May 12th, 2011
08:01 AM ET
Who are you fantasizing about during sex?
Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.
Tell the truth (or rather, think the truth): have you ever fantasized during sex about someone other than the person you’re actually having sex with? Perhaps there’s a particular celebrity that turns you on, or a former flame, or even (heaven forbid) a brother or sister-in-law?
Do taboo thoughts make their way into your most intimate real-life moments? If so, take a deep breath and relax. You’re not alone, in fact you’re probably in the majority. In one study published by The Journal of Sex Research, 98% of partnered men and 80% of partnered women said that they had fantasized about someone other than their partner during sex in the previous two months. Whew!
CNNHealth's sex expert blogger Ian Kerner stops by to talk about the rise in women using porn on HLN's The Joy Behar Show, Thursday, 9 p.m. ET
The truth is, a healthy fantasy life is one of the keys to a great sex life - even when your partner might not always play the leading role. Most people find that they are most sexually satisfied when they are intimate with one person with whom they feel completely comfortable.
Along with this intimacy comes the freedom to let go and explore, including fantasizing about other people, places, and situations. In one study on sexual fantasy by noted expert Dr. Harold Leitenberg it was concluded that sexual fantasies occur most often in people with the highest sexual satisfaction and the healthiest sex lives. So your fantasies aren’t an indication that something is wrong, but rather that something is right.
Fantasies play a valuable role in our sex-lives. First off, they fuel arousal: “Thoughts can create real physical changes in your body, and you can use this to your advantage,” writes sex educator Emily Nagoski in the Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms. “This is why people fantasize even while they’re having sex - the added juice of the fantasy heightens arousal when the physical sensations aren’t enough to get us where we want to go.”
Fantasies also free the brain to explore secret, extraordinary realms without the obligations of everyday life. Kaye Wellings, a respected British biologist, puts it best in her book, "First Love, First Sex:"
“Fantasies perform a valuable function. Most of us, most of the time, behave conservatively, sexually and otherwise. Our erotic experiences represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of possibilities. Many possibilities only see the light of day through fantasies or dreams, seldom as reality.”
And says Good in Bed expert Ann Potter, “I like to imagine that fantasizing is like putting training wheels on my desires - those desires that are maybe a little too 'out there' for me or my partner to get on board with acting out right away, or ever.”
And when it comes to fantasies, adults do just fine with a permanent set of training wheels, and needn’t bother with graduating to a two-wheeler. The brain is the biggest sex organ and a little fantasizing goes a long way.
So rather than resist your fantasies, let yourself enjoy them. Trying to suppress fantasies may end up doing more harm than good. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Daniel Wegner at the University of Virginia studied the menchanics of thought-suppression in an experiment known as the “white bear study.” Wegner sat people in a room with a tape recorder and told them to say whatever came to mind, with one exception: Don’t think about a white bear. No surprise, people mentioned the bear constantly. The more they tried not to think about it, the more they mentioned it.
By suppressing a forbidden thought the brain never gets a chance to fully process that thought, and what could just be an innocent fantasy suddenly becomes a guilt-laden white bear that won’t go away. Most of the time it’s not our fantasies that are the problem, but rather our reactions to our fantasies - the feelings of shame and guilt, as well as our anxieties and fears about what those fantasies might really mean.
But fantasies are meant to be enjoyed and if they weren’t taboo, well then they wouldn’t be fantasies to begin with.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
Shemar Moore. Perfection.
Shemar Moore is a hottie, don't get me wrong. But Matthew Gray Gubler from the same show gets my vote. He is nerd chick brain candy 😀
@Sari I agree 100%!!! Matthew Gray Gubler is one of the most beautiful men alive, but it's funny, I find that guys can't stand it when women think he's gorgeous. They always try to point out his flaws, which there are none of course. And the character he plays only makes him a million times hotter!
Actually my husband is very amused at my crush.. He says it's cute...
