Everyone has a sexual fantasy. Maybe yours involves role playing or dabbling with BDSM. Whatever it is, your sexual fantasy turns you on so it makes sense for you to share it with your partner. But talking about our sexual fantasies out loud to our partner can make us feel uncomfortable and awkward, especially if you feel your fantasies are risqué. You might fear your partner’s judgment or their rejection, or you might fear your fantasies reveal something weird about you. While you might feel alone, according to certified sex therapist Aliyah Moore, these are pretty common fears for many of us.
“Admitting your sexual fantasies to yourself can feel unsettling; what’s more when you say it out loud to a partner, especially when you’re unsure how they would react,” she says. “Talking about sex with a partner is already hard enough for some people. It makes one feel vulnerable. Add talking about sexual fantasies to that, and you’ll feel extra exposed, especially if you think your fantasies are taboo or gross.”
Aside from the fear of rejection, Moore says many people are worried that their thoughts and fantasies are not the same as those of their partners.
“You might be scared to share them because your partner might judge what turns you on,” she says, “or you might be afraid of what your fantasy says about you and your current and past relationships.”
But sharing your sexual fantasies with your partner — and being open to talk about theirs with you — is important when it comes to establishing trust and intimacy within your relationship. If you’re turning red and anticipate getting tongue-tied when it comes to sharing your sexual fantasy with your partner, here are things to keep in mind to create a safe and comfortable space for both of you.
Remember it’s normal to have sexual fantasies
Sexual fantasies aren’t weird or gross; they’re, in fact, normal.
“Sexual fantasies are arousing erotic images that we conjure up in our heads,” Moore says. “And if you’re wondering if we all have them — yes! Each person has sexual fantasies. Fantasies are inherent to every human being. As a matter of fact, they provide insights into someone’s personality, relationships, and overall well-being.”
According to Moore, there are many reasons people fantasize — from experiencing different sexual sensations and arousal and meeting unfulfilled needs to exploring taboo desires, escaping reality, and reducing anxiety.
“Taboo or not, all those sexual fantasies in your head don’t imply you’re bad, or something’s wrong with you,” she says. “They don’t even have to mean something about you. Instead, think of these fantasies as dreams or a means of expressing your desires or needs that you can’t control.”
Why you might want to live out your sexual fantasies
Sometimes fantasies stay just that — a fantasy. But sometimes our sexual fantasies inspire us to act them out in real life, which again, Moore emphasises as completely normal.
“These sexy dreams empower people to give their desires a try. And by giving them a try, the experience could teach you a thing or more about your sexual preferences. It even prepares you for possible sexual events. All these provide new insights into your desires and limitations.”
Of course, before acting upon your sexual fantasy, you need to talk to your partner first, which, Moore notes, also needs to involve establishing consent and setting boundaries with your partner before exploring your fantasies.
Even if you don’t plan on acting out every fantasy with a consenting partner, Moore says, “Think of these thoughts as aphrodisiacs — adding unique flavours to your routine sex life.”
What is your sexual fantasy?
Before talking to your partner about your sexual fantasy, it’s a good idea to get curious and clear about what are your fantasies and how you would like to act upon them with your partner.
Some common fantasies, according to Moore, involve having sex with multiple parters, like threesomes or an orgy; engaging in rough sex, kink, or BDSM; role-playing (some common roles couples play include boss/employee, professor/student, and doctor/nurse); having sex in public places.
You don’t have to know all the exact details about your fantasy before talking about it with your partner but knowing what you want and why it turns you on is important to think about beforehand to help you understand your own desires. It will also give you a better idea on how to answer any questions your partner might have too.
“Once you finally admit these pent-up fantasies to yourself, it becomes easier to bring them to your partner,” Moore says. “Just think of it this way: you become a good sexual partner when you try to understand your feelings, needs, and wants and those of your partner.”
How to talk about your sexual fantasy with your partner
So now you’re ready to talk about your sexual fantasy with your partner. How do you start?
Moore suggests you bring up the topic outside the bedroom or sexual situations. “Doing so gives you and your partner some time to think without being pressured to get things done right away,” she says.
Now that you’ve figured out what fantasies or scenarios you want to act out or fulfil, Moore recommends explaining why you want to act out your fantasy and share as many details of the scenario that you might be into. “The more you go into details, the more likely your fantasy will play out the way you want it to — without making you feel weird or embarrassed in any way,” she says. “Also, the outcome will be more pleasurable and intimate for you and your partner.”
