So Many Sex Lies

On several occasions, we’ve had comments on this blog complaining about men’s sexual secrets – aka lies. I’ve never defended men who lie about anything, and I’m especially concerned about sexual lies. And I figured men were much guiltier of this than women.

Woman with a secret © contrastwerkstatt |

Then we did a survey on the issue. We learned that since marriage, 66% of men are keeping some sort of secret about sex from their wife. As horrible as that is, women were barely better, with 56% admitting they have a post marriage sexual secret their husband doesn’t know.

For women, the most common secrets, both at 28% of our respondents, were about their sexual fantasies and their solo sex life – either not telling they masturbate or leading him to think they do it less than they actually do. Faking orgasm was a much less common secret, at 16%. Also at 16% was not disclosing porn use or how much they use porn or what they look at. At 13%, pretending to enjoy a sex act they don’t enjoy was the only other common secret.

Secrets don’t make for good marriages and sex secrets are horribly damaging to a couple’s sex life. Secrets have a way of building on each other, and they tend to grow from not disclosing to full out lying. 

If you want a good marriage, you must be honest with your guy. If you want a good sex life you must share everything with him. The more he knows the better he can make sex for you. Don’t let embarrassment keep you from opening up, he needs and deserves to know what’s going on in your head. 

If you have sexual secrets from your husband, please choose to let him into your secret world. Don’t try to justify it as “not sharing” or “not a big deal.” Tell him you’ve not been totally honest with him and you want to change that. Share everything, with as much detail as necessary, to be honest. Ask him to forgive you for keeping secrets and tell him you intend to share everything in the future. If he’s upset deal with it with love and grace and try not to get defensive.

Finally, this is about you. He may have sexual secrets too (odds are he does) but this isn’t about priming him to share his stuff. Let him decide on his own to come clean with you.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I have no secrets from my wonderful wife!

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23 Comments on “So Many Sex Lies

  1. I think the confusion comes from the words secrets and lies. Eg, there are tons of things my husband doesn’t know about my thoughts on sex, but it’s not because of me. It’s because when I have tried to bring it up (or even flat-out said, “hey, I was thinking about X”) he says he doesn’t want to hear about it and usually leaves the room. There are lots of things my husband doesn’t know about, but it’s not because I’m hiding them. It’s because he doesn’t care.

    • @sunny-dee – Your spouse not wanting to know is a whole different issue. I’d not call it secrets given you’re more than willing to share. But regardless of who keeps it from being shared, it limits intimacy.
      I’m sorry your hubby is not open to hearing what you’re thinking. I’d bet it’s about his own fears and insecurities and has nothing to do with you.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…See You This Fall?My Profile

      • It does and doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’ve pondered this. It doesn’t in the sense of I don’t think it springs from any behaviors on my part or history between us.

        But I think a lot of it does have to do with me in the sense that I don’t believe my husband feels about me the way you (and a lot of the husbands here) describe feeling about their wives. I didn’t cause this, but it definitely affects me and is an aspect of my husband’s feelings about me. It’s not as easy (not to say that’s what you’re saying!) as partitioning it off and saying, “oh, this has nothing to do with you, no worries!” If he doesn’t address it, that affects me. If he sees it is affecting me and still doesn’t address it … why?

        • “If he doesn’t address it, that affects me. If he sees it is affecting me and still doesn’t address it … why?”

          Because 1) to address it gets him out of his comfort zone for some reason, and 2) you have let him off the hook by allowing his “I don’t want to hear it” to silence you.

        • @sunny-dee – Yes it does affect you, and I’m sorry for that. My point, which you got, his choice to not hear is about him, not you.
          I think cloudy-tee (very clever, BTW) has two excellent points. He doesn’t want to hear because of some internal fear. Maybe he’s afraid he can’t deal with it as he knows he should. Maybe he is afraid it will make him feel like less of a man. Maybe he’s afraid you have wants, desires, and needs he can’t meet.
          As to letting him off the hook, you have. The question is should you let him off the hook or should you press the issue. That comes down to fundamental issues about your relationship and even more than that what each of you can and can’t deal with. If what you would tell him does not cross his internal line, then telling him would be a big relief to him. If it does cross his line it will be very difficult for him and it might or might not work out.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Deal With the Brake!My Profile

  2. There are subjects I’ve tried to broach and I would say, he probably knows the truth, the truth would make him uncomfortable, and he doesn’t really want to know the truth. So, after a moral struggle about honesty, I’ve learned to just let it be.

