When you first start dating, it makes sense that he’ll conceal the things he’s not particularly proud of: his messy flat, his mother’s daily phone calls, his hairy back. But by the time you’re a serious couple, you assume you know your bedmate’s every last idiosyncrasy. Right? Don’t be so sure.
According to new research published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, one in 10 men are harbouring a serious sexual secret. “There are two kinds of secrets guys keep,” says clinical psychologist Dr Les Parrott, author of Crazy Good Sex. “Things they wish their wives or girlfriends would understand but are scared they won’t, and things they’re just plain trying to get away with.”
With that in mind, we surveyed hundreds of men to find out what they’re hiding at different stages of the relationship and asked some experts to decode their behaviour. Unfortunately, what we discovered was that there’s a good chance your man is keeping at least one dirty secret.
Read on to find out what, if anything, you should do about it…
What He’s Hiding
The number of women he’s had sex with
Some men exaggerate to sound more sexually experienced; others downplay their notches so you don’t dismiss them as players. “Men know that if they confess to a large number of partners, it sends the message that they’re unlikely to commit to one. That is, to you,” says Prof David Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire.
“What you should do”
What you should do Take him at his word, but protect yourself. Be vigilant about using a condom every time you have sex – at least until you’ve both been tested for STDs and you feel secure that you’re in a committed relationship. If you do discover that he’s deceived you about his sexual history, get it out in the open, but give him a chance to explain. “He could have fibbed out of embarrassment, insecurity or sincere interest in you,” says Dr Ian Kerner, author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman.
What He’s Hiding
He watches porn – maybe a lot
According to a study at Brigham Young University in the US, 87 percent of men have looked at some form of porn in the past year, and one in five help themselves to X-rated fare daily. Men like to look at naked women – no surprise there – but what is shocking is how quickly they can become dependent on those erotic images. A powerful pleasure cocktail of endorphins and epinephrine (hormones responsible for arousal and alertness) is released while a man watches porn, Parrott says. And that feeling can become addictive.
"What you should do"
Occasional porn isn’t the problem; it only becomes destructive when it starts to intrude on your sex life. “The two big questions are ‘Is it interfering with your life and relationship?’ and ‘Is he using it to avoid something?’” says sex therapist Dr Sandor Gardos. If he actively hides his material and makes excuses to avoid having sex, be concerned. Broach the subject when you’re calm and rational. “Angry accusations never go down well,” Gardos says. Another tactic is to suggest watching porn together. “It becomes compulsive when he feels like he has to hide it,” he says. So if you’re willing to share it with him, you’ll take the compulsion out of the equation. Plus, experts say, viewing erotic images together can enhance your sex life.
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