“Ooh, that’s hot…”
“Is this normal? Am I weird for having these thoughts?”
“I wonder what it’d be like to try that…”
Sexual fantasies. We’ve all had them, or at least heard about them. But how common are they? And what’s considered normal? Should I act on them?
Let’s dive right in and explore these once-taboo topics. Here are eight things to know.
Sexual fantasies are common, normal, and natural.
Despite the fact that you don’t hear much about it, or learn about it in sex ed class, having sexual fantasies is very common and normal, as well as being a natural part of erotic engagement and arousal. In fact, according to recent sexual fantasy surveys conducted in the U.S.and Canada, most people regularly engage in sexual fantasies.
And not only is fantasizing normal, it also has many benefits. Sexual fantasies can help you:
Tap into your desires. Many people fantasize as a way of figuring out what they want out of sexual experiences--to tune into what turns them on.
Make everyday life more exciting. Sometimes we just need a break from the monotony of routine, and escaping reality for a bit with some naughty thoughts helps us do that.
Boost libido naturally. Why turn to medicinal aid, which hasn’t been shown to work, when what you need is right inside your own head? A little imagination goes a long way in getting back your mojo.
(Re)Connect with your partner. Sharing your innermost thoughts with a trusted partner can help you connect on a deeper level and find each other more appealing.
Spice up your sex life. When we’re in a monogamous relationship, we often become stuck in a routine of predictable sex. It’s like ordering your usual meal at a favorite restaurant -- safe and reliable, but sometimes we just need to try (or even just consider) something new and perhaps more pleasurable to our palettes.
Listening to audio erotica is a great way to explore your fantasies. Check out some fantasy stories in the Emjoy app:
- Enter a Fantasy World
- Create Your Own
- Now Enjoy It!
- Don’t Speak
- Hot Yoga
- New in Town
There’s no shame in your sexual fantasy game.
Many of us grew up in cultures where discussions of even basic sexuality was limited, and talk of sexual fantasy was virtually nonexistent. This is especially true for those of us who grew up in religious households.
As a result of this cultural conditioning, we may feel ashamed when sexual thoughts or feelings creep into our brains or bodies. But we should know that fantasizing is nothing to feel shame about, despite the strong stigma that may be attached.
Further, it’s important to note that fantasizing is not the same as acting on something. Often, fantasizing can be a psychological coping mechanism--to explore our past experiences or relieve current anxieties.
We mostly share the same sexual fantasy themes.
Though there’s a never-ending list of potential fantasy options, sex studies confirm that most of our fantasies fall under a few common themes:
Sex with multiple partners. Why was this fantasy listed as the most common? It could be as simple as the need for attention. The idea of having multiple people focused on you and riveted on your every move can be very appealing.
Rough or dominating sex. This type of fantasy may be a turn-on to those interested in exploring a power relationship that’s outside of the norm for them IRL: a quiet, introverted person may wish to feel a sense of control or authority; conversely, an outgoing person may wish to let someone else take the reins.
The common categories that fall into this theme include S&M and BDSM.
New or adventurous sex. This one likely comes as no surprise; even those of that prefer routine eventually like the thrill that comes with trying something different--whether that be adding new toys in the bedroom or imagining sex in an exotic locale. (Note: if you decide to act out this particular fantasy, make sure it’s legal! Most public places have laws prohibiting sex or indecent exposure.)
Forbidden or illicit sex. The idea of wanting what we can’t have can be simply scandalous--not to mention very arousing! Categories that fall into this theme include voyeurism and exhibitionism. Again, take note here: acting on either of these is likely illegal. Best to keep it in your imagination, or act it out in a safe, secluded space (more on this later).
Romantic and passionate sex. Who doesn’t want to feel adored and appreciated? And we may have unfairly underestimated men’s need for adoration and emotional connection: the 2018 survey showed that men fantasized about being romanticized almost as often as women.
Non-monogamous sex. This includes having sexual relations or relationships with someone other than your partner.
Homoerotic or gender-bending sex. This fantasy allows us to explore aspects of ourselves that may not get expressed--i.e., our masculinity if we identify as female, or vice versa.
You can keep your fantasies to yourself or share them with your partner.
The great thing about sexual fantasies is you can have them alone or with others. But it’s important to be comfortable with and accepting of your fantasies first before bringing someone else into your erotic mental adventures.
Some may be hesitant to share your fantasies for fear that having them means you’re somehow being disloyal to your partner. Remember, as we mentioned earlier, thinking about something is not the same as acting it out, and mental fantasies are not the same as cheating on your partner or being dishonest. (In fact, they may even improve your relationship!)
If you do decide to share your fantasy or fantasies, decide if you want to progress to acting them out, also known as role-playing.
How to get started role-playing
Bringing your fantasies to life via playacting or role-playing can be a healthy way for couples to express their desires and release inhibitions. Role-playing can be as simple as verbally communicating your fantasies in scripted form to as elaborate as dressing up in costumes and assuming the role of different characters.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Decide what you like.
- Talk to your partner and agree to a plan.
- Establish clear communication methods and boundaries.
- Decide on a safe word to use when you feel uncomfortable or want to stop.
- Check in with each other continuously.
- Accept that it’s a learning process and readjust along the way as needed.
Sexual roleplay ideas
Here are some common and popular roleplay ideas to try:
- Meeting a stranger
- Outdoor adventure scenario
- Delivery person
- Supernatural seductions
When does fantasizing become unhealthy?
As we’ve outlined above, engaging in sexual fantasies and role-play are normal parts of sexual health that can help with improving desire and arousal.
However, just like other psychological issues, repressed or unaddressed fantasies can lead to fixation or obsession that seeps in and begins to take over our lives. Further, turning to fantasy regularly as a coping mechanism instead of addressing an underlying issue or behavior (stress, relationship problems) can become problematic. Consider seeing a therapist if this becomes an issue for you.
And there you have it: eight key things to know about sexual fantasies and roleplay. To start exploring further, download the Emjoy app and check out the Fantasy stories section.