Dita Parker

Friday, January 27, 2012

Undisclosed desires

Sex with a stranger/celebrity/friend. Sex with two or more partners. Sex with another woman (if you're a woman). Sex with another man (if you're a man). Roleplay. Dominating/being dominated by your partner. Light BDSM. Voyeurism. Exhibitionism. Exotic locations. The stuff erotic novels and sexual fantasies are made of.

Some dream factories churn out produce on an industrial scale (hello author friends!), some are more moderate in their output, but everyone fantasizes about something at some point. Psychologist Brett Kahr anonymously surveyed 18,000 Brits and Americans about their sexual fantasies and found that nine out of ten people have them. The remaining tenth person? Probably too embarrassed to fess up.

Sexual fantasies have to be the most common expression and form of experiencing sexuality. They're also a highly personal and individual thing and thus one of the most hush-hush. The shame and guilt they arouse in some is unnecessary albeit understandable. Any situation or object can be eroticized, turned into a fetish, but for the longest time any "kinky" or "strange" fantasies were considered pathologic, especially in women. (Remember our discussion about Hysteria, vibrators and masturbation? Yeah.)

Free sexual expression and enjoyment is not a universal idea or ideal. In too many parts of the world, sexual fantasies are for historical, cultural, religious, heteronormative, erotophobic and what have you reasons still strictly taboo, corruptive thoughts brought to you if not by Beelzebub himself then something abnormal and twisted in you. Is it any wonder that's what your brain may scream when certain thoughts cross your mind: This is wrong. I'm wrong, right? No, you're curious and imaginative and tapping into the positive life force that is your sexuality. Not fantasizing is the aberration.

I want to address one popular theme, being dominated/forced seduction, because it's so baffling to the Average Joe. I'm befuddled as to why because Joe fantasizes about being dominated, too. An independent, strong modern woman wants to be dominated. Well Joe, when you carry your own weight alongside caring for others, when you are sensible and responsible and dependable 24/7, giving up all control is a very tempting, titillating fantasy. That is not where we'd like to end up, but that's where we sometimes go to take a break from the demands of daily life. And Joe, even in a forced seduction scenario, it's not about you. It's not about getting hurt or being humiliated. It's about safely handing over control, submitting while being in total control. I know. It's complicated. People are complex. Tastes, themes and motivations vary. So Joe, above all, respectfulness. Always, okay?

Where were we? Yes. Popular themes. Just as you fantasize about the naughty and nice things you'd love to do with your partner, one of your partner's favorite fantasies is you. Things you've done in the past and they like to revisit, things they dream of doing to you, with you, in the future. If you've fallen into a rut, if you feel your sex life is lacking in variety, sharing a fantasy is a great way to spice up things.

But first you have to open your mouth and put it out there, and that's a scary prospect. It's one of those moments when you realize you don't know everything there is to know about your partner, and they don't know all about you. You face rejection and/or ridicule. What if what you find stimulating turns them off? What if their favorite fantasy is your worst nightmare? "You want (me) to do what?" I think the most important thing to remember when introducing a fantasy is to treat your partner as a full participant, not a prop. Make it about what you could experience and enjoy together, a mutual fantasy, not just what you want. Of course you can agree to try out something only because your partner asked. Who knows? You may be happily surprised, find a new favorite.

But I wouldn't want anyone to do anything against their will, especially if it involves inviting other people into the bedroom. If it disturbs you, scares you or makes you uncomfortable, do not do it. If your partner says no, don't push it. If you agree to try out something you're not one hundred percent sure about, reserve the right to stop at any point and make sure everyone is on the same page. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt, physically or emotionally.

Also, if your fantasies are becoming compulsive in nature, if fantasizing is the only way you get aroused/off with your partner, if your mind is always somewhere else with someone else, do stop to think about what's going on. If your partner has no role in certain fantasies, I don't see the point of sharing them. Hmmm. Unless it's a particular brand of verbal foreplay you both enjoy. Anyhow, it's the difference between your partner telling you s/he fantasizes about watching you having sex with X and you telling them you fantasize about sex with X. You know what I mean?

Certain fantasies may have to remain in the realm of erotic films, fiction and your imagination, perfectly fine and safe substitutes and outlets, mind you. Some fantasies may get lost in translation and disappoint. You gave it a try, it was okay but not great, moving on. Let's face it, you can do pretty much anything you like in a fantasy, things you would never manage/dare in real life. That's the whole point, so there are apt to be disappointments. S'okay. It happens.

Should you feel guilty you fantasize about sex with X even when you really really love your partner and would never in a million years have sex with X even if the opportunity offered itself? I don't see why. I don't believe there's a soul out there whose mind's eye hasn't wandered at least once. After all, fantasies are a great way to fire desire. So you had a fleeting thought about X. If you're going home with Y and gladly so, why worry?

For a deeper understanding of this Extremely Private & Incredibly Common phenomenon, consult e.g.
Michael Bader: Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies
Nancy Friday: Beyond My Control: Forbidden Fantasies in an Uncensored Age; Forbidden Flowers; My Secret Garden
Brett Kahr: Who’s Been Sleeping in Your Head: The Secret World of Sexual Fantasies
Stanley Siegel: Your Brain on Sex
Your partner
Your psyche

Have fun, dearest denizens, and keep thinking sexy thoughts. Everyone else is.


CC Kaufman said...

Thanks for your post, very well done. Along the lines of bringing it out in the open.If you really trust your partner, (why are you with them if you don't!) I have been doing something since way back that works well. I give my partner a little note-like certificate that states I will do ANYTHING they want, redeemable at a time of their choosing.That idea has turned up some very interesting situations over the years!

Dita Parker said...

Hi CC, and thanks!

Glad to hear you're being creative and having fun while at it. ;)

I hope I didn't make it sound as if sharing fantasies is something you absolutely have to do to have a fulfilling sex life. But if it's variety you crave, and if you'd rather not get into potentially dangerous situations and unsafe practices, carrying out a fantasy with someone you trust (you said the magic word, CC!) is a great way to introduce some.