A while back, I was driving to San Diego with a fellow sex educator. We were both heading down from LA to teach at a weekend Tantra festival.
As we chatted passionately about our work and our lives the topic of transparency came up. It’s a topic I think about often.
I believe in radical honesty.
This means that I hide nothing from my intimate partners.
In my current primary relationship with Ian, we started the relationship based on radical honesty and transparency.
This practice has kept things vital, alive, full of growth and hot for 11 years now.
It has also created a need for growth. Sometimes very uncomfortable growth. Recently, we’ve been completely reinventing our relationship, pulling apart enmeshment and dismantling old behaviors and patterns that don’t serve us as we uncover even deeper truths about what we want and what we need.
It’s intense, but it’s invigorating. It’s real!
Ian often says his belief of the higher purpose of a relationship is to see the real person standing in front of him. To face the fears that may arise when seeing the other person’s truth, because, without this truth, the relationship is a sham.
True love, the active, generative form of love, is about seeing and being seen; loving, accepting and supporting the other for who they truly are.
Wanting for them, what they want for themselves, even if it triggers deep fears in oneself.
To see and be seen.
By being transparent in my sexual and loving relationships, I allow my partners to make informed decisions, be in empathy and compassion with me (walk in my shoes) and experience deep, authentic intimacy.
By being transparent I build trust. Trust builds safety and safety allows for the deepest form of intimacy.
Do you want to really know your lover, or do you want them to pretend to be someone they are not, just to please you?
Do you want to keep pretending, or are you ready to be loved for who you really are?
The answer seems obvious, but so many of us keep up the charade in little and big ways, so as not to rock the boat.
You may think to yourself, “I could never really reveal everything to my partner, especially when it comes to how I feel about sex. He/she would be devastated.” Or, “Something is wrong with me. I’m broken and if they truly knew me, they would never want to be with me.”
Many women fake orgasms, many men lie about their sexual confidence. We keep secrets about our desires for other people. We withhold our sexual fantasies and don’t share that we are often starving in our need for affection, connection, sex or new ways of relating.
This inauthentic behavior doesn’t help anyone have better sexual experiences or deep loving relationships.
We’re afraid to really be seen, but at the same time, we crave being deeply known and accepted.
You may withhold information, or you may flat out lie. Why?
- Are you afraid of being judged or rejected, or both?
- Are you afraid that telling your partner the truth will hurt them?
- Are you afraid of your own desires? What would happen if you got everything you wanted? Do you deserve it?
- Are you afraid of your partner’s desires? What might they feel is lacking, what do they really desire in your relationship that they haven’t been sharing?
It’s all okay, you can be transparent about your fear too.
In fact, when opening a scary conversation, it can help open your partner to you, when you start by being authentic and transparent about your fears.
In my experience, practicing transparency allows couples to love and thrive in relationships.
When we are vulnerable to one another and really share what is going on, a new level of trust can be reached. Trust is fundamental to deep pleasure and orgasm.
Transparency in our sexual relationships can be scary as hell. That’s why it is an ongoing practice.
Start right now, start with yourself. What is something that you are afraid to admit to yourself when it comes to your sexual pleasure? What is something that you have been withholding from your partner about sex? Can you communicate this to your partner?
If you’re single, what have you been denying yourself in your sexuality? Can you get real with yourself about what you need?
Here’s an example of Sexual Transparency:
“I have something that I want to talk to you about, but I am afraid that if I share it, you won’t love me anymore. Would you be open to hearing me right now? Is now a good time?”
If the timing is not right, ask for a specific time when it would be good to talk. Pouncing on your partner with big topics can be a recipe for disaster and not getting your needs met.
After you’ve shared your fear, your partner may lean in and tell you they’re there for you.
Your partner may contract because their own fear has been triggered.
Stay present to what’s happening. If they contract, tighten, pull back, call it out without judgment!
“My hallucination is that your body tightened up, and I’m making that mean that maybe you’re feeling concerned or scared about what I’m about to tell you. Am I perceiving this correctly, or is something else going on?”
You want your lover to be as clear a channel as possible to hear what you need to share. Once they are ready, you can continue…
“I often feel that when we make love, it’s over just as I am getting going. I really want to savor love-making with you and have a slower experience, with more foreplay. Would you be willing to provide that to me and what would you need in order to provide that for me? And I want to say, I feel sad that I waited so long to talk to you about this.”
Notice in the example above that the person sharing says what they feel. They are honest about their feelings.
Also note, that they do not blame the other person, but instead they make a request and then share their feelings again. This is a great way of communicating that helps to open you both up to truly hearing each other as opposed to getting defensive.
When you share your emotions (“I’m feeling sad, I’m feeling anger, etc.”), without saying or implying, “You make me feel x, y, and z,” you are stating an inarguable truth. It’s how you feel. Your partner may not want you to feel that way, but they can’t argue with your feelings or with what you need. They can argue with being blamed or criticized.
Once you’ve opened up a difficult topic, it may take a while for you and your partner to figure out how to meet each other’s needs, especially if the needs are new or change your previous conscious or unconscious agreements.
Don’t give up, even if it’s difficult. Keep seeking the win/win in your relating.
Transparency is a tool for a hotter sexual experience.
I have seen it in my own personal relationships as well as with my students.
As my fellow sex educator and I drove to San Diego I remembered how much of a turn on transparency is.
As my partner says, “Radical honesty is a powerful aphrodisiac.”
I find it to be such a breath of fresh air in times when we distrust our politicians, our sports heroes, and our entertainers.
Could transparency be a more authentic way to flirt?
Could it be a brand new way to begin a relationship for you??
It works for my colleague (and for me), try it, it might work for you too!