Many couples with whom I work continue to return (or call back if they’re in distance therapy). They find it’s helpful to have regular “tune-ups” even after we have repaired and healed their relationships to move past whatever hang-ups or problems inspired them to contact me in the first place.
In these ongoing conversations, I get to learn about many ways that loving couples heighten sexual intimacy and strengthen their relationship by creating fun and pleasure. I continue to notice that couples who have a happy sex life view lovemaking as an expression of intimacy, but they don’t take any differences in their needs or desires personally. They enjoy a relaxed and accepting view of sexual pleasure.
Fantasy is an important aspect of creative intimacy. Believe me when I tell you that your sex life will be greatly enhanced if you feel safe enough to share your sexual fantasies with your partner—and perhaps even explore them with one another. Does your partner know about what really turns you on? Can you imagine telling him or her about it?
Fantasy is the base of variety, imagination, and adventure for most of us when we experience sexual pleasure, either alone or with a partner. But relatively few couples seem to be able to trust their loved one with their fantasies and then find some way of “acting them out” together. When we share these secret places in our minds, the result can be great romance and excitement that swoops us out of the monotony that can ensue when we are mating in domesticity.
I encourage couples to cultivate the idea that within the safe boundaries of their relationship, all wishes, images, fantasies, and desires are acceptable and welcome. Nothing is intrinsically wrong or disgusting. We can decline a partner’s request, but we don’t judge or disparage him or her for it.
Describing and sharing a fantasy requires a great deal of courage, so receive your partner’s secret longings with tenderness and compassionate curiosity. One couple recently shared about their bedroom “treasure chest” that includes sartorial regalia honoring each of their delights and predilections. The contents include police and nurse uniforms, a cheerleader outfit, and several pirate costumes—sort of a Caribbean theme!
“It’s really a helluva lot of fun,” one person laughed. “I don’t even begin to understand some of my desires or fantasies, and I have no idea why Johnny Depp got me so turned on in Pirates of the Caribbean! But my sweetie doesn’t care—they just consider it play and we have a ball!”
Most of us base our expectations about sex on informal and unreliable sources, usually friends we had as adolescents. And this “information” is usually based on fantasy.
Ignorance often leads to people judging themselves harshly and comparing their performance to the actors who appear in their favorite fantasy. I often hear people lament that they are “just no good in bed.” An obvious example is the guy who believes he always has to be able to produce an erection whenever the situation requires it. When it doesn’t happen, self-doubt and genuine fear often result.
Years ago an author named Nancy Friday interviewed thousands of women about their sexual fantasies—one of her books that I really enjoyed is My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies. Those of us who are female are usually (not always!) less visual and therefore more inclined to enjoy reading erotica, while men tend gravitate toward video/online stimulation. Consider watching with your partner, discussing what’s exciting and what isn’t.
Talk about your fantasies with your partner. He or she might be surprised and/or delighted. I guarantee you will grow in intimacy as you trust one another with your deepest desires. Let go of any attachment you might have to a particular outcome, such as orgasm.
The results can be downright entertaining, and you’ll learn a great deal about one another. Just don’t take things too seriously. You’ll laugh together at the very least, and that’s one of the best aphrodisiacs!
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jill Denton, LMFT, CSAT, CSE, CCS, Sexuality / Sex Therapy Topic Expert Contributor
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.