If you’ve heard me say it once, you have probably heard me say it countless times: fantasies are one of the most important components to maintaining a long-term healthy sex life. Fantasies are so important that many women have an “orgasm fantasy,” some scene that is so erotic to them that they use it during stimulation in order to have an orgasm. And for most people, a healthy ability to fantasize also suggests a robust ability to get turned on and desire sex.
Somewhere along the way, however, our society lost the ability to distinguish between imagination and real life, and I know that loss of distinction affects us in many unhealthy ways. And, as a sex therapist, I’ll assure you, that your sex life is at front and center.
So here’s the first question I often get asked as a sex therapist: If I fantasize about something frequently does it mean that I actually want it to happen???? And here are my answers. No way. Nope. No. Not necessarily. Maybe sometimes. But most importantly who cares?”
I’m here to assure you that the only thing I know (or more importantly that you can know) for sure is that when you identify something you like to fantasize about, you know… that you like to fantasize about that activity. Beyond that, there is absolutely no implication that you actually want to “actualize” the fantasies.
There may be fantasies you have that you know you do want to act out. If you have always “fantasized” about having sex with a drummer, and you know you do want to have sex with a drummer, then yes, that fantasy is projecting something real and you may indeed want to date a drummer. But that is fundamentally different from a fantasy of having sex on a spaceship to Mars with a group of 10 Martians, and equally different from a fantasy of having sex in the middle of Broadway with 100 onlookers.
There are different kinds of fantasies, and understanding that there are some you actually might want to try, does not, in any way, suggest that you want to try all of them! You may not want to try out a fantasy because it is too wild and crazy and may result in negative secondary consequences. You may not want to act out a fantasy because it’s just plain unrealistic (take my Martian example) or because, well, you are just not into it in reality, you are only interested in your imagination. And that, my friends, is the joy of fantasizing!
In my experience women, much more than men, are heavy-duty into second-guessing themselves, and, as a result, editing their fantasies. And trust me, that is just not helpful with your sex life.
Stay tuned for Part II where I talk about those “questionable fantasies that make you nervous”