Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Sex

Font Size

Got Pain? Think Sex.

Fantasies Fight Fear

Think Positive

Sexual fantasies work because they follow a basic pain-control theory, says Peter Staats, MD, one of the study's authors and director of the division of pain medicine in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's department of anesthesiology. This theory says that something eliciting a positive emotional response during a painful experience makes it seem to hurt less. To work, the visualization has to be strongly positive, which explains why the minimally pleasurable fantasies and the neutral visualizations did not have the same effect.

The study confirms what pain management experts have known for a long time, says Martin Grabois, MD, chairman of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. And it is not the sexual fantasy per se that's important. "It's thinking of something that is pleasurable."

According to Sandor Gardos, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist, "It is fairly well documented that sexual arousal is accompanied by a decrease in sensitivity to pain. That is why individuals often notice a bruise or hickey the next day and don't even remember how it happened."

It's All in Your Imagination

If you want to try the sexual fantasy technique, visualize with as much detail as possible and engage all of your senses, says Hamid Hekmat, PhD, another study co-author and professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. Once you are feeling good, focus your attention on the mood and let the fantasy go. Try this technique prior to a potentially painful situation so you'll be adept at it when you need it.

Lynda Liu is a New York journalist whose writing has also appeared in Mademoiselle, Prevention,Fitness, and other publications.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

couple not communicating
How to tell when you're in one.
couple face to face
Get your love life back on track.
couple having an argument
Turn spats into solutions
couple in argument
When to call it quits.
Life Cycle of a Penis
HIV Myth Facts
How Healthy is Your Sex Life
Couple in bed
6 Tips For Teens
Close-up of young man
screening tests for men
HPV Vaccine Future