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A sexual fantasy is a fantasy of a sexual nature. A person may or may not wish to enact their sexual fantasies in real life; some may find their fantasies completely unacceptable were they to be transposed into real life.
Sexual fantasies may involve any human sexual practice or paraphilia. Common sexual fantasies include:
Unusual, but well-reported fantasies include:
- sexual bondage
- group sex
- sexual domination and/or submission
- masochism and/or sadism
- rape fantasy
- the pastoral fantasy
- the sexual temptation or torture of Christian martyrs, many of whom resort to self-mutilation to preserve their virginity or chastity --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_fantasy [Oct 2004]
Study suggests that distinct tendencies differentiate male and female sexual fantasies. These traits are hardly universal; just because a person happens to be male does not indicate he will have only "male" fantasies that night, let alone for the whole of his life. In general, however, male sexual fantasies tend to be shorter and imagistic, where female sexual fantasies tend to be longer and have more narrative, as well as a greater focus on the relationships between the characters in the fantasy. The essence of a "male" fantasy might be captured in a photographic moment or a seconds-long clip of film; a "female" fantasy might require pages of text to fully capture the key elements. Note that, contrary to popular expectation, there is little to no difference between the genders in the transgressive content of their fantasies; a female is just as likely to fantasize about group sex with an entire fraternity as a male is to fantasize about group sex with an entire sorority.
Many theories have been propounded to explain these relative gender differences, on both sides of the nature versus nurture debate. Theories that focus on nurture point to attitudes prevalent in Western societies, where men's sexual needs are assumed to be wholly physical, while women's are treated as both emotional and physical. Theories that focus on nature suggest that both males' and females' sexual fantasies, and their sexual behavior, are shaped by their respective hormones to reflect their roles in procreation: for men, the sex act may be over in a very short time, while for a woman, if the sex act leads to pregnancy, it is a months-long endeavor. As is often the case with competing nature vs. nurture theories, the likelihood is that both play a role. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_fantasy [Oct 2004]
SM and Fantasy
I am no longer surprised when I go to a play party at someone's house and find their book collection looks very similar to mine. A small shelf of Pat Califia, Anne Rice, The Story of O, of course, but also shelves and shelves of science fiction and fantasy. I am no longer surprised when I meet people at Renaissance fairs or science fiction conventions, and discover I already know them from the S/M community. Or vice versa. "There's so much crossover," people say. But I think there is no "crossover." We have always all been one. "We," those who never discarded "let's pretend" as childish, who would not kill our imaginative spirits for the sake of adulthood or society, "we" as adults create the subcultures that fulfill us, we create the opportunities to let our fantasies roam--with science fiction conventions, where Klingons and faeries inhabit hotels, with role playing games (Dungeons and Dragons' multitudinous spawn), and with S/M sexuality. --Cecilia Tan
Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies - Michael J. Bader
- Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies - Michael J. Bader [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
"The function of sexual fantasy is to undo the beliefs and feelings interfering with sexual excitement, to ensure both our safety and our pleasure," writes clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Michael Bader. In Arousal, Bader discusses the role of sexual fantasy as an unconscious problem solver and describes how his patients have come to understand the background, logic, and positive messages of their fantasies. Bader offers case studies of patients (heterosexual and gay) with varied conflicts, and analyzes their sexual fantasies in light of their desires, guilt, and past and current relationships. Most patients, Bader found, are able to resolve their issues by understanding the meaning and logic of their fantasies and then move on to more satisfying relationships.
Bader also interprets common sex fantasies and discusses sexual boredom in ongoing relationships, the power of pathogenic (irrational and self-defeating) beliefs, and sexual fantasies as a therapeutic key to problems that seem independent of sexuality, such as depression.
This provocative book is scholarly yet accessible to the lay reader interested in psychology. Although readers might be drawn in by the gritty, sexy details about Bader's patients, thoughtful readers also will learn about themselves and what their own fantasies may be addressing and revealing. --Joan Price, Amazon.com
Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America - Laura Kipnis
- Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America - Laura Kipnis [FR] [DE] [UK]
Laura Kipnis, who teaches film at Northwestern University, adopts an unpopular stance: that of speaking for those whose sexual tendencies stray from the acceptable path. As such, she adds a different perspective in the always-raging debate on the role of pornography in America. Among her arguments is that pornography is often overlooked as a class issue, couched instead almost always as a morality matter. Realizing that many of those employed by the sex industry and those who support it are separated by class from those who deem it so unsavory, provides a particular insight into the perspective of those sitting in judgment. --amazon.com
- MY SECRET GARDEN (1973) - Nancy Friday [FR] [DE] [UK]
This book caused quite a ruckus when it was released 25 years ago because it directly quotes the sexual fantasies of dozens of women, ranging from the "very common" rape fantasy to lesbian affairs to unusually explicit scenarios that are unmentionable here. While author Nancy Friday maintains that My Secret Garden served to free millions of women from sexual oppression, there's still a need today to get rid of the guilt that millions more still feel when it comes to fantasizing, having orgasms, and making one's sexual wishes be known. "How could it be, you might ask," she writes, "that women today, at the turn of the century, would still think they were the only Bad Girls with erotic thoughts? What kind of prison is this that that women impose on themselves?"
My Secret Garden has the prurient appeal that made it one of the most passed-around books in high school study halls (it boasts chapters titled "Insatiability" and "The Thrill of the Forbidden"), but its premise, underneath the tales of lusty longings, is a serious one. Friday, also author of My Mother, My Self and Women on Top, is appalled at how parents, especially mothers, instill in their children a deep fear of sexual pleasure, and she advises how to do away with this stultifying force. While Friday can get a little histrionic at times ("Women's lust ... could bring down not only individuals, but society itself"), that doesn't make this book any less enthralling. --Erica Jorgensen, Amazon.com
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