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.
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I disagree wholeheartedly. People can cheat with their bodies, their hearts, or their minds. This is the latter...plain and simple. Thinking about someone else tells me that something is dissatisfying about the person I'm with, and should be treated as a clear indication of such. The fact that this type of disrespect is something that the majority of people do doesn't make it right or good, instead it points to something that is very wrong in society as a whole.
Your wife is behind you reading this isn't she
years ago, i thought it was good we had discussion about s e x. today? not so much. everything is in your face. agenda to promote behaviors thru studies without any type of validation to that study. i doubt i am so abnormal. the effort to continually keep in mind someone else, while experiencing feel and touch seems like way too much effort for the normal/average person. i will simply be appriciative my hubby does it for me.
If I had a nickel for every time somebody dusted off this old point.
What's in one's mind is owned by him/her and noone else.
@Silly. LOL!! My thoughts exactly.
In a longterm marriage orgasm trumps brain freeze. In a new relationship this may not be as comfortable. I am quite sure most people that have been married forever allow their brain to help thier performance. People love each other deeply and making love can help keep that love be known to each other. Longterm marriage is good for the couple, the family and the neighborhood. There is no reason not to allow oneself to be human with a private fantasy that helps love along. So long as one can tell the difference between whats hidden in the brain and what is real physical contact with another person.
This sounds like a Catholic school girl.
Oh Davey. Clearly you know little about the human as a species. Society and "the Book" tell us to be monogamous, but our brains and bodies are not hard-wired for monogamy. Human nature has always (and likely will always) supersede any societal norms. Its human nature, a very powerful force. This article's premise is based on human nature and quite logically explains ways to deal with it.
He is the wife! Guess we know who wears the pants and the panties in that family!
Well done Dave...and you didn't have to quote any scripture....aren't you the righteous one.
I challenge you to not think about a delicious bacon, cheese burger for one hour.
LOL, David. LOL
Silly, I'm behind Dave's wife doing what she likes ... but I'm thinking of you ......
So did your wife give you a cookie or allow you to fantasize just once for the awesome comment?
Wait...let me guess....Xtian? So much emphasis on thought crimes.
My left hand
that right arm sure is getting a workout, huh? I concur.
this should not be discussed what so ever, you disgraceful cowards
Then don't read the article or the comments made you troll
then why are you discussing it?
I pray for it every day
Because Americans are the only ones in the world ever known to fantasize...
Really? Most of us pray for it to NOT go to hell. You must be a Talibani or something. Do you think about white goats?
Get off your knees. Begging is slave behavior
Man, you fundies are a bunch of prudes!
Maybe it's me, but I'm thinkin', tater salad.
Cool, creamy, not that chunnky kind, and no mustard.
(It burns the pee-hole!)
Nah, more like anchovies and sour krout 😉
Methinks you're really thinking about tossing salad.
B 0 0 B S
and because of that, the hardening of hearts will be he result. He who lets such things happen.. is God.. God will allow satan to walk to the edge of the cliff, and won't stop his people from following him.. to hell with both of them. Praise the LORD JESUS CHRIST FOREVER AMEN
If you say that enough do the 'bad' thoughts go away? Or do you have to burn yourself with a lighter at the same time?
But didn't God say "You shall have no other gods before me" by calling Jesus your lord, you are defying God's second commandment and putting him before God.
Fundies get all hot and bothered about their torture-themed punishment fantasies...you know, big angry Sky Daddy is going to PUNISH all us naughty, naughty sinners...!
What I find amusing is that fundamentalists are amazingly good in bed. The things that fundamentalist women are willing to do will astound you. They also seem to be rather experienced in some of the most obscure things. It does conflict with their puritan image and objections to what others do in the bedroom.
They do seem to be caught in motels dressed in leather more often than others.
Funny but true. Fundies don't think in terms of groups in bed until there is at least five people.
I was just sitting down when I got to work this morning and the first thing I heard was this voice saying that you should go choke on some baby batter – i swear its true
The Bible has freaks in it? What chapter and verse is that?
Yea, for in those days there shall be a whole lotta freakin' goin' on, and thou shalt be a hunka hunka burning love. Be thou not uptight, for it is a natural thang.