If you don’t know how to ease into the conversation, Moore suggests sharing your fantasy with your partner by telling them you had a steamy dream about them last night. “Something like, ‘We were in this period drama. You were the count, and I was your mistress…’ The trick here is to bring up your fantasy as a compliment. When you include your partner in your fantasy from the start, it’s clear to them that what you are sharing is mere fantasy and nothing more.”
After sharing your sexual fantasy, Moore says it’s crucial to ask your partner what they think. “It’s equally important to ask your partner if there are scenarios they’ve thought about playing out. Respond gently as your partner has responded to you.”
And if you think one intimate conversation around fantasies is going to do it, Moore says no way. “Conversations around sexual fantasies shouldn’t happen just once, and you’re done. No, no. They must comprise a series of talks between consenting partners.”
What to do if your partner rejects your sexual fantasy
Sharing your fantasies with your partner for the first time can be challenging and you should be proud of yourself for going for it. But Moore cautions you need to be prepared for your partner’s response — which can be a positive or a negative one.
“Before sharing any sexual fantasy or playing it out with your partner, always prepare yourself for any reaction that they’ll give you–good or bad. If they’re disgusted by it or react negatively, try another time,” she says.
When that “other time” comes, and you’re ready to open up again with your partner, Moore suggests talking about the idea more and asking them why they felt that way about your fantasy, and go from there.
“Maybe your sexual fantasy doesn’t sit right for them, or they might have one very different from yours. That’s OK. Different people have different sexual fantasies.”
What’s most important, Moore says, is setting clear boundaries on the aspects of the fantasy scenario that you or your partner feel comfortable with or not. “There’s nothing wrong with trying different ones till you find a few that work for you both, as long as they’re within your and your partner’s limits.”
How to explore your sexual fantasies in the bedroom
If you and your partner have agreed to experimenting with one of your fantasies, Moore says the first thing you need to do is make sure to set clear boundaries. “Explain what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not about the scenario you want to play out. Remember that healthy boundaries go both ways — they’re not just for you but also your partner.”
She suggests creating a list of things you both think are sexy and those that are off-limits beforehand. Then, establish a safe word to immediately stop the action when things get uncomfortable or overwhelming for you.
Moores stresses consent is a crucial aspect of enacting sexual fantasies throughout the entire experience. “Both partners have to give and get consent throughout. Even if you’ve been together with your partner for years, you have to 100% make sure that each act is consensual,” she says. “For example, if you’re playing a punishment scenario, you have to let your partner know what’s comfortable for you and what’s going too far. Are you OK being called demeaning names? Do you prefer verbal and oral punishment or some light butt-spanking? Tell your partner your limits and vice versa.”
Consent between sexual partners is crucial when enacting BDSM, Moore says. “Every act must be safe, sane, and consensual (SSC). Aside from agreeing on a safe word, partners should set limits and boundaries and check in with each other before, during, and after play.”
Discussing your limits is something that should take place before the bedroom (Moore refers to it as “negotiation”) but she advises it’s also best to check in with your partner throughout the scenes. “If something is OK for you or your partner once, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’ll always be. So, make sure to communicate throughout your interaction.”
Next, enjoy and have fun with your sexy fantasy turned reality. Experiment with costumes, props, and a different environment if that’s what your fantasy calls for, and lean into the new experience. “After all the planning, don’t be overwhelmed by all of them,” says Moore. “The goal of playing out your fantasy is for you and your partner to be turned on.”
If you’re acting out a scenario or fantasy for the first time, she also says don’t be afraid to laugh it off when things don’t go as planned. “Don’t sweat it if it gets awkward or if you break character. Enjoy the show and move on. That’s either replaying the sexy scene or ending it and finding another scenario to act out.”
Another tip? End your play with aftercare. “Aftercare can be in verbal form or any attention or time you give to your partner after a new (often intense) sexual experience. For example, you can talk about the sex that you just had. This last step is very important if you don’t want to end up in a cycle of doing something that only you like and your partner doesn’t.”
Ultimately, even if you’ve both decided not to enact any of your fantasies together, Moore says having honest conversations with your partner “brings you closer and boosts your respect for each other.”
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