Episode 115 – Fantasy


 Let’s talk about fantasy. When it comes to sex, what is an appropriate fantasy and what is not? What benefits the marriage and what destroys it? Today I will teach you the difference – as well as how to incorporate sexual fantasies into your relationship to benefit both parties.

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Show Summary:

Fantasy is vital for the human mind.  It begins when we are children when we learn to fill the gaps between knowledge, reality, and experience.

Think about when you were a child and you heard a noise and it was scary.  Who or what could make that noise?  The only way to make sense of it, when there was no certain answer was to fantasize.  And sometimes, even when you did understand that it was just a creaky floorboard when someone walked on it, it was fun to still imagine what it could be.  Fear, within a safe context, is fun!  It’s how we learn to cope with many “scary” things.

But, fantasy isn’t just for children.

As adults, we fantasize about things all of the time.  How we’ll look in a new outfit or if we lost some weight.  What life would be like in a new house.  What would it be like if we had another child, or a maid, or what it will look like when our children are older or when we have grandchildren.  We fantasize about things all the time.  Fantasies can enrich our lives and help us dream about the future.

What Sexual Fantasies Can Teach Us

Sexual fantasies can help enrich our sex lives. They help bridge the gap between reality and what we want our experience to be.  They help satisfy a need in our brain for novelty and excitement.  Fantasies can play an important role in our sexual connection, if we let it.

As adults we love to watch TV and movies, or read books and insert ourselves into the situation.  It’s the grown up form of playing pretend.  It can add an element of fun and playfulness into your love making.  When adults fantasize what we are really doing is:

  1. Simulating the experiences we see and read about for ourselves, thus adding to our own experiences.
  2. Taking a step outside of the experiences and asking ourselves what we can learn or come to understand better through considering them.

For example – many women have a fantasy of their husband ravaging her body.  Taking what they want.  Many consider this a rape fantasy, which sounds awful because no woman actually wants to be raped.  But if we take this fantasy and say:

  1. How does this add to my own experience with my spouse?
    1. Maybe it’s a woman who is always is control and takes charge of everything and in her fantasy it is the complete opposite of that.
  2. Then, how we can step outside and learn from this?
    1. Maybe, in the bedroom she doesn’t really want to be in control and wants someone else to do the controlling.  And that can be very appealing.

So it’s not actually about the rape, but the loss of control that she wants to feel.

Another example would be having a fantasy of making love on a bear skin rug in a cabin in the mountains in front of a fire.  And maybe you can make that fantasy a reality.  But putting into perspective

  1. How does this add to my own experience with my spouse?
    1. Maybe it’s the ability to get away somewhere secluded where it’s just the two of you and there is nothing to disturb you.
  2. How can we learn from this fantasy?
    1. Maybe you need to rent a cabin? Or maybe it’s just a matter of having the kids spend the night at Grandma’s so the two of you can get some alone time with no distractions.

Do you see how fantasies can really be an asset to your sex life and marriage?  But you really need to understand the underlying themes and motives.  Why is that a certain scenario appealing? How can you learn from it and make it a reality?

Inappropriate Fantasies

But, what happens when we feel that our fantasies are inappropriate?  Many would feel the rape fantasy is inappropriate, even though the underlying goal is not actually to be raped, but just to give up control.  What one person deems inappropriate may not be to the other person.  As with most things in the bedroom, a good rule of thumb is… “does this create goodness in my marriage?  Does this bring us closer together or does it drive us further apart?”  Those are the questions I would ask.  Not “is this inappropriate.”

Within the culture of the church, we seem to have some pretty strong opinions on what is appropriate or not.  Many seem to think that any sexual thoughts or fantasies are inappropriate.  But, that just isn’t true.  Yes, we were counseled as teenagers to control our thoughts so that it wouldn’t lead to us breaking the Law of Chastity.  But as married adults who are free to engage in sex, sexual thoughts and fantasies are not only appropriate but necessary!  And I’ll talk about that more in a few minutes.

