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The Naked Truth

Fantasy Land

Our survey shows you still fantasize about sex.

Most people don't want to act on all of their fantasies. That's why we call them "fantasies"! But sometimes, it's delicious to have an adventure without risk, to be a different person from who we really are, to have a person taking sexual care of us in a way that's unlikely to happen, or to explore a sexual world that we probably wouldn't enjoy in real life but can enter for a while—even if it's only in our head.

There are many pleasures, and often peak arousal, in having a fantasy—all without actualization nor consequences. Something like imagining what it would be like having sex in public is harmless and erotic to think about. You might not want to try this and risk getting a police citation for public indecency, but there's no doubt it could carry an erotic charge—in fact, it was the next highest fantasy, with 9 percent of our sample.

Interestingly, most people don't keep these thoughts private, as we might have thought. Nearly one in three of those who say they have sexual thoughts and fantasies had discussed them with someone, the most common confidant being their spouse or partner, followed by a friend. Women are a little less likely than men to discuss their fantasies with anyone. Only 1 percent of females say they had discussed their fantasies with a stranger.

It's curious and a little disappointing that 60 percent of men and 68 percent of women have never discussed their fantasies with anyone. Only 28 percent of the men and 19 percent of the women have even discussed their erotic thoughts with their spouses. It seems that these thoughts are too intimate to share, even with your life partner. It's curious to ponder how a man or woman could have sex every week for years and years and not share what they are thinking.

I think it's wonderful when people in a relationship are close enough and accepting enough to share sexual fantasies. On the other hand, it's certainly not required—and many people love the freedom of having a secret world that is all their own. You don't want to edit your fantasies in order to share them with your partner.

Is there any reason to worry about fantasies? Maybe about one that is common—fantasizing about someone you know or are friends with can create a very real erotic tension when you're talking in person. If you are married or committed to someone else, it's a bit dangerous to keep a physical relationship going with someone else—even if it is only a fantasy. But in general, the vast majority of fantasy is just adult play.

So, excuse me. I'm late for a bedtime fantasy date with George Clooney!

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