Have Fun With Sexual Fantasies

Fantasies can make sex a lot more fun.

Posted Jul 21, 2017

Lopolo/Shutterstock
Source: Lopolo/Shutterstock

While it is true that sex is a physical act, it is also very much a mental process, at least when it is going well. Assuming that sex is consensual and desired, then letting your imagination roam can enhance the physical sensation and make for a richer overall experience.

Fantasies can make sex fun and playful, especially when they aren’t bound by the restrictions of reality. We can fantasize about anything we want, including things that we only want in fantasy. Sex researcher Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., has a great quote in which he says that no one fantasizes about having sex with their partner in their bedroom in the missionary position. For most of us, that is relatively easy to get, so we don’t need to fantasize about it. Instead, fantasy fills in the blanks on what we want, but don’t have.

For example, the vast majority of people have sexual fantasies about someone other than their current partner. Some people may feel threatened by that, but it may be worth considering that the commitment to be faithful only means something if you have desires for others that you then make a point of not acting upon. If something isn’t possible, then it isn’t a commitment; it’s circumstances. And considering that almost everyone has these sexual fantasies, you would be hard-pressed to find a different partner who only desires you, so instead just go ahead and focus on keeping things fun and exciting with the partner that you do have.

Many fantasies don’t drift far from a person’s current sex life, but some can be a radical departure from anything the individual has done, recently or ever. For example, many women have so-called rape fantasies, in which (typically) a man is so overcome with desire for her that he can’t stop himself from having his way with her. There are lots of reasons why a woman (or a man) would find this arousing, yet almost no one actually wants to have sex without consent. Even when people act out fantasies by role-playing such scenes or engaging in power play/BDSM, it only looks non-consensual: Both partners understand that they are agreeing to these activities, and that they can stop at any time. Fantasy gives us all the good parts, without any of the stuff we don’t want.

We all have lots of non-sexual fantasies too, most of which make for a pleasant moment, but few plans: When I fantasize about moving to the Caribbean in the winter, I only think about drinking mojitos on the beach, not vacuuming the sand up afterwards. Or, less pro-socially, when I fantasize about ramming that guy who cut me off in traffic, I only think about sweet vengeance, not prison.

Since they occur inside our heads, fantasies are a private experience, but if you keep them all to yourself, you may be missing out on some of the fun. Personally, I don’t believe that we have a moral obligation to tell our partners our every dirty thought — in some cases, sharing too much can result in hurt feelings. Having said that, I think it’s worth it to try to create a relationship in which you and your partner feel comfortable enough with each other that you can share many, if not all, of your fantasies. In a survey I conducted, those who were most satisfied with their relationships and sex lives and had the most frequent sex were also the most comfortable sharing their fantasies with their partner. These couples are doing a lot of things well, which makes it easy to feel safe with the vulnerable intimacy involved in sharing their most secret desires.

Therefore, I would encourage you to let your imagination roam. You may be surprised where your fantasies take you. Just as your personality evolves over the years and decades, I would hope that your sexual fantasies evolve, too. You may also find it interesting to explore why certain fantasies turn you on, while others don’t. Are there patterns or themes across your fantasies? Do they tell you anything about your desires, personality, current life, or fears? Fantasies can be a lot of fun, but they can also be revealing.

You may also find it intriguing to explore your partner’s mental playground. Where do your fantasies overlap? Do they turn you on for the same reasons — or different ones? Where do your fantasies diverge? Even if you totally can’t relate to one of your partner’s fantasies, can you understand why it might get them going? If not, ask them to explain more about why it turns them on — and which parts of it they kind of ignore so that the rest of the fantasy works.

Fantasies can be challenging, whether they are our own or our partner’s. Some of them can make us uncomfortable or confuse us. Or maybe they turned us on during sex, but then left us feeling bad when the passion has burned off. This is totally normal, especially since most fantasies don’t comply with the typical rules of society, not to mention the rather narrow definition of acceptable sexual expression that most of us were taught. This is why they are fantasies and not actions — we can play in the possible, and the impossible, without getting caught up in the consequences. So while you may not like or feel comfortable with all your fantasies, you probably shouldn’t feel bad about them. The same goes for your partner’s fantasies.

As you and your partner share fantasies with each other, be clear about what you might want to try out and what you would prefer to just talk about. For example, if your partner admits that they find a coworker sexy, you probably shouldn’t immediately look up the company directory to get their phone number. There’s a difference between disclosures and to-do lists. Your partner will reveal more fantasies and turn-ons if they have faith in your ability to respect their limits — and vice versa. If you want to hear more of your partner’s fantasies, don’t push them to enact what they don’t want to. And if you want to have fun sharing more of your own fantasies, don’t push your partner to enact what they aren’t yet comfortable with.

Sharing fantasies can be great fun, but like so much else in relationships, it’s all about pacing, timing, and reading your audience. When you get it right, it can lead to sex that burns the room down.