    • @Lynn – This is a difficult place indeed. Not knowing places a limit on the level of intimacy in the relationship, but his not wanting to know is also limiting intimacy.
      Sometimes pushing through leads to good changes, and sometimes it leads to a big mess. So it comes down to knowing yourself, your guy, and your marriage.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Deal With the Brake!My Profile

  3. At what point do you cross from “full disclosure of my past” to “it would be ungentlemanly of me to elaborate”?

    • @Tom – Nicely put!
      Some folks do get obsessed, want every detail. The problem is they then get something that can’t be “unseen”.
      I used to think we should be willing to share as much as our spouse wants, but I have come to see the potential dangers of that.
      Maybe the best way to handle it is to say “I’ll share as much as you want in a week.” Give them time to process and decide if they really need and will benefit from more information.
      My gut feeling is knowing more details of the really ugly, non-consensual stuff is more important than knowing more about the things our spouse choose to do. The former do far more harm to the victim and leave deeper scars. Knowing the details can help a spouse avoid hitting places that hurt. And, sharing and not being rejected can be healing.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…See You This Fall?My Profile

  4. There’s still the “wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then” line that has to be crossed, especially with respect to premarital history.

    And there are some things that should simply never be divulged; an analogy is a long rifleman’s personal score (I still hate the term ‘sniper’). He knows what it is, but if he’s a professional he’ll never tell, and you should never ask.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 192 – The Ki To Lift {FMF}My Profile

    • @Andrew Budek-Schmeisser – You and men like you have a bit of a different thing going on. I can see saying “I love you too much to share that”.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…See You This Fall?My Profile

  5. Ah yes, I wish I hadn’t asked. I asked my husband if he ever had a lap dance. He lied and said “no”. After reading something on your marriage bed site, I decided to ask him again. He admitted that he had, indeed. Just once he claims, and it was right around the time we started dating. I wanted to know, but now I wish I didn’t. I gave up on a gift I’d been practicing for him, I’ve no desire to compete with the pros. I wonder how often he thinks about her, dreams about her, wishes he could have her instead. (Granted this was before we were married or saved, but still…) And if I wasn’t good enough for him when I was young, fit, new and exciting – how can I possibly be good enough for him now that I’ve had and raised his sons, gained 10 pounds, and turned 40???? And if it “wasn’t a big deal, just a stupid thing the guys at work talked me into” – then why lie? The whole situation stinks. I’ve done my best to forget about it, but yes, it’s caused me a great deal of grief, comparing myself to what must have been an incredibly perfect, sexy, alluring woman to my plain old self. (Never been to a club but I’ve seen the ads, I know the women are near perfection, no matter what he tries to tell me.) And as I said, if I wasn’t enough for him then, I can’t possibly be enough for him now. What I did learn is this – don’t trust, and don’t ask! You might not like the answer.

    • @Anony4This – First the lie – he was afraid of what the truth would cost him. I know a fellow married more than a dozen years who was getting very close and open with his wife. One day she asked if he had any secrets. She said he could tell her anything and she would be fine with it. So he told her about what amounted to a brief emotional affair a decade earlier. He ended it, and broke contact with the woman, and they had since moved. His wife went ballistic on him – demanded he leave the house and not come back and refused to let him see their two children because he was “dangerous”. It was six months before she let him come home, and longer than that before she let him back in their bedroom. Every man has heard a story like this and it makes us all a bit paranoid.

      As to a lap dance or a striptease, you have something no “pro” has – you have his love. When he looks at you, he doesn’t see what you see in the mirror, he sees the woman of his dreams, the wife he loves. PLEASE don’t dismiss that, it’s a big deal. It’s similar to how you see your children – they can be sick or covered in dirt but you don’t see them the way a stranger would. Love changes how we see people, and this is true for men and it’s true for sex.

      Finally, he told you the second time because he felt he could trust you with it. He took a huge risk, and he lost. He thought you could deal with it, but you couldn’t. So he also learned a lesson and not one that’s good for either of you.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Deal With the Brake!My Profile

      • That’s kind of lame, blaming me for “not dealing with it.” I’m not the one who cheated on his brand new girlfriend with a stripper, and then lied about it.

