Sexual fantasies and real-life sex exist on different planes: very few survive the transition from the perfect world of our imagination to the imperfect world of reality.
Because we’re directing the films that play in our private sexual cinemas, everything runs exactly to plan.
Our lovers can predict exactly what type of kiss, touch, lick or thrust we’re longing for. We are perfect, air-brushed versions of ourselves: wildly desirable, impossible to resist.
No matter where the fantasy takes place, real life distractions disappear. Energy bills, working from the kitchen table, sickly children, sulking husbands: they’re all banished from fantasy land.
Given these idyllic conditions, is it any wonder ninety percent of women and 96% of men have daily sexual fantasies?
Most are (wisely) dismissed as nothing more than enjoyable daydreams. But others we find we can’t stop thinking about.
They start to seem so appealing, so doable. “Wouldn’t it be amazing to try that out in real life?” turns into “When and how and how soon can we?”.
Before we know it, the fantasy of the two of you at a sex club is reality – and, almost inevitably, you’re dealing with situations and consequences you didn’t quite bargain for.
Playing out your fantasies together can be the best thing you’ve ever done – or the absolute worst.
Here’s the seven most common sex fantasies people want to take through to reality, rated from most to least risky for your relationship
HAVING (SECRET) SEX WITH SOMEONE ELSE
Monogamy offers security and love but what it doesn’t provide is sexual variety. Most of us opt for this relationship model anyway, knowing its downfall, and try to satisfy the cravings for someone new by having fantasies, watching porn and masturbating rather than physically cheating.
Simply having fantasies about people other than your partner are generally harmless: it’s thought 80 per cent of us fantasise about someone else while having sex with our partner.
But research does suggest if you constantly fantasise about someone you know and interact with repeatedly, it can increase the chances of you following through.
Even if you don’t have one person in mind (or have a few people on a rota), it’s one that’s tempting to follow through when out with friends, surrounded by attractive strangers…and drunk.
Of all the fantasies to indulge, this is by far the most dangerous because it’s done without your partner’s consent or knowledge.
You can dress it up as fulfilling a fantasy but when your partner discovers what you’ve done, it becomes plain old cheating.
Discovered infidelity can decimate the happiest, healthiest relationship in seconds.
Keep this one in your imagination – even confessing an erotic crush can damage your relationship – and instead use guilt-free as an arousal tool during solo sex sessions or partner sex.
Risk rating if you take it through to real life: 10/10
HAVING A THREESOME OR GROUP SEX
Second most dangerous on the ‘Should I act out my fantasy?’ list is group sex. It’s the most common fantasy for both men and women (though having sex with someone other than our partner comes close) and no prizes for guessing why it is appealing.
If one body is a turn-on, imagine what two or three or more will be! Threesomes and group sex can be the most intense turn-on you’ve ever had; they’re also a way to simultaneously indulge that same-sex fantasy.
Inevitably, we cast ourselves as the star of the show with everyone clamouring to have sex with us – which is just one of the reasons why it tends to go horribly wrong in real life.
If you’re single, in a good place, and have a threesome or group sex with attractive people who you aren’t in love with, reduce the risk rating to a five. You might feel a bit cheap or disgusted with yourself afterward, but perspective usually helps. Couples who enjoy highly adventurous sex and who use it as an occasional treat or one-off, survive better than most. But the fallout can be spectacular if it’s a long-term, in-love couple planning one, especially if either of you are possessive or jealous.
Seeing your partner have sex with someone else is a shock: even if you enjoy it, it feels very odd at the start. Men often feel under pressure to perform so can’t get erect at all – or are put out if their girlfriend enjoys it a little too much. If it’s a MMF combo, lots of women are shocked if their man interacts with the other man.
Most of us end up saying yes to group sex while drunk or high and hate ourselves the next day. Someone always gets blamed, and some couples say the trust bond between them is broken, even if they both agreed to it. If you intend acting out this one, practise safe sex, talk through everything, set rules on what is and isn’t permitted and don’t do it with friends. Even then proceed at your own peril.
Risk rating 9/10
GOING TO A SEX CLUB OR PARTY
Blame the orgy scene in ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ for making a lot of people tempted by this one – especially if you live in a big city where there are so many sex clubs to choose from.
Plenty have got together a group of friends, dressed in latex, bodices and boots, and headed to a fetish club like Torture Garden for a thrill (and a laugh). Killing Kittens – exclusive, masked and preferred by women wanting a little girl-on-girl action– is another club that lots of couples have on their wish list. There are sex clubs for the bi-curious, swingers clubs and lots catering for specific fetishes. Visiting a sex club is a great way to satisfy same-sex fantasies and voyeurism; if you’re considering a threesome or any type of group sex, this can be a way to dip a toe in.
If either of you are even sightly jealous, don’t even think about indulging this one. If you’ve never been to a sex club, your eyes are on stilts when you first attend. Even if you’ve both agreed to purely be voyeurs, rather than participate, it’s very easy to lose yourself in the visual excitement of it all and ignore the partner you promised you’d continually reassure.
