Are Sexual Fantasies Normal?

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Reader’s Question

I’ve noticed patterns that my partner has. She seems to want to make love after hanging out with a certain person. This made me feel sick; when I realized the pattern, I would avoid being intimate, and wait at least a day before initiating anything sexual. We only make love maybe two or three times a month anyway.

I’ve mentioned this to her before. I really think she likes her. We were going to therapy and the therapist said this was okay, that sometimes when people hang out with other people who make them excited about life they may want to have sex with their partners. I really do not feel so sure of that, but I’m not the expert. Is this normal? Should this be okay in a relationship? I obviously don’t feel okay with it, because it makes me sick and I feel like she’s thinking about her when we make love. She denies having any feelings toward her except as a “big sister” or whatever.

It feels so frustrating. Is there a term for this, or any keywords I can use to research it on the Internet?

Psychologist’s Reply

You could look up “sexual fantasies” on the internet. Perhaps if you understood what was going on, it might help you be more relaxed. A sexual fantasy is the mental image of a person, object or situation. It is very common for people to fantasize about having sex with other people when they are having sex with their partner. Among other things, sexual fantasies can add excitement and keeps things fresh in the bedroom.

There is nothing wrong with having sexual fantasies. In fact, research has shown that fantasies are among the most common of sexual experiences. There are a lot of positives to having them, including the possibility that they can increase sexual interest and desire. You mentioned that you and your partner only have sex two to three times per month. If you wish to increase that amount, it could be that indulging in fantasy might help your partner be more willing.

It seems like you’re taking your partner’s fantasy (if that is indeed what is happening) in a negative light instead of seeing all of the ways it can benefit you. It is important to keep in mind that having a sexual fantasy of making love with another person doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t want to be with you. After all, she is with YOU when you’re making love. Having a sexual fantasy about another person doesn’t mean that she wants to have sex with that person (after all, people who fantasize about being raped do not truly wish to experience it). Moreover, you have no idea if your partner truly is fantasizing about this other woman or, if she is, the reasons for her fantasy. It could be that she is sexually attracted to her friend or it could be that being around the friend makes your partner feel sexier and more desirable.

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The point is, you don’t know why your partner gets more interested in sex after being around this woman and it doesn’t really matter. If being around her friend makes your partner more interested in sex with you, then it seems like the two of you (and not the friend) are the ones benefitting. Why question from where the gold falls? Just enjoy it. And, if reading about sexual fantasies inspires you to interject some fantasies of your own into your sex life, then all the better.

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