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  • feedwordpress 10:00:31 on 2017/06/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , fantasy, imagination, , pleasure, , sexual fantasy, shame, woman   

    When Their Turn On Is Your Turn Off 

    “My husband and I started talking about our sexual fantasies the other day and I was shocked and disgusted. What do I do now?” – Stephanie, Milwaukee, MI

    Stephanie’s question resonates with many couples because very frequently one person’s turn on is what turns the other off.

    One of the great mysteries of fantasy is that we don’t know why certain things are a turn off and others are the opposite. We don’t understand the preferences of others or ourselves. Sure, we can examine the biography of a person but fundamentally we are in the dark.

    So let’s say you want to know what your partner’s fantasies are, like Stephanie. But what if they leave you feeling inadequate, disgusted or just plain turned off? Here are some things to consider and try out as you open up the fantasy conversation:

    Fantasy is not reality

    Children may play-act that they are in jail. But if they were in jail, they wouldn’t be playing as a prisoner. The first thing that I would say to Stephanie is that fantasy is play, it is not reality, and it is not what her husband wants in the cold hard light of day.

    Stephanie may also be asking why her husband has these fantasies? My colleague Michael Bader aptly said that a good fantasy states the problem and offers the solution. In other words, whatever cultural obstacles or prohibitions you encounter in life, you are allowed in the realm of your imagination.

    The imagination, of course, is not always politically correct. For instance, a rape fantasy is just that: a fantasy of forced seduction. In a rape-fantasy you never experience the dread that accompanies violence, instead you are subverting the idea and transforming the meaning of that experience into a source of pleasure and excitement.

    Don’t play to the shame game

    Stephanie has asked her husband what his private turn on is. And in turn, he has invited her into his secret garden. If she is openly disgusted, she is effectively slamming the gate and running off into the wilderness. By closing off the conversation or reacting with disgust, we induce shame and guilt in the other.

    The erotic mind is very sensitive to censorship and it knows when it needs to go into hiding. Stephanie’s husband may promise never to have these thoughts or voice them again but you can’t eradicate someone’s preferences because you don’t like them.

    So, if your partner reveals himself or herself to you, don’t shut them down. By shutting down the conversation, you are in effect saying: “I want you open up but only on my terms”. Which becomes a power dynamic that is far removed from the inner erotic sanctum.

    Be why-curious

    I have a friend who doesn’t understand why people like to eat pickled octopus. Like taste, fantasy can induce the ick factor for others. But instead of turning away with revulsion, and worrying about the implications of a partner’s fantasy, I encourage Stephanie to remain curious.

    Stephanie can reopen the conversation and ask her husband: what is it about it your fantasy that is pleasurable? Is it that you get to be passive? Ruthless? Give over power? By remaining curious and open, we are asking the other: who are you? We don’t have to understand them, we can simply find out more about who they are which creates space, acceptance and room for play.

    Try something new

    A woman once told me her partner’s fantasy of being seduced in a clothes’ store change room by the attendant. His fantasy made her feel inadequate and cuckolded: why did he have to imagine another woman? But when they tried playing out the fantasy at home, with her playing the attendant, she found that there was pleasure to be had in playing out fantasy. She could bring her own imagination to it so that they both owned the game. Taste, like our palette as we grow from children to adults, can evolve and change. Be open to trying new flavors, you may find something you like.

    Are you ready to get to know your partner? Let me know what you find out and how these conversations change your relationships. I’d love to read your comments below.

    The post When Their Turn On Is Your Turn Off appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:22 on 2017/05/12 Permalink
    Tags: , fantasy, ,   

    What You Don’t Understand About Sexual Fantasies 

    “What is sexual fantasy?” – Dylan, Columbus, OH

    People sometimes confess to me that they don’t have sexual fantasies. They assume they have no imagination. I want to tell you that everyone has the capacity for fantasy.

    But what is fantasy? The idea of it has been coopted so that we view it through a narrow lens. It has come to mean costumes, porn-star poses, elaborate accouterments and role-play. You can certainly introduce role-play into your relationship and here’s how.

    But here is the radical but simple definition of fantasy: sexual fantasy is simply anything that enhances excitement or pleasure. Whether it’s the time of day, the way the breeze drifts across a field or a story you create about the way someone looks at you. Let’s continue to unpack the idea of fantasy.

    Fantasy is a story

    This story – our fantasy realm – is what allows us to distinguish between sexuality and eroticism. Sexuality is instinct or biology. Eroticism is sexuality that is transformed by the human imagination.

