What Does Fantasizing About Your Partner Mean? A Study Points To A Positive Effect
One of my favorite parts of the human experience is the ability to fantasize. Yes, we technically have to live in the real world where we have to work jobs and pay rent, but in our fantasies, we can go ahead and boink our partners (or whoever else we so please) all day, every day, without a care in the world. But what does fantasizing about your partner mean? How does it affect your relationship? Well, through a series of four studies, new research recently published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin sought to answer those two questions.
In the first study, the researchers asked the participants to have a sexual fantasy either about their partner (what they call a "dyadic fantasy condition") or about someone else (what they call an "extradyadic fantasy condition"). After engaging in whichever fantasy they were instructed to have, participants were asked to recount the details of the particular fantasy for the researchers. They found that those who had sexual fantasies about their partners were more likely than members of the other group to experience an increased desire to have sex with their partners IRL and to do things outside the bedroom that would make their partners happy.
But does it have to be a sexual fantasy in order to have this effect? Does just simply thinking about your partner, in general, increase these two things? Nope! In the second study, researchers also had a group engage in non-sexual fantasies about their partners and confirmed that it was only when the fantasies were sexualized that the participants experienced this spike in desire to have sex with and do kind things for their partners.
The third study tried to take a more natural approach by having couples keep a diary for three weeks in which they write down any sexual fantasy they had right after having it. They were also asked to include any positive or negative thoughts or feelings they had towards their partners in the diaries every night. In this study they confirmed the original finding that sexually fantasizing about your partner makes you more likely to do nice things for your partner, like giving them compliments.
Finally, the last study sought to look into why it is that sexually fantasizing about our partners causes this spike in positive behavior towards them. Again, they had the participants keep a diary where they recorded how often they were having sexual fantasies about their partners along with their desire to have sex with their partner and how they felt about their relationship. This time they were asked to write in the diary every night for six weeks. In this study they found that, in addition to making us more attracted to our partners, sexually fantasizing about our partners also made us happier with our relationships, as a whole. Specifically, they found that these sorts of fantasies reduced the amount of negative thoughts we have about our relationships and, instead, view the relationship as a valuable thing worth investing time and energy into.
So, let's all vow to devote at least 10 minutes a day to sexually fantasizing about our partners. Apparently, it can do wonders for our relationships.
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