How Sexual Fantasies Can Explain Your Emotional Needs

In this post I’m going to discuss a new way to think about sexual fantasies; a way to frame them in your mind in order to discover what emotional needs are most important to you as well as what needs have yet to be fulfilled.

Often times, fantasies are described as situations that a person desires but does not currently have access to. I don’t think this is always correct. I think fantasies can be ongoing and something that a person simply enjoys.

Below is a graph that shows common fantasies, and how emotionally or biologically fulfilling an individual fantasy may be. It is totally subjective – you might place the same fantasies somewhere else. But, in using this general template as an example, we can see how seemingly unrelated fantasies align, clash, or align and clash.

motivation sexual fantasies

Without getting too Freudian here… I’ll briefly define why things are placed where they are:

  • Quadrant I: In many people’s (women’s) erotic fantasies, a knight-in-shining-armor/ alpha male type often makes an appearance. But strangely, forced sex does too – an opposite fantasy in QIII. Possible explanation: people with these opposing fantasies are less emotionally fulfilled and are unlikely to become emotionally fulfilled because they will only let go of control or “surrender” to a situation with an unrealistic fantasy person who does not exist in reality. I would say they have difficulty trusting others. This is not to criticize someone with either of those fantasies, but more to explore what a combination of fantasies may indicate. Many people, both men and women, desire sex with or a steady relationship with an ideal partner because it satisfies both their emotional and biological needs. Being a master seducer or an object of desire are also in QI because they play to the ego and suggest the ability to choose a desirable, though perhaps not ideal, partner. The focus is more on the self here, than on the other, in contrast to how it would be with an ideal partner. Desiring sex with an ex may indicate a variety of things – perhaps they were good-looking, or perhaps they offered something that is currently lacking in one’s life.
  • Quadrant II: Desiring to be a stripper also plays highly to the ego, similar to being an object of desire, but it is less biologically motivated because it is all about creating arousal and not necessarily acting on the arousal. Sex with a taboo person or role playing may indicate a desire to better relate or connect with others or a desire to be approved of. It could also be about manipulating power dynamics or just wanting to be less inhibited by the rules. Domination and submission play with power dynamics, and are about as emotionally fulfilling as having a partner that can’t get enough of you (QI), but the psychological aspects are more heavily emphasized. Voyeurism and exhibitionism also are limited as far as actually engaging in sex, but can be highly arousing, as in a cuckold fantasy. Many of the fantasies in QII involve playing with dynamics of power. Perhaps people with fantasies in this quadrant wish to become more content with the balance of personal or professional power in their everyday lives. Perhaps they’re just having fun, too!
  • Quadrant III: The fantasies in QIII are less emotionally focused than the fantasies in QII. There is a subversive aspect here though, with an underlying theme that rejects the rules of society, such as having sex in public places or outdoors, which in reality could result in a fine or jail! Forced sex is not higher on the biologically motivated scale because it can involve another person that would not be a desirable partner. Sex with a stranger is also a bit reminiscent of Russian Roulette. People with fantasies in QIII may be craving more mobility or freedom.
  • Quadrant IV: Fantasies in QIV are on par with the fantasies in QIII emotionally, but align, biologically, with the fantasies in QI. It’s interesting that all the group sex scenarios ended up in QIV. It’s probably my own bias. However, recent research has actually shown that the appearance of multiple partners, for men, creates a larger sperm count and more intense orgasms. All group sex fantasies involve voyeurism and exhibitionism, but go beyond voyeurism and exhibitionism to incorporate touching and playing. In general, the further on the outskirts of the graph a fantasy is, the less likely it is to happen in reality.

How could creating your own graph be useful? I would say it can be a helpful tool in knowing which sexual fantasies to act on. One of the best things to do when considering whether to act on a fantasy is to write down the fantasy in complete detail, and then write about how this fantasy appeals to your emotions and what about it appeals to your logical or biological urges. Perhaps it would make a positive difference if the sexual fantasy was fulfilled as you imagine it, but sometimes a fantasy is really just reflecting an emotional need that can be met through non-sexual experiences or other situations that may be more appropriate and readily accessible.

Learn more about fantasy in our post on core erotic themes.

– Nikita