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The Differences Between The Sexual Fantasies of Men and Women

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Robert W. Birch, Ph.D. Sexologist & Adult Sexuality Educator

Robert Birch, Ph.D. Sexologist, Adult Sexuality EducatorHave you ever given any thought to the differences between the sexual fantasies typically conjured up by man and women. Men tend to have more sexual fantasies than women and are more likely to pair them with masturbation. Men, being visual beings, are likely create a visual image of a woman's sexual body and imagine watching her or seducing her or, quite often, being seduced by her. Women, on the other hand, are typically less visual in their sexual fantasies, are usually less focused on genitals, and usually focus more on the emotional feelings of a romantic encounter. Women also tend to involve more olfactory and auditory memories... memories of smells and sounds.

Many women have difficulty imagining an explicit sexual encounter, but readily acknowledge the stirring of sexual feelings while engrossed in a romantic novel or movie. Erotic fantasies, PG-13 through the X rated ones, can serve several sexual functions. Fantasies can induce sexual desire, maintain sexual arousal, enhance the sexual experience, trigger an orgasm, and preserve a memory.

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The desire to be sexual is not controlled by a switch that can be turned on following the eleven o'clock news. Many people, particularly as they age or as a relationship matures, find that the easy turn ons are less and less likely to occur, particularly late at night. At times when time is limited, fantasies can serve to focus attention on the anticipated erotic event and help induce a desire for sexual intimacy.

More than one person has told me, "I'm not able to get excited on a moment's notice - I need time to psych myself up." To induce desire, you can think ahead about what you would like to experience and what you wish to both give and receive. Imagine the sexual encounter is your very first, but without those initial anxieties, and let it be, in your mind, a new and exciting adventure. Recall the good sexual feelings you have experienced and mentally reminisce about memorable past encounters. Conjure up the memory of a partner's warmth, softness, and gentle touch. See your partner's face in your mind's eye and recall that person's sounds of pleasure and the aroma of their excitement.

Desire can be induced mutually throughout the day, with, for example, a phone call to say, "I've been thinking of your wonderful body." The mid-day message, "You won't believe what I want to do to you tonight," can stir the imagination of both partners, spending the day thinking of the possibilities in store for that night.

For those without a partner, fantasies during the day can become the prelude for an episode of self-loving that evening. Self-stimulation, the normal, natural way of experiencing solitary pleasure, is a healthy outlet for many who are alone. Fantasy during the day can certainly prepare you for the quiet celebration of your own sexual response.

Most of us have had the experience of beginning a sexual encounter, only to find our minds wandering off to the worries of the day or the pressing issues of tomorrow. By pushing away the intrusive nonsexual thoughts, erotic fantasy can maintain arousal. When distractions hit, we need only focus on a pleasant sexual memory or project an exciting visual image on our mental movie screen. Fantasies can be of our current sexual partner, but often they will revolve around persons from the past, coworkers, movie stars, or attractive strangers. Bringing others into fantasies is normal and is justified if it serves the current relationship by eliminating distractions that would otherwise dampen or destroy the passion. Obviously, if someone feels guilty about including others in his or her fantasy script, they should be left out. Some people like a cast of thousands, while others want to focus exclusively on their current partner.

Many people worry about their fantasies being "kinky", but such fantasies are common. Unusual fantasies can help maintain arousal and are harmless if there is no compulsion to actually experience an act that would be emotionally or physically harmful to oneself or to others. Whereas honesty is usually the best policy, discretion must be used in the sharing of some unusual fantasies or fantasies involving other people. It is rare that a couple can share such private thoughts without, at best, a little discomfort. Too often the reaction to hearing a partner's most kinky fantasy is one of jealousy and distrust, if not anger and disgust.

One woman playfully imagined that her partner's penis was enormous, and reported how she would visualize engulfing this gigantic imaginary erection into her body... and she would privately marveled at her vagina's ability to swallow up this massive tool. She quickly acknowledged, however, that she had no desire to experience anything that large in real life, but she did enjoy embellishing her fantasy with the thoughts of dressing this impressive male member in doll's clothing and taking it for walks in the park. During her sexual encounters, this fantasy helped rivet her attention on the pleasure she was feeling from the very adequate reasonably-sized penis of her partner.

One night, this woman decided that it would be fun to share her fantasy with her partner. To her utter surprise, the man was devastated upon hearing her playful musings! He began worrying that she had been with men who had larger penises than his, fearing that these well-endowed men must have please her more than he could ever hope to. He erroneously assumed that she could not enjoy his average-sized penis, and began to feel totally inadequate as her lover. Fearing he could not satisfy this woman, he backed off sexually. When he did try, he felt self-conscious and, as a result, often failed to become erect. This, of course, led to more avoidance and self-degradation.