Sexual Fantasies: What they mean and what to do about them?

by | Jan 17, 2022 | Pleasure & Desire

The incredible questions that poured in last week for my call on female desire have got me thinking about the topic of fantasies: what they are, what they’re meant for and what to do with them. I’m happy to say that I think we’ve come a long way since 1973, when Cosmo ran a feature with the opening line: “Women do not have sexual fantasies, period. Men do.”

My e-mail inbox from last week, thankfully, proves the opposite — and yet I still often talk to women about fantasies or desires they have that feel like a conflict with who they are outside the bedroom. Considering our country’s Puritan roots and the relative recency of Cosmo’s assertions, is it any surprise that the topic of fantasies is still a thorny one?

At the end of last year, the Telegraph published an article entitled “Women’s Top Five Fantasies in 2013,” drawing on Emily Dubberley’s research on the common features of women’s erotic fantasies. Here’s what she found:

Let your mind wander…

1. Erotic submission

2. Erotic domination

3. Exhibitionism/voyeurism

4. Group sex

5. Partner fantasies

I’m a little surprised that same-sex fantasies didn’t make the shortlist, although they might fall under the umbrella of “partner fantasies” (i.e. sex with just one partner, under whatever circumstances). In my experience (and according to a recent study by Boise State University), same-sex fantasies are not at all uncommon: up to 60% of heterosexually-identified women have them.

So what to do when you desire something that goes against your life choices, your identity as a straight/gay/bisexual/queer/kinky/vanilla, etc. person? What do you do when you desire a sexual role that is at odds with your life outside the bedroom? It’s no surprise to me that fantasies of dominance and submission are so high up on the list, and yet this particular topic is often treated with disdain. Every new piece of media that focuses on this dynamic stirs up the same old debate about whether liking power exchange in sex makes you a sexual deviant, a misogynist, a man-hater or a bad feminist–and “what it should mean” for the bigger topics of egalitarianism and gender equity in our world today.

Sometimes we have to draw a line around our fantasies and separate them from the rest of the world. Things that give us an erotic charge sexually do not necessarily translate to the rest of our lives, or indicate what we want in our overall relationships, especially as it pertains to dominance/submission. Sometimes that is true for fantasies about people of the same sex as well.

Here is the thing about fantasies: they’re yours. They are not anyone else’s and nobody else is privy to them unless you want them to be. Your fantasy world is an intrinsic and important part of your sexuality, in part, because imagination engages so much of the brain–which is why orgasms from a good fantasy are often stronger than just powering up the vibrator and riding. We all need that erotic frisson of imagination that turns up the heat and transports us into another realm. In fact, Esther Perel says that our capacity for imagination is what makes us erotic beings–fantasy is the key thing that sets us apart sexually from our animal cousins.

A good fantasy can brighten a long day at work; it can make for a great masturbation session and bigger orgasms when you engage a good fantasy. So I encourage you to delve into it and take ownership of it! You get to tell the story however you like it and get off on it.

How do you get in touch with fantasy?

Maybe you just keep it for you, and enjoy it.

Maybe you decide to share it with a lover or friend.

Maybe you write your fantasies and share them with the world anonymously (or not).

Maybe you want to live it out, and you take some steps to do so.

Whatever it is for you, explore it. And I know that many women don’t know what their fantasies are, or haven’t explored them much so when one pops up that they are conflicted about, they don’t know what to do.  If you do not know what you really like sexually or what to fantasize about, then read erotic writing, watch some woman-made/queer-made porn. Seeing what other people’s fantasies are helps you sort out your own, both in seeing what you do NOT and what you DO like. And if you feel like you’re the only person who has a certain fantasy, I encourage you to look deeper in the culture, in art, in porn, in erotic fiction–where you might just find that your fantasy isn’t so uncommon after all.

I hope that you’ll give yourself permission to focus on an especially juicy fantasy this week.

A’magine is a pioneer in sexual empowerment and her extensive real-world experience sparkles throughout this book. This is a delightful journey toward better, richer, more fulfilling sex, for women who want more joyful, creative, pleasurable lives.


co-founder of Cuddle Party

Hi, I’m A’magine

I’ve been a Sexual Empowerment Educator
[&] Coach for over 25 years

I’ve helped thousands of people improve their lives, boost their confidence, learn the art of asking for what they want, step into their power, learn to radically love their bodies, show up as emotionally powerful in their relationships, rock-star their mid-life with the best sex ever, and put in perspective and practice the very real and important role sexuality was meant to play in their lives