Exploring Fantasy

Exploring Sexual Fantasy for Couples: Using the Internet as Training Wheels

In the early days of a relationship, new love and fresh passion can be enough to drive a sexual relationship into the stratosphere. Over time, however, sexual routines can sap the energy of once vibrant love affairs, and couples recognize the need to expand their sexual horizons. Unfortunately, the action often stalls at the “now what?” stage. A key question hovers: How do we undertake this journey without getting lost along the way?

The short answer is: Travel slowly. Don’t hop on a racing bike….get an ordinary bike and, better yet, start with training wheels. Remember when you first learned to ride a bicycle? Didn’t you have little training wheels on the back for balance until you could steady yourself? Well, when a couple launches a sexual adventure, there’s no better set of “training wheels” than the internet. Let’s look at three ways that the internet can provide balance and stability as you set out on your erotic journey.

The Internet as Virtual Professor

Educational sites like CollarNcuffs display the questions other people ask in the Community Forum, which can reassure you that yours are reasonable and probably a lot less unusual than you might have imagined. Reading answers and articles aloud to your partner and watching educational videos together can be an entertaining way to open up discussions about delicate subjects, as well as pique your curiosity about new ideas. In fact, one of the smoothest ways to bring up a sensitive sexual issue – maybe one you have been wanting to address, but were afraid to – is to find a pertinent article or video on your own and then randomly “stumble” across it when you and your honey are perusing the net together: “Oh look, this one seems interesting!”

Some educational videos offer “show and tell,” too, incorporating erotic images that match visual titillation with pertinent information. These might provide the added boost you need to turn the spark of an idea into a thrilling experiment.

With the advent of streaming video, you can snuggle up with your laptop and enjoy purely entertaining erotic content, too. These films serve an important purpose – so don’t dismiss them as “mere” erotica. For example, if you’ve both expressed interest in something new – anal play sex, for example – but have found that just reading how-to material failed to jump-start your exploration, a hot, explicit anal video might be just the visual aid you need to stop “over-thinking” or quell anxiety. Of course, you’ll want to overlay everything you’ve read about safety onto the sizzling visuals, too. Erotic films can be high on voltage, but they may ignore critical realities, so you usually need to rely on other sources for the factual low-down.

The Internet as Fantasy Library

If you feel that your fantasy repertoire has grown stale, browsing the internet can expose you to fresh variations that you might not conjure up on your own. Exploration as a couple might be just the spice your sex life needs.

However, what about people who have never fantasized before? Some of us were taught that sexual thoughts are “dirty” and that fantasies are forbidden territory. How do we begin to fantasize if we have no reference point for it? We can borrow fantasies! Borrowed scenes can be just as exciting as those we create out of the ethers, and the internet is the perfect lending library. The erotic images you are drawn to again and again quickly become “yours.” This is really no different than renting a Hollywood DVD, sitting back, and letting the images wash over you – something you already know how to do very well.

If you’re new to sexual fantasy, it’s often wise to explore internet-based erotic material on your own – then share what you’ve discovered with your partner. Read stories, view photos, watch films – and be bold. As you wander, pay attention to whatever snares your attention or makes you tingle. The trick, of course, is in allowing yourself to react authentically, rather than letting your internal censor or fear of your partner’s judgment impede your responsiveness.

When you explore as a couple, you’ll find that meandering through the internet’s millions of images helps you gain a sense of the farthest reaches of each other’s response zones – those extreme edges where desire and uncertainty mingle deliciously – as well ad the “no go” places to steer clear of. The only real danger in this kind of openness lies in pretending you aren’t intrigued by a sexually explicit or unconventionally erotic image, when in fact you are – or in letting anxiety give way to negative remarks about a partner’s turn-on, provoking his or her shame and subsequent distancing. To avoid these pitfalls, be gentle with yourself and your loved one, even if he or she reveals a notion that startles you. Remember that arousal doesn’t demand follow through or imply a willingness to replicate a fantasy scene in real life. The beauty of fantasy is that boundaries are implicit; strictly within a fantasy universe, anything is possible.

