index - sex general - sexual fantasy


Sexual Fantasy

Related Pages:

What is a sexual fantasy?


A sexual fantasy is a sexual experience you have in your imagination. This might be a pleasant memory of a sexual experience you once had, or it might be a daydream about a sexual experience you'd like to have. Some fantasies turn you on while you think about them, but you know you wouldn't actually enjoy the same thing in real life. Sexual fantasies can be simple or elaborate, with sounds and sensations, and sometimes even involve an elaborate storyline or plot.


Are sexual fantasies normal?


Yes! Most people have sexual fantasies. They are a normal part of human sexuality. It is important to remember that a fantasy is just that: fantasy, not reality. Therefore, it is a safe and - hopefully - enjoyable thing to do. You don't break the law and you are not being unfaithful when you enjoy a sexual fantasy. Your fantasy world inside your head is your own and it can be as extravagant as you wish.

Most people are very clear about fantasy being different from reality, because it's a basic distinction learned in childhood which we don't suddenly forget about. This is why it's OK to fantasize about whatever turns you on: you know it's a fantasy! Most people would never want to live their fantasies in the real world, simply because what they imagine wouldn't actually turn them on in reality. Sometimes it's the forbidden nature of our fantasies that make them sexy. Whatever you fantasize about does not necessarily reflect your overall sexual urges. For example, many people have homoerotic fantasies, but this fact does not make them homosexual. It simply means playing about with homoerotic material in their heads excites them as a fantasy.


Why are sexual fantasies important?


Sexual fantasies are an important part of a rich sex life. They provide extra stimulation and pleasure during masturbation or sexual play with your partner. Fantasy is also an important aspect of sexual arousal and desire for sex. Sexual fantasy can improve your sex drive and help with lack of sexual arousal. For some people, sexual fantasies are important in helping them to achieve an orgasm. And, last but not least, developing your ability to engage in sexual fantasy often forms part of sexual growth programs or psychosexual therapy (see the books by Heimann and LoPiccolo and Zilbergeld listed below for more information on this point).

If you want to get better at having sexual fantasies, or feel more relaxed about them, it might help if you start by reading up on other people's fantasies. Why not have a look at the fantasy collections by Nancy Friday? Her first two books, "My Secret Garden" and "Forbidden Flowers" are collections of material from the 1970s and 80s, whereas "Women on Top" is a newer collection of women's fantasies. "Men in Love" is a collection of men's sexual fantasies, highly recommended to all women, because it gives a real sense of men's devotion to women:

  • Nancy Friday, 2001, My Secret Garden: Women's Sexual Fantasies

  • Nancy Friday, 2003, Forbidden Flower's: More Women's Sexual Fantasies

  • Nancy Friday, 2003, Men in Love

  • Nancy Friday, 2003, Women on Top

Nancy Friday's material all originates from the USA, so may not be first choice of reading for everyone. A collection of material from the UK is:

  • Kerri Sharp, The Black Lace Book of Women's Sexual Fantasies (published by Black Lace)

What if you or your partner want to act out your fantasies in real life?


For some people acting out fantasies is a great turn on, especially if they can share this with their lover. However, keep in mind that what's fun in fantasy may not be much fun in real life! By the way, it's fine if you want to keep this stuff in your head and never act it out.

If you are considering acting out your fantasy take some time to think about the following questions:

  1. Does it involve one or more consenting adults? If "yes", living out your fantasy becomes an option; if "no", please leave your fantasy in your head.

  2. Does it involve harm to yourself or others? Most fantasies don't involve direct harm, but may involve indirectly hurting someone, for example by being unfaithful. You'll want to consider the long term consequences of living out your fantasy in such cases.

  3. Do you feel like you are able to make a choice about your behavior, or do you feel compelled to act on your fantasy? If you feel there's an element of compulsion to your behavior, you might want to think rather more about what's going on for you. Sexuality is about freedom, not compulsion. You can always contact a psychosexual psychotherapist if you feel uneasy about your sexual urges or experience a lack of control over them.

So what if your lover is interested in living out a fantasy with you, but you're not so sure? First of all, it's OK to say "no". Just because he or she gets turned on by a fantasy doesn't mean you'll enjoy it in real life. You can have a really good sex life without living out your partner's fantasies. In other words, whatever the other person proposes needs to feel right to you. Please don't just go along with it all for their sake.

However, on the other hand, you may like the idea, but only in fantasy. You could then have your "normal" sex, while both of you pretend you're doing something different. Doing it this way may be a lot more sexy than doing it for real. This may apply to fantasies like imagining your lover is having sex with someone else. Many couples have a very good time pretending they are strangers to each  other, or calling each other different names during sex, as Zilbergeld explains in his book.

Some couples live out their fantasies together, which may make for a passionate and rich sex life. If you do this, remember you have the option to quit at any point if you are getting uncomfortable, for example by using a "safe word" which means "Stop, RIGHT NOW!".

And if you do act out your fantasies, it's also a good idea to keep right on having sex in other ways too. Variety is important!


Can fantasizing be dangerous?


No, not really. Just remember it's all fantasy, not reality. Whatever you're fantasizing about is not real. You don't have to act on your fantasy. As long as you don't act on it, nothing will happen in the real world. So next time you start getting stressed about the minor irritations of life, have a sexual fantasy instead!

However, you may find that your fantasies become more interesting than your real sex life. It may be possible to get over-involved with sexual fantasies in extreme circumstances, just like it is possible to get addicted on pornography. In that case, put effort into dealing with your real life issues rather than allowing yourself to escape into a fantasy world all the time.



Francoeur, R. (ed.) (1995) The Complete Dictionary of Sexology. Continuum Press

Heimann, J.R., LoPiccolo, J. (1988) Becoming Orgasmic. A Sexual and personal Growth Programme for Women. Piatkus

Zilbergeld, B. (1999) The New Male Sexuality. Bantam Press

Written by Anna 30.06.07, last edited 1.4.09

contact us for free relationship advice or free sexual counseling

All material copyright, 2014 Sex And Relationships
Home Page Site Map