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What is a Sexual Fantasy?

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  • Written By: S. Ashraf
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  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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"Sexual fantasy," sometimes referred to as erotic fantasy, is a term used to describe a pattern of internal thoughts or mental images existing in the imagination and that an individual finds sexually arousing or exciting. A sexual fantasy occurs only when a person is awake, because an essential element in this form of fantasy is the ability of the imagination to control exactly what takes place. Dreams of a sexual nature while asleep are not the same as sexual fantasies because the element of deliberate control is lacking.

A sexual fantasy can be as lengthy as an elaborate story filled with intricate details or as short as a split-second flash of sexual imagery. Fantasies might be intentionally imagined or spontaneously happen as a result of sudden feelings or sensory cues. Generally speaking, sexual fantasies exist on a spectrum from being extremely realistic to being highly inventive, using unusual or unconventional imagery.

As far as human sexuality researchers have been able to determine, erotic fantasies are almost universally experienced. Given the endless variety of humans and imaginations, it might seem that an infinite assortment of sexual fantasies would exist. In fact, however, they fall into two basic categories. One is memories of previous sexual encounters or experiences that are arousing to remember, and the other consists of activities that have not happened but are sexually exciting to imagine.

Studies indicate, though, that sexual fantasies are also affected by factors outside of an individual’s imagination or previous experiences. Gender, for example, is one of the main factors affecting the content of a sexual fantasy. Men and women do have some erotic fantasies in common, such as reliving an exciting sexual encounter, imagining sex with a current partner or imagining sex with a different person. Research has shown, though, that a male’s sexual fantasy tends to be more visual and anatomically explicit, and a female’s focuses more on affection and emotion. This can be seen in a male’s use of pornography as a base for sexual fantasy; a female might use a romance novel for the same general purpose.

Society and the culture at large affect sexual fantasy through the practice of labeling some practices or thoughts as taboo. As might be expected, sexual orientation also influences sexual fantasies. In content, the sexual fantasy of a gay man or lesbian woman tends to be the same as a heterosexual man or woman, except that homosexuals imagine same-sex partners.

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miriam98
Post 2

@allenJo - Everyone experiences sexual fantasies. I don’t see what the big deal is. Yes, there are people who get carried away, but these are people who have certain personality dispositions that predispose them to chronic addictions.

It’s like alcohol. Many people drink socially but some people end of becoming alcoholics. Why does someone become an alcoholic? They have issues, and they are using the booze as an escape. It’s the same with pornography addiction, in my opinion.

allenJo
Post 1

I read that 40 million Americans view pornography online. That’s a staggering number, and in my opinion, it’s not the sign of a healthy trend. I know that there are some who would disagree and think that pornography and adult stories are harmless but I’ve not seen studies to suggest that.

Rather, all studies indicate that pornography gets worse and worse as time goes by, with people looking for even more explicit forms of pornography to get turned on. It’s a downward spiral and has wrecked many marriages.

I suppose sexual fantasies with your own partner are okay; in the bedroom the two of you can find different ways of being creative. I am talking about something that is used as an escape, however.

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