Whether we’re aware of it or not, like dreams, our sexual fantasies change all the time. For example, you may watch a sexy scene in a movie in the afternoon and then find it slipping into your thoughts later on when you are resting, self-pleasuring or making love. Or a conversation with a friend about an old flame may result in that person showing up in your fantasies.
The specifics of how our sexual fantasies play out can also be easily influenced by the different types of sexual media we come in contact with. Someone who watches a lot of pornography may find their fantasies filled with the images they’ve seen on screen. Someone who reads lots of hot, sexy romance novels may discover that their erotic thoughts mimic and replay the descriptions they have read. If you’re not exposed to much erotic media, your fantasies will probably be more inspired by your own past sexual experiences and your imagination.
During my research and clinical work on sexual fantasy for my book, Private Thoughts, I was intrigued to discover that many people are drawn to sexual fantasies that in some way recreate the excitement they felt when they were young and first became aware of their own sexual arousal. One woman told me that her sexual awakening happened when she sat on a jet of water in a hot tub when she was twelve. Today, her sexual fantasies often feature rushing waters and humming sounds. Many people told me that the themes and images they saw in pornographic videos (and magazines for some older folks) as inquisitive teenagers still play a role in their sexual thoughts today.
A two-step process
It makes sense that our early exposures and experiences impact how our minds create our sexual fantasies. Fantasizing relies on a two-step process:
Step 1: Entertaining a specific thought, and,
Step 2: Combining that thought with pleasurable genital stimulation.
Sometimes it’s the thoughts that trigger the pleasurable sensations and sometimes it’s the sensations that trigger the specific thoughts. Either way, the two become strongly linked together over time. And when these thought-sensation combinations are repeated and result in all the feel-good chemicals released during orgasm, the fantasy is powerfully strengthened. An orgasm is one of the biggest reinforcers possible in the human experience.
Even though our sexual fantasies are forming and changing on their own, without much conscious awareness on our part, there are times and circumstances when you might want to play a more active role in what you fantasize about. Perhaps you want to:
- experience more fun and pleasure
- feel less inhibited in how you think and behave sexually
- experience novelty and sexual variation in a safe way
- be more sexually expressive and creative
- move away from disturbing and unwanted sexual fantasies
- increase sexual attraction and desire for a current partner
Creating new sexual fantasies is a process that takes time, but you can take steps – small and large – to have more control over what plays out in your erotic imagination. For example, you can spend a few minutes contemplating the ideas, feelings, and sensations that turn you on. Or you can write (on paper or just mentally) your own sexual fantasy story, with detailed sexual scenarios and characters. There are many types of sexual fantasies possible, so options are as wide and diverse as you want to go in your imagination. In general, it is a good idea to focus on themes and interactions that leave you feeling good. Give yourself permission to stop sexual thoughts and imagery you don’t like and shift your thinking to ideas and images that you like better. Keep in mind that sexual fantasies lose power when they are no longer coupled with genital stimulation, and they gain and maintain power, when they are.
Sexual fantasizing happens in a semi-dreamlike state – in which we are entranced by thoughts, as well as sensations. The idea of exercising a degree of conscious choice and control may seem counterintuitive. But, like with many pleasurable experiences, such as painting, cooking, and creating music, sexual fantasizing involves blending both conscious and unconscious experience. Your “masterpiece” at the end might not turn out exactly as you expected, but if it brings you pleasure, that’s all that matters. And don’t freak out if strange or surprising ideas pop into your mind on occasion, like with any creative and imaginative endeavor, this can sometimes happen.
Ideas for inspiring new sexual fantasies:
1. Use a sexual dream you enjoyed as a jumping-off point. Replay the dream in your mind, savoring the sexy and sensual parts.
2. Recall a previous enjoyable sexual experience. Focus on as many details as possible: what was said, where you were, how your partner’s skin felt, how you both moved, etc.
3. Identify the sensory elements such as sight, sound, and touch that you find most erotic and include them in your fantasizing.
4. Imagine your partner (or future partner) is touching you and caressing you on all the favorite places on your body. Take it further and imagine they willing to pleasure you any way you want.
5. Put yourself into a movie or novel you find sexy. Imagine yourself as one or more of the characters.
6. Put yourself in a different kind of role. If you envision yourself normally as passive, think active. If you’re active, imagine passive.
7. Imagine sex from a different perspective (Being outside the action as a voyeur or engaged in the action as an active participant)
8. Imagine having sex with an ideal lover or in an ideal setting
Remember, creating conscious sexual fantasies is a fun, experimental process. You write the script, play the film in your head, and maybe leave a few scenes on the editing floor if they don’t work out. You can be the director of your sexual thoughts and create a world of pleasure and sensuality just for you or for you and a partner.
Note: For more on this topic, Private Thoughts devotes a whole chapter to creating new sexual fantasies.
© Copyright 2022 by Wendy Maltz for HealthySex.com