Sometimes sharing your fantasies is as easy as, "hey, I'm into XYZ. Want to do it with me?" But not all of us have that level of comfort with our desires. Here's how to feel more at ease divulging your fantasies.
Dominatrix picture from Shutterstock
Get comfortable with those fantasies first
It's really hard to ask someone to do something with you in bed if you don't feel fully comfortable with what you're asking for. Just like the old, "you have to love yourself first before you can let someone else love you" adage, you have to honour your fantasies if you want someone to else to treat them with respect!
Part of having a healthy adult sex life is taking the time to explore our desires and learn what turns us on, without judgment. Think through your fantasies on your own (perhaps while you're masturbating), and try to get a sense of what lights your fire. It might be helpful for you to differentiate between your fantasies and your desires. Fantasies are the things you think about that turn you on. Desires are the things you actually want to happen. You might fantasize about having sex in public, but not actually ever want to do it. Sometimes making that differentiation can make it easier to acknowledge what turns us on.
From there, try simply saying out loud what you're interested in. It's not like you need to nail down every exact detail, but try something simple like "I like being dominated" or "I want to have a threesome." Repeat until you start to feel more comfortable with the words. Give yourself permission to have your fantasies and desires. All of us have been taught to be ashamed of our sexualities in one way or another, so this can be a challenging step for some people. Just try saying to yourself, "I give myself permission to be turned on by this."
These steps may sound a little silly at first, but they make a huge difference in your relationship with your sexuality, and in your ability to advocate for your own desires. The way you relate to your fantasies will define how your partner will respond to them. If you turn beet red and stammer your way through asking for anal, your partner is going to feel your discomfort, and they will be less likely to go along with your request. But if you're able to ask confidently and clearly, your partner will instantly feel more at ease.
Don't overanalyze your fantasies
The very word "fantasy" makes a lot of people nervous, so they wind up making their fantasies seem like a bigger deal than they really are. A fantasy is just something that turns you on in your mind. Sure, you can have a detailed dungeon torture fantasy, but you can also have a fantasy as simple as "I want to have sex with the lights on." You can also be unsure about your fantasies. For example, you may be curious about having an orgy, but not sure if you'd actually like it in reality.
You also don't need to try to make sense of why you have a particular fantasy or what it "says about you" that some particular thing turns you on. Remember, fantasies don't always overlap with desires. But even if you do want to try out a fantasy in real life, there's still no need to judge it. Rape fantasies are a classic example: being raped is one of the top five fantasies for women, but having a rape fantasy doesn't mean you actually want to be raped in real life. It also doesn't make you a crazy person or a bad feminist.
Sure, sometimes there are clear reasons why we have specific fantasies. You might be able to identify that you're into the dynamic of letting go of control since you have so much control over every other aspect of your life. Sometimes we have a fantasy specifically because it's so different from how we would allow ourselves to act in the real world. But not every fantasy has a clear explanation, and the bottom line is that it really doesn't matter. If something turns you on, if it's happening between consenting adults, and if no one's being hurt (against their will), it's fine.
Figure out when to ask
Everyone has different relationships with their fantasies. For some people, they're the cherry on top of the sundae but not the main event. If that's the case for you, it may be better to wait a while before bringing your fantasies up with a new partner. Give yourselves the opportunity to get comfortable and familiar with each other before you start sharing more personal details about your interests.
For other people, fantasies are more front and center. Some people can't be sexually satisfied unless they have a very particular kind of sex. If incompatibility with your fantasies is a deal-breaker for you, you may find it best to share your fantasies sooner rather than later. Let your partner know, "this is what I'm looking for. I don't want to waste either of our time if you're not interested in that." You may even want to use a service like Adult Friend Finder or Fetlife to put all your cards on the table.
If you're really afraid of your partner's reaction, try easing your way into it. If you're into sensation play, ask your partner of they'd be into using a massage oil candle before you whip out the Wartenburg wheel. You can also try using leading questions to gauge their potential reactions. For example, "I read about this thing on the internet today. Have you ever thought about doing something like that?" Or try watching porn or reading erotica that has some aspect of your fantasy in it, and see how your partner reacts.
It's also worth mentioning that you don't have to share every aspect of your private fantasy world with your partner, even if you're in a serious relationship. You may have fantasies that you're not actually interested in indulging. We all have the right to a little privacy when it comes to our fantasies! Like, say, when you fantasize about other people. No matter how much you love your partner, you're going to fantasize about other people on occasion. This isn't cheating, and there's no need to "confess"! It's up to you to decide how much of your fantasy world to share, but a simple guideline is to only divulge the things you actually want to try.
Tell your partner why you want to do it with them
For a lot of people, hearing a partner's fantasy can bring up insecurity. It's easy to go to a place of not feeling like you're "enough" for your partner.
One simple way to get around this is to share the specific reasons why you want to act out your fantasy with them. Maybe you've never met someone you trusted as much as your current partner. Maybe they're the only person who has helped you feel safe enough to explore your fantasies. Maybe they look exactly like a character you used to fantasize about as a horny teenager. Maybe you can't get the thought of her beautiful breasts wrapped up with bondage tape out of your mind, or his strong arms pinning you down. Whatever it is, share with your partner why they are a crucial part of your fantasy instead of just playing a role that any other person could play.
Try these lines
Still feeling stumped? Here are some easy prompts to get you started:
- "You know what sounds really hot to me?"
- "There's this thing I've always wanted to try, but I've been waiting until I found the right person."
- "I would love to see you doing..."
- "What did you fantasize about when you were a teenager?"
- "Have you ever thought about doing..."
- "I saw this movie that had a scene where the actors were doing... Would you ever do something like that?"
- "How do you feel about..."
- "I'm not sure I'd actually like this, but I've always been a little curious about trying..."
Even if the thought of sharing your fantasy has got you stressed, remember that your partner's reaction to your disclosure says a lot about whether they're worthy of your time and affection. Do they treat your fantasy with respect? Do they listen to you without judgment? Are they willing to at least consider your request? Sharing your fantasies is a great way to gauge your long-term compatibility with someone.
Vanessa Marin is a licensed psychotherapist (#78931) specialising in sex therapy. It's her mission to take the intimidation out of sex therapy and bring the fun back into the bedroom.