Impure Imagination

Impure Imagination

People...I’ve been fantasising about you. Frequently and with great fervour. To be fair I fantasise about everything for the majority of my waking hours, so I wouldn’t say you need to feel particularly special about this revelation.  

Today we're going to be talking about fantasy. But I feel it’s important here that we take a moment to clarify what a “fantasy” actually is. Have you ever sat in a classroom or a meeting and imagined yourself doing anything other than what you’re doing at that exact moment? It might have been something as simple as imagining you were outside in the sunshine when you were stuck in a stuffy room. Or it might have been something as elaborate as beating your boss’s head in with a dildo bat while an army of Victorian Era gentlemen politely applauded you. Either way, that’s a fantasy. A fantasy is something that you imagine, for yourself. An erotic fantasy is exactly the same thing, but it sexually arouses you.

An erotic or sexual fantasy doesn’t have to be sexual in nature. Some people are sexually aroused by the idea of playing golf, some people get off to the idea of crockery, others can orgasm just from thinking about shoplifting. There’s a litany of psychological studies on how and why we develop sexual feelings about certain situations or objects. Realistically though, it’s not too important why we develop these fantasies, only that they work for us. A fantasy is a safe place, in our minds, to create a world that exists solely to fuel our sexual desires. No one can alter it, no one can judge us for what’s in it and no one can make us stop. Sexual fantasy is a wonderful and liberating exercise in imagination and creation.

A sexual fantasy should never be confused with a sexual fetish or kink. A fantasy is something that exists solely in your mind, and doesn't require any physical engagement. You might have a sexual fantasy about someone fingering you while you perform an opera solo on stage at Carnegie Hall or you might have a sexual fantasy about kissing a stranger at a bar, regardless of how tame or elaborate your fantasy is, once you take the next step and physically enact it, it's no longer solely a fantasy. Certainly you can still build on the fantasy from your experience with enacting it, but it has now crossed into reality. It's important to remember that distinction. A person’s fantasies are not indicative of what they do or don’t do in real life.

One of the most common fantasies, particularly among women, is rape or ravishment. Different studies at different times have placed it as the most common fantasy for women, with over half of the subjects admitting that it was something they had fantasised about. This is a perfect example of where fantasy and reality differ. While most women may have had rape fantasies, that doesn’t mean that it's something that they want in real life. There are a still a large number of men and women who will engage in rape role playing, but it is important to remember that this is still different from wanting to actually be raped

There are many taboo fantasies that people respond to, but would never consider disclosing to a sexual partner or significant other, either because they consider it “too messed up” or because they don’t want it to be mistaken for something they actually want to participate in. There are people who fantasise about having sex with animals, people who are sexually aroused by the thought of having sex with someone who is sleeping, and people who get off on the idea of being an adult baby. These kinds of fantasies are often considered illegal, immoral, or just several kinds of fucked up. This means that for the people who fantasise about them, there’s really no social incentive to talk to anyone about it. This can be a liberating situation, wherein the show-reel in your mind becomes yours and yours alone without any social impetus to share it with anyone. But it can also be an isolating experience, because without someone with which to share these fantasies, you can’t elaborate on them, or build them into bigger and brighter worlds to explore. It’s important to remember, whenever someone divulges a fantasy to you, to be non-judgemental. Providing what they’re telling you is clearly a fantasy and not something they’re asking you to participate in, there's no reason for you to judge or shame them. Verbally explore their fantasy with them, ask questions and be supportive.

Fantasy can be a wonderful tool not just for masturbation and solo sexual endeavours, but also for sex with others. A healthy imagination and the right fantasy can enhance a sexual encounter to a point of higher arousal and even release. There’s the old trope about imagining someone else when you’re having sex with your spouse or partner, but that’s something that shitty sitcoms and tired stand up comedians rely on to amuse the peons. In reality, fantasy is more regularly used to enhance an existing sexual situation by adding layers to it that aren’t actually there. For instance, if your partner accidentally grips you a bit too tight somewhere, you can either ask them to move, or if it turns you on you can elaborate it into part of a fantasy where your partner doesn’t care for your physical well being because they’re so overcome by their physical need for you. Or alternatively you can give a backstory to the sexual encounter you’re in. Perhaps your partner is an international dignitary, and if you don’t show them a good enough time you’re dooming the world to a nuclear winter? It only takes a little imagination and you can change the entire context of your sexual encounters. Just be careful not to fall too far into it if you’re not disclosing to your partner. The last thing you want to do is make them feel like they’re not part of the sexual activity you’re both engaged in.

Fantasy can also be used the other way around, to prevent yourself from reaching climax too quickly. I have one friend who fantasises that he’s in A Beautiful Mind, attempting to solve maths problems, to stave off his orgasm. Another friend of mine imagines that she’s being given baseball lessons by Billy Crystal. It doesn’t really matter what your goal is, a good fantasy can get you to the right place.

Fantasy, like daydreaming, is a wonderful way to indulge in roles that we can’t normally access. People fantasise about being a different gender, race or religion. They fantasise about being what they are not; people in positions of power fantasise about being powerless, people who spend their days down-trodden and ordered around fantasise about taking control. It's a way of tapping into another side of ourselves and seeing what happens when we give ourselves permission to be who or what we want to be.

The materials for sexual fantasies can come from absolutely anywhere. I’m still using scenarios that I came up with when I was barely a teenager. Scenes from books I’ve long since forgotten the titles of, glimpses of movies I knew I wasn’t supposed to be watching and scenarios extrapolated from one sentence exchanges with strangers. It doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about or where it comes from as long as it works for you. If you want to fantasise more, but you’re not sure where to start, I can’t recommend the works of Nancy Friday highly enough. She’s written some phenomenal books about female sexuality and fantasy, as well as My Mother, My Self which is an insightful exploration about the effect women’s relationships with their mothers can have over their sex life. I highly recommend “Men in Love” and “My Secret Garden” (you can find the full text of that novel here) as starting points for anyone looking to explore sexual fantasies.

Never feel bad about the content of your sexual fantasies, don't ever feel like they're too extreme or too tame. A friend of mine was recently asked what her sexual fantasy was, her deepest, darkest and most intimate desire. She felt embarrassed to have to respond that she didn’t really have any sexual fantasies. Now I knew for a fact that this wasn’t quite true, it was simply that her fantasies didn’t involve the kinds of things that we normally associate with the word. For her, it was about an emotional connection. Watching romance films and reading meet cute stories online was more than enough to have her clutching her heart and exclaiming loudly. Just because it isn’t depraved, or even sexual, doesn’t mean it’s not her fantasy. There’s no right or wrong to this stuff. It’s simply about what gets you off.

 So go, plumb the depths of your mind. Remember, there’s no wrong answer, no one needs to know what you’re into and what turns you on. You don’t have to act on it, you just have to enjoy it! The only limit now is your imagination.

 That is all.


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