    We all have these imaginative resources that allow us to play and be curious, to go beyond our lived experience. The wonder of fantasy is that it allows us to bypass reality; we can let go of the constraints of age, physical limits, material realities, health conditions and religious restrictions.

    What a relief to know that the central agent of the erotic act is our imagination rather than the toned abs we can’t ever quite seem to achieve. Fantasy is our very human ability to come back to something and forever change or relive it. Fantasy has the power to connect us to hope, playfulness, and mystery. I believe, if we didn’t have fantasy, we couldn’t live.

    Fantasy is a gift

    It can transform the traits that irk you – your shyness for instance – into something that you imagine turns someone else on. Or you can become all-powerful and confident – fearless and bold – in your fantasies.

    Fantasy allows us to bifurcate our inner blocks. The fears, anxieties and inhibitions that roil inside you can dissolve so that you can experience the joy of sexuality. The pitfalls of your relationship can be sidestepped in the moment of fantasy.

    Fantasy is an imagined place

    Does that mean that the fantasies that you have are what you really want to happen? Not necessarily. As we’ll discuss in detail next week, a fantasy is a game, an imagined place. Fantasies are different from what we want in the cold, harsh light of our daily reality.

    If you know how you want to experience sexual pleasure, even if it’s simply the way someone strokes your hair, you are already in the realm of sexual fantasy. Embrace it.

    Let me know your thoughts about the definition of sexual fantasy. And look out for an upcoming post on how to deal with your partner’s unsexy fantasies.

    The post What You Don’t Understand About Sexual Fantasies appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:00:39 on 2017/04/28 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , fantasy, Mind Body Green,   

    How To Introduce Role Play and Fantasy Into Your Relationship 

    Go Back to Basics

    First and foremost: role-play and fantasy do not have to include elaborate costumes, props and rehearsed scenarios. Forget shopping online for hours to find the perfect replica of an 18th-century Victorian maid’s outfit with elaborate silk ruffles and free yourself from the shackles of whips and chains (although, by all means, use them later if you want). The definition of fantasy is simply anything that intensifies the sexual experience. The weather, the time of day, the location or the pacing are some simple elements that may enhance the sexual experience between you and your partner. So let go of any expectations about elaborate role-play that may intimidate you or stymie you from beginning.

    Start from a Place of Reassurance

    Talking about sex can be tricky – especially when you’ve never done it before. Frequently, there is the fear that if we speak our desires aloud, our partner will shame us or they will feel like they have failed to satisfy us in the past. Insecurity and vulnerabilities swirl around our sexual selves. Start by reassuring your partner that you enjoy what you do have. Ask them if they’re comfortable talking about fantasy. Start slowly, ease into these conversations. Here are some suggestions to open the dialogue:

    “You know what, we’ve never talked about this and I’m really nervous…”

    “I’ve been doing this course, please don’t make fun of me – I would love to talk to you about it.”

    “Are you open to talking about what turns you on?”

    “I’m really curious about what you like…”

    Alternately, write a note. Or speak on the phone – which allows an intimate distance. Of course, the earlier you open up this dialogue in a relationship, the easier it is but nevertheless, start from today, because that is where you are now.

    Talk More and Try More…

    The door is now open to dialogue and for you to share your fantasies. Conversation about fantasy is about play, curiosity, transcending the limits of reality and moving beyond your usual boundaries. You can test out fantasies through talking (“Is there something you’ve always wanted to try?”) but you can also test through action. We act, we see and we wait for a response, then we try again. For instance if you start kissing your partner on the couch, but they are pulling you towards the bedroom, they are showing you what they are comfortable with – this can also raise an opportunity to express your desire to have sex in the living room. Through a combination of action and words, allow yourself to be playful and open. Get past shame by trying: knock on the door and say, “Hello, room service is here.” As children well know, you need a playmate to play. If you are shamed or rejected when you start to play a game, you retreat into yourself. So willingness is key. But so is the ability to try again if the door is not opened the first time.

    Bring in a Third… No, not that Kind of Third

    I often suggest to couples that they use a third item – a transitional object – such as a book, a movie or an overheard conversation to allow for fantasy and play to enter their sexual experiences. Reading to each other, for instance, can be a way to create desire.

    The book Behind Closed Doors offers fantasies from women and men’s point-of- view that can be read aloud. The lens of a movie or book allows for you to ask questions like: “Is that something you’d be interested in trying?” or “Does that turn you on?”

    Do it Yourself

    In the sanctuary of your erotic mind, you can be anything or anybody you want. So as well as cultivating mutual experiences, you can step into a different body or role inside your own mind – you are free to fantasize when you’re with your partner. You can imagine you are taller, younger, skinnier, more powerful, less powerful and on it goes. You can go beyond the limits of your own conscience, body type or abilities, particularly when you have a partner you feel safe with.