        I can forgive him the act itself, since it occurred before we were married. I’m having trouble with the lie, and it makes me wonder, just what else has he lied about? And the continued lies he has fed me for years of “you’re so pretty” and trying to act like he finds me attractive when we both know that’s not true. How can it be? It can’t. Not when he has shared such an intimate act with a stripper, who, let’s face it, must have been stunning because they HAVE to be in order to even get hired for such an establishment. So I’m sure I pale in comparison to his fantasy girl, AND, if he felt the need to go indulge in such a woman way back when, when our relationship was new, there is no way he was attracted to me then, nor could he be now. He fooled me once, I’m not falling for it again.

        If he didn’t want me upset by it, perhaps he shouldn’t have done it. There is no way “guys at work” have that much influence over another guy. That is just a big cop-out excuse.

        By the way, I just got really hurt by all of this, I never kicked him out of the house or anything. I didn’t even refuse him sex. It just cemented my belief that I have never been good enough for him, I never will be, I am not beautiful, I’m not who he thinks about during sex, and it is what it is. Sometimes I think he should’ve married his little stripper dream girl, if she’s who he was so attracted to, he should have just dumped me and gone after what he really wanted.

        • @Anony4This – The problem I see is you have made a large number of assumptions, and I doubt most if any of them are true.

          I’ve never been to a strip club, but I know plenty of men who really didn’t want to go to one who got pressured to do so. It’s like being talked into jumping off a high cliff into the water – you don’t want to, but pride and group dynamics push you to do it. I’m not excusing it, but please don’t think he was all about going because he may not have been. And don’t assume he enjoyed the lap dance because he may have been horrified and just wanted it to be over.

          Even more than those things, you’re putting how you see yourself on him, and THAT IS NOT HOW HE SEES YOU.

          I’m sorry for the pain you’re feeling and the way it’s hurting and limiting your marriage. While your husband’s choices are part of why you feel this they are not the only thing going on. Your assumptions are a projection of how you feel about yourself and they have nothing to do with your husband. He can’t change or fix what is in your mind, so he’s stuck with a wife who believes things about him which are false.

          I pray you can catch some hint of what I’m saying here. I’m sure your husband does not see you or think of you as you say he does, and your believing those lies is doing far more harm than the lie he kept from you all those years.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Deal With the Brake!My Profile

        • Yes, you are making assumptions. My husband went to a strip club while we were married. He did it because he was getting razzed (abused) by the guys at work and needed to stay on their good side because he was the trainee. From what I understand, he had a couple of drinks, then left. He likely saw topless women and strippers, and that friggin’ hurts. He also decided to quit that job training because unless you were in the boorish boys’ club, you were ostracized. It literally made him sick. So, yes, pressure from work mates can be very strong. I remember being mercilessly harassed at work by other women who made it their personal mission to get me laid or drunk because they didn’t like how goody two shoes I was. I didn’t join their club and ended up fired from my job.

          Also, not all strippers are gorgeous women. Out of curiosity, I checked out the “talent” at two different local strip clubs (online pics) and none of them had any real “lookers.” Average women with average bodies. Not a single playboy model among them.

          My husband watches a lot of TV shows and movies with female nudity in them. I hate it, absolutely hate it, and he knows it. But I don’t feel that he prefers or wants them over me. To allow such thoughts to cement in my mind would be like putting my marriage in cement shoes and dropping it in the river.

          He never wanted the stripper then and doesn’t want her now, I guarantee it. She probably isn’t even much more than an annoying shadow in his memory.

          • @libl – I don’t have any first-hand experience, but I’d bet women at strip clubs are not nearly as good looking as most women assume. The first requirement is being willing to get naked in front of strangers who are just using you for their own thrills. I can’t imagine the kind of brokenness one must have to do that, and serious brokenness shows physically.
            My porn use was magazines from the 60’s and 70’s. In the older one’s where it was pin-up or topless images, many of the women were fairly good looking. But when full nudity started, the women looked a lot less attractive. Very few women were willing to spread their legs for a camera, and the “standards” probably had to be lowered a good deal.
            In reality, men are not looking at these women as people. They focus on a few body parts and don’t know or care what the rest looks like. It’s not sex, it’s a show of sexual parts, which is entirely different.

