This weekend, my head was full of ‘ear worms’, you know when a song gets stuck in your head and you can’t get it out.
While at the grocery store, the song “Cult of Personality” came on and I could barely tolerate my shopping, then against any conscious choice, it kept repeating in my head long after my trip.
The Cult of Personality was replaced the following day with yet another ‘ear worm’ which was luckily one of my favorite artists, Kate Nash – her song, “I’ve got a secret”. I was regularly humming this tune throughout my home most of the day.
Many people enter sexual therapy holding on to, then revealing their sexual secrets.
I am really with ______ (other person)
I really like to _____, but could never tell my spouse.
You won’t believe what I did, I’m so embarrassed.
This may shock you, but….
I masturbate thinking about _______, am I normal?
What gets me off most in bed is______But if my partner knew, I think they’d reject me.
Marty Klein, one of my favorite sex therapists, wrote a book entitled, Your Sexual Secrets . (1988)
“You learned it as a child: sex is bad. But like all the other kids, you had sexual thought and feelings. Early on you learned the Secrecy Imperative: to avoid punishment, rejection, and abandonment you’d better keep your sexuality a secret….Accepting sexual experiences and feelings leads to a sense of choice…(people) can choose to share sexual thoughts with their loved ones, or they may choose to maintain their secrets, with the conscious awareness that they are doing so. Either choice can bring healing to people and to relationships.”
He notes there are actually good reasons to share some of your sexual secrets if the following goals are possible:
Improving your sexual relationship
Increasing your self esteem
Reducing the physical or emotional stresses of secrecy
Changing a relationship, or supporting a current change (page 151)
Potential scenarios where it could behoove one to disclose their secret may be:
You enjoy anal stimulation and would like to include it in your love play but are uncertain of your partners reaction…..you never know till you ask.
You are more aroused by your partners toes than the rest of their body, ask to incorporate toe play during sex.
You want to be gagged and bound at times when you’re turned on, ask your partner to try it.
You are interested in polyamory, discuss what it would be like to open the relationship to other partners.
There is a lot of love to go around.
Marty suggests not to disclose sexual secrets if your intent is to:
Punish or Humilitate
Relieve a heavy burden of guilt
Invite criticism and punishment
To test a relationship
To create a smokescreen (pg 162)
The largest theme of sexual secrets in my office has nothing to do with criminal behavior, harm to others, or true deviancy. It is mostly self judgement and shame of relatively normative sexual behaviors.
If the behavior is:
Is respectful to the self and the other
Feet fetishes, polyamory, anal pleasure, granny porn, gagged and bound, as well as many more sexual behaviors are all normal.
One may argue and say its disrespectful to watch granny porn when partners are sexual together….if so, then you explore ways to keep aroused that are considered mutually respectful and sexually satisfying.
Another argument is around the secrecy of affairs; one may ask how does that respect the self and the other? If the parties engaging in sex together do so as consenting adults and feel respected by the other, then that is considered normative sexual behavior. The spouse on the other hand may have a much different opinion. Morals are a different topic from scientific norms.
You decide whether you hold onto self judgement, guilt or shame.
You decide how and to whom to disclose, if ever.
We all have some secrets, either big or small.
The popularity of our secrets has lead to the highly successful website: http://www.postsecret.com
Its anonymous with the exception that you submit and we (the voyeurs) read.
I’ll end with my continual ear worm, Kate Nash:
“Ive got a secret, I can’t tell you….you would judge”