No doubt, sex with your long-term partner is comfortable. You’ve gotten to the point where you each know which buttons to (literally) press so you can max out pleasure during your sack sessions.
But sometimes there are things you just enjoy doing on your own, like indulging in your fantasies. And, while experts say it’s a good idea to share those fantasies with your partner, they also acknowledge that there’s a serious thrill in exploring them solo—provided, of course, it doesn’t compromise your relationship.
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Women especially struggle with indulging in their fantasies—especially if they don’t involve their partner or it involves a role that is out of character for them—but Jess O’Reilly Ph.D., founder ofMarriage as a Business, says it's time for us to get over that guilt. “Rest assured that your fantasies can live and thrive in your mind without venturing into your lived reality,” she says. “This is why so many of us fantasize about scenarios we’d never like to try in real life.”
Ian Kerner, Ph.D., a psychotherapist, sex expert, and author ofShe Comes First, echoes the sentiment. “A lot of women really beat themselves up over their fantasies and wonder ‘What’s wrong with me?’” he says. “We should let ourselves exalt our fantasies and learn to tap into them.”
"Rest assured that your fantasies can live and thrive in your mind without venturing into your lived reality."
There’s also the fact that getting your rocks off alone allows you to zero in on what feels good to you, Kerner adds, which you can then share with your partner…making your sex life even better.
Of course, telling yourself it’s okay to fantasize and actually doing something about it are two different things.
O’Reilly recommends starting slow. Search for stories or film clips that reflect your fantasies and pleasure yourself to them. “The visual element especially can be highly arousing,” she says.
There are also a bevvy of sex toys that will let you branch out beyond what your partner can offer, like dildos of a different shape, texture, or color, says Kerner.
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Always been a little bi-curious(most women are) but are completely freaked at the idea of having a threesome? Kerner says it’s perfectly okay to go out to, say, a random bookstore and flirt with another woman as long as you stop IRL after that point (what you do in your head is totally up to you). “You have the privilege of being able to enjoy your own fantasies without feeling guilty about it,” he says.
"We should let ourselves exalt our fantasies and learn to tap into them."
If that’s a little much for you, Kerner recommends switching up your appearance, like wearing a wig or slipping into lingerie that you wouldn’t usually put on. “Sometimes an external detail can help be a trigger for enjoying our inner world,” he says.
But, above all, don’t feel guilty about it—and keep in mind that everybody has fantasies. “Know that you’re not alone,” says O’Reilly. “Your desires are natural.”