Troy Polamalu, Marc Sanchez, and my neighbor upstairs.
Try a Packer – can't believe you are turned on by a Steeler or Jet.
A packer??? Fudge packer? No thanks!
Come on up babe!
I am fantasizing about myself. I mean my body. So bubba no need to feel down.
yer all thinkin 'bout me when we're gettin' it on! Wooo weeee!
Naomi Watts. Works...every...time.
Margaret Thatcher. Helps last longer
2 girls 1 cup
awesome. but how can you last longer than a minute with that visual?
Try Tub Girl
Howard Stern and Baba Booey
YOU NEED COUNSELING AND/OR MEDS FOR THAT COMMENT
I fantasize about hockey...I really love hockey...and maybe some select vegetables...
Hockey and vegetables...you must be Canadian.
James McAvoy. 😀
These statistics only reinforce the idea that human monogamy is not natural. The mind and libido wants variety.
my right hand
Trace Adkins for sure.
I might add I'm a female, lol.
Hmm, Part of it's the voice, isn't it?? On that note, Alan Rickman... 😉
Alan Rickman...*swoon* the man is hotter than Georgia asphalt.
So if you actually could hook up with your fantasy, logically, you'd need to fantasize about someone else after one or two goes to be "healthy." Or you could actually find satisfaction in your partner. Where did this study come from? The Center for Justifying Your Own Screwy Proclivities?
Fantasies are healthy... it doesn't necessarily mean that you are not satisfied with your partner. Nor does it mean that it is "un-healthy" not to fantasize. I feel bad for people who are too insecure to open their mind a little... but to each their own.
you probably screw like a dead a person just dying for the experience to be done and over with. Pun intenDEAD!
This reply is for
I hope you're satisfied with your juvenile comments. Pun intended.
you probably screw like a dead a person just dying for the experience to be done and over with. Pun intenDEAD!
I always used to think about other people with my ex... but now with my new bf... we make up our own fantasies and live them out. Right now there's no one I want but him. And he can think about whatever he wants during s-e-x, just as long as he keeps on doing what he does to me I am happy. 😉
I thought i killed you!!
M, an evil thing never dies.
You soud like HOTTTTTTT STUFFFFFF!!!!!!!
oh rob she is she's canadian
Lanfear:You soud like HOTTTTTTT STUFFFFFF!!!!!!!
Okay, you've said your piece, time to go back to the fishies Osama!
You can actually reply just by clicking the "reply" button.
Also, it's "peace." Thanks for the online smear. It was totally incoherent.
No, it's "piece", nopt peach. Again, return to being fishbait Osama!
@I hope you're satisfied with your juvenile comments. Pun intended.
He was right the first time. It's piece.
Kurt Russell (well maybe Kurt Russell -20 years)
I have always wondered what is wrong with me, because I fantasize about the type of people that I would never fall in love with or be with in real life...the dirty rapist type who likes to watch or maybe two of them at the same time or a big bossomes blond who likes to see me handuffed in bed and looking up to her as a mommy figure. I am 36 years old and I think maybe once or twice I have actually fantasized about some one that I love.
That girl.......is SUPER HOT!!!! LOL!!! WOW!!
I'm a guy who has very similar fantasies. I've never felt the slightest bit of guilt. It's fun.
There is NOTHING wrong with you! I think a lot of women have the r-a-p-e fantasy, most probably too shy to admit it. My bf and I "r-a-p-e" eachother all the time lol... during the day I always come up with reasons to "punish" him later when I get home from work and vice versa. There are lots of 'dirty' things women would like done to them, but it's generally only comfortable with someone that we feel secure with. Obviously I wouldn't want some random stranger to r-a-p-e me... but the thought of a hot guy doing it... mmmmm!!
You still dream of me?
Am I the only person who thinks about themselves?
I have never fantasized about another woman during intercourse. To top it off I married the first girl I was with, and by society's standards she's not hot. I think there's something wrong with me lol.