The fear that comes for most people when it comes to fantasy is “Is this immoral?” Or “is this adultery in their mind?”  We have a fear that our partner is fantasizing about someone else, which isn’t always true.  People can have fantasies that are in alignment with their values and their commitments to their partner, but that can also have fantasies that seem totally out of alignment but use the sexual energy that the fantasy generates to enhance the sexual relationship they have with their partner.  Which I personally feel like is a great option.  It’s all about intention.  Are you creating fantasies in collaboration with your partner or with your partner in mind? Or are you looking outside of the marriage?

We never want to think about our partner thinking about another person sexually.  But frankly, the human mind does funny things sometimes.  We are sexual creatures.  We are going to have sexual ideas.  We are going to have thoughts about others, other than our partner.  But I think there is a difference in thinking about an idea that isn’t reality, and purposely directing our thoughts to someone who is very real and a possibility.  If we are constantly fantasizing about a woman at work or the neighbor down the street, I don’t think that is going to make your marriage stronger.   So I think the question is…are you using that sexual energy from a fantasy to connect with me or is it creating a distance in our relationship and lovemaking?  And I am creating that distance by the way I am thinking about it, or are they?

I also think there is a difference between having a fantasy about certain scenarios or roles, and fantasizing and thinking about having sex with another person while you are making love to your spouse.

Sharing Your Fantasies

I also think talking about fantasies is an important conversation to have with your spouse.  You don’t have to share them or all of them, but you and your spouse will be a lot more connected when you are open about what is going on in your brains rather than leaving your partner guessing.  Sharing them creates a safety between the two of you.  When you can share the things that turn you on in a safe environment without judgement and fear, that creates such a connected relationship.  Which is why I have created a worksheet to help your write out your fantasies and share them with your partner.  

When we share our fantasies with our partner, we want it to be a safe place for us to share and we want to create a safe place for our spouse to share.  Just because we have certain fantasies doesn’t mean that that is what we necessarily want.   We shouldn’t judge our partner for their fantasies or use their fantasies to judge ourselves.  Don’t start comparing what your partner fantasizes about with reality.  That’s never helpful.  If your partner is sharing a fantasy about a redhead, and you are blonde, don’t let your thoughts go to “he’s not attracted to me.”  What would be fun is if you could find a red wig and wear it sometimes to help make his fantasy come alive.  Build connection through fantasy rather than distance.  

So how do you bring up sharing fantasies with your spouse?  Rather than saying “things are boring for me, here’s one of my fantasies that I think we should do.”  Try engaging in some language that will again…build that connection.  Something like “I was thinking, as a way of spicing things up, that we could both talk about things that made us feel engaged, playful, and freeing.  I’ve got this worksheet that both of us can do individually and then come together and share our fantasies with each other.”  That way you are inviting your spouse into a conversation and not unloading on them what isn’t working. 

We also need to be aware, when talking to our partner, about their sensitivities and vulnerabilities.  We need to be tactful in the way that we address some of these fantasies.  If a man tells his partner that he fantasizes about curvy women and you are not a curvy woman, that might be a problem. That isn’t something you can really change.  So just be sensitive and careful about what you do share and have it be things that will help you come closer to one another.

One of the problems we get into, when sharing fantasies is that for those who have watched porn or read erotic novels, trying to recreate those is not always ideal.  They really aren’t YOUR fantasies.  They are someone else’s fantasy that they’ve made come to life and you are just borrowing them.  What is going to create the most connection in your relationship is when you build off of fantasies that you create together.  We can bring ideas in from outside sources, but create the fantasy the way you want it with your spouse.  Pornography is not a great representation of female fantasy and what is sexually satisfying for most women.  It tends to be more focused on an unattainable ideal, that realistically we can’t live up to.  Ever.  So learning to create fantasies with your partner that are attainable and bring the two of you together is the ideal.

