Whether it's tying your partner up, taking part in a threesome, or hooking up with a stranger, your X-rated daydreams are probably pretty normal. Still, it can be nerve-wracking to talk about them. Even in the most sexually active relationships or situationships, you might not feel confident sharing your sexual fantasies with your partner.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine dove deep into the fantasies of women and men. Out of the responses from women — including bisexual, lesbian and straight women — the most common fantasies included sex in a romantic or unusual place, oral sex, mutual masturbation, being dominated, and group sex.
Still, it's understandable if you're nervous about sharing your fantasies; that conversation requires a certain level of confidence and vulnerability. But Kristen Lilla, a sex therapist who specializes in kink and polyamory, has a few key tips for getting more comfortable with these kinds of talks.
Her biggest bit of advice? Don't have them while you're having sex!
"I always tell people to have these conversations not in the bedroom or in the moment. I will acknowledge that sometimes, when people are really sexually aroused, it’s easier to share your fantasy with somebody," Lilla says. But ultimately, it can catch your partner off-guard.
"Now, they’re put on the spot to act something out that maybe they didn’t want to do. How do they respond to this?" Lilla explains.
So, instead of bringing up your desire to be dominated mid-makeout, wait until the next day. Lilla calls it "The Pancake Talk."
"That way, it’s not in the moment. There’s time to calm down and move on past the event," Lilla says. "I joke about talking over pancakes because everybody loves pancakes! But the point really being: you’re talking in your kitchen or some sort of neutral setting."
By taking this convo out of the bedroom, the pressure to perform sexually is off of your partner. Of course, not every fantasy that flushes your skin is one that you want to act on. Lilla says that in her practice, for example, client couples bring up dreams of being watched by a third person — but logistics and consequences keep the scenario best experienced as a sexy notion, not reality.
"Just because somebody shares something doesn’t mean you have to follow through," Lilla says. Even if following through isn't apart of the plan, sharing your fantasies with your partner can still be healthy practice. That's the second layer of the discussion you should have with your partner. For example, do really want to invite another person into the bedroom or do you simply want to get off together talking about it?
As far as setting goes, if your partner panics or reacts negatively, at least the bedroom won't be painted by the interaction. Lilla also advised taking it a step further and going out for pancakes, or taking the discussion to a coffee shop.
“People are not very likely to react loudly or very negatively — yelling and screaming — in a public place. You might want to give someone a heads up, but it just keeps it a neutral setting," Lilla adds.
That way, if the conversation goes south, there won't be any lingering awkward energy. And there's an out.
“Again, food," Lilla says. "Food is always good!”
Promising studies show that sexual daydreams seldom hurt relationships. Dr. Gurit Birnbaum, a researcher at Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, studies fantasies for a living. Summing up her findings in Psychology Today, Birnbaum found that dyadic fantasies (ones about your partner) strengthened "relationship-promoting behavior." And extra-dyadic fantasies (ones about people that aren't your partner) didn't kill desire for your partner or lessen relationship-building behavior. So if your partner is worried about your how this could affect your relationship for the worse, the odds are in both of your favor.
If bae is just not aroused by your fantasy, don't sweat it. There's nothing to be ashamed about.
“We have a saying in the sex ed world: ‘Don’t yuck my yum.’ I think it’s great," Lilla says. "Just because you’re into it doesn’t mean I have to be, and that’s it!"
Talking with your partner about what sexual desires you do share will definitely get you right back on track.