Dont worry buddy you're not alone : /
Was she smoking hot?
Almost any female wearing fishnet stockings, yummy
I fantasize Elizabeth II
You guys rock.
A new snowmobile.
Not your mom, Sarah?
A really, really big zuchinni.
That will go nicely with your new chin!
Obama needs to hire an anti-fantasy czar. We need more big brother in our lives.
I nominate Donald Trump for the position. He's enough to drop the birthrate all by himself.
Robert Downey Jr.
sort of like ghostbusters....anything you think of will come to life=jetpuff marshmellow man
"or even (heaven forbid) a brother or sister-in-law?"
LOL. He must have read my mind...my wife's sister is HOT.
I though you were dead!
Are you fantasizing about Nynaeve!!??
This article shows how LOW CNN has gone in searching for market share. Please cut this stuff and continue with responsible journalism. This kind of article gives FOX one more reason to bark about your standards. I've been proud of CNN until today.
Until today?? I don't know how much attention you've been paying but the daily articles about Bristol Palin for example aren't much to be proud of either..!
In a market economy, I'm fairly certain that CNN isn't soliciting your pride. You're hear; their adverisers are counting you. And the rest of us are having fun reading this stuff, and commenting on it.
Totally agree, Jack. This is swill, as exemplified by the typically juvenile comment threads these dumba$$ stories generate.
You guys go and read some grim gloom and doom then – you can still find that on CNN if you want it.
Seeing that men are more visual and women are more emotional, I find it hard that men fantasize more than women.
Hey, buddy, stop the non-sense daydreaming by yourself, and wasting readers time–for what? just to fill CNN pages??
spend your time thinking and writing sth more meaningful
I FANTASIZE ABOUT MYSELF WHEN I AM BALLS DEEP IN A WOMAN.
Well, if you care about what Jesus says, he said in His Sermon on the Mount, "if you even so much as lust after a woman, you've comitted adultery with her in your heart." Do you care what Jesus says? If you don't you ought to. He is going to judge you one day and He has the right to do that. After all, He is he sinless Son of God and the creator of the universe. He has a right to judge His creatures.
If all it takes is lusting after a woman then we're all going straight to H. E. Double-hockeysticks. YOU try walking through the streets of Manhattan on a warm spring day and not LUSTING once or twice a block...
STFU with your ancient teachings. I, for one, don't care, and it's much healthier not to. Last I checked, Jesus isn't the thought police.
Jesus probably fantasizes about my wife, too.
...and priests don't lust after young men? Fantasy seems to be ok for clergy, then it's damn sure ok for everyone else.
Hey Jack: Stop judging You Jack-off Why are you reading such a sinful article as this
Jesus doesn't exist
Jack, I know what that maniacal mind of yours is thinking, but I beg you. DO NOT castrate yourself. Trust me. You'll regret it.
I am a Christian and I find it very insulting that you would preach at someone. The only person who has a right to judge us is God. NOT YOU. plz stop making the rest of us look bad.
"Do you care what Jesus says? "
Not in the least.
"If you don't you ought to. He is going to judge you one day and He has the right to do that."
I can't be afraid of judgement from a being in which I do not believe.
"After all, He is he sinless Son of God and the creator of the universe."
According to a book written by Bronze Age Sheep Buggerers
I like to think about my friend's girlfriends and wives.
That chick in the picture is my new fantasy. Dayum those legs are hot.
If you're married, the answer is obvious
Is DISQUS down for all the other CNN articles for everyone else too or am i like super ultra banned? i hate SoundOff
ok good i thought work banned me lol
Get out of my head!!!
This is so like people in Oregon! Go ahead and fantasize that is super healthy in a good relationship however don't EVER think the neighbor one fantasizes about is going to appreciate knowing. Best keep the fantasies to thyself!
I love to recieve blumpkins.
I love to give them!
I got to go bad, wanna come over?
sure, what did you eat today?
Lots of bran!!!