Guilty pleasures: Am I weird for fantasising about that?

Here’s a comforting thought: no-one’s worked out how to read minds yet. Which means it doesn’t really matter what filthy thoughts are floating around in there! If you choose, no-one but you need know about them. If your fantasies bring you pleasure, cause no-one else pain and worry you simply because they’re a little politically incorrect or ‘weird’, my advice would be to give yourself permission to go for it!

Still concerned? Then keep reading…

Does it mean I’m not straight?

This is the most common question I’m asked in relation to fantasies. Thing is, there are so many kinds of sexuality you can identify with, why would you want to put yourself in a box? If it is important to you that you are heterosexual, my suggestion would be to ask yourself these questions: Who do I enjoy real life relationships with? Who do I consistently lust after in real life? Have I met lots of people of the same sex that I’d like to have sex with? (Though even that doesn’t make you gay.) Answer honestly and this should give you an idea of whether it’s a fantasy or a supressed longing to be let loose in real life. Fantasy alone isn’t an indicator you really are gay. It’s just a sign of a healthy, strong libido and good imagination.

What if I don’t like a fantasy and want it to stop?

Our fantasies, like the rest of our lives, are influenced heavily by what’s happened to us. It’s a lucky person who sails through without negative experiences and these creep into our sexual scripts along with the positive.

Often, simply understanding where an urge comes from can stop you worrying. (An upsetting spanking at school might cause you to fantasise about it later, for instance.) But if the remorse and confusion post fantasy is outweighing the pleasure you get during it, you can actively banish it from your repertoire.

If you’re masturbating and the fantasy pops into you head, stop and consciously think of something else which doesn’t cause you angst. Replace old fantasies with new ones which make you feel more comfortable by reading and watching erotica or porn, then masturbate while reading or watching the new scenarios. During sex with your partner, try focusing on the here and now: how your or your lover’s touch feels. If it helps, keep your eyes open and tell them how wonderful what you/they’re doing feels. It’s like breaking any other habit – you need to retrain your brain. Keep at it for a while and it should naturally slip away. If it doesn’t and it’s really interfering with your enjoyment of sex, a session with a sex therapist or counsellor will sort you out.

Am I weird if my fantasy is weird? Humans have always been fascinated with the macabre, bizarre, violent and extreme. We’re horrified but fixated: loathe to watch or absorb it, but also unable to break away. It mainly holds our attention because this behaviour is so alien to what we would do. It’s the same with fantasies. We’ll often fantasise about things contrary to our core personality (Ms Goody Two-Shoes becomes the star of a particularly dirty orgy) simply because they revolve around something we wouldn’t dare do in real life. There is no evidence at all to support that simply fantasising about something leads you to act on it. Deviant fantasies can be an indicator of true sexual deviancy, but it’s invariably coupled with real-life symptoms as well. So long as you can distinguish between fantasy and reality, it’s not a fixation (see below) and you’ve got no desire to take it through to real life, there isn’t usually a problem.

What if I fantasise too much?

If your fantasies aren’t hurting anyone and you just have an active imagination, imagine away! Fantasising keeps you on sexual simmer which means your libido is alive and ready for action. How can that be bad? If, however, you can only get aroused and orgasm by playing one particular fantasy in your head, you could be heading for some issues.

This hints at a fetish – when a person needs a particular object (like a lover wearing high heels) during sex in order to achieve sexual satisfaction. Warning signs are needing, rather than wanting, the fantasy to arouse you, being more interested in the recurrent fantasy than the person you’re having sex with or if your lover complains of you feeling detached or unconnected during sex. If this is happening, again, seek professional advice.

What if I don’t have any fantasises?

Some people are great cooks, others can’t quite get the hang of the toaster. Same deal here. Creative people conjure up vivid, technicolour fantasies with intricate plot twists, scene changes and mood lighting tweaks. Others have problems imagining themselves walking across a room. If you’re the latter, try focusing on your favourite erotic scene from a film or book, then individualise it. Put you in the lead role. Talk to the person with you. Change it to suit.

Train yourself to pay attention to any sexy thoughts. Write them down for a week, look for themes, then think up a simple storyline based around that. Or don’t. It’s also not compulsory to have them, by the way. If it doesn’t do much for you, so be it. Some people adore poring over holiday websites, making endless plans about what they’ll do, picture themselves lying on that beach, chatting up the local talent. Others book their tickets last minute, throw a T-shirt and sunscreen into an overnight bag, turn up and see where it takes them. There’s no right or wrong.