Bringing up a sexual fantasy with a partner can be a bit daunting. No matter how you slice it, you're opening yourself up to vulnerability and sharing a part of yourself that could end in rejection. No wonder we rarely discuss our sexual wants, needs, and possible dissatisfactions when it come to sex.
Fantasy really runs the gamut. You might have a recurring masturbation fantasy about a threesome. Perhaps you picture a scene where you partner pees on you. Or maybe you want your partner to tie you up and use you like a sex plaything. There really are no limits to what goes through people's heads—and as long as your sexual fantasy is legal, there's no reason you should be concerned about it.
"Fantasies are normal and everyone has them. Discussing these with your partner can be a great addition to foreplay, building a closer connection, and improving trust," says Dr. Kristie Overstreet, a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist.
Here's how to bring up your sexual fantasies with your partner:
There's no such thing as a "weird" fantasy
There's this idea that if you're indulging in a sexual fantasy outside of what we might label "vanilla sex," then there are undercurrents of deviant behavior. This is bullshit. Fantasies are normal and healthy.
According to Dr. Laura Deitsch, resident sexologist of Vibrant, fantasies normally fall within two distinct groups: some are mundane, others are out-of-the-box and unusual. But no fantasy is weird.
"Weird" is a judgment word, and it's not helpful in sex. Let's just call them "creative," Deitsch says. Sure, not every partner is going to want to act out the thing you want to try—that just isn't realistic, as people are into different things—but that doesn't mean you shouldn't bring it up.
And hey, when it comes to sex, some of the more creative and in-depth fantasies are the best of all. There’s nothing like a good gang bang bondage fantasy, you know? Anyone?
Why you shouldn't keep your sexual fantasies locked away
If you're embarrassed to talk about a fantasy with a partner, you really shouldn't be. This is someone you trust and respect, and they should show you the same courtesy.
As with all aspects of a relationship, you should always be able to share your feelings without judgement. Of course, sometimes you may want to keep a fantasy just for yourself—something you like to enjoy in private. But issues arise when you aren’t having your sexual desires met as a result of your silence.
"It's sad to think about a never-expressed fantasy, even if there's no inclination to bring it to fruition," Deitsch says. "Arousal from sharing a fantasy is a great way to keep things fresh in a relationship, so start sharing."
You don't want to end up resenting your partner because you've chosen to bottle up your desires.
How to broach the topic of sexual fantasy with your partner
"Talking about a sexual fantasy with a partner shouldn't be difficult, unless you specifically want to bring it to life," Deitsch says.
Bringing it up can be as simple as, "Babe, I had this incredibly hot fantasy about you and I’d love to tell you about it." If that makes you uncomfortable she suggests "floating a [trial] balloon—like describing it as something you saw in a movie or read in a book and gauge your partner's reaction. If it's just something to stoke the fires during a sexy session, start out with a more mild version and ask if they'd be okay with things getting more creative."
For example, you could bring up the wax-dripping sex in Body of Evidence with Madonna and Willem Dafoe; perhaps they'd find erotic pain interesting. If you're looking to actually try it, use a massage candle specifically designed for this kind of play as a safer alternative. If you're simply using the fantasy to heat things up, you can pretty such say anything you want.
And, let’s be real: Fifty Shades has plenty of material to work with.
What to do if they're freaked out or not feeling it
There's always a scary feeling that someone we love will reject us or think we're disgusting for our sexual fantasies. You might have a stable, loving relationship, but that doesn't always assuage the fear.
Don't shut down and write your partner off. Instead of getting defensive, ask your partner what about this fantasy is so off-putting for them. "It could be [that] it simply reminded them of something traumatic or unpleasant and other things would be fair game," Deitsch says. "Check in. They owe you that, at least."
Try opening it up for a discussion about fantasy in general—not just this particular one.
"Tell them that they probably have fantasies that you're not into, but you would be open to discussing them with one another," Overstreet suggests. "A big part of the fantasy happens in the discussions of it, versus the acting it out. Just because they are not into it doesn't mean you can't still enjoy it with them in different ways."
This article originally appeared on MensHealth.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.