By Melissa Coats, LPC
Talking with partners about fantasies tends to be an uncomfortable subject for many people. Even HAVING fantasies can feel uncomfortable. Many times, this is because of the great number of misconceptions about fantasies floating around out there.
Fantasies live in our minds. They usually provide some sort of pleasure, and since they live in our minds, they are usually perfect! Nothing goes wrong in a fantasy, there is no awkwardness, no one's feelings get hurt, etc. But just because we have a fantasy, does not always mean we want it in real life. Sometimes fantasies are attractive because they exist in that perfect realm!
But when we do want to try a fantasy, it can be difficult to bring it up to a partner or partners, let alone admit it to ourselves! So here are some tips to help.
1. Remember that it is ok for your fantasies to remain private - you are not keeping a terrible, shameful secret if you don't want to share a fantasy. Fantasies are private and it is ok if they remain that way.
2. Remember that a fantasy doesn’t always mean that is what is wanted in real life - Just because it is something you have fantasized about, does not mean that you expect or even want it to happen in real life! Remember this about your partner or partners as well.
3. Create a safe, non-judgmental space to talk - make sure you establish some trust with each other and talk about what your fears are about sharing your fantasies before you get to the sharing.
4. Pay attention to your own feelings and your partner’s feelings – they may be different and that is ok - different does not mean wrong or bad! It's just different. If you don't like one of your partner's fantasies, let them know it is ok for them to have that fantasy, but it may not be one that you want to explore together.
5. Talk with a sex therapist! - Sex therapists are always available to help create that non-judgemental space to have a fulfilling discussion about fantasies. They are also there to answer any questions or concerns you have about fantasies. Most likely, we have heard it before! There is little that will surprise a sex therapist or make them think badly of you.
One GREAT resource for learning more about fantasies - the book Tell Me What You Want by Justin Lehmiller
Disclaimer - if you are concerned about your fantasies or acting on them, there is no shame in getting professional help. There are plenty of ways to manage thoughts, feelings, and actions that a sex therapist can help you explore.