Mariah Carey had the right idea when she sang about fantasies in 2009. Sometimes a sexual fantasy is just that; a thought that might seem incredibly hot on a Saturday night alone while your roommate hits Harry’s, but something you’d never want to act on IRL. We reached out to Jim Feinberg, a clinical social worker and therapist in Syracuse who specializes in sex, relationships, and LGBT issues to get his take on why we fantasize about things we have no intention on living out.
Sometimes a fantasy is a learning moment, either for yourself or for exploration with someone else. Fantasies can be used to figure out the atypical stuff we’re into, remind us of the hot girl we saw checking out bunches of bananas at Wegmans last week, or as a harmless way to let our imaginations run wild. “It’s important to share fantasies with our partners so they know how to turn us on,” Feinberg said. “Fantasies are a mental playground and can be revealing about our partner.” Even if you know you wouldn’t want to act on certain fantasies, it can be liberating to talk about them with someone you trust.
The way we grew up thinking about sex and who we associated with the awakening of our libidos can also impact our sexual fantasies. For example, anything that you once considered taboo or forbidden may play a major role in what you dream about doing now. This can be anything from adultery to exposition. Plenty of fantasies involve acts that we are normally repulsed by or scared of, and that’s perfectly normal.
This is especially true when it comes to Fifty Shades of Grey-style BDSM fantasies; however, Feinberg emphasizes the differences between fantasies and actions. “Many women fantasize about rough encounters” he said. According to Feinberg, some women who fantasize about aggressive sex might ask their partners to be more dominant, instead of acting out a specific scene they conjured up.
It’s easy to have fantasies we don’t want to act on because when we dream up steamy scenarios, we’re completely in control of the beginning, middle, and end of the story. There are no consequences to the fantasies and nobody to judge us from having them. Sometimes the self-judgment can be the most difficult part of fantasizing, though. Just remember that whether you choose to act on them or not, taking a closer look at what you fantasize about and why you fantasize about it can be a healthy way to learn more about yourself.