Sharing Your Sex Fantasies With your Partner: Sizzler or Fizzler?
Sex experts discuss the pros and cons of revealing to your partner your most private erotic fantasies.
You've been sharing a bed with the same partner for years. By now you know
each other's sleeping habits inside and out, right down to the exact room
temperature and sleeping position preferred. But how well do you know what it
takes to turn on your partner? There's one way to find out -- by sharing your
most intimate sex fantasies. An open exchange of erotic fantasies can help
rekindle the flames -- or can they? Here's what sex experts say on the
Many sex experts advise couples to use caution when revealing private sex
fantasies. "It often backfires," says Wendy Maltz, MSW, sex therapist and
co-author of the book Private Thoughts: The Power of Women's Fantasies.
That's because too often, says Maltz, there's a lack of understanding about
what it means to share them.
To minimize misunderstandings, Maltz suggests setting some guidelines before
agreeing to reveal erotic fantasies. "Make sure you have a mutual understanding
of each other's objectives. Are you doing it simply to learn about what each
other's private sexual thoughts are, or are you creating a menu of the type of
sexual activities you want to try?" she says.
Other experts agree that it's best not to plunge head-first into a
completely candid revelation of your deepest erotic fantasies. "First, test the
waters. Float the idea in a general way," suggests Barbara Bartlik, MD,
assistant professor of psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell
University. "You could say, 'What did you think about that scene in the
Even when both partners willingly reveal their sex fantasies to one another,
says Maltz, there's no guarantee that the outcome will be a positive meeting of
the minds, or bodies. "It's shaky ground for a relationship. It can really
enhance the sexual experience, or destroy it. It can make people very uptight
and anxious," Maltz says.
That's particularly true if either you or your partner finds the content of
a particular fantasy off-putting. "What about the person who likes to be
sexually sadistic? The other person may take great offense to that," Bartlik
says. Oftentimes, explains Bartlik, it takes a lot of courage to reveal a less
conventional fantasy such as one that includes sadomasochism. Further, it takes
a very loving and loyal partner to listen and accept fantasies that may be
outside the mainstream of sexual experience. The inability to accept an edgy
fantasy may cause a rift in the relationship.
But even if you find your partner's sex fantasies a bit unnerving, there's
hope for moving forward.
Maltz offers some advice to prevent emotionally jarring fallout from the
revelation of sex fantasies. The first thing is not to assume that your partner
wants to actually do everything he or she fantasizes about. "It's important not
to take these desires literally, unless they're intended that way," she