Sexual Fantasies: Normal and Necessary

This month, I explore the wonderful, wild world of sexual fantasies. I am giving particular attention to the kinky, off-centered ones that are not often talked about. I believe that kinky sex to some extent must be present in relationships for the relationship to be vital and alive. Let me tell you why.

We all understand our current relationships through the lens of what we learnt as a child with our parents. All of us remember and cherished the warm loving memories of our childhood. The timeless summers, the feeling of being held in our mother’s arms – the security of our father’s encouragement.

However, for all of us, there are harder to digest memories. The ways our mother would not be there for us. The periods when we may have felt unsupported, empty or lost. The intense humiliation of not feeling cared for. Because our parents are human, these are universal experiences. It is simply a matter of how much we experience them, and how many resources are available to help cope with them.

It is important to note that we handle positive experiences with ease, but negative experiences are hard to recover from. We need the opportunity to talk and “work through” negative experiences. When parents can acknowledge their failings or alternative caregivers can help children process these negative experiences, our minds have a way of “integrating” or healing from these difficulties.

When children do not have a way of processing or talking about these experiences, they remain inside their minds in unprocessed form – unprocessed relationship trauma. Our mind knows something is “wrong”; it just can’t put into words what it is. These difficult experiences remain latent – in hiding – until we get into deeply intimate relationships later in life. As we get deeper into adult intimate relationships, our minds try heal and to make sense of the unprocessed relationship trauma. This is where sexual fantasies are born.

There are infinite blends of sexual fantasies, and their exact content varies depending on the dreamer. People often worry that a fantasies reveals “who they really are”. In reality though, the fantasies just are a part of the mind that a person is making sense of. They are like dreams in this way. They mean something; but not everything.

It is important to understand that the more intimate a couple becomes, the more such fantasies will arise. This is because as we become closer to another, our mind says something like, “will the person I let this close to me, treat me like the other people that were this intimate.” The growing intimacy stirs and elicits from deep within unprocessed relationship trauma. These are given form in sexual fantasies. The sexual fantasy is not an exact representation of what happened during childhood, but rather a symbolic form of it.

Why are they given form in sexual fantasies? Because this is the most intimate act we perform with our partners. At this juncture, I should mention some gender differences. Men are more likely to express these unprocessed relationship traumas sexually. Women often will express in other forms e.g. it may result in more arguments or distance as the same trauma is replayed in the present day relationship. Whether the trauma is recreated with clothes on, or with clothes off, the underlying aim is for the person’s mind to process and heal from past relationship difficulties. They recreate the trauma from the past in the present with the hope of better understanding and fixing the issue with the current partner.

This brings us back to the beginning. These emergence of kinky sexual fantasies in a relationship means that the relationship is growing more intimate and one of the members is bringing forth parts of themselves that need to be “processed” in order to allow the deeper intimacy to occur. When both partners can use the opportunity to grow as a couple, this can pave the way for a deeper more intimate connection. Problems arise when the fantasizer does not want to admit to themselves or their partner the fantasy. Another problem can arise when the partner feels too scared or disgusted by the fantasy.

Hopefully, couples can find a way to safely and playfully explore fantasies – either in bed or by discussing them openly. With more extreme fantasies, it can be difficult to safely explore fantasies without threatening the relationship as a whole. In other cases people may find it impossible to orgasm without a specific form of sex. In these cases, therapy can help couples navigate complicated waters.

With the rise of very accessible internet porn, people are often surprised by the types of sex they are attracted to. Kinky sex has found its way onto bestseller lists such as the recent talk show favorite, “50 Shades of Grey”. The public attention and ease of access is increasing people’s willingness to explore these areas. When handled with care, kinky sex can be an important and vital part of a relationship.