How do you talk about your sexual fantasies?
There are many good reasons to share your thoughts, desires and fantasies with your partner(s). It can be liberating, build intimacy and perhaps provide a basis for living out some of them.
What are sexual fantasies?
Fantasies are ideas, thoughts and desires about something you would potentially like to happen. A sexual fantasy can make you horny, and can be linked to people, situations, objects, particular stimuli or whole courses of action. It is natural to have many different fantasies because there are several things that can excite you sexually. It is also common to experience not having fantasies; it does not make you sexually boring or unattractive. You can use fantasies actively, by thinking about them while having sex with yourself or others.
Fantasies can change over time
Fantasies and desires are not something you can control - they evolve throughout life and it can be beneficial to deal with them, instead of ignoring it. Some fantasies makes sense to live out, where others make the most sense to leave as fantasies - either because they're hard to live out, or simply because it's hottest to just have them in your head. Fantasies can change as we get older, but they can also change depending on situations and contexts - whether you are alone, with others, have been drinking alcohol, are stressed, ill or have a good or bad relationship with yourself and your partner(s).
Perceived ambivalence in relation to fantasies
People may experience ambivalence about sexual fantasies because of a discrepancy between what turns them on and how they perceive themselves. This may be if you fantasise about people other than your partner(s), or if there are particular actions, such as humiliating others, that turns you on. Fantasies are neither logical nor rational, and they reflect a desire in themselves, not one's values or worldview. In line with this, it is quite common to have fantasies that one does not want to live out. Here, the ambivalence may be that the fantasy contains elements that simultaneously turn one on and repel one: the fantasy may be arousing to think about, while not necessarily making one feel comfortable or horny in the real world.
Why can it be beneficial to talk about your fantasies?
Talking about your thoughts, desires and fantasies can contribute to greater acceptance and reduce feelings of shame and guilt. You may tend to think that you are much kinkier and have wilder sexual fantasies than your partner(s), friends and neighbours. This is far from the case, although the feeling is perfectly legitimate. Moreover, by talking about your fantasies, you can turn on both yourself and others, and possibly work on making them reality.
Talking to your partner(s) about fantasies
It takes a lot of trust to share your fantasies with others. It can be extremely vulnerable to share your innermost desires - especially if you believe beforehand that they are unusual fantasies to have. It is therefore important to have positive experiences so as not to increase any feelings of guilt, shame or being wrong. It may be a good idea to agree that anything that is told will be between you - and that you will try to be open, curious and as far as possible non-judgmental. Lusts and fantasies, as previously written, are not something you decide for yourself: as hot as they may be for one person, they can be just as unsexy for another. It can be good to remember that sex is not a zero-sum game. Nothing goes out of your (sexual) relationship when you have fantasies involving other people. It's not dangerous - although it may feel that way.
Create a safe space
Sharing your innermost thoughts and desires can be hugely vulnerable, and it's important to create a safe space for such a conversation. It's crucial to feel seen, heard and cared for by your partner(s). A good introduction is a form of meta-talk, where you talk around the topic without necessarily sharing your fantasies: emphasise that everyone has different fantasies and reassure each other that you can share them. Other themes that might be good to circle in such a conversation might be ambivalence about fantasies, that desires can be anything from small sensations to larger situations or role-plays - from being held or spat on, to longer storylines in which different parties act in particular ways or do specific things.
Should we talk about fantasies before, during or after sex?
It can be difficult to know how to initiate a conversation about fantasies - and how to time it. It can be before, during or after sex. A good way to know when you should initiate the conversation can be to think about when you usually talk about sex and when you feel most comfortable. It can be an initial conversation before sex, where you can turn yourself and each other on by talking about your fantasies, and finding out which ones you have in common and whether you'd like to try living them out together. You can also have a conversation while having sex: pause, look into each other's eyes and search your feelings - is there something you feel a particular desire for, or a fantasy that was sparked by the kind of sex you just had? The conversation can also take place after sex - it can be a part of aftercare, which you can read more about in our article here. It can be a good idea to have something concrete to refer to, as fantasies can be both vague and abstract. Here, you can highlight some specific things about the sexual act that were particularly naughty - or that could potentially form the basis of a given fantasy.
Talk to your friends about fantasies
It can be a good idea to talk to people other than your sexual partner(s) about what you like, find exciting and fantasise about. Both for inspiration, to air your thoughts or perhaps to delve deeper into them. For some, it can be hard to sense what they really want. It can be helpful to hear about other people's fantasies to get a sense of whether it's something that also might excite you. Whether it's something you find exciting, off-putting, naughty or something else entirely. It may be less transgressive to do it with friends rather than your partner(s), because it doesn't (necessarily) involve them. In conversation with friends, sharing fantasies becomes less confrontational because there is not the same unspoken expectation that you should be turn on by the same thing, which can happen when you talk with your partner(s).
If talking about fantasies with your friends feels like too much, one suggestion is to make it a form of entertainment at a gathering where you are several people together. Write down different fantasies - whether you have lived them or not - on paper and put them in a bowl. Draw a note and let this be the topic of conversation: what do you think about it, do you have some experience of it or something similar, is it something you have heard about, or is there something you wonder about?
Before you act out your sexual fantasies
For some, acting out fantasies is an important part of their sexuality, while for others it is not a need. If you're going to act out one or more fantasies, it's a good idea to know beforehand that there can be big differences between fantasy and reality. Living out fantasies is not necessarily as sexy or fulfilling as you imagined - sometimes your imagination just doesn't match reality.
If you want to try living out one or more fantasies with your partner(s), here's an important rule: Always agree on the act - never try to persuade you partner. It's perfectly normal and okay for your partner(s) not to share the same fantasies or desires as you. Feel free to let them in on your desires, but be respectful and know they might not share the fantasy. It's utopian to think that you're a completely perfect sexual match, especially when you take into account that your sexuality and fantasies are constantly evolving.
Different ways to live out fantasies with your partner(s)
There are many different ways to live out your fantasies with one or more partners. Some are more indirect, where others are more direct. A direct way might be to first have a conversation, and then stage and act out one or more fantasies.
An indirect way may be that in the sexual act, you create space for the fantasies: this may be by acknowledging and reassuring each other that you may let your respective fantasies fill in while you have sex with each other - that you may imagine other people or scenarios.
If you feel comfortable with each other, you can also try talking about a fantasy while having sex. This can be by describing a particular person, action or series of events. At the same time, being met in your desires while achieving sexual pleasure can be a liberating and sexy experience. Another way to initiate your partner(s) is by finding porn that reflects your fantasies. Porn can act as a medium through which to start a conversation and explore together. At the same time, porn can be an indicator that you are not the only one with that fantasy - a lot of porn is made because there is an audience who finds it hot. You can read our article on ethical porn here.
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