Praise Jebus. Believe in him and you can spend eternity with the virglin boinker
then why did you open the article if you werent interested?
It is amusing that so many people who would never think of fantasizing about anyone other than their significant other took the time to read the article, took the time to read other people's comments, and took the time to make judgmental comments of their own.
Yeah you never fantasize about others...ever. And Clinton didn't inhale.
Fredrick...the truth stings like a scorpion....sayeth Jimmy Baker, Jimmy Swaggart ,Ted funny lips...need I go on...if they would have only stuck to fantasy, but no....they need to actually taste the "forbidden fruit".
I just fantasize about having a partner. I'm not exactly what you would call desirable it'd appear. I'm not attractive or rich, ladies have no interest.
or it could be because you're plastic
dont worry Bob, your hand wont divorce you and take all your money and ruin your life. keep up the good fantasy!
Bob: If you have a sense of humor and are genuinely a kind person, you'll find the right kind of girl- not one that's just into looks and money. I know! I know! Everyone is going to say this is cliche advice, but I'm talking from a woman's perspective (a woman who has her choice, btw), I'm not just theorizing about a woman's perspective. Take care of yourself, be a good person, be gentle, loving, compassionate, kind, and most of all good company, and you'll have to beat them off with sticks. We sense self-confidence, and if you develop yourself (learn to spend time with yourself, to be good company to yourself, learn new things, develop hobbies, go to therapy, take up meditation, whatever you need to do to convince yourself that you really are fun/enjoyable to be around) you'll begin to believe you're a good person and then you'll radiate that confidence. Also, it's important to note that many woman, like men, are idiots. Sometimes we do just go for the jerks and jocks, just to get hurt later. But the wiser among us will eventually learn, and that's when we start looking for the genuine, kind, and gentle guys out there. Good luck!
Keep a steady job, take care of your body, and develop a stronger sense of self, and that will change. It helps to BELIEVE that you would be a good partner and deserve a good partner, as well. Once you get into your late 20s and 30s, women are generally very ready to settle down and value substance, loyalty, and the potential for a man to be a great father more than anything else. Looks don't hurt for certain, but other things matter more.
I too fantisize about the lady in the picture. She does appear to be hot in all the right places. no head shot but hey - could use a brown paper sack if needed
Salami and tv
I thought 'Vanity Fair' did it for you, George...
Nooo... it was Glamour
Why is a stupid article like this on the national news?
I fantasize about writing articles about mundane things people already know and getting paid for it.
I fantasize about my girlfriend she knows what I like and she is beautiful, besides I don't think any famous celebrity is into the things i'm into in the bedroom (or in most cases...out of the bedroom)
Now George Costanza will fanasize about Dianne Sawyer.
Donald Trump bangs supermodels and dreams of jerking off.
Sorry, couldn't help myself...
Back to the deli and make that 2 lbs of tater salad please!
I fantasize about myself watching myself please myself in the mirror.
I read this 5 times but I still can't quite understand it. I want to understand it.
mmm fishnets yummy
I fantasize about myself watching myself please myself in front of the mirror.
I fantasize about a Sarah and Michelle ticket in 2012! Or Michelle and Newt... eww!!! Nevermind!
Ryan Reynolds definitely............... baby!
Wheew! Heeelllooo Anderson Cooper!!! That's it Anderson, harder, harder, oh oh ooohhh!
So, you're a 'bug chaser' huh?
I have a really hot girlfriend, and I have a not so hot girlfriend. Not so hot girlfriend does things hot girlfriend will not. When she is doing those things, I fantasize that she is my hot girlfriend.
This is quite possibly the greatest comment I've ever read.
I fantasize about my wife and my lover together! They know each other but are not wiling to partake together!
Ever get the feeling that you have been moderated out as your thoughts do not reflect the authors thoughs?
Wear a hat made of tinfoil and they can't find you.
love the prudes.. hilarious. Tthis topic covers nothing new, everyone fantasizes one way or another. You really think you can be w/ someone 5, 10, 20 yrs and they will never think of anyone else? Accept the fact that they will once in a while and you'll be fine. Just don't ask who it's about!
