One element of our sex life that adds to our arousal and sexual pleasure is sexual fantasy. These can be images, scenes, or stories that can range from very simple, to very complex and involved. They are shaped by several different factors including early experiences, ideas about ourselves, and how we interpret the sexual meaning of certain acts or images. How our sexual fantasies develop is also influenced by what we are taught by our families or society about what is appropriate or not appropriate. Regardless, sexual fantasies are a natural part of the way our thinking mind works to give meaning to our actions and heighten our arousal.
Since sexual fantasies can include all different kinds of images, they are often misunderstood, or become a source of anxiety. Oftentimes, a person will be sufficiently uncomfortable with their sexual fantasies that they block them out or distract themselves with other thoughts in order to keep from thinking about them. If this happens repeatedly, you may teach yourself to ignore sexual fantasies altogether, or at least those fantasies that contribute the most to your arousal. This can result in difficulty becoming aroused, excited, or reaching orgasm.
Learning a little about sexual fantasies may help you feel more comfortable with your own fantasies. Many times, fantasies can be symbolic or their meaning may not be obvious at first. This can cause some people to become upset with their fantasies and try to block them out. For example, a fairly common fantasy for some women is that might be ravished or raped. For many women, this fantasy represents the desire to be so attractive and desirable that their partner (or others in the fantasy) would not be able to resist them. It does not automatically mean that a woman wants to be raped or would enjoy being raped. So you see how this type of fantasy could be confusing and upsetting for both men and women alike.
Sexual fantasies are what give our sex lives their gusto. If you do not allow yourself to get lost in your fantasies and explore your own sexual nature, you are short-changing yourself out of pleasure and a better understanding of who you are as an individual. There are many things that people fantasize about that they would not look to carry out in real life. But that does not mean that you cannot use those fantasies to heighten your experience for yourself or with your partner. Fantasy is just that – fantasy, not reality. It is a creative space in your mind that you can use to pretend and create exciting stories, and have fun.
(This article refers to fantasies that do not involve harm towards yourself or another person, or fantasies that involve inappropriate partners – such as children or animals. If you are having such fantasies, they should be discussed with a therapist to prevent any dangerous or harmful behavior or any anxiety or depression that result from them.)