We All Lie: How to Tell the Truth About What We Want

SDC Dr Jaime M Grant BDSM Sexual Health Empowerment Relationships Authenticity Advice
SDC Dr Jaime M Grant BDSM Sexual Health Empowerment Relationships Authenticity Advice
Lying to ourselves and others is a skill we draw on significantly as we shape our sexuality. It's hard to tell the truth about sex. Here are some tips to guide you toward sexual authenticity.

I got into sex coaching because I’m a world-class liar. There was no way to be truthful and survive my childhood, so I became insanely good at it. I could lie to your face, tearfully, about any damn thing I wanted to, if it would get me the thing I needed to get through the day.

Unfortunately, this skill started killing me. I couldn’t tell lies from the truth. I couldn’t tell my friends from my enemies. I couldn’t figure out who I was. For many of us growing up in households and communities that police our genders and our sexual expression, this is a very common experience. So often, girls are forced into high-femme pink parades and passive, spirit-crushing behaviors while boys are punished for any signs of emotional vulnerability, empathy and connectedness. And, for those of us who live outside of the girl/boy gender binary, life can be a daily exercise in social rejection and violence.

Lying to ourselves and others is a skill we draw on significantly as we shape our sexuality, because all of us, whatever our race, genders, sexuality, age, abilities, and desires — all of us are forming our sexuality within this judgmental, gender-rigid, anti-sex system.

Questioning Our Mythology of Ourselves

I became a sex coach because I wanted to chip away at the sex and desire myths that have been forced upon us to keep us in line, to rob us of our authentic sexual expression, to confuse and separate us. I also got into this work to help my clients uncover and question our mythology of ourselves, for some of us — our survival lies — to get to our deeper truths, to claim and honor our true sexuality and our sexual power.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve often listened to clients talk about their desire a certain socially acceptable way, only to discover through the coaching process that their actual desires were something far different. For example, some of the women in my practice have confessed — despite a life-long commitment to equality in their day-to-day lives — an overwhelming desire to dominate in the bedroom. Football heroes have discovered a desire to submit or be penetrated. Gay people have revealed their love of straight sex. Voyeurs have outed their inner exhibitionists. Pacifists have whispered a yearning to hurt or constrain.

It’s Hard to Tell the Truth About Sex

Great Sex is sold to us by the minute as the measure of our beauty and success, our self-worth. And yet this oversell and overkill only cheapens the value of real sexual connection in our lives. While sex is arguably not as important as love, it often brings significant, life-changing impacts. Even when sex is superficial, we invariably learn something about ourselves — are we generous or withholding? Creative? Courageous? Asking for what we want while lying naked in the dark (or standing fully clothed in the kitchen for that matter) is not for the faint of heart.

Three Exploratory Self-Reflections

The first thing I ask my clients to do is to write their sex story. Many tell me that they don’t have a sex story. What I tell them is this: Everybody has one. People who have never been sexual have sex stories, because they have made choices about how to address their desire, or lack of desire. 

The second thing I ask them to do is this: Free yourself from judging how or from whom you’ve learned about your desire. Free yourself to remember those moments when all the blood rushed to your face, or when your body let go of its inhibitions, and you were overcome by an orgasm, or a simple kiss. Free yourself to know what you know about your deepest desires, whether you were tied up, or held down, or on top, or blindfolded, or screaming, or weeping, or with someone you’d decided you’d never get close to, or having sex with yourself alone. Allow yourself to know the things you already know about what turns you on, makes you crazy, brings you to the edge of reason, or pushes you over the edge of physical and emotional control. Free yourself to discover the power of your sex story. Everybody has one. And everything you need to know to embody a vibrant, authentic sexuality is embedded in it. 

The third thing we do is consider these three pivotal questions:

The biggest lie I tell myself about my sexuality is... ?

The big thing I’m hiding about what I really want is... ?

Who forced me to create this lie? Who or what is it for?


To purchase Dr. Grant’s book, Great Sex: Mapping Your Desire, or to get more help on your Desire Mapping journey, you can reach her at any of the links in her author bio below.

Dr. Jaime M. Grant

"Dr. Jaime M. Grant is a lesbian feminist social justice researcher and educator who has been active in LGBTQ, women’s and racial justice movements since the early 90s. Her sexual liberation workshop, Desire Mapping, has been produced on college campuses and at LGBTQ and human rights leadership conferences around the world. Her podcast based on the workshop, Just Sex: Mapping Your Desire, captures everyday sex stories told by Desire Mappers from Beijing to Capetown, from Dallas to Denver to DC. Grant’s academic research has appeared in: The Harvard LGBTQ Policy Journal; The Reader’s Companion to US Women’s History and in SIGNS, the Journal of Culture and Society; and the National Women’s Studies Association Journal. Her autobiographical writing has appeared in popular anthologies including Leslea Newman’s The Femme Mystique and Rachel Epstein’s collection on queer parenting, Who’s Your Daddy? In 2011, she was the principal investigator for the National Transgender Discrimination Study, Injustice at Every Turn. Currently, her articles on race, gender, and sexuality appear in The Body is Not an Apology, Medium, The LA Blade, Everyday Feminism, and The Huffington Post. To listen to and support Dr. Grant’s podcast, go to justsexpodcast.com."
  • Anonymous