Is it normal to fantasise so much?

Worry not about your – or your partner’s – sexual fantasies. (Remember: they’re not real life!) Do start to worry if you can’t discuss your fantasies at all – or even admit you have them. You’re a couple? Get talking – like this.

Ben (28): I know men in their twenties are supposed to think about sex a lot, but I find that I fantasise on and off for much of the day, especially if I’m bored. Is this all right? When I mentioned to my wife that I fantasised a lot, she said that I was becoming a sex maniac. Can this really be true? If it is, then I must be really weird.

Gillian (26): It’s not true that I don’t have fantasies, but I don’t tell Ben about them. In fact, I always use a fantasy when we are making love, but I can’t really tell him as it’s not usually about him. What I’m worried about is that one day Ben will act out one of his fantasies and that I won’t be able to accept it. If that happens, it would be curtains for us as a couple.

The Lovers’ Guide replies:

First off, Ben, let’s put your mind at rest about having fantasies. We all start fantasising in babyhood, though our reveries at this stage of life probably don’t have as many obvious sexual connections as they do later. As older children, we learn to live in an imaginary world of make-believe. Adult sexual fantasies are just an extension of this.

It’s interesting that you, Gillian, don’t talk to Ben about your fantasies. We’re not suggesting that every couple has to share all of their fantasies. In fact, this usually doesn’t work. And anyway, sharing fantasies should also be done with great love and skill. What is concerning is that he believes you don’t have them. This makes his perfectly normal fantasy life seem all the more oddball to him.

Why is it that you deny your fantasies? Could it be that your best arousal occurs when you are being ‘unfaithful’ in your fantasy life and that you don’t want Ben to know this? The trouble is that by denying that you have fantasies, Ben feels isolated; he can’t even admit to his normal need for fantasy.

Your worry, Gillian, is one shared by many women, who say they fear that to admit to a fantasy within their relationship would somehow legitimise it and lead to it being acted out. If you do share fantasies, it’s vital to remember that they are fantasies and not fact. Many fantasies are best left in their secret place, especially if they could in any way threaten your relationship. Sharing fantasies takes a considerable level of trust and emotional confidence in one another.

It’s best, Gillian, that you do tell Ben you have fantasies, but that at the moment you’d rather not tell him about them in any detail. Or you could perhaps select a very gentle one and tell him about that. In this way, he’ll stop seeing himself as a sex maniac in your eyes and will have a much more realistic view about you as a sexual person.

It’s hard to tell, Ben, whether the amount of fantasising you do is normal or not. It is said that most males think about sex, or something to do with sex, many times a day, but most most don’t fantasise all the time, as you seem to suggest you do. Could there perhaps be a reason for this? Are you depressed or upset about something special or life in general and, however unconsciously, using fantasy as an escape? Or, more importantly, are you dissatisfied with Gillian and your relationship with her?

It sounds as though you don’t really open up much to one another. We should ask why this is. The problem is that this lack of communication feeds on itself to produce further problems. Many women say that they are afraid to ask their partner to divulge his fantasies just in case they turn out to be unacceptable in some way. When eventually they do share their fantasies, the woman is often relieved that his fantasies are somewhat tame.

How about you, Gillian, trying to be more open about Ben’s fantasy life? Talking through your fears that he might want to make some of his daydreams real might help even before you start. If you really are so insecure that this could be a problem, if only in your mind, then maybe you should consider seeking professional help. If at this stage of your life together, you are threatened by his make-believe world, things could get worse for you with the passage of time and it might help to nip it in the bud now.

At the heart of sorting this out is the building of trust between you. This will come as you gently become more open with one another and discover that you are still loved and accepted. As you become more secure, you will be able to put fantasy into its proper place in your relationship.

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