“A fantasy is something produced in the imagination, allowing you to indulge in a thought life that is very different from what you experience on a day-to-day basis. Within this realm there is no fear of discovery, no worry about being shamed; here there is only the deepest of pleasures.” Kahla Kiker
A healthy erotic imagination can do wonders for a woman’s libido and her experience of arousal. Think of “erotic imagination” as any thoughts or mental images that stimulate sexual feelings.
The content of a woman’s erotic imagination can range from romantic thoughts about her partner: the touch or smell of his or her skin, the sight of his tight butt in a pair of jeans, the memory of a sweet kiss, the feeling of bodies pressed together in a passionate embrace, to more taboo fantasies such as lusty group sex, domination, submission, voyeurism, exhibitionism, degradation, anonymous sex and more.
Using fantasy can ignite feelings of sexual agency and empowerment because a woman is exclusively in charge of her thoughts and feelings and she knows that she can facilitate arousal and orgasm by tapping into this amazing internal reservoir of stimulating images and thoughts. Cultivating a rich erotic imagination is a gift in a number of ways: it can be an important part of foreplay, arousal and orgasm; it gives us a sense of who we are as sexual beings—which enhances how we show up with our partners. A vibrant erotic imagination can be enjoyed privately, giving us an internal sense of agency and satisfaction.
So…is there a downside?
Romantic longing and fantasizing about our partners is considered fine in our culture. Unfortunately, many women report feelings of guilt and wrongness when their fantasies are on the more taboo end of the spectrum. Fueled by a culture that gives women a narrow range of what’s acceptable sexually, it can be easy for women to believe fantasies about lust, aggression, power and revenge are “dirty” or “bad” or just plain “wrong.” The reality is this: dark fantasies are incredibly common and there is absolutely no research to indicate that women who have and enjoy such fantasies are in any way deficient, either morally or psychologically. As important, women who enjoy dark fantasies do not wish to experience the content of their fantasies!
In addition, mother culture has taught many women to believe that they are being disloyal to a partner for indulging in fantasy or using the erotic imagination to stoke their own arousal. I can’t tell you how often I hear this from women at workshops, in my coaching practice, or in classes I teach. Holy cow. To women who feel strongly about this, the internal focus on one’s private, erotic imagination feels like cheating, or at a minimum, selfish, shallow or threatening to partner.
I know it can be hard to get mother culture out of our heads. But the reality is that research shows that women who fantasize enjoy sex more, reporting greater sexual satisfaction, more orgasms, less guilt and fewer sexual challenges than women who fantasize less. What partner doesn’t want an engaged lover who experiences pleasure and passion and has fewer sexual issues? And truly, if you’re present with your partner, reveling in the physical closeness of lovemaking, enjoying interacting and experiencing juicy arousal, your partner doesn’t know what’s in your head. So how is that being disloyal?
Thus, I encourage women to let go of their internal censorship around their erotic imagination and enjoy experimenting outside the bounds of “acceptable” behavior. You can enjoy “forbidden” feelings like lust, power or aggression. You can change your gender or sexual orientation in fantasy. You can even enjoy sex that’s outside the bonds of reality when in fantasy. Nobody but you need know. Let go and enjoy!
Remember, in fantasy:
Here there is only the deepest of pleasures….