Sexual fantasies are part of the mental life of most people. They do not lead to perversions. Pornography does not seem to have any obvious adverse effects. A discussion of these matters. Read More
"However, I think it is fair to say that, as of now, there is no convincing evidence that pornography is bad for anyone".
What absolute garbage. Tell that to the women who have had their physical and psychological health harmed by doing pornography, who have been trafficked, forced or coerced into it out of economic necessity or simply youthful naivety, or who have been assaulted by criminals obsessed with pornography. Even pornographers themselves will tell you that the industry is largely unregulated and an ethical and criminal cess pit at the very least. There's also plenty of evidence that at the very least pornography changes attitudes towards women and girls. Pornography is not fantasy. It's filmed prostitution. Someone's life, someone's mind and body potentially being injured or harmed in an industry with an ever increasing demand for violence against and degradation of women. If you want to use pornography that's your choice to live with but don't distort the facts to justify that choice.
Oh, Anonymous, the fact that you have sexual fantasies about women being forced, trafficked and coerced to act in pornography simply does not make it true.
The more pornography becomes available in a society, the less sexual violence. True, this is only correlational, so we can't state that increased pornography CAUSES the decrease in rape and sexual violence. However, if the hypothesis that pornography increases sexual violence were true, we would expect the exact opposite correlation.
Please inform yourself with some real facts on this issue, instead of just regurgitating lies and nonsense.
To anonymous, you admonish the author to not distort facts to justify, yet you offer zero facts, only overwrought emotion and hysteria.
You dont think porn is just fine? Then dont use it. And whatever you do use, I'm against it. So there :)
Of course, I am not surprised by this response. for those who are interested in the vast literature on this subject, Wikipedia has an extensive bibliography on this subject. As I indicated in my blog, the subject is so charged, I do not feel the issue will ever be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
Now assuming your fantasies are not harmful to others, and you are both on the same page so to speak, why not live them?
After being together about 10 years, I decided to ask my wife if she wanted to try to live her fantasies "under ideal conditions". It turns out she did, and luckily our fantasies fell under the swinger umbrella and its been a incredible 10+ years since then.
We still had children along the way (and yes we know they are mine, thank you we are not stupid ;) ), PTA meetings, work, etc, but every now and then we did our thing and we both agree that its been a major boon to what was already a good marriage. We don't have the paranoid jealousy of other couples, we still act together like newlyweds, we keep our appearances up as if we were dating. My guess is we will live longer since we both stay in better shape at an age where it seems most couples let themselves go completely.
I really feel sorry for couples who can't express this or are afraid to express there fantasies with their partners. My wife is bisexual, she didn't know that when we started, and its allowed her to explore that side of her she wouldn't have even known existed without this. I personally have never felt even the slightest urge to "cheat" which in this case means go behind my wife's back.
For us and many we know its really been an amazing addition to their lives, no regrets about the decision, and we won't have any regrets when we are done for things we never did.
Many would be surprised how many of us are out there. The most common jobs seem to be teachers, health care, police, and firemen. Yes basically the glue of society.
I am inclined to believe this anonymous gentleman.(I wish that you anonymous guys would take a number. I'm having trouble keeping everybody straight. In fact, while I'm complaining, I wish those of you who write in to my advice column would give me some hint of what sex you are, what age, and what country you live in. If a closeted homosexual, for instance, wrote in to me for advice, I would have something different to say if that person was an elderly woman from San Diego or a young man who lives in a country where homosexuality is a capital offense.) Getting back to this gentleman: There are certain practical problems is sleeping around systematically: Disease.(some like AIDS can be prevented by using a latex condom. Herpes cannot.) Injury. Some fantasies present the possibility of physical injury, being beaten, for instance. Emotional entanglements. I raised the possibility to one married man, for instance, of his getting attached to one of the women he was sleeping with. He smiled and told me it had never happened so far. And then it did happen.There are other practical difficulties.
Some fantasies involve public sexual behavior which brings up the possibility of getting into legal difficulty.
But there is one problem quite characteristic of those who engage in elaborate rituals to have sex--such as a couple which was in the habit of having sex in the driveway. It is not so much that these behaviors represent difficulties, it is that--in my experience--these couples have trouble having sex in the usual, private, accustomed manner. I think, for the most part, those who engage their fantasies in real life have trouble enjoying sex otherwise. I do not mean that they have trouble because of engaging in these fantasies. I think this is just a problem for these people. I would be interested in hearing about exceptions.
Dr Newman, thanks for another outstanding post. You might be my favorite. Since you asked, I am male in my early 50's. Heterosexual with hetrosexual fantasies.
I come to read about psychology because I am not very religious but I find relief reading about psychology in such a crazy world.
When I read your stuff, I always feel better. I have a lot of guilt, anxiety and fear and you have helped me in every dept. especially medical fears.
I feel like I owe you money.
I will confess that the sex post caught me off guard coming from you. But so glad you wrote it. Once again, I feel normal having my normal fantasies.
You rock doc. Please keep the posts coming.
Fantasies also include a category that is not mentioned here. It is absolutely a very, very insane category and I fancy whether having such fantasies are legit and normal or lunacy !!!
Its incest... Need some advice folks ??
A 17 year old heterosexual boy ...
It is usual that whoever engages in certain sexual behaviors is likely to have sexual fantasies that reflect that behavior, although the reverse is not true. Sexual fantasies occur all the time without their being expressed overtly. Therefore, since incest occurs, it is reasonable to assume that sexual fantasies of that kind do occur. Certainly, siblings can have sexual fantasies of each other. I have never personally run across someone who has sexual fantasies about a parent, but such behaviors do occur. Fathers have incest with daughters. Very rarely, mothers (most of whom are presumed to be psychotic) do have sexual relations with their sons.
Dreams are another matter entirely. It is not unusual for someone to have dreams of having sex with a parent.
p.s. Only actions can be said to be good or evil. Fantasies are not evil.
Thankyou very very much. Fantasies about cousins is what I found very common sometimes. Not to mention I have them too.
But the very thought of incest sometimes makes me feel sick, but it also has its own pleasurable oppurtunities.
But yuck, its disgusting!
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Fredric Neuman, M.D. is the Director of the Anxiety and Phobia Center at White Plains Hospital.
When and how should we open up to loved ones?