Something You Haven't Told a Partner but Would Like To

Out of shyness, embarrassment, or fear, what haven't you said to a lover?

Posted Sep 15, 2019

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Many years ago, when I was in training for the San Francisco Sex Information Hotline, there was an exercise in which we each wrote on our name tag in addition to our names something that was very self-disclosing. It might be “two things you like to do with men” or “something sexual you haven’t done yet but might try.”

Can you imagine 35 people walking around wearing this information on their chests? Can you imagine what fun it was reading these disclosures and then talking about them with a stranger or with 34 strangers? “Oh, do you like doing that? I do too!” 

Maybe you can see why I enjoyed the Hotline training so much and why I write a book about my experiences there, fictionalized of course (Aural Sex & Verbal Intercourse, later republished as Sex Information, May I Help You?).

For those who have no knowledge of the San Francisco Sex Information’s Hotline, it is one of the oldest such information hotlines in the U.S. The line is open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., or it was then. I don’t know the hours now. 

Anyone of any age can phone in for information about sex or relationships, and they will be given honest information without any shaming or coyness. It is now also online as well. That’s where I and so many others learned to speak honestly and openly about sex.

One of many funny stories stemming from those announcements stuck to our clothing was about something you haven’t told your partner but would like to. One comedian (yes, he really was a comedian; you may have seen him on television) wrote on his name tag: “One thing I would like to tell my partner but haven’t yet is ‘Honey, we won the lottery!’)

Of course, since this was a sex line training, the admission was supposed to be something specifically sexual. What was intended was a statement such as “I think I might be bisexual,” or “I would like it if you played with my nipples.”

So, along with everyone else, I wrote on my name tag something I had not told my partner at the time. It involved a specific sexual technique I wanted him to use but was too shy to say it outright. At break time, as we all wandered around reading and commenting on what was written on everyone else’s name tag, I suddenly got the giggles.

Here was a piece of information that concerned only my lover. Here were 34 other men and women who now knew about what I might like sexually, reading and commenting. I saw the ridiculousness of the situation and vowed to do something about it.

When I saw my lover that evening, he asked me about my day and what the name tag instructions for the afternoon were. We had discussed some of the details of the training, and he was looking forward to taking it himself the next time it was given.

“So what was on your name tag today?” he asked.

“Something you have not told your partner but would like to.”

“What did you write?” he asked, puzzled.

I gulped and braved it. His response was immediate: “For Pete’s sake, why haven’t you said anything? I’d like that.”

Big whew. The response I could have gotten was, “You want me to do what?” Of course, that’s everyone’s fear when they ask for what they want sexually, but they haven’t practiced on a bunch of strangers first!

That’s all the self-revelation I’m doing. If any of those 34 people from long ago is reading this, you are allowed to smile knowingly.

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