How To Figure Out Your Sexual Fantasy, According To Sex Therapists

Not sure what really turns you on? Read this.

Maybe a sexual partner once asked you what your fantasy is and you didn’t know what to say. Or perhaps you want to get in touch with your erotic side. Whatever’s driving your questions, don’t be discouraged that you’re not entirely sure what turns you on.

“Keep in mind, fantasies come in all different stripes,” New York City sex therapist Ian Kerner, the author of “She Comes First,” told HuffPost. “Some of my patients have kinky fantasies, some have sensual fantasies, some fantasize about sex with others, some fantasize about sexual situations with their current partners.”

Common fantasies include role-playing, power dynamics like dominance and submission, threesomes or group sex, “forced” sex, voyeurism and (if you identify as straight) having sex with someone of the same genderjust to name a few.

Not everyone can easily pinpoint their erotic fantasies, and that's OK.
CSA Images via Getty Images
Not everyone can easily pinpoint their erotic fantasies, and that's OK.

It’s worth noting that not everyone is interested in acting out the sexual fantasies in their head. Many people have fantasies about having sex in a public place, for instance, but they aren’t necessarily interested in doing that in real life.

“A fantasy is first and foremost a ‘thought,’ which means it doesn’t have to become an actual thing you do, and most of my patients don’t actually want their fantasies to come true,” Kerner said. “They just want to enjoy them in the comfort of their own erotic imagination or share them with a partner.”

If you want to tap into your fantasies, start by thinking back to your early sex-related memories. Ask yourself what you thought sex was at that time and what about it seemed appealing to you.

“Your actual experiences with sex might also contain clues about what turns you on,” sex therapist Vanessa Marin, creator of the online course Rediscovering Desire, wrote for Bustle. “What are your top five sexual experiences? Is there anything that most of them have in common? Or is there anything that really stands out?”

“This might seem obvious, but so few people actually do this,” she told HuffPost.

Then, think about the sex scenes in TV shows, movies, books or porn that stand out or excite you. What do you think about when you masturbate? Are there any recurring themes?

Kerner said many of his patients will tell him that they don’t think they have any fantasies, “but once we start talking about the porn they like to watch or the erotica they like to read, or even the peak experiences they can recall, it becomes clear there are consistent erotic themes bubbling beneath the surface.”

“Start with reading some erotica, watching some sexy movies, listening to an erotica podcast or watching some ethical porn.”

- Ian Kerner, a sex therapist

Take a little time to cultivate and play around in your erotic imagination and see what comes up.

“Don’t worry about having to plumb your inner depths,” Kerner said. “Start with reading some erotica, watching some sexy movies, listening to an erotica podcast or watching some ethical porn. And just spend time noticing what turns you on.”

And if nothing in particular jumps out at you or you find that your fantasies are pretty vanilla, that’s OK, too.

“Plenty of people are happily satisfied having sex without a fantasy element,” Marin wrote for Bustle. “Or you may have fantasies that are simple and straightforward, and not very intense. For example, you might occasionally daydream about having sex in reverse cowgirl, but not feel that passionately about it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you if you don’t find yourself fantasizing about sex on a regular basis.”

Solo, YOLO is a series on solo sex. From masturbation to porn habits, sex toys to safe virtual sex, we’ve curated expert tips on getting it on ... with yourself.

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