Different Types of Fantasies

So there are lots of different types of fantasies.  I’m going to share a few ideas with you that are pretty common.  Many would not work for real life with the LDS value system.  But, I’ll explain why these are some of the top types of fantasies and share some ideas of how to make them doable, even with our values.

People tend to like fantasies that involve high levels of engagement, high levels of passion, high levels of initiation.  Thinking about your spouse in that way can really create some amazing fantasies.

  1. A Threesom – this is a top fantasy, especially for men.  But it can be for women as well.  The idea of having multiple people who desire you and want to be sexual with you can definitely be arousing.  This fantasy can be played out by talking about it.  What it would be like to have another person there, without them actually being there.  Maybe engaging with your partner and stimulating them from the front and behind, simulating two people.
  2. Dominant/Submissive – This fantasy if often about what we don’t have in real life.  If we feel out of control we may want to be more in control in the bedroom.   If we feel like we have to live our life in control of everything, the bedroom may be one place where we want someone to control us.  And those two extremes may go back and forth in a couple, each taking turns on who is dominant and who is submissive.  How extreme you take these dominant and submissive roles is up to the couple and how much they are each willing to do.  It could be just someone deciding who is doing what.  Who is taking charge and leading the way.  Or it can go all the way to handcuffs, whips, chains, ball gags, you name it.
  3. Role play – you can role play anything you want.  This is a fun one to get creative and just be different people.  Acting out different parts of their sexual self.  Whether it’s particular people, like a famous couple that you role playing, or the nurse and the patient, the rescuer and the one being rescued, the boss and the secretary.  This is a fun fantasy that can easily be played out by both people.  It’s fun to get outside of yourself and be someone else for a little bit.  Try costumes, wigs, makeup.  It’s kind of like Halloween for grown ups.
  4. Location – whether it’s in a secluded cabin like I mentioned before, or on a deserted island, location fantasies are often high on the list because it’s a way to make things different than the usual.  

Why do we need fantasy?

So, why do we need fantasy?  So much of fantasy is about escaping the usual, the normality of regular life.  Familiarity and comfort decreases our desire.  As married couples, we tend to get pretty familiar and pretty comfortable, sometimes too comfortable with our spouse.  If we are leaving the bathroom door open, there’s a level of familiarity there that just isn’t sexy.

There’s a movie that came in 2014 called The Other Woman.  It’s about a married man, who is having affairs with two other women.  His wife and both other women all find out and the three of them plot revenge. But there is a scene in that movie that has stuck in my mind, where the guy is in the bathroom brushing his teeth before bed and his wife comes in and is talking to him and she sits on the toilet and goes to the bathroom and wipes herself in front of him.  And that scene has stuck in my brain…it’s not sexy.  Even as married couples, we want an air of mystery with our spouse.  We want a sense of risk and “I don’t know what I am getting myself into.”  And that is where fantasy can play a big part.

Fantasies are necessary.  We have been using our imaginations and our God-given creativity our entire lives, why shouldn’t it continue into our sexual relationship?  

When you have a fantasy, you are looking for a feeling.  Pay attention to that.  What is that feeling? Control? Mystery? Seduction? Desire?  You can create a fantasy…which is just sentences in your brain, to create that feeling that you want.  

And when you fantasize, pay attention to what is happening in your brain and in your heart.  Is it connecting you to your partner or taking your further away.  In a recent episode, I talked about how sometimes we need to go into ourselves to increase our arousal, but then we can come back and connect with our spouse again.    We don’t want to eliminate fantasy, because, especially for women, we need to engage our brain in order to be sexual.  But we also don’t want to live in the fantasy because then we aren’t engaging with our partner.  We have to be able to back and forth between the two.  We are are all responsible for our own desire, so if we can go into a fantasy and increase the arousal, and then come back to our spouse and connect with them and go in and out of the fantasy and reality and keep that connection then we can have a truly magical, arousing, and connecting experience.

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