Are you the star of your own sex fantasies?

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

This might sound a little weird to you, but when I conjure up sex fantasies I, personally, am not in them. Usually they feature a guy (or two, or three) that I’ve cast from a set of characters in my head – army sergeant, angry teacher, dominant dude on a conference call and … a woman who does not look like me. I didn’t realise this was unusual, until I had a conversation with someone about it, then ran some polls on Twitter to ask: do you, yourself, star in your sex fantasies?

Do you star in your sex fantasies?

The first question I asked gave a pretty solid answer: most people do feature in their own sex fantasies, either as the main character (64%) or as a bit-part or observer (13%). Only 9% of people, like me, didn’t appear in them at all.

I know I shouldn’t have been surprised by this, but I was. Even after years of learning about sex, every year realising that people’s fantasies and kinks are unique and fascinating and almost always different to mine… still this came as a surprise.

It’s like that time I realised I’d been taking showers ‘wrong’ my whole life. I explained to a friend that I thought it was weird how people people in films and on TV always faced towards the shower head, thus getting all the water in their eyes and possibly even soap and shampoo, and she looked at me like I’d just told her the sky was green. Turns out she also faced the shower head, and thought it was beyond bizarre that I shower with my back to it. Not only was I wrong that it ‘only happens in films’, I was also in the minority when we did a survey of our closest friends: most of them face towards it, rather than away. I’d been in the shower-minority my whole life and NO ONE HAD EVER TOLD ME.

Mind. Blown.

The perspective of your sex fantasies

I was even more surprised to learn that many people fantasise in first-person perspective! That is, they see the ‘action’ through their own eyes. No WONDER point-of-view porn is so popular! I just thought it was a gimmicky trick that appealed to a small subset of people, but it turns out it’s a trick that LOADS of you are doing in your heads as a matter of course!

As someone who effectively acts as an invisible director for a scene I’m watching from afar, I genuinely struggle to conjure sexy images from first-person POV unless I’m reminiscing about something that’s actually happened in real life. So the 60% of you who do this thing? As far as I’m concerned, you are utilising an actual superpower. Or at the very least, a skill I haven’t yet managed to master.

Retelling your sex fantasies

As I say, these Twitter polls came off the back of a conversation I’d had with someone – someone whose sex fantasies nearly always include him, and nearly always come from his first-person perspective. Once I’d collected my jaw from the floor and spent a little time thinking on the topic, I realised that I must – on some level – have known that not everyone casts strangers in their sex fantasies. Because when I relate my sex fantasies to other people – in real life or on this blog – I usually write myself in. And within my small gang of people who don’t feature in their own sex fantasies, I am not alone in doing this.

So I’d rarely ever retell a sex fantasy by saying ‘this army sergeant fucks a woman’, I’d say ‘this army sergeant fucks me‘, even though when I wank about it, the woman in the fantasy looks very little like I do. There’s a really obvious reason for this: most of my sex fantasies involve extreme BDSM/pain, and occasionally non-consent. They’re fantasies that happen in my head, so they are wholly consensual (because the only person who needs to consent is… well… me!) but as soon as I let those fantasies loose on the real world, I need to be careful about how I present them.

To put it bluntly: saying ‘I want to get beaten with a belt while I suck a guy off‘ sounds much less alarming than ‘I want to watch someone else get beaten with a belt while they suck a guy off.’ Consent is crystal clear in the first ‘I want’, but requires more clarification in the second. And where the fantasy is one that involves non-consent (as this massively controversial non-consent fantasy that I published years ago when I didn’t know better demonstrates), you can’t just leap in with something that smashes through people’s taboos and squicks without giving them warning and context (the post now has the trigger warning/content note that it should have had when I first published it).

It takes time to give people the appropriate warning and context, so to save time and stress when I’m retelling certain fantasies I end up just writing myself in. Say ‘a hot guy fucks me like this’ rather than ‘a hot guy fucks a total stranger like this.’ I still get it wrong sometimes, but by and large I think the primary reason for writing myself into my sex fantasies is because if I didn’t, they might sound disturbing.

