NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, April 26, 2021

The 7 Core Sexual Fantasies

In his book, So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex, Ian Kerner, Ph.D., LMFT, who is a relationship expert and sex therapist, discusses, among other things, the power of sexual fantasies and the seven core sexual fantasies (see my articles: Are You Too Ashamed to Share Your Sexual Fantasies With Your Spouse?Sexual Pleasure and Developing Your Erotic Self - Part 1 and Part 2).

The 7 Core Sexual Fantasies

Dr. Kerner emphasizes that whether it's a couple trying to rekindle sexual passion in their love life or an individual who wants to experience solo sexual pleasure, it's important to focus on both physical and psychological eroticism.  

According to Dr. Kerner, many people only focus on physical eroticism.  He says that psychological eroticism, using the erotic imagination, is also an important component of enhancing sexual arousal.  This is one of the reasons why sexual fantasies are so important.

So many people in relationships, including long term relationships, feel too ashamed to talk about their sexual fantasies with their partner or with their therapist. 

They fear being ridiculed or shamed or they feel guilty about even having fantasies because of their childhood experiences in their family of origin.  So, it's important for therapists to normalize sexual fantasies and tell clients that almost everyone has them.

Suffice it to say that there is a big difference between fantasizing and acting on fantasies in real life.  Many people who have sexual fantasies never intend to act them out in real life.  These fantasies are a way of spicing up their sex life--whether they're single or in a relationship.  

Other people, who are more sexually adventurous, are either acting upon their fantasies or contemplating acting on them. 

The 7 Core Sexual Fantasies
Dr. Kerner outlines seven core sexual fantasies in his book:
  • Multi-partner sex (three-somes, group sex, orgies, and so on)
  • Power, control (BDSM: bondage, discipline/domination, submission/sadism, masochism)
  • Novelty, adventure, and variety (new sexual positions or behavior)
  • Taboo an forbidden sex (voyeurism, exhibitionism)
  • Partner sharing and non-monogamous relationships
  • Passion and romance (feeling intensely desired, a passionate love)
  • Erotic flexibility (exploring sexual fluidity)
The fantasies that are listed above are by no means an exhaustive list of fantasies.  They are just the seven core fantasies that many people have.  Within each category there is a tremendous range.

What If You're Not Sure What Type of Sexual Fantasies You're Interested In?
People will often say that they're unaware of having sexual fantasies.  Sometimes, with some prompting, they realize that they do actually have sexual fantasies, but they haven't paid much attention to these passing thoughts.  

If you're not sure of what type of sexual fantasies you might like, it helps to look into various fantasies to see what might be sexually arousing to you.

The following list are some ideas that people often find helpful in terms of discovering your sexual fantasies:
  • Reading or listening to erotic literature 
  • Listening to erotic podcasts
  • Talking to your partner, if you're in a relationship, to find out what turns him or her on
  • Watching ethical porn (made legally, respecting the rights of the performers and in good working conditions)
Be Gentle and Compassionate With Yourself
Unfortunately, so many people are harsh and judgmental with themselves when it comes to sexual fantasies.  Often this is a result of old, outdated messages they were given as children in their family of origin, their religion, culture and so on.  

There might be a part of you that feels ashamed for even having sexual thoughts.  Internal Family Systems therapy (IFS) or Parts Work can be helpful in identifying these parts of yourself so that they don't become an obstacle for you (see my article:  How Parts Work Therapy Can Help to Empower You).

Getting Help in Therapy
Even if you know logically that having sexual fantasies is common and normal, on an emotional level you might still feel guilty about it, especially if you have unresolved sexual trauma.  

If you're struggling with unresolved issues that you have been unable to overcome on your own, you could benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional who has expertise in helping clients overcome trauma (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?).

Overcoming unresolved issues helps to free you from a traumatic history so you can live a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT,  Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.