Your are so right...Hugh Hefner got rich off fantasies.
Larry Flynt got richer off of people's real fantasies.
This is exactly what happens when a gay man tries to assimilate his feelings into a straight world. If this moron is getting paid for his "input", then I'm gonna start charging for my comments come Monday. Nothing against gay men, I just think this guy is WAY TOO "touchy-feely"..........literally!
This is outlandishly false. So it's okay to cheat with your mind, but if we physically act it out, somehow it's wrong all of a sudden?
Completely garbage ideology. You should be ashamed for publishing this, CNN.
What if your fantasy is to do it with a hot alien? Is it still cheating with a non-existent being?
They aren't saying right or wrong, just that it happens. Denying stuff doesn't change it. Try denying your car is low on gas, for example. You're thinking about me right now, aren't you? You bad boy.
What if your fantasy is to do it with a goat? Is it also still cheating with a non-exi....oh wait..there are goats..nevermind...
Warm Apple Pie
If your gal wore a short dress, high heels, and fish net stockings like the girl in the pic maybe your thoughts wouldn't wander? Oh wait, you can't really see her shoes in the pic. Thank you oh creative mind 😉
Am I the only one fantasizing about doing it with a white bear after reading that article?
A white bear in pink panties and netted stocking! Oh yeah!
I'm fantasizing about a white bear doing Michael. You know, one of those hairy motorcycle pervs.
People who claim not to fantasize fear what their fantasies will be.
Taking a break from World of Warcraft, are we?
Wow... you Americans surely have issues.
Our nation was founded by prudes. Too bad the French and Spanish didn't win out over the British.
I've got a complete set – all the way from #1.
I used to have issue, now I have subscriptions
Jesus...hot, sweaty, shirtless, muscular Jesus
I've seen them live. They rock.
Jesus? The guy who mows my yard?
Saw them warming up for Shewbread in '02. Helluva show.
I fantasize about banging Jesus all the time. It's as spiritual as I can get and think of the heavenly pleasure!! I'm not gay – because Jesus is God, which makes it different. Doesn't it?
I'm sorry... is this supposed to be news or something? Can I get a NO DUH??
I bet you couldn't even get a maybe.
I think we just found the line between a little bit of fun and a sick mind.
I fantasize about someone else when I'm NOT doing my wife, which is just about all the time,which is why I'm fantasizing about someone else. Anyone else. Or anyone, period.
Either that Jesus...or a Doctor/River Tam sandwhich....yummy!
WAIT! The Doctor had a Tardis! We can include Jesus! YES!
I once had a drill instructor who fantasized about a thee-some with Bea Arthur and Abe Vigoda in a hot tub filled with cottage cheese. Kinda hard to recover from that one.
And... you all just got inceptioned
No, you are still dreaming. Slap yourself hard.
I'm sorry, but I don't care what everyone else does during s e x. Everyone has their own to live and they should spend more time living their life and not trying to direct mine.
Think of me. I'll wear my wife beater for you
I only read the first two sentences and stopped because this article pure stupidity. Get some self control man, and be honest with yourself. If your married and thinking about someone else, thats called adultery.
You are a postal worker aren't you?
But...what if I'm thinking of Jesus?
Read down to the part about the white bear at least. Their point is that it's really hard to control your thoughts anytime, and especially during whoopee. It's especially hard if you've ever met my wife.
Victorian women were told to just lie back and think of England, or something. All of England? Now THAT's mental adultery.
Fantasies about other partners are the result of the fact that apes and their descendents (humans) usually don't form life long pair bonds. Male mammals are driven by the desire to dominate and procreate. Humans try to spin it in different ways and subdue those natural tendancies, but nature is nature. Fantasies are healthy because it's either have that or someone is eventually going to cheat.
Mine is of me playing with myself while watching my dog having s.e.x with Bin Laden's corpse through his gunshot wounds in his skull. Is that wrong? Oh that and getting g.a.n.g.banged by my bf and his two friends... 😛
If I had the reach my dog does, I would never leave the house!
The one and only man that makes me day dream is Maksim Chmerkovskiy from DWTS. So yummy!
Never having to die.