Updated: Nov 30, 2020
It is a common experience to dream about bizarre things. You may dream of your boss in your childhood home with elephant ears saying: “I once was a monk.” or you may dream of flying or dark mazes full of shining butterflies. Most people feel comfortable to talk about such dreams with friends and family and what they think it all means (or that it doesn’t mean anything). But not many people feel comfortable talking about sexual fantasies with others, even acknowledging them to themselves. Psychoanalysts such as Jung believe that sexual fantasies and dreams are the same language our psyche uses to communicate with us, enabling us deeper access to ourselves, our shadow parts, and the emotional maps of our needs. But why do we feel comfortable talking about one and not the other?
Layer upon layer of social and sexual taboo, combined with a lack of education and communication in our environment has created stigma around discussing that which turns us on and understanding why—not only with our partners, but with ourselves. I once heard this phrase from someone which makes a lot of sense to me: “Everything in this world is about sex. Except for sex; that’s about something else.” Sex is never just sex. Therapy is often a place where we feel permission to discuss our erotic imagination, and understand what sex means to us: a longing for communion, a spiritual union, an expression of love, the feeling of being wanted, taken, ravished, the excitement of release as well as a safe place to experience aggression, play with power dynamics, surrender.
We don’t freely talk about sexual fantasies not only because merely talking about them is a social taboo, but because those fantasies often consist of sexual taboos themselves—that which is considered forbidden, immoral, perverse, a line not to cross, something not to do. But can sexual fantasies say something about us? If so, what?
Just like dreams, sexual fantasies can be irrational and weird. They can be contradictory to how we see ourselves and how others see us and that worries us: what if what turns me on turns my partner off? Or worse, what if they're disgusted by it? What if I am disgusted by me?
Our erotic mind is very sensitive to censorship and when it smells judgement, it knows to hide underground. Many of us wonder if it’s even worth it to go down the rabbit hole of our desire. Doing so is to accept that we are multifaceted, filled with contradictions, and that we are curious about things that are judged by society, by our own morals and standards. Think about it this way: Just because we put on a costume doesn’t necessarily mean we want to BE a witch or a villain. When we allow ourselves permission to play in the erotic world, we get curious what about being a witch or a villain is appealing: is it the power? Is it the freedom that they can ultimately do anything without considering anyone’s standards or opinion? Our fantasies, and the taboos they contain, are symbolic maps of our deepest needs and wishes. Accessing that vulnerability can turn our erotic lives and confidence to something so much greater than just 'sex', but getting there is a taboo in itself. It means acknowledging that it exists.
If you are intrigued by your fantasies (or lack of) and would like to discover your erotic self and mind better, you are invited to attend a 3-week course (Discover Your Erotic Self) we are running in January 2021. Click here to find out more.
Desire, Fascination and the Other: Some Thoughts on Jung's Interest in Rider Haggard's 'She' and on the Nature of Archetypes; S. Austin.
Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life; J. Lehmiller.
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence; E. Perel.
Sexual Intelligence: What We Really Want from Sex--And How to Get It; M. Klein.