Sex and secrets – sounds like a movie, right?
For many couples, talking about sex can be awkward at the best of times.
Throw in a secret kink or two that you worry your partner may judge you for, and you could have a serious disconnect on your hands.
Keeping a secret from your partner can make it difficult to connect with them.
So, what do you do if you’re afraid of revealing your truth to your partner?
"What if I tell them what I’m really into and it makes them look at me differently?"
On the other hand, if you think your partner is keeping a secret from you, how can you make them feel comfortable enough to open up about it?
Let’s find out.
Fear of the Unknown
Think about when you watch a scary movie.
While a monster is lurking in the shadows, it’s completely terrifying.
But when it finally steps out into the light, it's rarely as frightening as you imagined it would be.
When you have a secret tucked away in the recesses of your mind, it often feels worse than it is.
Once you say it out loud, you unmask the demon and it doesn’t look so scary after all.
Fear of the unknown can make you more anxious.
Meanwhile, others rarely consider our secrets that big a deal.
"That's it? That's what you were scared to tell me?"
For most people, transparency equals vulnerability.
Being completely transparent with your partner can help the two of you connect.
Want to learn more about how letting your secrets out can benefit your relationship?
Tell Me Your Secrets
We all have secrets – what's yours?
A great exercise to help you start opening up to your partner is to write your secrets down. Putting it all down in black and white can be very freeing emotionally.
There's something cathartic about letting your fears go.
The next step is to do a cost-benefit analysis. Put away the calculator, it's not that complicated.
A cost-benefit analysis means asking yourself…
Do the benefits of keeping your secret to yourself outweigh the costs?
It doesn’t have to be about sex. Take financial troubles, for example.
You may not be going out of your way to be secretive, but you’re probably not going to be shouting it from the rooftops either.
"I’m in so much debt. Should I tell her?"
Is there a significant benefit to keeping your debts hidden, or is your secret going to cost you considerably more in the long run?
When it comes to sex, secrets can stop you connecting in the bedroom.
Monogamy is the default setting for most people, while others prefer to be more open.
Have you talked with your partner about the rules of engagement in your relationship?
While some partners may be comfortable with you commenting how cute the bartender is, getting their number, or even taking them home, others might not like it.
Opening up about your unconventional desires could upset your partner.
Alternatively, as long as you don’t intend to act on them with someone else behind your partner’s back, keeping it all to yourself is perfectly fine.
Of course, it may turn out that you and your partner are already on the same page, keeping the same secret, and you wind up taking the bartender home together!
Ultimately, can you truly be happy going forward if you don’t open up to your partner?
Another way to work it out is to answer these two questions:
What are the things you’re afraid to share with your partner?
What are the things you wish your partner would talk more about?
As licensed therapists, we've worked with over 2,500 couples.
In most relationships, there is a common sentiment regarding sex and secrets.
"I wish my partner would let me in."
People often yearn for their partners to open up to them, and keeping secrets can hold you back.
Once you have the answers to the questions above, you’ll know what's preventing you truly connecting with your partner.
So, what's the answer?
Honesty, Trust, Communication
Honesty is always the best policy. It might sound cliche, but it's true.
In relationships, most secrets revolve around sex and finances.
It’s a slippery slope – secrets tend to get worse the longer you hold on to them.
Keeping secrets can make you feel ashamed, guilty, or even fearful. It’s also emotionally exhausting.
A positive, hopeful mindset can help to ease the burden.
Remember, you and your partner are a team.
"Is there hope for us?"
Yes! As you work through your secrets and bring them out into the open, you will free your mind, and you and your partner will begin to connect on a deeper level.
How you communicate with your partner is a crucial aspect of how you deal with secrets. Find out your partner's preferred communication style. You can also talk to a professional about the secrets you’re keeping from your partner.