When we explore and express our sexuality, often a difficult question arises: are my sexual fantasies healthy?
In order to answer this question for yourself first you must define what healthy sexual fantasies are. Depending on the community you were raised in, or what your cultural or religious beliefs are, you may have very specific ideas about what is or isn’t healthy. However, it’s worth considering the full spectrum of perspectives before making any judgement or feeling any shame.
Fantasies are Not Realities
It’s essential to remember when unpacking your sexual fantasies and examining them, that fantasy is, by definition, different from reality. It’s also important to remember that two things can be true at once. Just because you can imagine or fantasise about something, doesn’t mean you want to do it, that you’re going to do it, or that you would ever think it was acceptable to do it. Just because imagining it makes you excited does not mean it’s unhealthy.
Fantasy exists in many areas of our lives and in most cases adults are able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. For example, a fiction author who writes horror novels about murder and dismemberment does not pose any risk to themselves or others simply because they imagined a heinous situation. Likewise, you can fantasise about whatever excites you, without ever acting on those fantasies.
Desires vs Fantasies
The line between desire and fantasy is a thin one. When looking at human behaviour the distinction between fantasy and desire is action and intention. Generally speaking, a fantasy is a work of fiction that you have no plans to follow through on. A desire is a want that is often strong enough to be pursued. In some cases a fantasy can fuel arousal and that arousal can fuel desire. Does this mean that the pipeline from fantasy to action is a straight line? Absolutely not. Thinking about something, even being aroused by something, does not necessarily indicate that you want to, or would, do it. The concepts of fantasy and desire exist as two sides of the same coin and it’s important that we understand where our fantasies end and our desires begin.
Maybe You’re Kinky?
There are lots of people out there who think that kink is unhealthy. Those same people generally have a skewed or inaccurate concept of what kink is. The kink world is full of labels and categories, details and nuances, but essentially kink is anything that isn’t “vanilla”. Kink has almost as many iterations as it does practitioners, but if your sexual fantasies are considered irregular in any way, you may be wading into kinky waters. Chances are, you’re not the only person in the world who is into what you’re into. In fact kink is a community built on niche fantasies! The kink community also centres education, safety, and enthusiastic consent, so even if you find the kinks or fetishes weird and wild, the people behind them are often very conscientious and accepting.
Are you worried about your sexual fantasies?
It’s very common to wonder if your sexual fantasies are healthy, and there’s nothing wrong with taking stock of where you stand on various topics and activities that turn you on. There is no single litmus test for whether or not a fantasy is healthy, but generally speaking if you can answer “ yes” to the following four statements, your fantasies are likely fine.
- My fantasies pose no threat to myself or others.
- My fantasies do not involve minors or other non-consenting parties.
- I feel in control about the line between fantasy and reality and my ability to navigate it.
- Regardless of the depths of my fantasies I always prioritise safety, communication, and consent.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Sexual fantasy means different things to different people and covers a wide gamut of examples. What some might call boring and vanilla others will find questionable; what is titillating to one person may be completely uninteresting to another. When talking with someone about theirs, or sharing your own, remember to be sensitive to the fact that fantasies and desires are incredibly personal, and sometimes they mean a great deal to the person. You don’t have to have the same fantasies and desires as your partner, but understanding, active listening, and respect are the perfect starting point for that conversation.
Things to Remember About Fantasy
- It’s not uncommon for our fantasies to make us uncomfortable when how we feel and what we want is in opposition to what we’ve been told or what we’ve been taught to value.
- Feeling unsure about sharing your fantasies is very common and doesn’t mean your fantasies are bad.
- If your fantasies become compulsive or you feel like your fantasies are controlling your thoughts or actions, it may be time to step back and examine the nature of that fantasy.
- Talking about fantasies in a non-sexual environment, whether that’s with a partner, friend, or therapist, may help you make sense of your thoughts.
What are your thoughts on healthy sexual fantasies? Have you ever been worried about your own? Has anything ever changed your mind about your sexual fantasies? Start the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments below!