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Honesty In Bed: How Honest Is Too Honest?

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Since the advent of the sexual revolution brushing up against the women's revolution, juxtaposing with the women's sexual revolution (when people started believing women were actually capable of, and deserved to have sexual enjoyment and not just provide that for men) honesty has been a hallmark of "good" sex.

Open communication has become a norm, and we feel inadequate if we are not communicating about our needs and wants, about what feels right and what doesn't . Taking this a step further, we wish to explore deeper issues in bed, act out fantasies, role play. True honesty is a precursor for these activities, enhancing our pleasure, deepening our intimacy, strengthening our relationship.

But how honest is too honest? Is there even such a thing? Do we get to say everything we think and feel as we grow more intimate with our partner or is there a limit to what is acceptable, appropriate, helpful?

As in any arena in our lives, constructive criticism is crucial to our growth and development, bringing us closer to a level of enjoyment and satisfaction in our knowledge of exactly how to go about doing, well, whatever it is we are doing. If that constructive criticism isn't tempered with a healthy dose of praise, or if it becomes a vehicle for finding fault in every moment, every movement, then a toxic, resentment laden emotional environment can quickly result. Particularly in the bedroom, where our vulnerable bellies both literally and emotionally, are exposed, being told what not to do and what isn't working without a lot of "Oh, yea, I LOVE that" can make us feel less than happy and in fact can turn us off completely to engaging in sex with our partner.

Criticism can be veiled. By constantly directing your partner, you can lose a lot of the heat, the flow, the chemistry of being in the moment and sensing each other's energy. Of course, being directed can also be an incredible turn on, but it must be done with the idea that this is exciting; not that this is what has to happen because otherwise it is simply not any fun.

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Sorry it took me so long to write back. Your comments are always hilarious, brilliant and insightful. I especially love your last insight about people saying: "Hey, I'm not being critical...." it's up there with: "It's not PERSONAL" and also, the ever lovely, prefacing a verbal smack in the face with this doozy: "I don't want to offend you, but......"

Ah, joy. The wonders of intimacy shall never cease to amaze!

Have a lovely day and thank you, as always, for your comments.


November 18, 2009 - 1:45pm
HERWriter Guide

Great post Aimee.

Honesty is the best policy in the courtroom but NOT necessarily the best policy in the bedroom. One cannot give criticism (hey, just being honest!) to a lover and then tell them it's nothing personal. It can't get any MORE personal!

If our partner loves to do something we hate, it has to stop. Sometimes we're just not into a certain act or position. But instead of saying we hate it, we can ask to try something else we like and then show enough appreciation that what we don't like can fade away and become extinct. And we can show high praise to what we like, to temper the fact that we are withdrawing in other areas. Unless we're with our twin (euuw!) in bed, then we all have something or other that contradicts what our lover likes. It's no big deal and doesn't have to be a deal breaker (if it is, we may need to re-evaluate our relationship) but there is a happy compromise to be found. We can find our happiness with a man, and he with us, without crushing each other in the process.

As an aside, ever notice that some people seem to say "hey, I'm not criticizing, I'm just being honest!" when in fact, they are absolutely criticizing in the most nonconstructive way?! I think they are the same people who start a sentence with "No offense, but...." right before they say something completely offensive!

November 9, 2009 - 1:30pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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