As you may have heard, the brain is actually our biggest sex organ; not only for the feel-good chemicals and hormones that it stimulates our bodies to release, but also because of our ability to use our imagination to tap into a deeper sexual world during a sexual experience – either alone or with a partner. A fantasy is a thought or picture in our minds that turns us on. We can fantasise about people, places, acts, objects or erotic scenes. Fantasy moves from being erotic curiosity when it is more than just a curios thought, and becomes more of a detailed though process.
Our fantasies allow us to explore a side of ourselves that might push the boundaries of what is considered normal and acceptable, and often our fantasies can take us out of our living comfort zones. Fantasy often pushes us to the ‘edge’ – a place where we feel both comfortable and uncomfortable. The ‘edge’ may be our boundary of where we are willing to explore in our heads, but not necessarily in reality. For example, the number one fantasy of women is forceful sex, or having to submit sexually to a partner. Very few women are comfortable to play this out in real life, but as a personal fantasy in their own minds, it is seen as acceptable. The same goes for the number one male fantasy – a 3-some with 2 women – which again is more often than not a fantasy rather than something that might actually happen.
The importance of fantasy
Fantasy is often overlooked or disregarded as an important element of sexuality, when in actual fact it is probably one of the most important parts of our sexual experience. It does not have to be extravagant or wild, it can simply be a fantasy about your partner and what you got up to last night, but it should be a part of your daily sexual routine. In actual fact, the most common fantasy that people also want to act out, is sex with their partner. When I ask my clients if they think about sex alone or during sex with their partner, many say no and cannot think why it would be necessary if you are actually having sex with someone. But often people do not realize that incorporating fantasy into your daily thoughts and into your sexual routine can have a very positive effect on your sexual desire and even on orgasm. Fantasy enhances the sexual experience from a physical and emotional act, to a psychological act, and it allows you to enjoy sex from a much deeper level
Many clients say to me that they feel bad fantasizing during sex with their partner, and that they worry that they are doing something wrong. This is a common misconception about fantasy – you do not have to think of something or someone outrageous. Simply enhancing the sex you’re currently having via your imagination is enough to deepen the sexual experience. If your partner is lying on top of you, imagining them having you pinned down or tied up might be a simple thought that could turn you on even more – and when you’re more turned on, the sexual experience is more satisfying for you both.
How do I know what fantasy is for me?
This comes down to likes and dislikes. For example, if you have tasted chocolate and know that you really like it, you should feel happier when you eat some. It’s the same principle with fantasy in that if you know that something turns you on, thinking about it will make you feel more sexual and aroused.
The most common fantasies include:
- Sex with your partner
- Older women
- Cowboys/ doctors/ men in uniform
- Submission and domination OR BDSM (See my post on here)
- Being watched or watching someone else have sex
- Role play (fairytales, stripping, acting out scenes like doctor and nurse etc.)
- Sex with a stranger or in a strange place
If you aren’t sure where to start, write these down on a piece of paper and spend 2-3 minutes thinking about each one. If you find yourself becoming aroused by a fantasy, put a star next to it. Once you have completed the list, look at what you have noted as the most exciting. Now spend 5 minutes thinking about each fantasy and exploring the scene in your head. It is important to be comfortable fantasizing on your own before you try to fantasise during sex with a partner.
Bringing fantasy into reality
Acting out your fantasies can be liberating and sexually exciting, or it can be anxiety provoking and painful for you or another person. Depending on your relationship, the shift to reality can be healthy or unhealthy. For example, if you fantasise about having an affair and seek to act it out, this could cause your partner a lot of hurt and affect all of those involved in a negative way. When we choose to move from the realm of fantasy to reality should be determined by our own boundaries, our values and our sense of integrity, both individually and as a couple. It is also important to remember that sometimes reality is not as good as fantasy.
If you want to talk to your partner about your sexual fantasies, choose the right time and place, e.g. the dinner table with your kids or in-laws if obviously not appropriate. Have this conversation when you are both feeling relaxed and content with one another so that you both feel that you can honestly open up about your fantasies. Start by talking about the fantasies rather than putting them to practice; by talking about them first you can both get more comfortable with the idea of trying them at a later stage, but indicate to your partner if you feel this is just a fantasy or if you would like it to become reality at some stage. Research has found that couples who speak about sex (fantasies included), have more sex. The more open you are about what you like and what turns you on, the more satisfying sex will be. If even talking about sex (let alone your sexiest fantasies) is daunting, read my post here on how to talk to each other about sex.
Reacting to fantasies
It can seem daunting and risky to talk about our fantasies. We are revealing an intimate part of ourselves to someone and it might feel like we are sharing our deepest, darkest, secrets. However, sharing our fantasies with our partners is a way of increasing the intimacy between you and a way to feel more connected to one another. When one partner chooses to share their fantasies with their significant other, the partner who is listening should be sensitive that this can be a challenging aspect of ourselves to share. They should show interest and ensure that the partner telling their fantasy feels heard and safe to do so. It can be difficult to hear your partner’s fantasies, so it is important to remember to respect each other and be honest with each other regarding your feelings of the fantasy. Remember that your partner may have wanted to tell you about their fantasies for a long time, and it may have taken a lot for them to reveal them to you. It is normal to want time or space to think about the fantasy and if this is something that you both want to put into practice or leave in the realm of the imagination.