Sexual Fantasy

What You Don't Understand About Sexual Fantasies

This week, Esther explains her definition of what exactly constitutes a sexual fantasy.

“What is sexual fantasy?” – Dylan, Columbus, OH

People sometimes confess to me that they don’t have sexual fantasies. They assume they have no imagination. I want to tell you that everyone has the capacity for fantasy.

But what is fantasy? The idea of it has been coopted so that we view it through a narrow lens. It has come to mean costumes, porn-star poses, elaborate accouterments and role-play. You can certainly introduce role-play into your relationship and here’s how.

But here is the radical but simple definition of fantasy: sexual fantasy is simply anything that enhances excitement or pleasure. Whether it’s the time of day, the way the breeze drifts across a field or a story you create about the way someone looks at you. Let’s continue to unpack the idea of fantasy.

Fantasy is a story

This story – our fantasy realm – is what allows us to distinguish between sexuality and eroticism. Sexuality is instinct or biology. Eroticism is sexuality that is transformed by the human imagination.

We all have these imaginative resources that allow us to play and be curious, to go beyond our lived experience. The wonder of fantasy is that it allows us to bypass reality; we can let go of the constraints of age, physical limits, material realities, health conditions and religious restrictions.

What a relief to know that the central agent of the erotic act is our imagination rather than the toned abs we can’t ever quite seem to achieve. Fantasy is our very human ability to come back to something and forever change or relive it. Fantasy has the power to connect us to hope, playfulness, and mystery. I believe, if we didn’t have fantasy, we couldn’t live.

Fantasy is a gift

It can transform the traits that irk you – your shyness for instance – into something that you imagine turns someone else on. Or you can become all-powerful and confident – fearless and bold – in your fantasies.

Fantasy allows us to bifurcate our inner blocks. The fears, anxieties and inhibitions that roil inside you can dissolve so that you can experience the joy of sexuality. The pitfalls of your relationship can be sidestepped in the moment of fantasy.

Fantasy is an imagined place

Does that mean that the fantasies that you have are what you really want to happen? Not necessarily. As we’ll discuss in detail next week, a fantasy is a game, an imagined place. Fantasies are different from what we want in the cold, harsh light of our daily reality.

If you know how you want to experience sexual pleasure, even if it’s simply the way someone strokes your hair, you are already in the realm of sexual fantasy. Embrace it.


Let me know your thoughts about the definition of sexual fantasy. And look out for an upcoming post on how to deal with your partner’s unsexy fantasies.





Opportunity from Tragedy: Realign, Reprioritize, and Rebuild Emotional Connections

The New Normal is here and it requires a new mindset—a curiosity about what we want for ourselves, with our partners and families, with our dates and friends, and with our work lives. Read more about how you can begin to rethink your emotional connections in this new landscape.

View Article




Letters From Esther #10 - The Joy of Complaining

My monthly newsletter to stay in touch and inspire reflection and action in areas that are important for your relational intelligence. This month's theme is: The Joy of Complaining.

View Article




What Is This Feeling? Anticipatory Grief and Other New Pandemic-Related Emotions

The unprecedented crisis caused by the novel coronavirus has left us with a set of unfamiliar emotions. Read more to learn about these new emotions you may be experiencing and what to do about them.

View Article