I had originally planned to write this post about differences between fantasy versus reality when it came to subjects of the sexually taboo, but the research I made on this subject opened up a larger reservoir of information for me to share about fantasies, in general. As authors of erotica and smut, we often like to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the otherwise vanilla sexual encounters we are more used to on a day-to-day basis. For many, this has meant stepping into the realm of the magical, supernatural, and sci-fi. For others, they push the line of the socially acceptable. Surprisingly enough, even the things that cause us to retch in disgust can also capture our attention, driving us to want more.
A perfect example of this is the relationship between Cersei and Jamie Lannister in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”. The very popular television show is already notorious for displaying very extreme situations, both sexually and otherwise. The incestuous relationship between these twins is the catalyst of the entire series’ tumultuous plot. it has started wars, feuds, scandals, and quite literally gave birth to some of the show’s greatest evils. But as much as we are disgusted by the idea of their relationship, we silently wish to see more.
Fantasies themselves are a much more complex product of our psyche than most of us may believe them to be. On its surface, a sexual fantasy is the idea of a situation that is very unlikely to occur unless a large list of conditions were to be met. But the idea of this situation actually occurring brings us to a state of increased arousal, masturbation, and the eventual stronger-than-normal orgasm. Most would take this at face value until you consider other elements of sexual fantasies, such as origin and likeliness to occur. For example, consider the threesome fantasy, which is a very common sexual fantasy shared by 85% of the population. Do you know how much of the population within the United States and U.K. have actually had a threesome? Less than 6%.
What’s also fascinating is how a sexual fantasy is first formed and remains prevalent for an extended period of our lives. Over the last few decades, Freudian psychologists suggest the existence of a “central masturbation fantasy” in which a recurring fantasy someone has will reveal different aspects of their personality and history. Though only a theory, a pattern has been observed among clients’ personality and sexual fantasies. Someone who likes to be the center of attention often fantasizes about being the ‘focus’ of an orgy, while someone with deep-seated shame or self-loathing might desire sexual punishment or humiliation. Despite the idea that these people might fantasize over what might help them, evidence suggests the key trigger is, instead, what resonates with their personality.
One columnist explored this a bit further and found two somewhat disturbing cases in which an older, Jewish woman who lost both parents in the holocaust admitted her most powerful orgasms came to a fantasy of being sexually abused and examined by Nazi scientists while she was strapped nude to a table. Another from a husband who became alarmed when his wife asked him to pretend he was her father and to pretend to molest her. He worried this was telling of a past event, and asked a renowned psychotherapist if he should bring up the issue with his wife. The doctor suggested that he have every right to ask about the past event, but also suggested this fantasy could likely be a way for his wife to regain control of her sexuality, and her life, as well as overcome her history of trauma. On the flip-side, it was also observed that the most mentally disturbed individuals’ fantasies were very simplistic and two-dimensional. This strongly suggests that fantasies that are disturbing or complex have no actual relationship with mental disturbance.
“We may think our fantasies will play out as we see them in our heads, but most fantasies end up being very anti-climactic.”
What does this mean for erotica and smut writers? A lot, actually.
This gives us an incredible insight into the inner thoughts of the characters in these fantasy situations we create. If we can understand why certain people desire certain sexual fantasies, we can craft very real-appearing characters who already have the motivation and desire to follow through when presented with an opportunity to experience something many of us only ever dream of. We also see just how large the demographics for taboo topics really are. Even the most seemingly-normal people can have fantasies involving some pretty disturbing scenarios.
But fantasies do not demand that they are acted upon. In truth, we would rather not act upon our fantasies because of the complex social situations that would follow it. For example, I recently had a dream where I watched my wife have sex with another man. I remember feeling very horny during the dream and still felt aroused long after I woke up, with the image still burnt into my mind. I’d like to think it meant that I subconsciously desire that as a fantasy, but I’m not sure how I would feel if that were to actually occur. I’m sure I’d feel angrily jealous, but the ‘what if?’ thought is always in my head. Second of all, this fantasy could only occur if my wife agreed to it(which I doubt), and I could find someone willing to have sex with her while I watched(which I doubt less, but doubt all the same). In the end, the illusion in my head will be nowhere near what actually happens if I were to ever go through with it. We may think our fantasies will play out as we see them in our heads, but most fantasies end up being very anti-climactic.
So, what does it mean when the triggers of sexual arousal also create reactions of revulsion in the same thought? Is it scary that we live in our minds, yet cannot keep these thoughts out? Should that fear drive us to suppress those fantasies, or accept that they play a role in helping us retake control of the uncontrollable elements in our lives?