Belle Wilensky, MFT intern  is a Couples Therapist at The San Francisco Marriage and Couples Center. She provides sliding scale therapy for couples and individuals who can't afford full fee. 

Belle Wilensky, MFT intern is a Couples Therapist at The San Francisco Marriage and Couples Center. She provides sliding scale therapy for couples and individuals who can't afford full fee. 

The Ins & Outs: Sharing Sexual Fantasies with Your Partner

 

 

Shame, Vulnerability and Courage

 

This never used to turn me on before. Where is this coming from? are questions we might ask ourselves about our sexual fantasies. Or even—Am I allowed to be turned on by this?

 

We can barely put our finger on why this is turning us on now.  Fantasies however do not draw from the rational or logical, but rather they emerge from deep, often unexplored parts of our psyches. This kind of self-exploration and reflection can be scary enough, let alone opening up to share it all with another person.

 

It’s easy to feel emotionally exposed when opening up about things that we’ve never shared before. And why haven’t we shared these things? What has prevented us?  One thing to consider is that we are simply not taught the value of fantasies and in fact, are often told through both implicit and explicit messaging that fantasies are dirty, embarrassing and something to be repressed or else kept secret from others. As a result, we are also not taught any skills for how to share our fantasies or how to listen to and receive the fantasies of others.

 

Human Development and the Value of Make-Believe

 

In childhood, make-believe and pretend play are important activities that help us to become fully formed, healthy, creative beings. Children use make-believe to become someone or something other than themselves and to experiment with different ways of being and interacting with the world around them. Although this kind of play may appear frivolous, it is a key part of human development that serves to activate and enhance our abstract thinking, creativity, spontaneity, empathy, and communication and social skills. Unfortunately, this method of processing largely falls by the wayside as we transition into adolescence (with the exception of our nocturnal dreams, where our unconscious is still free to roam and explore). In adulthood, sharing our fantasies, sexual or otherwise, with a partner is an activity where we can reincorporate this invigorating and dynamic exploration of self and other.

 

Connection and Intimacy

 

Sharing fantasies with someone can be risky and feeling ashamed of a particular fantasy is a common experience.  We fear that our partner will judge us, misunderstand us, be grossed out or even laugh at us. Or we might feel nervous about whether or not we can tell a story in a way that’s sexy or entertaining. If we can summon the courage to share these secret places in our minds, the results can be stronger emotional bonds, not to mention potentially opening the door to new levels of carnal sexual connection. In her book Hold Me Tight, Sue Johnson, the well-known couples therapist and developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy, explains, “secure bonding and fully satisfying sexuality go hand in hand; they cue off and enhance each other. Emotional connection creates great sex, and great sex creates deeper emotional connection.”

 

Guidelines for Sharing Sexual Fantasies with Your Partner

 

Similar to the guidelines for a brainstorming session: where everything is valid and accepted and there are no wrong answers, so too can couples try to enter a space where all desires, dreams and fantasies are welcome. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be acted out or even turn both parties on; instead, it’s about cultivating curiosity and openness together.  One helpful way to approach this whole experience is to slow everything down: after a partner has shared with you allow yourself to pause, take a moment, and then respond (as opposed to reacting impulsively without allowing yourself to fully receive).  Remember too that declining a request does not make you a “bad” partner.

 

If we are into it or at least curious about it- it never hurts to some enthusiasm! That sounds really hot honey, tell me more..

 

 

It might help to take some time beforehand to think about what actually turns you on. Set aside some alone time (maybe while you’re masturbating) and get curious about what really gets you going.  This process of self-discovery is part of what makes us happy healthy adults.

 

Similarly, in our romantic relationships the spark between us can dull when we stop the process of discovering one another. We tell ourselves, I know you, I know who you are. I know exactly what you want.  And the sense of excitement and exploration that was once so activated in the beginning of a relationship or so called honeymoon stage, diminishes. Contrary to popular relationship mythology, being in a healthy relationship is an active, ongoing process rather than something you get the hang of and just coast on till death do you part. We actually need that sense of discovery to feel stimulated, and engaged and that we are growing both as individuals and as a couple. 

 

Some Tips for How to Share:

 

I encourage you to also take some time to consider what you might need to feel safe and secure enough to be able to share your fantasies.

 

Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:

 

·       Take it slow (at least at first); perhaps start with just a juicy tidbit or a short story

 

·       Ask for what you need—actually say it out loud! Before you begin ask your partner, in your own words, for their open-minded and non-judgmental best self.

 

·       Sometimes a simple prefacing statement of, “This is hard for me to share…” can really soothe the nerves

 

·       Sharing fantasies can look one of several different ways: you can tell stories in first person or, for a little more distance, in third person; you can act out different parts while lying down and facing one another; or you can go the whole nine yards and wear costumes and act things out in real time! (Once with a partner who didn’t have much experience in the dating scene, we arranged for him to “meet” me in a bar and approach me like a stranger.  I arrived earlier and sat there with a book and he came in, took the seat beside me and started chatting me up. He asked to buy me a drink and it all culminated with him taking me back to “his place” (really our shared apartment) for us to have sex. In this way too, sharing fantasies can be a healing experience between the two of you, where past wounds or insecurities have playful ground for a re-do)

 

·       Allow the fantasy sharing to be non-goal oriented, without attachment to a specific outcome, i.e., an orgasm or even physical sexual play.

 

·       If talking about it face-to-face sounds difficult, consider writing out a fantasy and giving it to your partner for them to read either with you beside them or when you’re apart

 

 

A Right to Pleasure:

 

Although sharing fantasies can touch upon issues that we are sensitive to, it’s important to keep in mind that it can also feel awesome! It can lead to hot new erotic exploration as well as deeper levels of emotional and spiritual connection between you and your partner.

 

Making space for our desires and giving our imaginations the permission to run free can also be extremely liberating.  These are experiences that we have the right to claim for ourselves: We have a right to activate our creative spirit. We have a right to find out and discover what is pleasurable for us.

 

And after everything is said and done, see if a sense of lightheartedness can be there. Have some fun together! Enjoy one another and the infinite wonder and wisdom of your imaginations!


  Belle Wilensky offers sliding scale therapy in the Duboce Triangle area of San Francisco. Belle appreciates work where the body's wisdom can be incorporated and has training in EMDR, a breakthrough therapy used to overcome the effects of psychological trauma. She is passionate about helping couples and individuals reclaim their right to pleasure.

Belle Wilensky offers sliding scale therapy in the Duboce Triangle area of San Francisco. Belle appreciates work where the body's wisdom can be incorporated and has training in EMDR, a breakthrough therapy used to overcome the effects of psychological trauma. She is passionate about helping couples and individuals reclaim their right to pleasure.

 

 

 





 

 

Comment