Nearly everyone has experienced sexual fantasies—research says up to 98% of us have conjured up our fair share of titillating mental images, so it's fair to say that a frisky daydream here and there is a very normal thing to enjoy.
And while everyone's sexual fantasies will be unique, there are some shared imaginative scenarios that many have explored and others are curious about, whether it's exploring the best sex toys with your significant other, mastering the art of how to talk dirty, or switching up the power dynamic in the bedroom.
We may never fully know where our sexual fantasies come from, but there are influences from social or cultural beliefs and events that can help shape them. The media, such as movies and songs, can also be an influential factor in what fantasies we have at a particular time in our lives.
So what are some common sexual fantasies—and how can you make them a reality?
Five of the most common sexual fantasies:
1. Consensual pain play
The erotic art of sadomasochism is a widespread erotic fantasy. This taboo-sounding fantasy is very common and many explore it in various consensual ways with play partners.
Whether it’s using a paddle to spank or be spanked, or engaging in other forms of pain play such as cock-and-ball torture, you can bring this fantasy to life by discussing it openly with a partner. Clearly discuss both your limits and what safe words you should use to ensure your play doesn't push past them. (If you don't know where to start, check out our bondage for beginners guide.)
The fantasy about introducing another person into the bedroom isn’t always about having another human involved in your sexual play. It can be focused on just adding a way of achieving more pleasure at once. Fantasizing about threesomes is perfectly okay and is one of the main sexual fantasies people have.
When we have these fantasies about having sex with multiple people, we have the safety net of it being within our mind, where conflicts and jealousy can’t arise. Sharing this fantasy with a partner is okay, and doesn’t mean you want your partner any less just because you've thought about introducing another person into sexual play.
3. Being Dominated
Letting someone take control of sexual play is one of the top erotic fantasies people have. Being dominated doesn’t have to be kink-focused—it can simply be pleasure-focused, where you’re forced into an intense hedonistic and orgasmic state by another.
When deciding on the activities you want your partner to explore with you when they dominate you, remember there are loads of different ways to experience a sub/dom dynamic. The key to this type of eroticism is that whatever form it takes—whether it's reveling in some "good girl" praise or referring to your partner by a lofty title like "boss" during the act—is that it's all about being consensual and safe. (And remember, aftercare is always important!)
4. Public sex
Having frisky fun outdoors and away from the normal bedroom routine is one of the riskier erotic fantasies couples engage in. It’s not just the change in scenery that makes this fantasy hot, but the chances of being caught in the act add to the excitement. The sheer thrill of danger can also amplify the sexual pleasure felt.
5. Sex with strangers
The unknown can be very erotic to us, and this includes fantasies about having sex with a stranger. When we fantasize about having sex with an unknown person, it gives us the opportunity to explore sexual acts and behaviors that we may not usually engage in with a long-term partner. It even allows us to explore things we don’t know if we’ll fully enjoy yet, without the pressure and expectations that can happen when in a regular relationship.
How to bring sexual fantasies into real life:
Sexual fantasies are not only normal but can also help us be more open in discussing our sexual wants and needs with others. When we learn to acknowledge and accept our fantasies, we can use this acceptance to manifest them into reality.
When bringing sexual fantasies into real life, gaining consent from anyone else involved is important. Starting to explore sexual fantasies in a roleplay setting with props is a good way to share such fantasies safely.
However, it is worth remembering that we don’t have to explore our sexual fantasies in real-life scenarios to enjoy them. It’s perfectly okay to enjoy them privately in your mind, and even use the thought of them as a way of enhancing other forms of sexual enjoyment.
If you're finding it difficult to talk about sexual fantasies with a partner, try to balance it with talking about your non-sexual fantasies, too. This will help you connect in other intimate ways.
Ness Cooper is internationally recognized as a leading expert in sex and relationships and has trained with the Kinsey Institute for human sexuality. She is a sexpert and writer for Marie Claire, and is a published author not just in news and magazines, but in books and academia, too.