anything that is all-consuming isn't healthy. If there is someone you keep going back to and the only reason you've got is because the sex is good, while I hate to say it, that reason isn't good enough. Believe it or not, there are men in this world that can offer you the complete package. Don't remain in a dead-end situation just because the orgasms are good.

You Carry Past Sexual Guilt


I've always been really candid about my sex life. I'm not sure why; I think it's because I'm a pretty open person overall. That doesn't mean that I haven't done some things that I regret (regret means remorse so, it's a good thing to have regrets sometimes). An example is I was once the wedding planner for a couple and I was sleeping with the groom at the time.

How can I share something so low-down? Because, while I am repentant, I don't carry any guilt (or shame) about the situation. It was years and years ago. I apologized to both parties. I've forgiven myself. I've moved past it.

If you have a sexual past, chances are, you've done some things that you're not exactly proud of either. While a certain amount of initial guilt can be good so that you'll learn your lesson and not repeat it, remaining in a state of guilt is bad for your mental health and emotional well-being (check out "10 Things You Didn't Know About Guilt").

If you're having a hard time being in a relationship or having a satisfying sex life and you know it's tied to some sex-related guilt that you're holding onto, I'll share with you one of my favorite definitions of forgiveness that I once heard Oprah share—"Forgiveness is accepting that the past cannot change."

Guilt keeps us looking backwards. Release it so that you can move forwards.

Or You Hold onto Past Sexual Fear


When I speak of fear, I don't mean the kind of fear that may be connected to sexual trauma. If your sexual past is haunting you due to something like that, you are warranted and I encourage you to see a professional and reputable therapist. Counseling or even trauma healing can be life changing; they really can.

Actually, where I'm coming from is the acronym for fear—False Evidence Appearing Real. Another indication that your sexual past may be haunting you is a past partner may have made you feel self-conscious about your body or sexual performance or, a sexual experience that you built up in your mind ended up not being all that you fantasized and that has hindered you from fully enjoying sex now. You don't want to show your body, you prefer to have sex in the dark and/or you build up a wall so that you won't be disappointed…again.

Your current partner is not your past one. Unless he gives you reason to think that things will be like before, make a conscious decision to give him the benefit of the doubt. When fear knows that we don't believe what it's telling us, oftentimes, it tends to fade away.

You Constantly Use Sex as a Way to Move On


I've shared before that a saying that is truly like fingernails on the chalkboard to me is, "The best way to get over someone is to get underneath someone else." It files right up there with "If you like it, I love it." (Because we usually say that when someone is doing something stupid or self-destructive. So no, I don't love it.) Anyway, if you're someone who believes that rebound sex is the best way to move on from someone who turned you out and/or broke your heart, do your future a favor and check out "We Should Really Rethink the Term 'Casual Sex'". The oxytocin that surges throughout your body during sex has no idea if you're doin' it and doin' it well (shout out to LL Cool J) with someone you're in love with or someone you just met.

And since oxytocin is designed to bond you to your sex partners regardless, well…if your way of getting over someone is to be with someone else, I hate to break it to you, but all you're actually doing is adding more men to the list that you'll have to get over—one way or another. You're setting yourself up to remain sexually haunted for a long, long time.

Sex Is Your (Main) Self-Esteem Booster


Who doesn't want to be told that they are good in bed?! Anyone who says they don't care is LY-ING. However, I'll raise my hand in this class and admit that when it comes to about half of the 14 sex partners that I've had (I break all of them down in "Each of My 14 Sex Partners Taught Me Something New"), a part of the reason why they were able to "get in" at all is because I had seasons in my life where I thought that the only thing that would draw—and hopefully keep—a man was my sexual performance. The problem with that is 1) all of us have more than one thing that makes us special and relationship-worthy and 2) that is a lot of power—too much power—to relinquish to one particular aspect of your life.

Take it from me, if you are in the habit of using sex—or your sexual performance—as a way to feel good about yourself, there are a ton of men who are just waiting to manipulate that breakdown in your psyche. Not only that but, during your sexual dry seasons, you could find yourself in mild bouts of self-hatred or depression because you aren't able to rely on your "fix". And since you've convinced yourself for so long that sex is the only way to remedy the issue…do you see the vicious cycle that you've created?

Sex Is Your Coping Mechanism


Speaking of sex being a "fix", if you run to sex, because you don't know how else to deal with a bad situation or difficult emotions, that's a sign that you're misusing sex more than you're actually embracing it. Sex is proven to reduce stress and make us happier, but if you don't know any other way to handle what's transpiring in your life, not only are you setting yourself up to have "haunting feelings" about sex itself but you could send yourself on the path to becoming a diagnosed sex addict.

So, what should you do when life seems to be a little painful or out of control? Get still and don't be afraid to feel what you're feeling. Do something like take a bath, listen to some relaxing music or even take a nap in order to give yourself a bit of a break. Then try and come up with a plan of what to do next. Then actually follow through with said plan.

I know this isn't the kind of topic that gets explored a lot. But it should be. Sex is too awesome for it to be out here haunting you. Exorcise the past so that you can openly and freely get on with your sexual future!

Featured image via GIFS

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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