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Secret Lives

As part of the World Service Identity season, Emily Thomas explores what our secrets tell us about who we are, and what happens when we reveal them.

Emily Thomas explores what our secrets tell us about who we are, and what happens when we reveal them. Now that it is easy to go online and tell strangers anything anonymously, are we more or less likely to confide in the people around us? Emily explores the link between identity and secret-keeping and asks how much of our identity is what we keep hidden.

A Kenyan woman tells us why her secret pulled her away from the people she loved, and an American man tells us about how he feared he would be ‘hunted down’ if he revealed his.

Dr Michael Slepian from Columbia University explains how keeping secrets can be harmful to our health and can alter the way we see the world around us.

Confiding might be good for us, but is sharing a secret ultimately a selfish act? Emily hears the huge secret a daughter kept from her mother, and talks to a couple who shared the burden of a husband’s secret for more than a decade. Plus, a sex worker explains why she went public with her secret – and why she found it terrifying.

This programme is part of the BBC World Service's Identity season.

Producer: Smita Patel

(Photo: Man holds his index finger against his lips. Credit: Shutterstock)

Available now

50 minutes

Last on

Thu 21 Apr 2016 01:06GMT

The Sex Worker Next Door

If you'd like to hear more from Emma, you can listen to her speaking with Anna Sale in her podcast 'Death, Sex & Money'  on New York Public radio WNYC.


  • Sat 16 Apr 2016 11:06GMT
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