||Tales from the Sexual Underground
Secrets, Not Lies
by Rick Reed
This article shared 1302 times since Wed Jun 18, 2003
I have always needed secrets. Secrets are, for me, what air and water are to others. It is only lately that I wonder why I have the need to have something that is mine alone, inviolate. What are my secrets, you wonder. Could they be something as blasé as a furtive cigarette when all the world knows I have quit for good? Could they be something less naughty and more impactful … like a visit to a bathhouse when I am supposed to be in a committed relationship? Could they lie in the realm of the tawdry and, instead of the quick, anonymous encounter a bathhouse might provide, actually be something more gossip-worthy, such as an affair that has been going on for months? Or could it be something truly horrendous, like a drive-by shooting? Or an old lady clubbed over the head for the contents of her purse, so that I might purchase a quarter of tina and go to the bathhouse and be fucked 'unsafely' by a succession of strangers?
I'm not telling. The point of this column is not to reveal my secrets (and who knows? Maybe my greatest, and most boring, secret is that I do not have one), but to muse on why we have them. Are secrets necessary for our sanity? Do we need to have a secret because we need to stake a claim on something that is ours alone?
Living in a society where privacy has become a more and more foreign commodity, maybe having a secret or two is healthy. Maybe, in order to maintain psychological health, it's good to hold something back, to know something about oneself, whether it's a fact or a disposition, so that we caress this dark thing when no one else is around.
Would people be shocked by my secrets, especially the ones that revolve around sex? Would they be shocked by yours? There was a time when my gay life was a secret and I know that harboring that fact became an unbearable burden, unhealthy. What if the fact that the secrets I now harbor are merely a holdover from that time spent miserably in the closet, being loved and befriended for a person whom I knew I was not? What if my need for a secret or two is simply habit, learned from years of wearing a mask?
I like to think that the current state of my secrets, however boring, titillating, or downright shocking, are healthy and nothing like being in the closet. We all hold something back, don't we? Why we do it is what intrigues me. Is it from shame? Is it from a fear that we will not be loved if a deed or desire is exposed to the light? Or is it because we all need to have something that is ours alone, whether that thing is ongoing, a wish for the future, or something that we did in the past? I think it's the latter. Secrets can be a way of loving ourselves, knowing ourselves, and of keeping some of that, no matter how large or small, to ourselves and to those whose opinion will never matter (how many strangers know your secret?). A secret can be your best friend … and a whisper, or a mute smile, its best expression.
E-mail me your secrets at email@example.com . I'll never tell.
This article shared 1302 times since Wed Jun 18, 2003
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