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Secrecy versus Privacy

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Believe it or not, there really is a big difference! There is such a thing as too much sharing, too much information (TMI!). While, ultimately, you'll have a healthier relationship with someone who know you well, from whom you have no (or few) secrets, you don't want to share all of your secrets at the beginning.

For one thing, if you share your dark secrets too soon, what if you find out that this person isn't really a good match for you? It's possible that your secrets really aren't safe with that person. Or, at the very least, you may feel embarrassed (or possibly mortified!) over something that you've shared.

It takes time to establish trust (remember that #1 tenet, waiting!). I dated a guy once who said, of course, I could trust him! I resisted, saying that I didn't want to walk on thin ice. He said that the ice was nice and thick. Well, it turned out that the ice was paper thin. The only way to establish trust is slowly, taking care of yourself (ultimately, you are the only one who can take care of yourself). Walk on the edge of the pond. When you decide it's actually safe, then you can walk a little farther, day by day, until you are the one who knows that the ice will support you. This is also one place where it's helpful to have had your freinds and/or family vet the person, so that people that you know know love you, people you already know and trust, have the time to advise you about whether your trust level is warranted.

So, for instance, when a man might be just started to 'court' me (I love that phrase), I might not tell him about my being raped when I was four years old. While that secret affects me in many ways, sharing that secret too soon is more likely to scare him off than it is to help him understand more about who I am and the experiences that have shaped my feelings and my behavior. So, by not sharing, I am choosing to protect my privacy.

The same holds true for the Sexuality Contract. This is a contract that you make with your self. It is a set of rules that you choose to establish boundaries, to keep you from going too fast, too soon. In the beginning, it really is a private matter.

So, for instance, he doesn't need to know that you're waiting 3 or 6 months before choosing to become sexualy active. If he's not with you in 2 weeks, six weeks, whatever, then you haven't lost anything (except, possibly, sex with a sleazeball who might have who-knows-what type of STD). He doesn't need to know.

If he's pressuring you to go too fast, that tells you more about him than you might not want to know. He doesn't value you enough to wait. He's afraid that if he doesn't get you attached to him by having sex, he might lose you (and, hey, you might actually want to run if he's got that much to hide). He might actually be only looking for a roll in the hay (in which case, you'll learn too late that you aren't looking for the same thing, a long-term or permanent healthy relationship). You don't need to share your secret to begin to see that his pressure is actually a red flag that tells you to run before you are too caught up to want to run.

Enjoy the courting phase of a relationship! You'll both be on your very best behavior for a while. But you won't be able to keep that up forever. Actually, you want this person to love you, warts and all. But first, you are entitled to keep secrets from anyone that doesn't know you, that isn't willing to take the time to get to know you.

It's okay to protect your privacy. Slowly, slowly, you can begin to share your secrets. But it is your responsibility, you owe it to youself, to not go too fast, too soon. It's okay to wait before you share everything. After all, you, too, may find out that there's something about your potential partner that will show you that either they aren't a match, they aren't really the person you would like to be with, or they have red flags that make it necessary to them to run way from you!

Sexuality Contract
Darbie Marlin

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It's okay to keep it to your self!