Sexual Healing: Facing freaky fantasies
By Rachael Shockey
Many are exploring their fantasies by reading the popular novel, 50 Shades of Grey. Don't be afraid to do the same, many are probably exploring the same fantasies as you. rachelkramerbussel.com/Flickr
Kink authored by one's subconscious can both torment and rock an individual's world with the brew of temptation, guilt, fear, confusion and satisfaction it evokes.
"Your secret sexual fantasies can be very perverse, enhancing your insecurity, even as they arouse your passions," said sex therapist Dr. Ruth Block at http://counterpunch.org. "Understandably, people often would like to get rid of troublesome fantasies. Maybe they fantasize about being embarrassed when they'd like to be confident, or having gay sex when they'd like to be straight, or doing their partner's sister when they'd like to focus on their partner."
Block insists that making strong, conscious efforts to shun your top secret, socially deviant fantasies tends to only encourage your mind to indulge in them more. So, since your fantasies are presumably delightful and you enjoy the luxury of exploring them in the privacy of your own mind, consider asking yourself: Apart from personal guilt, are there real negative consequences to granting these fantasies their air time?
Right now, even personal guilt surrounding deviant fantasies in our culture is being downplayed-at least by fans of the current New York Times bestseller "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James. In an opinion piece for the Washington Post last Thursday, Alexandra Petri wrote about how, today, people take advantage of e-readers to stealthily feed their deviant curiosities in public areas like subways, waiting rooms and work spaces, suggesting that we are approaching "the end of shame." The fact that horny commuters are unabashedly reveling in "Fifty Shades of Grey" is hopeful, especially since the book draws on very taboo sexual matter. Originally written as "Twilight" fan fiction, the erotica explores rape fantasies and a not-quite-consensual S&M relationship. Despite the touchy topics with which it tangoes, masses of people have been owning up to enjoying the book (which various media outlets have dubbed "mommy porn"), even recommending it to friends. On Monday, Barbara Walters brought up the novel on "The View," and asked her colleagues and audience members if they "like it when he's rough."
The mass appeal of this novel suggests that it's highly likely there are other people out there with the same deviant go-to fantasies as you. Before we dismiss fans of "Fifty Shades of Grey" as slightly older, hornier Twi-hards, we should acknowledge that there is something to be learned from them. Being of such a personal nature, secret fantasies can be hard to face, but the sexual fulfillment and inner peace you could potentially draw from coming to terms with them might make it worth a try. Below are some crucial points about secret fantasies to keep in mind as you address them for yourself.
You're probably not as weird as you think you are. Last week, a concerned woman wrote to sex columnist Tracy Clark-Flory at http://salon.com, asking if her fantasies about gay men having sex are unusual for a straight female. She wrote that she also has fantasized about being one of the gay men (only she still has her female genitalia) having sex. Clark-Flory, of course, assured the woman that these are neither unique nor unusual in the gamut of sexual fantasies, and they do not necessarily imply anything about her sexual orientation or gender identity.
"Fantasies are by definition fantastical," she said. "It's incredibly common for people to get off on either impossible or entirely unrealistic scenarios."
Dr. Block confirms that bisexual fantasies and power-dynamic fantasies like those explored in E.L. James's novel are popular among all kinds of people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. She notes that even fantasies as deviant as sex with animals are not uncommon.
Try this trick next time you feel creepy about yourself regarding what gets you off: Remember that somebody out there dreamed up tentacle porn, and there continues to be a thriving audience for it. Rest easy knowing you're never the only one.
Just because you want to live it out in your head doesn't mean you want to do it in real life. In case the principle of calling it a "fantasy" didn't clear this up, Block reminds her clients and readers that one of the main purposes fantasies serve is to help their creator escape from reality.
"Don't worry, having animal sex fantasies doesn't (usually) mean you want to have sex with animals in real life," she said. "Animal sex fantasies connect you to your animal nature, often freeing your mind from the all-too-human sexual oppression that lurks within you."
Your mind typically has a creative, vaguely rational reason for conjuring up wild fantasies like the one Block mentions. They mostly exist to help you cope with reality, not to manipulate it.
You owe no one your fantasies. Unless your fantasy involves committing a crime, you face no obligation to tell someone about them or to seek counseling. Fantasies are a gift from your mind, allowing you to explore boundless salacious scenarios in total privacy.
If you find yourself often retreating to fantasies while having sex with a partner, and you wish to let your partner in on your thoughts, Dr. Block has some tips on how to ease into this. She suggests starting out by bringing up erotic memories you have together. You might also tell your partner about a dream you had about them that turned you on. This way, you assure your partner that he or she is very much a part of your fantasies. Block says that the best way to transition from here to more abstract fantasies is to bring them up to your partner in small bits.
The beauty of sexual fantasies is that you get to make the call on how to deal with them-be it indulging in them privately, shunning them, sharing them with your lovers or friends or chatting about them with Barbara Walters on public television. Bear in mind that, without a doubt, opening your mind and libido to your subconscious imagination is, indeed, a way to keep yourself in control and promote self-love.
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