  6. I often thank my husband for not laughing at my pitiful attempts to entertain him with my version of exotic dance (I’m not even able to do regular dance!) He looks at me like I’m crazy and tells me how much he enjoys it. I don’t think he’s putting me on because of the outcome (wink, wink). I suppose there are some men so sophisticated and worldly that they wouldn’t be satisfied with the effort of a plain, normal woman to please them. My husband isn’t one of them, and I’ll bet neither is yours.

    • Lynn, that is AWESOME that you are so confident and that your husband loves you that much. I envy you. Ironically, I was a cheerleader and I could dance, and I like to think I “still got the moves” – but I do not have the confidence to compete with the pros. The saddest thing is, I planned this big surprise, practiced a lot, thought I was ready to go and really surprise him. After reading a survey on a blog, I figured I’d better ask and double check that he hadn’t done this before and I was so excited to give him his little gift. When I found out he had in fact experienced this before, my gift was ruined. I’ve never done it and don’t think I ever will. And he could have made it better by simply asking me to do it anyway, but he didn’t. He said he was afraid to bring up a painful subject, but I think we both know he was just relieved I hadn’t attempted anything he’d have to force himself to act like he liked. Otherwise he would have encouraged me to go ahead. So there’s that. All the proof I need to know he wouldn’t want such a dance from me, since he has the memories of the professional dancer who I am sure he was totally enamored by. it’s so sad.

      But I am honestly happy for you. I love hearing about couples that are in love, and husbands who enjoy their wives. I know I shouldn’t covet, but I wish my husband found me worthy of his love and attraction. I wish my husband wanted the gift I practiced so hard to give him, but I don’t think he did, does, or ever will. But you go, girl! It’s awesome that you and your husband can share something so sweet!!

  7. There are several things I wish for, and will likely never see in this life — one of them is to have my wife actually open up to me. So guarded. So reserved. It keeps our intimacy at a level that has become steeped in mediocrity.
    I’m not looking for anything spiritually (or physically) harmful — I’m looking for the closeness and the intimacy being open and honest can produce. I’m looking for my one and only teammate to treat me as her equal. It’s been 25+ years and I’ve decided to stop pleading, and to stop trying through example. The efforts lead no where and only create unmet expectations.
    While it’s a little hurtful, I’m grateful for the challenge; never would have experienced anything like this without marriage. Never would have known the depths of this aspect of life without it.
    If you can be open with your husband, please do so — he’ll be forever grateful, and I promise, if it’s anything bad, he won’t remember. We’re not made that way, so really you have nothing to lose.

  8. @anony4this
    I feel like your marriage may have waaaay more issues than the simple fact he confessed going to a strip club.
    I pray you will practice what Christ continually preaches, and forgive and move on (& I am coming from years worth of hurt in MY OWN marriage, that now, through the GRACE of God, we have a restored new marriage filled with love, respect and The Lord as our guide)


    • Dear @Anon4this. Please stop listening to those voices in your head that say your not good enough. I get were a cheerleader and you have that image of your teenage self in your head to compare with your image now. But that was a GIRL, and now you are a woman with experience and knowledge of your husband that no teenage girl or stranger in a strip club has. Why are you so quick to dismiss your TODAY self as the real center of your husband’s fantasy life? Sure some men like porn and strip clubs but they also like trust and safety and unconditional acceptance. Just like women do. No stranger fills the spot in a good man’s heart like the woman he CHOSE to marry and spend his life with. Please stop assuming he even thinks about this “professional” in the positive manner you think he does. I have worked and befriended lots of men in my career, and i hear the real truth.. those women look used up and they often smell pretty awful after dancing for an hour (hey that’s pretty athletic stuff they are doing and they SWEAT!). I’m going challenge some of the guys reading this to back me up. What this all boils down to is that YOU are the REAL DEAL, the dancer of his dreams so you need to do that dance, not just for hubby but for yourself!

      • @Tins – You are exactly right!
        I often hear “try to remember why you fell in love” or “what first attracted you to her.” But that was then. Some of those things no longer matter and plenty of things that the other person is now matter a lot. Today I wouldn’t be attracted to the women my wife was 32 years ago. She would seem empty and shallow. She was a seedling and now she is a beautiful flowering plant. She was right for me then and she’s right for me now, but who she was then would not be right for me now.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…The Blessing of Toxic Waste DisposalMy Profile

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