Sharing sexual fantasies with a partner can evoke fears and insecurities. What if your partner finds your fantasy weird or even freaky?

When I see couples in my practice, one of the issues they often talk about is the fact that their sex life is no longer exciting. Sometimes sex feels like a chore, they tell me, and they would like to know what they can do to change that thought. The couples are usually still very much committed to each other but are wondering if I can give them some ideas on how to spice things up.

Some of the suggestions I have for my clients is to discuss and explore sexual fantasies and role-playing. Mostly they respond with uncomfortable laughter, and this response is often due to negative assumptions they have about the topics, a lack of information and an inability to know where to start.

However, sexual fantasies and role-playing can help to add playfulness and more fun in the bedroom; they can enhance sexual pleasure and express hidden desires. Sometimes they can be helpful in overcoming sexual inhibitions. Having fantasies is considered to be a normal part of human sexuality, as this research shows.

Learning what each other fantasies about can also be used to build trust in a relationship, which in turn can deepen the bond.

Matty Silver

Role-playing can be lots of fun, pretending to be somebody else allows you to go to places you wouldn’t normally go. You are voluntarily forced to go outside your comfort zone and become an actor. It is a safe way to explore each other’s secret fantasies. However, it’s important to establish safety, rules and boundaries first with your partner before engaging.

Below are some simple ideas for role-playing, just use your imagination and the possibilities are endless!

Some of my favorite fantasies:

  • Doctor/Nurse Patient — partners play any of the roles
  • High-class Escort (male or female) — one partner plays the role of escort
  • Photographer and Model — take sexy photographs before having sex
  • Stripper and Client — both partners strip-tease for each other

In 1973, Nancy Friday wrote a book called ‘My Secret Garden’ which compiled interviews and letters from women discussing their sexual fantasies. It became a bestseller in the U.S. and brought women’s sexual fantasies into the spotlight. Previously the belief was that only men fantasised, and women just didn’t.

In 2013, UK sex writer Emily Dubberley wrote ‘Garden Of Desires: The Evolution Of Women’s Sexual Fantasies’, which examined what’s changed in the past 40 years. By incorporating research into the origins of fantasies as well as extensive interviews with women, she explores what turns women on these days. Dubberley zeroes in on five main groups of female sexual desires: submissive fantasies, dominant fantasies, exhibitionism and voyeurism, group sex and partner fantasies.

There is a belief that if you fantasize about something, you would like it to happen in real life. Not true; people can have fantasies about all kinds of scenarios that they may like to do, but would never act on. Since the ’50 Shades of Grey’ phenomenon, bondage has almost become mainstream — handcuffs and whips are top sellers in adult shops.

Both men and women dream of having sex with multiple partners, women love to fantasize about having sex with other women, or watching two women make out. Some like having sex in public, sex with a stranger, or sex with their partner in the bedroom with the curtains open — being watched is often a big turn-on. Or they like to be the voyeurs.

The fun variations are endless for couples.

Learning what each other fantasies about can also be used to build trust in a relationship, which in turn can deepen the bond.

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This post originally appeared in The Huffpost Australia Edition and was published on July 25, 2017. This article is republished here with permission and updated on January 7, 2021.