Secret Sex

I’ve got a secret….

We’ve all had one of ‘those relationships’ where all you pretty much do is have secret sex. You know the sort I mean. You might not even like the person very much, in some cases the sex isn’t even that good but that doesn’t stop you from grabbing every available opportunity to get at it. In secret.

This secrecy adds heat. Gives it an extra level of intensity; raising the game, increasing the urge.

Lifts, laundry rooms, secret pathways, public toilets, back stage of theatres, cars, alley ways, late night cab rides, other people’s bedrooms and kitchens and bath rooms….you get the picture.

There’s something deliciously sordid about sneaking around especially when it’s someone at work or in your social circle when you keep it to yourselves. It adds an extra element of spice, excitement, eroticism. Those loaded looks between students or colleagues about ‘meetings’ or ‘rehearsals’ that will only amount to one thing. That after work drink when you’re sitting opposite the person you’re actually texting, grabbing secret seconds together in the cleaning cupboard before your boss bursts in.

Some people like to take this to the extreme. Dogging for instance. In this pretty common past time (you’d be surprised) strangers, often including married couples, meet up to have sex with each other. This can be anywhere but normally is in lay-bys, heavily wooded areas and dark countryside car parks. Some dogging ‘groups’ draw quite a crowd and can contain one featured couple, shagging in a car let’s say, surrounded by several lone men having a wank and a watch who may even ejaculate on the windscreen; this is called sea-gulling. In some circles there are multiple couples, there can be swaps or sometimes one generous lady or gent will share themselves with several of the onlookers. But they don’t know each other. They are not friends. They may only see those people that one time and a bit like AA pretend they don’t recognise each other if they were to meet out in public. In Channel 4’s incredibly informative documentary Dogging Tales nearly all participants wear masks to protect their identities.

What is that? Why do we have this secretive streak? Where does it come from? And what is the basis for it? In the case of dogging it seems to come down to shame, an inner life and an outer life-don’t tell the children! There is an element of self protection and protection of others due to the lewd nature of the act which could devastate families if ‘the village’ found out.

Purely secret sex , no texting or hint of affection, between two work colleagues can be dangerous unless both parties are on the same page which sadly is rarely the case. One is generally hanging on in hope of the sordid turning into something genuine while the other is happy just getting their kicks in secret. Then again we have the same question; why the secret? Women are often chastised for having sex while men are praised and if it’s likely that someone is taking advantage of someone else’s feelings this may not be looked upon flatteringly.

Do any of these relationships have potential to turn into something long term or should they be kept a secret?

Is there anything wrong with the secret?

Why shouldn’t people keep their relationships a secret until they feel comfortable with them? There’s nothing wrong with a bit of privacy. We shouldn’t feel that we have to ‘come out’ to everyone about our private lives as soon as things start to happen especially when working with a tight-knit team that are in each other’s faces 24/7. It’s nice to have something that’s just yours. A testing ground if you like; to see if the relationship will actually work as a relationship or is simply secret sex. And if it does have potential, good for them.

However many affair was born on this shaky ground which although being ‘morally wrong’ still holds its own appeal regardless of its potentially devastating effects. Divorce, separation, child custody, dog custody, slut-shaming, embarrassment; even a loss of job, home, friends, life? Most of us, if we’re honest, have lived through both sides of adultery and in my experience it is equally painful regardless of the side you’re on. The pleasure rarely measures up to the pain. But we still do it. I believe we all have it in us to follow those emotions, those urges regardless of whether they adhere to the ‘moral code’ or not.

We are all human.

And with that comes a desire to misbehave. We get a kick out of it. Is this a natural instinct or one created by our own societal ties. Has our history of morality, religion and manners instilled upon us a desire to be, well, naughty? Has the very thing that we used to aspire to be, correct, well-groomed, an upstanding citizen incited this human rebellion of the laws of love?

Maybe reading this you don’t think so.

‘I’ve never had a secret affair’

‘I’ve never done it in a Laundry Room’

‘Shame on you Janna’.

Yeah, yeah, fine. If you haven’t then that’s fine. But don’t tell me you don’t know anyone who has. If we search our collective memoirs we can all come up with a few saucy stories, some Tabloid journalists have made careers out of telling other peoples secrets. And they are some of the BEST stories. Don’t we just love it when we are the owner of the juiciest story and eek out the telling of it, particularly the grisly bits, embellishing here, developing there…

So even if we don’t own up to or act out the behaviour we are still attracted to the concept of it. Tit-bits of gossip about who’s shagging who ripple around the staff room, dinner hall or picnic bench.


Ironically knowing that we are all pretty much ‘at it’ in some way or another still doesn’t seem to make it OK. Judgement is always present in some face, gesture or mind somewhere making it obvious why we keep these things a secret in the first place. Yet again we are faced with our own hypocrisy as a species. We are fine to let it all hang out in a counselling session or to a solitary friend but when faced with wider society we typically conform to what is perceived as being normal and hide our secret selves for shame of being ostracised in some way.

Maybe we want to keep it secret in order to keep the heat. Maybe it wouldn’t be ‘good’ anymore if it wasn’t a secret? Maybe the very fact that it is a secret is why we are doing it?

Live and let love, people, live and let love.


Janna’s regular blog Sobriety in The City is published every other Wednesday. Next up 12th July.





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