Natalia Spritzer / Daily Nexus

In retrospect of the past 20 years, I have found myself in a number of unexpected and often trying situations with other people. Some less noteworthy than others, but impactful at the least.

While I haven’t spent countless hours analyzing and calculating the quantitative impact each of these interactions has had on my life and the way I interact with others today, I have concluded, for what it’s worth, that honesty has played a considerable role in the outcomes of not only the emotional but especially the physical relationships I have developed.

In acknowledging how uncomfortable it can be for others and for you when you’re “laying it all out there,” (and I mean that literally and figuratively) I would like to say that complete honesty takes time and is a process that looks different for everyone.

When I began that process, I found that an important part of being honest with someone else was being able to be honest with myself. Really beginning to ask myself what I felt and why it was I felt that way helped clarify my emotions, and being able to give a reason to those clarified emotions gave me comfort and acceptance. If you’re able to feel comfortable with and accept your own feelings, that often alleviates some of the stress of expressing those emotions to someone else.

If you’re not comfortable being alone naked in a room with someone, you probably shouldn’t be having sex.

Part of the stress that contributes to being honest with someone is the idea of vulnerability. Particularly in physical relationships,  there are many ways to be vulnerable to your partner and if an open, accepting environment hasn’t been established, expressing your honest opinion could very well be one of those ways.

As much as we hate to admit it, vulnerability will inevitably play a role in every sexual relationship we have, the first reason being that we’re naked. Unless you have been gifted with the shamelessness of a baby, being naked is a very vulnerable experience.

In the seventh grade, my health teacher prefaced his sex talk with “If you’re not comfortable being alone naked in a room with someone, you probably shouldn’t be having sex.” At that point in my life, I wasn’t even comfortable being naked in a room by myself. Point being: we are all vulnerable from time to time, and acknowledging and accepting that vulnerability could do us wonders.

When it comes to sexual vulnerability, whether it be with a new partner or with someone you’ve been with for years, there is often a pressing concern about whether or not what you’re doing is making your partner feel good, or whether or not you will be able to make them orgasm.

Just to be clear, no, sex is not like it appears in the movies. You will not always know your partner’s body,  and while WikiHow may be able to generally describe to you in bullet points “How to Give a Blow Job” or “What Makes a Girl Cum,” I can guarantee that no article would be able to tell you better than your partner would. Surprise, people masturbate and know their bodies!

If something feels good, tell your partner, because chances are, they’re wondering just like you are and the affirmation could even add to the moment. It doesn’t have to be some elaborate PowerPoint about the logistics of your G-spot or a graph representing the sensitivity of your tip, but a simple “Don’t stop” could do the trick. Plus, what’s sexier than being able to trust and communicate with your partner?

Being honest also means that when something doesn’t feel good, you express that too. When your partner asks “Does that feel good?” and you respond “Uhhh, yeah…” then neither of you are is getting anything out of it.

You’re reinforcing the idea that what they’re doing feels good while you are either in pain or feeling nothing and your partner is completely misled. How are they supposed to know? And yes, there are the “obvious” physical reactions we have to sexual stimulation, but being told something doesn’t feel good will have a more “productive outcome” than someone trying to guess whether or not their partner is wet.

Sometimes dicks just aren’t meant to bend the way you want them to bend and that’s something honesty has taught me!

Being completely honest, sex is so much better when you’re actually genuinely enjoying yourself and not worrying about whether or not you’re making your partner feel good. If your partner tells you and shows you how to make them feel good, you can probably assume with a higher degree of certainty that you’re making them feel pretty damn good.

Although there are many more aspects to physical relationships, honesty gives you the freedom, power and peace of mind to enjoy yourself and your partner. While I’ve primarily detailed honesty in physical relationships, I do believe honesty is important in every relationship whether that be with lovers, friends, family or even acquaintances,  and though the vulnerability and discomfort that comes with honesty is difficult to overcome, in the long run, your relationship, your partner and yourself will be able to benefit.

Aryana Kamelian opens up about the benefits of honesty in our most intimate encounters.