    How do you incorporate fantasy and how does that impact your relationships with yourself and your partner? 

    If you found this post helpful and crave a deeper dive into your erotic self, take a look at my new course on MindBodyGreen, The Essential Guide to Sparking Your Erotic Intelligence — over two hours of guidance to help you connect to your desires and improve sexual communication.

    The post How To Introduce Role Play and Fantasy Into Your Relationship appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 14:00:25 on 2017/02/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , fantasy, Louis Aragon, ,   

    Quote of the Month: Fantasy 

    “The whole fauna of human fantasies, their marine vegetation, drifts and luxuriates in the dimly lit zones of human activity, as though plaiting thick tresses of darkness. Here, too, appear the lighthouses of the mind, with their outward resemblance to less pure symbols. The gateway to mystery swings open at the touch of human weakness and we have entered the realms of darkness. One false step, one slurred syllable together reveal a man’s thoughts.” — Louis Aragon 

    The post Quote of the Month: Fantasy appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • nmw 18:48:30 on 2015/04/01 Permalink
    Tags: conscience, , , fantasy, limit, limits, problem, script, scripts, , self-image, solution   

    Our fantasies allow us to negate and undo the limits put upon us by our conscience, by our culture, and by our self-image 

    If we feel insecure and unattractive, in our fantasies we are irresistible. If we anticipate a withholding woman, in fantasy she’s insatiable; if we fear our own aggression, in our internal reveries we can feel powerful without worrying we might hurt another.

    http://www.estherperel.com/2015/03/what-is-fantasy/

     
  • feedwordpress 00:32:40 on 2015/03/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , fantasy,   

    How to Put a Healthy Dose of Space & Mystery into Your Relationship 

    Isn’t space the opposite of what marriage is about?

    Eroticism occurs in the space between self and other.

    It isn’t always the lack of closeness that stifles desire, but too much closeness. And while love seeks closeness, desire needs space to thrive. That’s because love is about having, and desire is about wanting.

    Space invites otherness and differences. Between me and the other lies the erotic élan. In order to have wanting, we need the sense of mystery, a bridge to cross and someone to visit on the other side.

    How do you bring mystery to a relationship that’s quite established?
    When you ask people when they are drawn to a partner, they say, “when I see him or her from a distance… when he plays with he kids, when he surprises me, he is different.” “When she is on stage, doing something she’s passionate about, when we are at a party and I see her talk to hoer and hold court,” etc. In none of these situations are we caretakers, the perfect anti-aphrodisiac, and that person is momentarily less familiar and again mysterious. We make our partners into something knowable. The big illusion is that you actually need to know that person.

    But certainly, after spending day after day with someone, there aren’t too many surprises. You must know that built in to your mate is someone you don’t know. You hear your partner talking to someone else about new things…you find that there are things you don’t know about them.

    How do you take the steps to create mystery and space?
    Be more independent. Have your own friends, see the movie you want to see, cultivate your own interests. Reach out to your partner–the way you would to a friend. Listen to them as a separate person, separate from you. Be curious! Invite them to an evening at the museum instead of he usual movie. It shows that you’re still looking to please, impress, surprise – all erotic elements.

    What if, by attempting to create this space, your mate becomes threatened?
    Ask what they are worried about, reassure them. Indeed, space must be balanced with security. Discovery and exploration rely on a good dose of trust. Indeed some of us are afraid and so we ask our partners to forego their freedom to ensure our security, but does that ever make us really feel secure?

    Is there a risk to allowing someone too much space?
    Fusion is a fake notion of security – there is just as much risk when keeping someone too close. I find that those who leave a relationship are often suffocated. When you feel you have easy movement, and you show your partner you trust them, both parties stay willingly. Yes, there is a danger that some people abuse the freedom (no doubt) or that when they move away the other barely notices it. Too much closeness may be a problem, but too much distance is as well.

    The post How to Put a Healthy Dose of Space & Mystery into Your Relationship appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • nmw 10:31:28 on 2014/10/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , direct, , , fantasy, intelligence, , plain, real, speech   

    Emphasis on egalitarian and respectful sex — purged of any expressions of power, aggression, and transgression — is antithetical to erotic desire, for men and women alike 

    Ironically, some of America’s best features—the belief in democracy, equality, consensus-building, compromise, fairness, and mutual tolerance—can, when carried too punctiliously into the bedroom, result in very boring sex.

    http://www.estherperel.com/cultivating-erotic-intelligence-in-couples-therapy/

     
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