On Secrets and Lies

contributed by Celeste DiNixi

Lies clog up your communication with people like plaque in an artery. I believe there are no lies that are not ongoing, unless they have been directly corrected by the liar and resolved with the people most affected by the lie. I don’t care much for atonement or confession outside of role-play.  I care about clear and efficient communication with self-aware people, because I am most turned on by shamelessness, exuberant sensual response, painful desire, aching longing, and the overcoming of fear. These states of intensity require some baseline of honesty among partners.

A practice of being more honest with yourself and people you interact with can, over time, reduce stress. When you have a longstanding habit of honesty with someone, you can relax when you’re with them. One way to see this is: you can relax because you are not expending energy trying to tell them the “right” story, which is a fiction, which takes energy to produce. You can be yourself in real time with a person you are honest with. This is one reason the D/s relationship structure appealed to me. I love relationship structures that rely on honest communication. Oh, I just do exactly what I want, and listen to my partners as they respond and feel things and have desires of their own, plus I get to enjoy both our pleasure? Done and done. 

Before I decided to devote myself to a practice of fully inhabiting my dominance, I spent years exploring my capacities as a submissive. In addition to more familiar joys of service and attention, I learned important lessons about my own boundaries and self respect. I knew at what point I would lose trust in my top and start lying to them to reduce conflict. I knew what it felt like to hide myself from the person I craved intimacy with the most. I did not enjoy that inner tension. I did not get off on the shame. I found that instead, I got off on full disclosure of difficult thoughts and feelings, shared experience, and mutual clarity. But first, I had to suffer some fear, have my boundaries crossed, and get hurt. Once I’d wiped the slate clean of resentment toward a partner who wanted to play more sadistically than I’d consented to, I knew I’d uncovered a valuable piece of the D/s puzzle: deep submission does not require perfect obedience, it requires a consistent offering of vulnerability, over time. I believe it is impossible to consistently offer deeper levels of vulnerability when you are expending energy keeping secrets from your top.

For a D/s relationship to progress beyond the get-to-know-you phase, a practice of honesty and the clearing up of old lies must occur. It often must hurt more to hurt less, like setting a bone.

To complicate things, most people lie about how well they know their own history of lying, and then forget when they’re lying about “small things,” and then defend their integrity and honesty in the present, no matter what. *rolls eyes. Our imagined perfect selves are such a nuisance to the ecstatic pleasure we are capable of feeling RIGHT NOW.

It is impossible that all of us are operating at optimal self awareness and honesty every time we talk about our selves, our needs, our desires. You are, right now, telling lies you have forgotten. You left them running like a white noise machine. Of course you might get caught, someone could yank the machine out of the wall. It is shocking, to have a forgotten lie exposed. 

One way my sadism emerges is when I realize I have the opportunity to yank someone else’s white noise machine out of their wall, to expose them, to show them their own state of denial or delusion. Almost never will I resist doing it. I enjoy the look of blank panic that crosses a submissive’s face when they realize what is happening. I do not enjoy mutual deception games, people who misbehave hoping for punishment, brats or bullies. I enjoy the true reveal of something in my submissive that they thought was hidden; or better yet, the reveal of something true in themselves that they weren’t aware of at all. I enjoy making them feel exposed, seen, noticed, and analyzed by a compassionate but strict ethical actor. I have very high standards and I do not apologize.

Secrets kept interpersonally have interpersonal consequences. Secrets kept on a larger scale have larger consequences. I believe sex work is criminalized, in part, because sex workers have access to some very sensitive and powerful information about our world. Imagine this press conference: sex workers pull the plug on the lies our corporate media sells about gender expression, kink, monogamy and marriage, erectile dysfunction, shadow economies, the police, drug cultures and trades, dominance and submission, gay/lesbian/queerness, Herpes I and II, class ascension, racism, sexism? (An unprioritized list. Please feel free to add more topics you feel sex workers could/should illuminate, in the Comments.) What might happen if sex workers pulled the plug on the white noise machine of American sexual politics? The shock to our current social system would be inevitable, because sex workers hold enough information, collectively, to rewrite much of our Now. But if what we know about sex is not a lie, why does it still feel like such a secret? 

Rather than answer that question for you, I will ask that you consider it and share your ideas.

I know that sometimes even our best attempts at honesty end up revealing our terrors, shames, and lopsided selves. A practical tip for clearing the air when trust has faltered in a D/s relationship: look to your own self-protection. You are probably keeping something “safe” from discussion with your partner that they would benefit from knowing about you or your play. It is good practice for all of us to consider our own contributions to a faltering of trust, especially when we are ready to blame our play partner for everything. Assume you are full of secrets, and proceed from there. 


photo: Mistress Celeste DiNixi