You've read our primer on how to share your fantasies with someone new, now you're ready to actually act out those fantasies. Here's what you need to know to help make your fantasies a reality.
Title illustration by Tara Jacoby.
Make Sure Your Partner Understands Exactly What You Want
If you were at all nervous about sharing your fantasy with your partner, you may have skimmed over some of the details of what you were looking for. As we mentioned last time, some fantasies are simple and straightforward ("I'd like to have sex with the lights on") while others are more complex ("I want to pretend we've never met each other, meet at a hotel bar, and have a 'one night stand' in a room upstairs"). Tell your partner, "you know how we were talking about that fantasy of mine? Here's what I was thinking we could do," then fill them in with any information that's important for them to know. If necessary, you can even send them articles or books to help them prepare.
Some people worry that sharing the specific details of their fantasies is a buzzkill, but it can be just the opposite. Talking through exactly what you want to do to each other before you do it can be exceptionally erotic. Any sort of planning that you need to do ahead of time (gathering materials, scoping out locations, etc.) builds anticipation. You may even find this part of the process to be more pleasurable than the actual event itself.
There's also something to be said about taking ownership of your desires. If it's your fantasy, it's your responsibility to take charge of the legwork behind it. This comes up rather frequently when the fantasy involves wanting to be dominated. It's not fair to tell a partner, "I want you to make me your sex slave", then not give any further directions.
You can ask your partner, "do you have ideas of what you would want to do, or do you want me to tell you what I'd like?" but make sure you're clear that you're taking the lead. This dynamic can also surface if you still feel a little shy about your fantasy. If that's the case for you, take some time to remind yourself that fantasies are perfectly healthy, and that you have nothing to be ashamed of!
Start with baby steps and get enthusiastic consent
If your fantasy is detailed, or either you or your partner feel any hesitation whatsoever, try breaking the fantasy down into more manageable steps. For example, if you're into domination, start with handcuffs and a blindfold before you work your way up to the Japanese rope and ballgag. If you want to have a threesome, watch threesome porn or find someone to flirt with over email. One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply talk about your fantasy as you're being intimate with each other ("Can you imagine what this would be like with other people watching us right now?"). Again, the anticipation is half the fun, so there's no need to rush into anything!
Also, remember that there's a big difference between agreeing in a general sense to act out someone's fantasy, and consenting to a specific act in the moment. You may feel thrilled that your partner is willing to participate in your fantasies with you, but don't jump the gun! Make sure to ask your partner, "are you good with trying out that fantasy tonight?"
Don't expect perfection the first time
When fantasies are just in our heads, they usually unfold perfectly. No one fantasizes about things feeling a little awkward or fumbly (unless you're into that kind of thing). But in the real world, acting out fantasies is messier. Someone's going to lose their erection, fall out of character, or get stuck in the handcuffs. Just as it takes us all a while to get "good" at sex, it can take some time and practice to learn how to play with your fantasies. Each time you try, you're likely learn something new about enacting your fantasies. You'll learn how to be more nimble with your sex toys. You'll figure out the nuances of a good spanking. Maybe you'll even realise that your favourite part is talking it through and planning it out. Try to be patient, and have a sense of humour if things ever go awry. You'll figure it out in time, and you'll be so happy you did!
Take turns with your fantasies
Of course, you should be as generous with your partner's fantasies as they are with yours. Make sure to ask them what their desires are, and give their fantasies as much space and effort as you give to yours. If you have a bunch of fantasies between the two of you, keep them in a shared Google Docs spreadsheet and work your way through them one at a time. Or you can write them on slips of paper or use an online random number generator to pick the order for you!
Vanessa Marin is a licensed psychotherapist (#78931) specializing in sex therapy. It's her mission to take the intimidation out of sex therapy and bring the fun back into the bedroom.