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07 Jun 2019 (Last updated 05 Feb 2024)

The role of fantasies in our sexuality

Pleasure Tips 2 min read
Expert Charlotte Creplet
the role of sexual fantasies

Imagination is a major mental and emotional activity of human beings: we have an innate talent to create more or less realistic stories in our minds. These stories can relate to any area of our lives: we can dream of changing jobs, imagine what it would be like to move to a new place, or to have another child, or … we can fantasize about what it would be like to make love in a train.

Erotica is definitely a field where our imagination can blossom and explore endless possibilities.

But does everyone fantasize? What is the role of our imagination in our sexual experience? How do our fantasies fit into our relationship with our partner?

An expert’s viewpoint on fantasies.

Everyone does not experience their erotic imagination the same way: for some, it is very developed, for others, barely or not at all. It depends on many factors, including

  • one’s education
  • one’s vision of sexuality
  • the way one processes the outer world’s stimuli – using more one’s senses? One’s emotions? Being more in one’s head?

On the other hand, what is universal is this ability to fantasize: we all have it, regardless of our gender or sexuality, it is simply more or less developed.

For experts in sexology, using our erotic imagination plays a key role in the cycle of sexual response: it is indeed known to fuel the initial increase of sexual desire that translates directly into the body through lubrication and the swelling of the clitoris for women/vulva-owners, and in erection in men/penis-havers. Fantasy, or mental framing, also fuels desire throughout the whole sexual response cycle, and paves the way to pleasure and orgasm. Thus, this mental activity has a direct impact on the body, and assists in making it a moment of satisfying intimacy.

Sexual fantasies are typically used to promote arousal. But they can serve other purposes in someone’s sex life. Research suggests that they can boost confidence, help someone plan for a future sexual encounter, or provide an escape for those who find their real-life sexual experiences unsatisfying (Psychology Today).

Fantasizing = cheating?

No, fantasizing is not being unfaithful, even when the fantasy is about someone else than one’s partner. The fantasy is only a mental projection, an imaginary scenario, a story that one invented. Imagining sensual stories, even with other individuals than one’s partner, is nothing adulterous. On the other hand, if the fantasy is used systematically to counter a lack of desire for one’s partner, it may be wise to consult a sexologist to talk about it and address the issue at hand.

Should you enact your fantasies?

Not necessarily, and this is not their primary purpose. It has actually been observed that many fantasies tend to lose their appeal and their magic once they are realized … But nothing should prevent you from making your fantasies a reality if both you and your partner are keen to try.

The golden rule is the consent of everyone involved, and the respect of one’s limits and those of others.

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