We are happy to partner with relationship and sex therapist Mia Fine to help you with your most intimate queries and concerns. Hear her thoughts on sexual fantasies.
“To fantasize - and to fantasize often - is therefore to be human” -Justin Lehmiller, PhD.
The topic of Sexual Fantasy comes up frequently both in my work with clients and my conversations with friends. People want to know: Is my fantasy normal? How do I share my fantasies with my partner? What do my fantasies mean?
There’s a lot to say about this fascinating topic! So much in fact, that today’s post addresses, “Is my sexual fantasy normal?” and I’ll save the titillating, “How do I explore my fantasies with my partner?” for next month’s post.
One benefit of exploring fantasies and better understanding our unique desires is that it not only improves our sex lives (and thus our quality of life) but it also de-stigmatizes the socially constructed ideas of what is normal.
“Is my sexual fantasy normal?” - let’s get one thing crystal clear: there is no such thing as normal. As a wise friend often says, normal is simply a setting on the washing machine. Yes, there are fantasies that are more socially acceptable, conventional, and typical, but lots of us do not fit into these boxes or conform to society’s standard. I sure as hell don’t! When I Google “fantasy” is it normal that what populates the screen is fantasy football? That might be normal to you but it’s definitely not normal to me.
One cool thing about being human is that nobody has access to what goes on inside your brain but you. You are allowed to think any thought - or have any fantasy - that comes to mind. Where things become tricky is when your thoughts and fantasies lead to troublesome feelings such as anxiety or depression, or to behavioral urges to act out in harmful or unhealthy ways. When those thoughts, feelings, and behaviors start affecting your own or others’ quality of life, safety, or autonomy, go ahead and reach out to a Certified Sex Therapist who also does CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). On the flip side, judging fantasies as abnormal may lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression. Accepting your thoughts, and thus your fantasies, for what they are actually reducing painful feelings. So, unless you’re experiencing those difficult emotions or impulses, go right ahead and enjoy your thoughts - fantasize!
Back to the hot stuff. What exactly is a sexual fantasy? A sexual fantasy is a mental image that generates or enhances sexual arousal. Sexual fantasies differ from erotic dreams because fantasies occur while you are awake - you consciously create them! Justin Lehmiller, social psychologist, researcher, and author of Tell Me What You Want, identifies three primary categories of fantasies that almost everyone experiences: 1. Multi-partner Sex, 2. Power, Control, and Rough Sex; and 3. Novelty, Adventure, and Variety.
Research shows that multi-partner sex is the most common sexual fantasy of them all, especially for female-bodied people. When people fantasize about having a threesome or group sex, it does not necessarily mean folks are fantasizing about replacing their current partner; instead, the eroticism might be the simultaneous mutual pleasure experienced by multiple people - pleasure all around! It could also be a fantasy about breaking taboos, being seen in your pleasure, or the experience of watching your partner in pleasure with someone else. You can imagine having sex with different people all at once, or maybe you get more turned on thinking about one person at a time. There are lots of different ways people fantasize about multi-partner sex!
The next most common category of fantasy includes power, control, and rough sex. Included in this category is the subset of BDSM:
D: Discipline; Dominance
S: Submission; Sadism
BDSM merits a post or two on its own...you’ll just have to wait for it! (cue sound of a cracking whip!)
Last, and certainly not least, are the sexual fantasies of novelty, adventure, and variety. As I’ve shared with you before, many people need mystery and adventure to keep the flame alive. Whether it’s the fantasy of having sex with an audience present, role playing (“Yes, Detective Roberts, I did steal that chapstick and you’re welcome to search me”), or the common erotically charged fantasy of being unabashedly treasured head to toe, inside and out, by a devoted and adoringly sensual lover. Adventure fantasy can include fantasies of sex in unusual locations, such as sex while hiking, in the stacks of a library, on the beach, or in an elevator. There is an entire array of things one can fantasize about that are as beautifully unique and as wildly individual as the person fantasizing about them.
When it comes to turning a fantasy into a reality, as long as your fantasy is consensual, legal, and safe to yourself and to others, go ahead and explore! If you’re interested in learning about how to talk to your partner about your fantasies, and cultivate more eroticism in your sex life, please check back in for next month’s blog post: Turning Fantasy Into Reality.
Tell Me What You Want by Justin Lehmiller
The Erotic Mind by Jack Morin, PhD.
Recommended Lovers Items:
Fantasize about Role Playing? Spice it up with Lovers’ wide array of sexy outfits that fit a variety of body shapes and sizes!
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