“We’re all well-trained (conditioned) in deception and dishonesty about sex, starting when we’re born and continuing throughout our childhood and teenage years. Our parents are seldom honest with us about sex when we’re growing up. Very few children get good, clear facts about sex. And almost none of us gets sound information about sexuality and sexual love.I encourage you to consider the impact of the lack of solid parent-child communication about sex, leading teenagers to believe that “sex and secrecy” go hand-in hand. This situation contributes to the pattern of secrecy and deception so common among teens—and then later among married adults who have affairs.
As teenagers we’re unable to talk honesty with our parents about sex, so we present a false image to our parents when we become sexually active. By the time we get married we’ve had plenty of practice at being deceptive and dishonest about sex. When a married man or woman has an extramarital affair, they’re continuing this pattern of dishonesty about sex that began long before the extramarital affair, long before they ever married.
When I found out about the numerous affairs James had over a seven-year period, I kept thinking, “How could he have done such a thing?” I was overwhelmed by the contrast with his image of being a “faithful husband” during that time. He seemed almost like a stranger as I became aware of this new information. It seemed impossible that he could have been so deceptive. After realizing this was the kind of pretense he’d learned when we were teenagers hiding our sex lives from our parents, I could better understand how he did it.”
That passage really speaks for itself. I’ll just add that the extreme nature of my hidden adultery strikes me as proportional to the extreme manner in which my mother demonized everything related to sexuality. She dresses and behaves androgynously, and she basically expected me to do the same. She shamed me if I did not. She was afraid to be a woman and she wanted me to fear being a man. I learned that being sexual; wanting sex, even from my wife; and talking honestly about sex were all shameful. I learned that if I did want sex, it was part of a shameful, covert aspect of my personality.
I think the answer to all of this is to work on not being afraid to share my thoughts and feelings about sex with TL.