Things to consider if you’re going to interact: how will you feel if your partner gets approached by more people than you do? What if you approach someone to ‘play’ and they say no? Sex clubs are only for the extremely secure and confident. Anyone with body image issues or who feel sexually inferior in any way, avoid!
I’d strongly suggest you DON’T interact sexually with other people on your first visit. See how you both feel the next day. If you’re fine and titillated by the experience, then talk through the rules on what’s permitted and what’s not next time, along with a safe word that means ‘I’m losing it – let’s get the hell out of here!’.
Risk rating: 7.5/10 if you just watch, 8/10 if you participate
TIE-UP, POWER GAMES AND BDSM FANTASIES
Fantasies about power, control or rough sex are also popular choices that couples opt to try out in real life.
Being sexually submissive – completely at the mercy of someone else – absolves us of responsibility. This means we are ‘forced’ to enjoy whatever the other person does to us, which can be liberating for the inhibited. It also appeals to people who are always in control outside the bedroom.
Being the bedroom boss is equally as erotic: if we’re the ones in control, we have permission to be as selfish as we like.
If you’re into inflicting or receiving pain, it can be as mild as biting your partner’s neck or tweaking a nipple to more extreme rituals like testicle stretching and Fifty Shades of Grey style spanking that takes days to recover from.
If your partner agrees to explore this with you and you both take baby steps, the risk of damaging your relationship is very low. Spanking and tying each other up are two of the most successful ‘take it through to reality’ fantasies: most people really enjoy it.
There’s a plethora of BDSM sex toys available online, from entry level bondage kits, whips and blindfolds through to hard core fetish restraints, head gear and floggers. Playing power games is a great way to add some much-needed oomph to a so-so sex life.
Start at the mild end and work your way along the spectrum until you find a level that suits you both. Take it further – truly commit to dom (dominant) and sub (submissive) lifestyles or more extreme BDSM (like sexual sadism) and you’re moving into more difficult territory, unless your partner is just as enthusiastic.
Risk rating 4/10
TELLING YOUR PARTNER YOUR FANTASY
It sounds risk-free but just sharing a fantasy can backfire easily.
Fantasies about people you know are a no-no (for obvious reasons, just keep the sense of the fantasy and the person anonymous). Fantasies about you and your partner doing relatively ‘vanilla’ things are relatively safe. Just be aware that what seems a tasty turn-on to you (dragging him by his tie to have sex in the loo at his office party) might sound plain terrifying to him (the boss finds out and he loses his job). Anything saucier – sleeping with other people, ‘pretend rape’, swinging – might not be worth the risk. Even if you have no desire to act out the fantasy and simply want to share or role-play, they may still find it disturbing.
It sounds so innocent – telling your partner what turns you on in your imagination. What complicates it, is people thinking fantasies are suppressed wishes.
It’s not true, of course. Most of us fantasise purely for sexual entertainment rather than a desire to take it through to reality.
Which is why you must always, ALWAYS, say why you’re sharing your fantasy, either before or immediately after you’ve shared it. Your partner may assume you want to act it out, otherwise.
Think long and heard about which fantasy you want to share and test the waters with something relatively innocent (I have a fantasy about us having sex in the park) before working up to the more risqué (I often think about us asking another man into our bed).
Risk factor: 3/10
WANTING TO TRY SOMETHING NEW
Novelty and ‘adventure’ fantasies revolve around things you haven’t already done together. They include joining the mile-high club, having sex in a park under a blanket, having sex on a beach or in a swimming pool. For others, it might be experimenting with temperature play (hot and cold sensations) or trying anal play or intercourse.
This is one fantasy where the risk rating for NOT doing this is higher than doing it! All couples in long-term relationships need variety to stave off bedroom boredom and create motivation for having regular sex.
Apart from high-risk activities – having sex where you might get arrested and anal intercourse, which can cause pain unless you prepare properly – the main risk here is suggesting something you partner isn’t interested in or might judge you by.
Another risk is your partner taking it as a criticism: Are you saying you don’t enjoy the sex we have? Why isn’t that enough for you?
If you’re both comfortable discussing what you like and don’t like sexually, though, it’s virtually risk-free. Even so, it’s all in the delivery. If you worry it’s not your partner’s thing, use the ‘I had a dream’ technique. “Hey! How interesting is this! I dreamt last night that you and I were having sex on a plane/having anal sex.” Wait for your partner’s response – “Was it hot?”, “Eww! What the hell made you dream that!” (or anything in between) – and take your cue from there.
Risk rating: 2/10
FANTASIES INVOLVING ROMANTIC SEX
Romantic fantasies turn sex into ‘lovemaking’ with emotional attachment. Sex on a beach at sunset, lots of eye contact, kissing by candlelight, professing undying love before ravishing each other. As the name suggests, these fantasies are innocent and unlikely to offend.
If your partner looks aghast at your suggestion that you indulge a romantic fantasy, it’s usually because they were hoping for something a little more interesting or exotic. Listen up if your partner suggests it to you, however: it can mean they aren’t feeling appreciated in real life.
Most of us think of sexual fantasies as something naughty or wicked but fantasies involving romantic sex are more common than you think.
Risk rating: 1/10
*This was first published as one of my MailOnline columns