Sexual Fantasies and Your Partner

Sexual Fantasies Dr Christopher Fox - Aphrodite's Pleasure

We all have fantasies. But what to do with our sexual fantasies? When working with clients I often talk about the role of sexual fantasies in healthy sex play. We know from research that sexual fantasies are perfectly normal and healthy. Ignoring or hiding your fantasies means we are hiding an an aspect of our sexuality which may make us feel good. Fantasies are normal and a healthy part of life.

The Pool of Fantasy

Before we explore the ins and outs of sharing our fantasies with our partners, let firstly consider what fantasy is.

Pool of Fantasy Dr Christopher Fox

It is important to remember that fantasies are not real. I use the concept of a pool of fantasy. Think of all of your sexual fantasies as being in a pool. There may be some fantasies which we cannot (or don’t want to) share. There may be fantasies which we can share and of course there may be some fantasies we might even be able to act out. Yet the most of our fantasies will simply lie in the pool floating around. (See Pool of Fantasy to the right)

Sexual fantasies, like human sexual behaviour, comes in many varieties. There is no normal sexual fantasy. Sexual fantasies are as various as there are thoughts. Christian Joyal and colleagues from Quebec asked 1,516 people (men = 799; women = 719) to identify which fantasies were typical, common, unusual or rare. (See boxed text for 10 most common and 5 least common fantasies). Joyal and colleagues argued it is not the content of fantasy which makes it rare or unusual it is effect, or impact, of the fantasy.

Ten Common Sexual Fantasies – Women

Feeling romantic emotions during a sexual relationship
Atmosphere and location are important in my sexual fantasies
Having sexual in a romantic location
Having sex in an unusual place
Taking part in oral sex
Giving fellatio
Being masturbated by my partner
Masturbating my partner
Having sex with someone that I know who is not my spouse
Being dominated sexually

Why We Don’t Share Sexual Fantasies

Sexual fantasies can be a source of excitement and relationship enrichment, as well as a source of anxiety. Three reasons people do not share their sexual fantasies are:

  • Not knowing what their sexual fantasies are;
  • Shame and self-judgement over the fantasies they are aware of; and
  • Fear of judgement and rejection over the fantasies they are aware of. 

Can Sexual Fantasy be a Problem

Sexual fantasies are good for a healthy sex life. They can also be a source of issues in a relationship when over indulgence in fantasy creates a distance with your partner. If you, and/or your partner, are having sex and fantasising about someone else in your head then you are not present and the sex is likely to be less than satisfactory for you and/or your partner. Communication and talking about fantasy is important. Remember sexual fantasies complement your sex life – they are not you sex life! 

Ten Common Sexual Fantasies – Men

Feeling romantic emotions during a sexual relationship
Taking part in oral sex
Having sex with two women
Having sex with someone that I know who is not my spouse
Having sex in an unusual place
Watching two women make love
Atmosphere and location are important in my sexual fantasies
Ejaculating on my sexual partner (For men only)
Having sexual in a romantic location
Giving cunnilingus

In the Pool of Fantasy analogy I used above I talked about fantasy which we do not share – for whatever reason. Your partner might not like you thinking of their co-worker or best friend while the two of you are having sex. Fantasy can impact on people’s sense of identity and wellbeing.
Of course not all fantasy can be acted out. There might be time, space, physical ability or legal issues to acting out your fantasy.

Why Share Your Sexual Fantasies

Sharing our sexual fantasies can be healthy for the relationship, and for individual sharing. When we share our sexual fantasies we share and reveal part of us. Through the act of sharing we can increase intimacy with our partner; it helps us build trust; and when our partner knows (some of) our sexual fantasies they can better meet our desires. 

The act of building trust and intimacy can also help keep the passion alive and “newness” in the relationship. This is important after the limerence, or “honeymoon” stage is over.

 Sharing Sexual Fantasies

Remember, some of the biggest fears in sharing sexual fantasies is self-judgement, judgement by our partners and fears of rejection. Sometimes sharing fantasies can back fire – here are some tips to sharing your sexual fantasies.

Know Your Sexual Fantasies One of the blocks to sharing sexual fantasies for some people is they are not aware of them. Fantasies do not have to be elaborate. Sexual fantasies can be simple.

Five Rare and Unusual Sexual Fantasies – Women & Men

Having sex with a child under the age of 12 years
Having sex with an animal
My sexual partner urinating on me
Urinating on my sexual partner
Wearing clothing associated with the opposite sex

Sexual fantasies are a great way to communicate about sexual desires and sexual turn ons. We cannot expect our partners to figure this out. Tell your partner. This is part of the fantasy. Fantasies do not have to be elaborate. It can be something you used to do together when the relationship was new. Think to yourself what will make sex play fun and exciting again.

Make it a Date Talk to your partner and make the sharing of sexual fantasies a “special event”, maybe a “date night”. Do not just launch straight into sharing your fantasies. Talk about sharing your fantasies first. Allow each of you time to think about what sexual fantasies you want to share.

Set some guidelines and be clear about why you are sharing your sexual fantasies. Have an objective to the exercise. Why are you sharing your sexual fantasies? What do you hope to achieve in sharing? Are you sharing your sexual thoughts or creating a menu or list desired sexual activities? Both partners need to be on the same page. 

Good communication is the basis of all successful relationships. Be open and honest in your communication. Avoid judging your partner when they share their sexual fantasies. Remember it is fantasy and not real.

Good communication includes listening and demonstrating you are listening by being attentive and not being distracted. Paraphrase what your partner has said. Remember, sharing fantasies is about increasing intimacy, trust and strengthening the relationship.

Test the waters – float a general idea – not the detail of the fantasy. Try something along the lines of, ”Have you ever wondered what it would be like to…..”. Use your common sense when deciding what to share and what not to share. May be it is not a good idea to share sexual fantasies about your partner’s brother or sister, or best friend, or parent.

Living Your Sexual Fantasies

So you want to act out your sexual fantasies? Ensure you and your partner are clear about what each of you are comfortable with and what puts you off. Set boundaries and rules. Have a safe word (or action) to indicate stop play.

Sexual Fantasies Dr Christopher FoxThe Fantasy Box This is a great way to explore each other’s sexual fantasies. Each of you write some of your sexual fantasies on pieces of paper and place in a box or bottle. Set aside a time and each of you pick a piece of paper out of the Fantasy Box and act out that fantasy.
You know each other’s limits, boundaries and desires. So you can ensure you provide sexual fantasies which are okay with both of you. If the fantasy takes preparation then you might choose your fantasy on one day and agree to fantasy play a few days later.

Sexual fantasies are part of a healthy sexuality. Keep you sexual fantasies and sex play safe, sane and (con)sensual. Use your imagination. Be creative. Have fun. 

Remember a Healthy life includes a healthy relationship.

Dr Christopher

Dr Christopher Fox is a Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist at Sex Life Therapy in Melbourne. He has clinics in East Melbourne and Frankston.

Joyal, C. C., Cossette, A. and Lapierre, V. (2015), What Exactly Is an Unusual Sexual Fantasy? Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12: 328–340. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12734
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