The Internet as Virtual Matchmaker

Many couples are attracted to the idea of sex with a third person or another couple, but feel that acting on that urge is unwise. If fantasy beckons, but wisdom restrains, the internet’s “training wheels” provide safety.

Let’s say you’re a couple attracted to bringing another woman into the bedroom but you aren’t too keen on the risks of a real-life experiment. A web cam session with a chat host might be the perfect alternative. Building up anticipation in the process of choosing a host and sharing your thoughts about who each of you is attracted to can be a turn-on in itself. Once you’ve selected a partner, if you have a web cam, too, you can see each other and relate through verbal seduction and suggestion; you can even mirror each other’s self-touch. One couple that traveled on business set up “conference” cams with their chathost while both were in different cities. Their three-way-cam scene was just one of many strong efforts to sustain eroticism even while apart. Another couple allowed their chathost to instruct them in unique sexual variations, and by following her guidance the couple learned ecstatically pleasing new techniques. More can found on this idea HERE in our resource section

Another option involves virtual communities like Second Life where an animated representation of a user – called an avatar – can have sexual encounters with other users’ avatars. If you and your partner have been curious about, say, s/m or bondage, you could explore bdsm virtually, where you can immerse yourselves in the psychological dimension, minus real pain or restraint. Or if one of you is more intrigued than the other, your avatar can practice your skills on other avatars – rather than on your partner. I know of one woman who was not in the least interested in playing “bottom” to her girlfriend’s clumsy attempts at dominance until she saw her in action after a few months of practice with other avatars. “So that’s what you do now?” she asked, awestruck. “You’re like a different person! You’re so sexy!” She could have won a prize for the world’s most laughably backhanded compliment, but her uncensored glee led to brand new real-time adventures and a happy-ever-after outcome for both of them. Possibilities abound in the cyber-dimension, where you can gain the benefits of erotic interludes with others – and push taboo far enough to be exciting – while never actually straining fidelity.

About the Author: A psychologist and sex therapist based in New York City, Dr. Joy Davidson has been involved in the development of internet-based sexuality education for much of her career. Convinced that the internet has the capacity to revolutionize intimate connections, she has been actively researching and writing about the internet as a vehicle for sexual expression, education, and therapy for nearly a decade.

Dr. Davidson was a key contributor to MSN’s pioneering online magazine for women, Underwire, as well as a sex and relationships columnist for MSN’s WomenCentral.com, SexualHealth.com, and SavvyMiss.com. Offline, she was for 8 years the sex columnist for Playgirl magazine and Men’s Fitness magazine. In addition to her current articles on LoveandHealth.info, she hosts a sexual enhancement video series, The Joy Spot, which can be viewed on other major video sites as well. Dr. Davidson’s personal website

Dr. Davidson is the author of Fearless Sex: A Babe’s Guide to Overcoming Your Romantic Obsessions and Getting the Sex Life You Deserve (2004, Fairwinds Press), which, in hardcover, was a selection of the Literary Guild and the Venus Book Club. As an expert on sexual issues in popular media and culture, she is also a contributor to four of Benbella Books’ acclaimed “Smart Pop” anthologies and the editor of an upcoming fifth release.

Her astute insights and warm, vivacious personal style have made Dr. Davidson a sought-after speaker at seminars and conferences, and a guest on hundreds of national television and radio shows, including Oprah, 20/20, CNN News, Entertainment Tonight, Montel, and Bill O’Reilly. She was the host of 36 episodes of the Playboy channel’s series, “Secret Confessions and Fantasies,” and the writer/creator of the Playboy/Sharper Image home video series, “Secrets of Making Love to the Same Person Forever.”

Dr. Davidson is a frequently featured expert in national magazines and press, including USA Today, Salon.com, Redbook, Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Marie Claire, Men’s Health, and Cosmopolitan. She holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AASECT certified Sex Therapist, and a member of AASECT’s Board of Directors.

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