Ask the Doctors: What Do My Fantasies Mean?

I’m hoping that I can receive some advice or at least insight regarding a particular sexual fantasy and its particular implications (if not from having it, then from sharing it).

I’m a heterosexual monogamous female who’s married to a loving man of the same sexual orientation.  We’ve been together for 7 years (since we were 15) and married for 3.  We’ve only ever had sex with each other (I was even his first kiss!)  I have recently left a very conservative religion and am trying to embrace my sexuality more and develop even more intimacy with my husband.  We’ve recently started anal play, especially on him.

Last night, in the heat of sex, I shared my fantasy of a threesome with another guy where my husband receives anal sex from another man.  It turned on my husband and he did an excellent job of describing the scenario to me while he and I masturbated.  Afterward, I started stressing about what he may be thinking about with regards to my fantasy.  I felt an overwhelming urge to clarify that it’s nothing I would ever want realized.  He said that he completely understood.

The more I think about it the more I begin to get worried about the appeal of that particular fantasy to him.  I tell myself that it is simply the fact that I’m displaying myself for the first time as a somewhat kinky sexual person that he got so turned on by it, but part of me can’t help but worry about even bringing that notion into our sex lives.  I feel foolish for being concerned that gay erotica or the idea of being penetrated by a man does something for him, but still worry about it.  I know that sexual orientation is about who you choose to have sex with, and sexual penetration is about where nerve endings are…but what does who you fantasize about having sex with mean?

Just because I liked the idea of him being penetrated by a guy didn’t mean that I wanted him to like the same idea.  I guess I’m just confused and really treading into new territory.  If you could give me some counsel, I’d greatly appreciate it.

There’s a short answer and a long answer to your questions, so let’s start with the short one:

Nobody can tell you what your fantasies mean except you and nobody can tell you what your husband enjoyed about it except him. Fortunately, it sounds like the two of you have really good communication, so you have a solid foundation for figuring that out.

OK, so here’s the longer answer:

Fantasies are really tricky because they can have all sorts of meanings. While there may be some general patterns, there’s also a lot of diversity among people so the only way to say what makes your fantasy hot for you is for you to explore it for yourself.

For example, this particular fantasy might be exciting for you because:

  • you like the idea of having sex with someone in addition to your husband.
  • you like the idea of watching your husband having sex with someone else.
  • you’re less threatened by the image of him with another man since there’s no competition between you and him (sort of how many men are aroused by the idea of their female partners with another woman, but not a man).
  • you’re turned on by watching men have sex. Quite a few women report enjoying watching gay porn for a variety of reasons, so maybe that’s part of the appeal.
  • the taboo of men having sex together really works for you.

Any of these might resonate for you, or maybe none of them does. According to Michael Bader, rather than focusing on the fantasy, we can ask ourselves and our partners to identify what it is about the fantasy that is so exciting and what that means to us. Once you know what the underlying meaning is, you can figure out what you want to do with that.

It’s also important to know that a lot of people have fantasies that they have no intention of acting upon. For example, some people like to talk about their fantasies during sex, enjoy the thrill, and leave it at that, such as the two of you did. Some people might want to role play their fantasies in a limited way in order to add some thrill without going too far.. And yes, some people want to act them out more fully than that. But all of that is negotiable within your relationship and none of it is required.

This is where identifying what it is that you found so hot can be useful. You can take the pieces of the fantasy that work for you and play with them, while discarding the parts that don’t. Violet Blue’s book The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy offers some ideas for how to play with fantasies safely.

It also sounds to me that some of what’s going on for you is that you’re experiencing some fears around what your husband might be thinking. After all, he did “an excellent job of describing the scenario,” which might be triggering worries for you. Or you might have concerns about his sexual orientation, his fidelity to you, or maybe something else. You might find it useful to figure out what it is that you’re worried about in order to share that with him.

And remember that you might be totally surprised when he tells you what it was that was working for him. It could very well be the case that the parts of this situation that turned him on don’t go anywhere near your worries. If, as you suggest, his arousal had more to do with how turned on you were than the actual fantasy, my guess is that there’s nothing to worry about.

So the long answer comes back to the same place as the short answer. I can’t really tell you what your fantasy means and I can’t really tell you what it meant to your husband. But the two of you can definitely figure it out and find ways to play with the pieces that are fun, safe and hot!


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Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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