"Thanks for Telling Me": The Impact of Disclosing Sex Secrets on Romantic Relationships. Academic Article uri icon


  • This research investigated the relationship consequences of disclosing sexual secrets to a romantic partner. Analyses of data from a 39-item Internet questionnaire completed by 195 undergraduate students showed that revealing sex secrets to a romantic partner was associated with either neutral or positive relationship outcomes. Disclosure of sexual secrets almost never (<5%) resulted in relationship dissolution and over a third of the sample reported that they appreciated the honest disclosure. In addition, keeping sex secrets was related to lower relationship satisfaction such that each additional sex secret being kept from a romantic partner was associated with a one-half point loss of satisfaction (on a 5-point relationship satisfaction scale). This decrease persisted when controlling for sex and race. Mediation analyses found support for the notion that the type of romantic relationship an individual is in explains part of the association between keeping secrets and relationship satisfaction. Implications and future research considerations are suggested.

published proceedings

  • Sex Cult

altmetric score

  • 25.68

author list (cited authors)

  • Ritter, L. J., Martin, T., Fox, K., Knox, D., & Milstein, S.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Ritter, Lacey J||Martin, Tara||Fox, Keely||Knox, David||Milstein, Susan

publication date

  • June 2021