Is Fantasy is Good or Bad for Your Sex Life?
Dear Leather and Lace : My friend says that she often thinks of certain guys she knows, like the cute guy who bags her groceries at the local health foods store, and her sweet and funny co-worker that she has lunch with, when she is masturbating. I have imagined that I’m having sex with Adam Levine when I’m actually with someone else who is totally nothing like him. Don’t get me wrong, we know these are just fantasies, but they keep us going when life is a bit dull. Is this behavior normal, are are we lacking in the love department?
Alison’s Take: There’s nothing wrong with fantasizing about someone, as long as you don’t let it get out of hand. Thinking about walking hand in hand with George Clooney along a secluded beach while you’re stuck in an airplane crowded between a woman fussing with her bulging tote bags and a child who can’t sit still is fine, preferable to reality. Thinking about passionately kissing your long distance boyfriend while you’re pleasuring yourself, ok as well. But if your fantasies take over when you’re in the middle of something in your real-life relationships, that’s not so healthy. If you are fantasizing that you’re with someone else while you’re making love to a real person, that substitution is cheating the person you are with out of a genuine connection with you, let alone an intimate one. And you’re not giving yourself a chance to connect with him. Even if you know that you’re not really making love to Adam Levine when you’re with George that you met at the singles mixer a few weeks ago, it’s not far to substitute a man in your head for a man who is right in front of you. What does that say about poor George’s appeal?
One of the things that bothers me about porn and erotic literature is that the characters are always so enticing, so powerful, so sensual. Few people in real life are really like that (and if they are, certainly not all the time). Women seem to be more susceptible to letting fantasy characters get to them so that when they’re with actual partners, those men never quite measure up. While I agree with Tony that fantasy can be good for your sex life, some women really do find it hard not to get carried away with it. It’s one thing to use it to become aroused, another to assume that life will imitate “art.”
Tony’s Take: Fantasy is often a central element in achieving and orgasm or distracting us from worldly concerns which keep us from reaching an orgasm. The problem with fantasy is we must be very careful about who we fantasies about and what we fantasize about because our fantasies can lead to objectification and not seeing the real and vital human in those we fantasize about. Fantasizing about someone you are currently in a relationship with but who is currently absent is always permissible their reality limits the objectification that will happen by putting them in fantasy scenarios. Likewise, fantasizing about someone with whom you will never have a relationship such as Adam Levine, is also permissible, because you cannot objectify someone who does not exist in your life. Fantasizing about co workers,about people with whom you would like to have a relationship, or people in your everyday life is very dangerous, because you stop seeing these people as the humans they are, and you start ascribing to them their behavior in your fantasies. This leads to your seeing the person as less than a vital human being and more so as a sexual doll which can lead to inappropriate behavior toward the person or the inability to communicate on a real personal basis with that person.
Another element of fantasy that can be dangerous is when you imagine doing something to another person against their will. Most “rough” fantasies involve things being done to you, those are personal preferences and not dangerous per se. It is only when we start turning anger or frustration or social impotence into fantasy that it again becomes a very dangerous thing.
An orgasm is the release of sexual tension. We for example, close our eyes when becoming aroused to block visual stimulation which can be distracting, in order to concentrate on our arousal and feelings which are bringing us to orgasm. Likewise, we may need to distract the mind in order to concentrate on those feelings by giving the mind a set of images a fantasy even so little as certain key words like “wet panties” is enough to allow the physical stimulation to achieve the level necessary to cause an orgasm. This is where fantasy is helpful. It pulls our mind to an exact sexual point which stimulates us and thus contributes to the overall building of sexual tension and the achieving of orgasm.