Fantasies, whether consumed through erotica, or in the form of dirty talk and role play, tend to be thought of as more important for ‘kinky’ people than for ‘vanilla’ people; yet sex and relationship experts agree that fantasy is an important of every couple’s sex life, no matter how ‘vanilla’ they may be.
Below, Tristan Taormino, Dr. Ian Kerner, and Dr. Zhana weigh in on why fantasy helps us in our relationships, and how we can let go of self-consciousness to indulge in them.
Why is Fantasy so Important in the Bedroom?
We tend to have a narrow view of fantasy, in terms of when it is incorporated into our sex lives. Specifically, much view fantasy as something that is strictly a solo daydream, or that it is a special or kinky thing we do with our partner when we dress up or engage in role playing.
Really, fantasy is part of nearly every sexual encounter, from sending flirty sexts before the sex actually happens to the different power dynamics we adopt in bed with our partner that ma iny not exist in our regular everyday relationship.
Renowned sex educator, Dr. Ian Kerner, adds, ‘Fantasy is the fast-track to amplifying arousal and enhancing orgasm. The brain is the biggest sex organ and men and women have the power to virtually think their way to orgasm. Unfortunately, couples don’t always develop their sexual imaginations together, so finding ways to stimulate fantasy together is essential.’
Dr. Zhana, sex educator and researcher, says ‘Fantasy allows our brains to play out different scenarios, safely experimenting with different sexual experiences and creating ideal encounters. It helps us decide what we really want to try in the bedroom and what we might want to keep as a fantasy alone. Many people, women especially, find that fantasizing during sex helps them enhance mental, and therefore physical, stimulation needed to reach orgasm. A sexy thought can lead to a physically aroused state and enhance an experience with a partner. So, fantasy is not only important for exploring sexuality, it actually helps people achieve sexual satisfaction. ‘[As well] Fantasy feeds the mind and stretches our understanding of the world. Imagination and the ability to play are essential to great sex! While many think of sex as a predominantly physical activity, the key to good sex isn’t just mastery of physical moves but understanding of the emotional and intellectual elements that make a particular partner tick. That’s why many are attracted to BDSM and role play–it’s not simply the physical sensations of a scene but also the calculated and controlled change in emotional dynamic that occurs between a dominant and submissive partner. Everything counts in a sexual encounter like this.’
Can you Recapture the Fun of Seduction?
Many people encounter similar situations once their relationship exits the honeymoon phase; sex becomes part of their routine (even if it’s still an enjoyable part of the routine) and (yet) it can become easy to look back on single days as so much more exciting in terms of novel sexual experiences. However, through fantasy, you are truly able to re-create that sense by creating a fantasy wherein you’re able to experience all those things you may be missing.
‘Once sex is a foregone conclusion, some of the seductive excitement is lost. So, for sex with a committed partner, seduction can take the form of trying something new in the bedroom like a new position, role-playing, or adding a new toy.
Dressing up for the occasion counts here, too! When someone encourages a partner to try something new, they create a seductive proposition, not knowing how the partner will react and taking a chance on the result. Hopefully, that seduction leads to action and satisfaction. The excitement here lies in the unknown and the chances taken, no matter the gender of the participants,’ says Dr. Zhana.
Dr. Ian suggests, ‘Women are often more experienced in the art of seduction, but it’s fun for a guy to think about how to seduce a woman and how to be original and counter-intuitive about it. Sex is fun and sex can be funny and the best sex often involves taking a risk that can lead to a smile or laughter. Laughter actually plays a role in relaxing and stimulating, so enter the spirit of seduction (the serious side and the fun side) and don’t be afraid to laugh. ‘
Sex educator and activist, Tristan Taormino adds ‘Everyone, regardless of gender, should strive to bring the fun back into the bedroom. It’s a space that’s meant to be playful, full of fantasy and exploration. When we let our guards down and try new things, our connection grows.
And it’s not Just for the Ladies?
So much of sexual ‘performance’ (in the sense of dressing up and behaving seductively) tends to be something done by women, as part of both our culture and our biology (as Dr. Zhana points out, ‘Studies have shown that when women are ovulating, they tend to wear more revealing clothing and the colors red or pink…They’re unconsciously signaling to men that they’re fertile.’) but can partners equally share in the fun?Tristan Taormino feels that ‘While] there is all this emphasis on women dressing up in lingerie, sexy undies, or role-play costumes to entice their partners or revive a spark, [I] say it’s equally important for men! Women love to be seduced by their partners. Knowing that a man has made extra effort to dress for sex is a real turn-on.’
As Dr. Ian Kerner adds, ‘It’s a myth that only men are visual. Women are visual too, and women appreciate how a man is dressed and undressed for sex. Sight is an important sensual pathway and clearly men love lingerie. And while no one is asking a guy to don a teddy or dress for sex like a dominatrix, thinking about what you’re wearing, or incorporating appearance into fantasy is a powerful aphrodisiac.’
‘Men [may not ] have a monthly cycle to guide their clothing choices but they, too, know that dressing well enhances confidence and confidence is a big part of sex appeal. Men who dress better than their friends are sure to attract a woman’s attention–the contrast will make him stand out. For men in relationships, it’s important that they elevate or change their appearance to make themselves feel good and to impress their long-term partner. Formal wear or a tuxedo is a prime example here; when a woman sees her partner dressed to the nines, she can’t help but feel seduced by his style,’ agrees Dr. Zhana.
Creating a fantasy can provide the fake-it-til-you-make it inspiration and erotic energy that you may be missing as your relationship becomes more stable and long term. From dress up to seduction, to exploring more different roles that are adopted only in the bedroom; it’s a just a matter of building that fantasy with your partner!