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Couples Fantasies and Their Meanings

Erotic fantasies are vital to the human sexual condition, the deepest and darkest of which are explored by sex psychologist Dr. Robert Chartham.

These are the sexual fantasies of Anita R., a 36-year-old woman who stands at 5’4” and is in excellent health. Anita has something of a Jackie Kennedy look, with a wide-bridged nose and wide-set eyes. She is a dog trainer, although she originally taught mathematics at a local college. She is married but has no children.

When it comes to fantasies, I guess I’m lucky because I have the kind of husband who is open to any ideas—as long as we keep them on the fantasy level. He wouldn't stand for my fooling around with other men and I’d kill him if he touched another woman. But in our dream world, it’s another matter. Anything goes. We tell stories to each other while we’re being intimate, and it’s just great. I started it by encouraging him to tell me about some of the women he’d known and the things they had done together. It excited the hell out of me to feel him inside me while he talked about doing someone else. Then I’d tell him about guys I had. From there we went on to imagining the kind of sex we’d like to have. And we found out that imagining it, while we’re screwing, is just as good as risking everything in some adulterous affair.

His Fantasy

I’ll usually let him start it off and he’ll begin with the fantasy about his piano teacher. I like that one because, having been a professor myself, I’ve had sexual thoughts about some of my male students—though those thoughts have never come to fruition. My husband’s piano teacher was in her thirties when he was just a teenager. He’d go to her house twice a week and be alone with her for the hour-long lessons. They’d sit on the bench together and her big ass and big tits would always be pressed against him. She used to pay a lot of attention to the treble end of the piano, leaning across him and brushing her tits against his face.

In my husband’s fantasy the day comes when she wears a dress a little too low-cut, and as she leans over one breast pops out. And he, being a horny little devil, closes his lips on it. That’s all the teacher needs. Before he knows it, she has his fly open and is stroking his penis into a fine erection. He has both her breasts out and is going to town on them, right on the piano bench. They get so excited they fall on the floor and the old girl (what am I saying, she was only in her thirties!) spreads her legs for him. She pulls him on top of her and directs his cock right on target. That makes me very hot because I know how much teachers want to do that, sometimes, with really sexy students.

Her Fantasy

Then we swing from that fantasy into one of mine. I run out of gas on a lonely road, and I go to a nearby house to use the phone. I find out too late that three guys live there, and they’ve got no morals at all. They invite me in for a gang-bang by simply pulling me inside and tearing off all my clothes. I’m standing there in the center of this house that looks like a scene out of Mad magazine, with all the furniture made out of phallic symbols and a porno movie being projected on one wall. I’m scared and excited, but what can I do? Once they get me nude, they become more gentlemanly. They ask me which way I want it. So I tell the first one I’d like him to go down on me, to get him on the defensive right away, you know?

This guy has the longest tongue in the western hemisphere. It’s like a great snake. He runs it up my thighs and over my tummy and finally sends it sliding in. He gives me several screaming orgasms, and then number two comes along. He opens his fly and there is the biggest penis in the world! They say size doesn’t make a difference, but don't you believe it. Maybe it doesn't matter physically, but psychologically a big dong is great. So here comes Superman with maybe a foot of rigid flesh. And he makes me suck it. I’m no porn star, but I do my best, taking that huge thing in as far as I can, licking and sucking and playing with his balls. I’m lying on my back on a table, looking up at this thing crouching over me, when I feel number three moving into position. He raises my legs over his shoulders, parts my lips, and begins shoving it to me in the old-fashioned missionary position, standing between my legs. It’s the greatest. We all come together and the guy in my mouth spurts so hard. It’s magical.

Dr. Chartham's Comments

Besides what is usually understood to be voyeurism—observing the genitals or the sexual activity of others in order to obtain sexual arousal and satisfaction—there is what I term “cerebral voyeurism.” By cerebral voyeurism I mean responding to verbal descriptions of sexual activity. Quite a number of men and women are cerebral voyeurs, and Anita and her husband are among them.

