Want to reignite your desire and banish humdrum routine from the bedroom? It all starts with your mind.
“As we age, our hormone production goes down, so desire wanes,” says Patti Britton, Ph.D., a board-certified clinical sexologist and sex coach. “Fantasy is arousal fuel — it’s really important to lean on fantasies to build desire.”
Besides increasing your desire to have sex, a robust fantasy life can help keep your sexual anatomy in peak condition. “Using fantasy to turn yourself on is crucial,” says Dr. Britton. “If you’re not exploring your own body, you’re going to go through atrophy.” The muscles shrink and sex can become physically painful. “That is not what makes for good sex,” she adds.
Does your age affect your sexual fantasies?
Not really! According to most sex experts (forthwith, we will call them “sexperts!”), your age doesn’t influence the content of your sexual fantasies. A 65-year-old man is just as likely to fantasize about having sex with two Sports Illustrated swimsuit models as is a teenage boy.
“One half of my clients are over the age of 50, and my anecdotal observations suggest that their sexual fantasies are just as varied and intense as those of younger clients,” says Jessica O’Reilly, Ph.D., Astroglide’s Resident Sexologist and author of The New Sex Bible and The Little Book of Kink.
“I don’t think fantasies change with age,” says Betito, who wrote The Sex Bible For People Over 50: The Complete Guide To Sexual Love For Mature Couples. “As people get older, it might get more difficult to fantasize because they have more to worry about, but you have to allow your mind to go there.” If you have trouble letting go and following your sexual imagination, you’re not alone. “Women often have a harder time—men are better at compartmentalizing,” she adds, while also noting an essential paradox: Older couples are typically more interested in expanding their sexual repertoire.
6 most common sexual fantasies
So now, the burning question: What are the most common sexual fantasies? A study from the 2015 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed these fantasies topped the list in a survey of 1,500 adults:
- Feeling romantic emotions during sex
- Receiving oral sex
- Having sex in an unusual place
- Having sex in a romantic location
- Having sex with someone you know who is not your partner
- Being masturbated by your partner
Study authors also noted that significant numbers of both men and women reported submissive fantasies, such as being sexually dominated (64% of women, 53% of men), tied up (52% of women, 56% of men), spanked or whipped (36% of women, 29% of men), or forced to have sex (29% of women, 31% of men). For anyone wondering if it’s a chicken-or-the-egg scenario with regard to submissive fantasies and Fifty Shades of Grey, the sexperts agree: Fifty Shades started a sexual revolution among the 50-plus population.
“After Fifty Shades of Grey came out, I spoke to my mom’s friends who are in their 70s and 80s, and in them it sparked more sex,” says Dr. Betito, who touts the virtues of erotic literature and film for a more satisfying sex life. “Women who had never heard of BDSM [Bondage Dominance Submission Sadomasochism] were getting turned on by it. It doesn’t mean they want to act it out, it just sparked their desire.”
Never fantasized? Here’s how to start
Are you a fantasy novice? No problem! Romance or erotic novels are an easy way to get started—especially for women, since their sexual desire is so intimately tied to what they’re thinking. “I get [my clients] to think of it as a story,” says Dr. Betito. “Finding ideas through erotic novels is easier than coming up with the story yourself. Or watch female-oriented porn that has a story line. Transport yourself into fantasy land!”
Plus, you may be fantasizing already without realizing it. “So many of my clients simply fantasize about being with someone who expresses their desire in words,” says Dr. O’Reilly. “They want to hear ‘I want you, I need you, I missed you, I want to be next to you, I love you, I crave you.’ Oftentimes, they don’t count these desires as fantasies, as they’re not particularly explicit.”
Acting out your fantasies isn’t required
Your sexual fantasies may be loving and fairly tame or totally out there — either way, your imagination doesn’t have to dictate what you do in the bedroom and beyond. “Many people will say, ‘I have same sex fantasies—does that mean I’m gay?'” says Dr. Betito. The answer is no. No fantasy is going to tell you who or what you like. Women get aroused by all kinds of sexual imagery—it doesn’t matter if it’s same sex, opposite sex, or even animals having sex,” as is evidenced by the work of researcher Meredith Chiver and others.
And if you feel skittish about turning fantasy into reality, it might free your mind to know that many experts wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. “Once you engage a fantasy, it can lose it’s power,” says Dr. Britton. “Having a fantasy can open the gate for full-blown participation,” but on the other hand, just talking about it with your partner may be enough of a catalyst for better sex.