The second reason I write myself in is because although the woman in the fantasies is definitely not me, I suspect she is a proxy for me in some way (or perhaps one of my many selves, as illustrated in this excellent zine by Meg-John Barker). She’s usually white, often brunette, submissive and squirmy like I am… there are lots of similarities. Although she doesn’t bear more than a passing resemblance to me, something about her clearly is me, but seen from a distance, through an augmented reality lens that allows me to change her body shape/attitude/language/sex noises to fit whichever scene I’ve cast her in today.

Switching up my sex fantasies

All of this got me so intrigued that I thought I’d have a go at switching it up – having a wank to a sex fantasy that explicitly starred me. It was tricky. And I don’t mean ‘tricky’ like ‘I couldn’t imagine it’, just ‘tricky’ as in, ‘I couldn’t really get off to it.’

When I starred in the scene, I was put off by trying to get the details right – making sure that ‘I’ was responding in the same way as I would in real life, or wondering if that’s exactly how my tits would look from that angle. Or finding the fantasy too absurd – I would never personally join the army, after all, so why am I here being forced to do push-ups by this angry, erection-sporting sergeant? And when I had a go at the first-person perspective thing, I ended up reverting to nostalgia – playing out scenes that had already happened, which I’d experienced first hand, rather than dreaming up a new scenario for imaginary-me to enjoy.

So I’m going to leave you with my favourite discovery from this little stroll into sex-fantasy-perspective: while fantasising in a different way to the one that’s habitual seems like a superpower to me, around 24% of people are able to switch it up! Sometimes writing themselves in, and other times introducing a cast of characters who can perform the action for them.

18 Comments

  • Rebecca says:

    I have regular communal showers (due to team sport). If asked I’d have said everyone faces away. Now can’t work out whether that’s true or if I’ve created a false memory! Mind also blown.

    • CptPJs says:

      Surely this is one of those things that’s massively affected by having an observer–I’m a back to the shower person but I’d face the wall to avoid eye contact if others were also showering there. But then as this article says maybe I’m just taking for granted everyone behaves the same as me!

  • Mrs Fever says:

    Interesting. I am kind of bad at fantasy in general, but I’d say I have Two types:

    VUSUAL ~ Probably 50% of the time, I star. Often as myself but not as ME-me, viewed from a distance, through an augmented reality lens. (Like, I don’t share physical attributes with fantasy-me, for example.)

    and

    SENSORY ~ Me, (re)experiencing tactile, scent-based, and auditory sensations in the present, but outside the moment in non-visual ways.

    Sometimes the two combine, but not so much to paint a picture as to create an overall impression.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Oh wow that sensory category is totally fascinating to me – I pretty much always dream ‘scenes’ and although they’re more dreamlike than crystal clear, it is usually a fairly visual thing rather than tactile, scent-based etc. Don’t suppose you’d be interested in writing a guest blog on the topic would you? I am massively intrigued as to how this feels/works etc. I realise it might be quite a tricky one to capture in writing though, but I would LOVE to hear about it. I was chatting to a pal the other day who has aphantasia (can’t picture images in their mind’s eye) and fantasises mostly in words/concepts, and I’m hoping he’s going to write me a guest blog too (fingers crossed!). Honestly I could go down this rabbit hole forever…

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    I’d have gone for the ‘switch it up’ answer. Sometimes my fantasies involve me (or someone vaguely similar to me, who may or may not be me), sometimes not, but they frequently don’t remain consistent and drift from one thing to another. I’ve never given much thought to making the people in my fantasies well-defined.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a link between more ‘problematic’ fantasies and projecting them onto other people. Then it’s not ‘I’m imagining fucked-up things happening to me’, it’s ‘I’m imagining fucked-up things happening to this other person’, which feels safer and less potentially conflicting.

    As for the first-person thing, that probably follows logically from the fact that most people are heterosexual, and so aren’t particularly turned on by gazing at their own body. I have to say my fantasies don’t remain consistent on this one either; but when they’re not in the first person, I’m usually looking at someone hotter than me. :)

    • Girl on the net says:

      “I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a link between more ‘problematic’ fantasies and projecting them onto other people. Then it’s not ‘I’m imagining fucked-up things happening to me’, it’s ‘I’m imagining fucked-up things happening to this other person’, which feels safer and less potentially conflicting.”

