August 16, 2021

The Role of Fantasy in Sex

Picture the ideal place in your mind. It could be the beach, the top of a mountain, on your couch when you were 8 eating a bowl full of ice cream… whatever it may be - hold that place in your mind. Notice the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations of that place and the joy you feel of being there.

You just had a fantasy.

Everyone daydreams and fantasizes about things. Some are positive, some are negative - either way, it’s a way to let our imaginations run wild for a moment and give us a glimpse of something else. Fantasies can be really helpful when it comes to a person’s sex life. They can help to inspire, to increase arousal, and to orgasm.

Photo by We-Vibe Toys on Unsplash
Photo by We-Vibe Toys on Unsplash

Most everyone has had an erotic fantasy involving another person. Whether it’s holding their hand, flirting, kissing, enjoying a sexual experience, etc. it’s happened and it’s normal. A fair amount of people have deviant fantasies, meaning that their fantasies incorporate something that deviates from sexual “norms” (which is very culturally relative), i.e. sex with someone of the same gender (if the person identifies closer to the hetero side of the spectrum), sex that is considered “naughty” to them (kink, BDSM, etc.), rape fantasies, etc. For the most part, fantasies are activities that a person tends to enjoy in imagination more than in reality(though this is not always the case). This is because the practical application of being able to act out a fantasy can be much more complicated in real life, so it is fun to simply enjoy imagining the scenario.

So how does fantasy fit into sex? Whether in solo play or partnered play, fantasy can be beneficial. Many people find that fantasizing helps to build arousal, which helps a person achieve orgasm. Fantasizing during solo play can also help you get a sense of what you might enjoy during a partnered experience. It may also enhance your own sexual relationship with yourself by better understanding what you like. Fantasizing during partnered experiences may allow you to stay with the erotic experience and enjoy pleasure while simultaneously enjoying connection to your partner. Fantasizing is not cheating and it does not necessarily mean you or your partner want to be with someone else. It’s simply a way to enhance the erotic experience and allow one to roam through their imagination in a variety of scenarios that are pleasurable to them (even if they don’t want to act them out in reality).

Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash
Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

There is nothing wrong with fantasies, as long as they don’t become obsessions. When we start hoping for the fantasy more than the reality we are currently experiencing, we start to obsess and lose touch with life in the here and now. That is why people use TV shows, books, video games, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. all as forms of escape - we need a break from reality for a moment. But out of control behaviors are a topic for another blog.

It also doesn’t “make you gay” for fantasizing about someone of the same gender. Everyone falls on a spectrum when it comes to sexual attraction. Bicuriosity is normal. If you find yourself concerned, talk to a therapist to help you understand your fantasies/attraction better.

Fantasies allow us to be curious, to explore other possibilities even if just for a moment and it’s an opportunity to talk with our partner(s) about different erotic experiences we’d like to explore. If you’re having trouble orgasming, try fantasizing. Explore in your mind fucking your partner in a new place; as a different, more confident person; in a sex dungeon; with someone of a different gender; witnessing other people having sex, etc. No one has to know but you (though it can be really kinky to share with your partner(s)) and it can help tip things over the edge. If you’re having trouble feeling aroused before an erotic experience or want to put sex on the brain earlier in the day so you’re ready for sex that night, try fantasizing. Erotic novels and ethical porn can help drum up material for fantasizing. Sexting with your partner(s) can be a way to share in fantasies together and allow you both to build up sexual energy throughout the day. Even sharing a fantasy while having sex or mutually masturbating can be a fun and pleasurable experience for those involved.

So the next time you’re feeling a little stuck in the desire/pleasure department, consider trying to fantasize and see what comes up for you. Happy exploring!

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Julie Labanz, MA, LPCC-S, CST

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