This chapter was inspired by and occasionally paraphrased from, Patricia E. Raley’s “Making Love: How to Be Your Own Sex Therapist”
That you are reading this book means that several things might be flashing through your mind. You might be wondering what a Satyr is or why he’d know more than someone else about sex, or you might be wondering why a person would even want to read a “sex guide”. If this was recommended to you, you may be wondering what the person suggesting it had in mind. Were they trying to tell you that you’re bad at sex? Or were they trying to show you something they found useful. Maybe it’s a way for them to broach the subject because they secretly find you titillating and want to have sex with you. Did they want to embarrass you, mock you, delight or enlighten you?
All of these speculations and ruminations are fantasies. Projections of what might happen if you read this book are also fantasies. You might wonder if you are going to become completely irresistible to the opposite sex, or end up at an orgy. Will reading this lead you down a path to exploring sexual encounters that you find odd or off-putting or will it help you find the confidence to do things you’ve always wanted to try but were too afraid to or afraid of how society would see you.
Less defined thoughts can also be fantasies; an image of a past lover, or someone you passed on the street. You might have an untraceable apprehension or feelings of sexual desire attached to some memory or image. Fantasies can be elaborate, well thought out mini-plays complete with scenery and dialogue or they can be vague feelings, images or thoughts associated in whatever way your mind works. What goes on in your imagination can give you clues about how your mind is working, or what is or isn’t working in your life.
Alfred E. Kinsey reported in 1952 that, of those who masturbate, 72 percent of men and 50 percent of women almost always fantasized. More recent studies suggest that women commonly have erotic fantasies during sex. This only shows that fantasies are normal, they aren’t required but they are common. Many people don’t even know whether they fantasize or not.
Your sexual fantasies may reflect some of your habits, fears or desires. When and where you have them and what roles you play in them can be important clues as to who you are sexually or what you want to change in your life. For example you might be shy or submissive in your fantasies because that’s how you are in real life or it might be because you have to be aggressive in your life and you want someone else chasing you.
I have a friend, I’ll call her M. who describes her self as submissive, actually she says that most people would describe her as submissive. Her sexual fantasy is to make love as an equal in a driving thunderstorm. Now, without relating too many specifics, I’ll say that her life currently revolves around caring for other members of her family. She has little or no time for herself, no M. time, to walk along a beach, for example, or just go out and catch a movie.
The driving thunderstorm is the most interesting aspect of her fantasy and it’s why I’ve asked her to let me include it here. She doesn’t just want rain, it needs to be a driving thunderstorm with lightning flashing overhead and thunder rumbling through her body. As though the Earth itself were the third party in a menage a trois. Now I could spend several paragraphs analyzing this fantasy and I guarantee I wouldn’t get it right. M. is one of those rare and beautiful people who are incredibly self-aware; she’s had difficulties in her life that caused her to examine herself deeply and this has made her all the stronger emotionally. She could tell you what her fantasy means much better than I could.
Fantasies such as wanting to be with a stranger, when you’re not, may simply be idle speculation or curiosity or it might indicate that you want to get away from that person. It’s often hard to tell. Examine your relationships, perhaps you’ll only find that you like to spice things up a little or you might find something lacking that you need to be fulfilled.
Fantasizing that you are a stranger, that is someone besides yourself who is sexier or less sexy, more or less voluptuous or virile, may be due to a desire to compensate for a perceived lack in yourself. Making yourself different in fantasy makes it easier to become a more responsive, sexual person. As long as these fantasies work for you there’s no reason to change them unless they grow boring or disturbing to you.
Rape fantasies are way more common than you might imagine considering the reality of it. Many people are brought up to believe that they shouldn’t enjoy some kind of sex, having a rape fantasy means not having to be responsible for enjoying sex. Having an especially compliant partner, or one who is completely dominated, frees some people from having to be thoughtful, ready and eager. Rape fantasies are generally about what society expects from us, what we were raised to believe about sex and ourselves and what our reality is. Remember that a fantasy is a way for us to safely explore things in our minds, we don’t necessarily want what we fantasize about.
Rape fantasies, and those in which we desire or inflict pain can be scary. Many people worry that these fantasies indicate a desire for this in real life. They don’t. Actually such fantasies are usually about punishing ourselves for some perceived wrong we’ve committed, such as enjoying sex, or for some other reason. They may even mean simply that society’s expectations are getting to us, which is not surprising in the slightest. If you are angry at yourself or your partner you might reduce that anger to inflicting or receiving pain in your fantasy.
Some people are afraid that fantasizing can be harmful, others feel guilt over fantasizing about sex with other people. Fantasizing about sex might have nothing to do with sex itself, it might simply be a way of avoiding thinking about work, school or the ever present problems of life. If you are uncomfortable with fantasy, try it out, see if it enhances your enjoyment of sex. If you already fantasize, try different ones, explore your mind and your desires. This may help you increase your enjoyment of sex or it might teach you a few things about yourself and your life.
As always, enjoy your sex life, it can only lead to a better life overall.