      This had not occurred to me but I’d be really interested to know what other people who have similar kinds of fantasies tend to do – comment anon if you like!

      Also I am like you on the ‘people in my fantasies are hotter than me’ thing, but then I suspect that’s only because of a ‘grass is greener’ mentality – we never understand our own hotness =) Very jealous that you can do the switching it up thing though!

      • Ay None says:

        I think that’s certainly a plausible possibility. Though I’m not sure it has to be actively problematic, just something the person wouldn’t be comfortable doing themselves. I don’t tend to star in my own fantasies, but they do for some reason often involve an element of exhibitionism and I know I’d never actually enjoy that in real life. But the person in the fantasy does, so it’s all good.

        *shrug* People are weird, I guess.

        • Hazelthecrow says:

          This is all really interesting. I generally star in even my most problematic fantasies, but not as my real self – its like I’m imagining what it would be like to be in a different body as well as what it would be like to do (or have done) things that I know full well I would not want in real life. And it switches from POV to behind-camera perspective throughout.

          Also its not wrong to face away in the shower- not only is there less risk of shampoo in eyes, there’s the nice warm massage effect between the shoulder blades. Especially important on bad backs.

  • Holly says:

    I don’t know if this is “weird” but very often in my fantasies, I switch between an outsider view to whoever is being fucked to whoever is doing the fucking. For some reason, it really gets me off fantasizing about fucking from the male perspective (quite often the male is my husband but not always). Sometimes I’m in it but seeing myself from another’s perspective. I’m wondering if this I’d making any sense now that I’m explaining it, lol. For instance, I fantasize a lot about being gangbanged by a group of women and my husband. As I’m masturbating and fantasizing, my perspective will switch from an outsider’s perspective to sometimes myself to my husband and back again. Usually when I’m fantasizing from my own perspective, I’m underneath a woman being fucked by my husband, alternating between licking her clit and his balls, and watching his cock slide in and out. Then I’ll go to his POV and will literally feel “my” cock filling her up and watching the other women involved (maybe one is fucking the female me with a strap on or something like that).

    Does this make any sense? Haha. It’s not really something I’ve described before. However, writing about it is making me want to sneak away and rub one out!

    • Girl on the net says:

      That makes LOADS of sense and also sounds incredibly hot! I’m usually a fairly distant observer, but if I do get closer in to the scene I will often ‘watch’ it from over the shoulder of one of the guys who is doing the fucking – I don’t know if that perspective is one that I have always used in fantasies (the ones I remember from when I was younger are nearly always played as if they were on a screen/far away) or if it’s one that I have adopted because I see it a lot in porn, but yeah – makes LOTS of sense and I totally get it! Also: hot. Hell yes.

  • Jul says:

    I always dig the work of the most talented Mr. Stuart F. Taylor, but this illustration is extra-marvelous. Cannot stop giggling wondering what the birthday cake is for; on the other hand, am wildly turned on by the idea of being roughly fucked by a man in sexy high-heeled boots. Ideally while GOTN directs the action. Wow.

    I’m also amused that my preferences/abilities are the same as yours, and for the same reasons (literally incapable of having an orgasm if I’m in the fantasy, getting caught up in the need for logic and a totally accurate perspective, and so on), and have puzzled about all of it quite a bit.

    Just read this quote from Dr. Michael J. Bader on The Beautiful Kind (http://thebeautifulkind.com/arousal-the-secret-logic-of-sexual-fantasies/) that feels appropriate here:
    “Finally, there is absolutely no correlation whatsoever between how damaged or fucked up someone is, and the types, intensity, or content of their sexual fantasies or preferences. NONE.”
    I will continue to enjoy my exhibitionist cross-dressing bisexual bondage sploshing fantasies guilt-free.

  • Tom F says:

    I stand sideways on and switch halfway through

  • Brian says:

    Interesting article! I rarely distance myself from my fantasies, as I like to be involved myself. My goal in 2018 is to be better at licking pussy. I did this course: https://tinyurl.com/yb5hvuoh
    It is made by a woman named Jennifer, it was cheap and valuable. I usually don’t like to pay for things, but it was a money-back-garantee. I could basically get my money back if I wanted. But I recommend it to everyone with a tongue:) Check it out!

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