12 ways to recover from a sex scandal

Every day public figures, respected professionals and trusted family members get caught having sex or engaging in other intimacies with someone they shouldn’t be spending private time with. But, a sex scandal with an escort is much more heinous than simply boinking your secretary or wife’s best friend. As shameful as it is to get caught with your pants down in a steamy affair with someone you work with or know socially, it’s even more deplorable to be exposed exchanging money with a paid companion.

Yet clients are caught with escorts by spouses, employers, family members and law enforcement officials all the time. The scandals that result are sensationalized through newspaper headlines, local news reports and talk radio shows. Pictures, videos and documentation of text messages and emails explicitly reveal the intimacies exchanged with the escort, damning the client to a status typically reserved for the scum of the earth. After all, men who pay for sex are pretty desperate… right? Stereotypes of escort clients include creepy old men and drooling womanizers, socially and sexually inept, filthy rich and mentally unstable. Most clients exposed during a sex scandal are just regular men who got caught indulging a fantasy.

Recovery from a sex scandal is difficult, but not impossible. Depending on public status, it may be easier for some than others. Here are the top 12 ways to recover from a sex scandal with an escort:

  1. Tell the truth: When caught red-handed with another woman, especially an escort, it’s best to face the music and come clean. Don’t attempt to cover up your relationship with lies or stories that you think will veil the truth. Avoid making excuses. The best way to make progress on overcoming a sex scandal is to simply admit to your involvement and leave it at that. The media or the public do not require details. You are not obligated to give reasons. A simple admission of truth will go much further than trying to deny wrongdoing or concocting stories to excuse your actions.
  2. Timing is everything: While it may be beyond your control, getting caught up in a sex scandal when you are at the focus of public attention is detrimental to your career. If you’re a city official and have just been elected mayor or appointed to a high-profile board or committee, do your best to avoid scandals at all costs. The chances of overcoming a scandal are much greater if you are not in the public spotlight; society is more forgiving when you are not attempting to convince them you are reliable and honest all of the time in the news. For example, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s affair with his third wife (who was a White House staffer during the Clinton impeachment trial) was forgiven when it became public knowledge many years later. If it had come to light at the time, he might have experienced irreparable damage to his career. Former California Governor (and movie star) Arnold Schwarzenegger’s relationship with his housekeeper that resulted in an illegitimate child could have ruined him, if the public had found out while he was still in office. However, his misdeeds have pretty much been passed over for juicier scandals happening currently.
  3. Enlist your loyal, understanding family and spouse: Cheaters who have wives and families who are willing to stick with them, despite their indiscretions, have better chances of getting past scandals relatively unscathed. If the public sees the person most damaged by the scandal (the spouse) forgiving the philandering public official, it is likely they will, too, especially if the cheater has denounced his relationship with the escort. Both Anthony Weiner and Bill Clinton’s wives stood by them, and both men are moving forward with their political careers.
  4. Maintain a likable personality: Philanderers who try to sustain a pleasant attitude are better accepted and forgiven by society. Try to maintain a genuinely remorseful front, demonstrating that you are truly sorry for your mistakes. At the same time, though, uphold a media-friendly policy where you treat members of the press like they belong to your boys’ club. Attempt to joke around, especially at your own expense, and demonstrate that you are a guy they’d like to go have a beer with, instead of crucify in the news. Your likable personality may help people soften their attitudes about your mistakes.
  5. Avoid homosexual activities: Being entangled in heterosexual intimacies is much better understood and accepted by society than homosexual indiscretions. Gay activities are still considered somewhat taboo among public officials and well-respected members of society. People don’t condone or accept this type of relationship, especially among people who pretend to be exclusively heterosexual. Often, they see gay extra-marital relationships as betraying your image and putting up false pretenses.
  6. Bury your incriminating past: Most people have skeletons in their closets. If you do, try to keep yours hidden. Avoid bragging about past conquests, sexual adventures and extra-marital dalliances. Limit your philandering ways in public and restrict your connections with others who engaged in unscrupulous behavior with you in the past. If necessary, discuss previous indiscretions with others you’ve been involved with and make arrangements to ensure that the details never become public through mutually beneficial agreements. Typically, if someone knows some dirt on you, you probably have knowledge of some of their less-than-finer moments, too. Make a pact to keep those stories just between the two of you.
  7. Focus the spotlight on your good deeds or other accomplishments: The media is all about smoke and mirrors. If you can focus their headlines on the good things you’ve done for your community, your volunteer work or your industry expertise as a professional, it’s possible to avoid high levels of scrutiny on your mistakes. Although people are interested in juicy details, they are also easily swayed when the media praises someone. If you can direct the attention to your positive attributes, the details of your indiscretions may not be as ill received.
  8. Avoid waffling: Men embroiled in a sex scandal with an escort should pick a story and stick to it. Although it’s not wise to make an excuse or provide superfluous details, it’s imperative to stay consistent if you choose to elaborate on your situation. Don’t change stories, flip flop about your reasons or blame someone else. When you reveal details or information about your scandalous behavior, make sure that you tell the same thing to everyone. Less scrutiny will be placed on your explanation if it seems like you are telling the truth.
  9. Seek help if you have a problem: Tiger Woods gained acceptance and, even, sympathy when he admitted he had a sex addiction problem. Society has a great degree of compassion for people who are compelled to commit errors through illnesses that are no fault of their own, such as addictions. If you feel you may have a problem, seek professional counseling and publicize that you are in treatment. Go to marriage counseling with your spouse, and attempt to make things right with your family through other forms of therapy. Your attempts to make correct your misgivings will help you gain affinity from others, especially those who have found themselves in similar situations.
  10. Let the air clear: If the media or your community is being exceptionally rough on you, hunker down and avoid public places for a few weeks. Stay at home and do your best to deter attention from others. Often, when scandals are not provoked by constant media coverage or public appearances, they die down quickly. And, they are usually drowned out by other, juicier scandals that include more incriminating details or outrageous sound bites.
  11. Hold your head high: When it’s time to reappear back into society or go back to work, hold your head high. Even though you made a mistake and got caught, you should still expect respect for your abilities and position as a professional or public official. And, you should still command a degree of respect from your family and friends, due to your previous good reputation. Be willing to grant the fact that you may have damaged your spotless image. But, despite your error, you are still the same person others held in high esteem previously.
  12. Move on: Continuing with your professionalism and expertise in your career is the best way to move past a sex scandal with an escort. The indiscretion doesn’t take away from your abilities or knowledge. You should encourage peers to trust you professionally and discuss your continued relationships with clients and customers. Once people see you back in your old role, it’s harder for them to dwell on the scandalous details of your personal life.