It is a widely held view among sexologists that it should be possible, where necessary, to share one’s fantasies with one’s partner, and that each partner should assist the other in acting out his or her fantasy. The classic example of this kind of reciprocity is when the woman has a special experience by imagining she is a prostitute, and her partner helps to enhance the effects of her fantasy by acting the role of a client. Some fantasies, of course, do not lend themselves to this treatment. Their effect may depend on their being kept secret by the fantasizer, as in the case of most harem fantasies, or they may have to be kept secret lest they hurt the fantasizer’s partner, e.g., those fantasies in which the fantasizer transforms the partner into a more attractive or more sexually inspiring person.

Cerebral voyeuristic fantasies naturally have to be shared because, although the fantasizer is aroused by his or her own fantasy, it is the partner they are mainly designed to affect. This being so, a number of considerations as to the nature of the fantasy have to be taken into account. Whatever the fantasy activity involves, it must contain nothing that will be an affront to the partner. Since this type of fantasy usually takes the form of an imagined sexual activity between the fantasizer and imaginary partners, the latter must never be physically more attractive, nor sexually more skillful than the real-life partner. As far as the activity itself goes, it would seem that the more extreme it is, the more effective the fantasy will be.

Risks and Rules

Cerebral voyeuristic fantasies carry several risks. I have known a number of couples who have become so influenced by them that they have taken to mate-swapping, not always with the happiest consequences. Others have decided to act out their fantasies together, and, when they found they no longer worked (because they no longer contained the vital voyeuristic element), have become disenchanted with one another. Anita and her husband do not appear likely to fall into any of these traps. In fact, awareness of the strong element of jealousy in both their natures—“He wouldn't stand for my fooling around with other men and I'd kill him if he touched another woman”—has added to the arousal factor of their fantasies, which they use as a safeguard against becoming involved in adulterous situations.

They are also operating according to the rules. In the husband's fantasy, the piano teacher represents no threat to Anita, because she is in the distant past and because it is implied that she is not so sexually attractive as Anita. Anita's fantasy is also contrived not to threaten her husband's sexuality. The gang-bang fantasy is often motivated by the failure of the regular partner to satisfy the fantasizer, by a need to satisfy the fantasizer's feelings of sexual power, or to fulfill subconscious desires.

If Anita's fantasy were blatantly, explicitly motivated by either of the first two—implicitly they are—it could threaten the husband with feelings of sexual inadequacy. To circumvent this, once her attackers have stripped her they behave in a gentlemanly fashion quite uncommon in such real-life situations, asking her “how she would like to have it.” Cleverly, she avoids penis-vagina contact with the first and second partners. Only when number three takes his turn does this happen. In this way, Anita satisfies her subconscious desire to be the sexually dominant partner—by showing she can satisfy three men at once—in such a way that her husband's virility is not challenged. And although she enjoys her fantasy activities, she has been forced to take part in them and so absolves herself of any responsibility for what has happened. The most important aspect of the fantasy, however, is that Anita and her husband screw to its accompaniment. This is a further, and perhaps the most important, safeguard of the husband's virility. He can identify with all three men. Far from being made to feel sexually inadequate, he is made to feel more sexually powerful than he actually is.

By fantasizing, however, Anita is able to satisfy her desire. This is another function of fantasies: they can relieve frustrations built up by unfulfilled real-life desires. To do this, the fantasizer must have a strong imagination—and here I do not mean sexual imagination—in order to convince himself that what is happening in the fantasy is actually happening. It is not always easy or possible for a man or a woman to develop an imagination of this caliber—there would be far fewer frustrated men and women about if it were easier—but where it is possible, it can work miracles.

Recommended Reading

Just as psychology can explain Anita's fantasies and the satisfaction they bring her, science can provide an insightful look into many aspects of intercourse. If you were intrigued by Dr. Chartham's work, consider finding deeper explanations of other aspects of intercourse in Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Can a person think herself to orgasm? Can a dead man get an erection? Best selling author, Mary Roach returns with Bonk: A Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, an insightful look at intercourse. Whether its orgasms, erections, or a unique view of Viagara, Bonk takes the taboo out of the subject matter.

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