You're Not into Your Partner's Sex Fantasies—Now What?

They opened up and now you're wondering if you were ready for it

Updated 07/10/18


So, you asked your partner what he or she fantasizes about and you're feeling a little...uncomfortable about it. That's OK.

Sexual fantasies are the stuff of fascination and confusion. When you're thinking about something strange or taboo, it's easy to feel like you're gross and weird. And turned on somehow? Whatever your sexual fantasy is, it is perfectly normal. We think about plenty of things that we may never want to try in real life (or maybe we do).

Are you wishing you could take back the invitation to open up? Perhaps your partner is into gang bangs up in their noggin and you're thinking, "Hm. Nope." Maybe you thought you'd get the threesome scene of your dreams only to be met with vicious bondage. Sound familiar?

It happens. Sometimes we think we're ready to hear the erotically dark things going on in our partner's mind only to realize we may have crossed a line. It goes from a super sexy idea to icky feelings all over. So, here is what to do when you don't share your partner's sex fantasy.

Imagination doesn't always mean exploration

The thing about sexual thoughts is that that's exactly what they are: thoughts. Remember that.

It doesn't matter how messed up or odd something may seem. "Fantasies never need to be acted out," Sari Locker, sex educator at Columbia University and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amazing Sex, tells Brides. "If someone feels uncomfortable with the idea of a fantasy, then it should not be acted out."

It's OK to tell your partner this. Should you say, "Ew, babe. That's so f-ing weird?" Nope. Perhaps you go with something like, "That's interesting. I don't think I'd want to do that in real life, but I'm happy it turns you on." You don't have to talk about it again if you don't want to talk about it again. Maybe you just need to sleep on it—or maybe you need 20 years.

Fantasies, no matter what they are, are normal. We think about all kinds of stuff we don't want to do in real life. We may have a ravishment or dominatrix fantasy, and that doesn't mean we actually want to become a leather-clad dominatrix. It's just fodder for the imagination.

Approach your partner with empathy

In a relationship, there is no room for judgment. We mean it. It doesn't matter how off-putting you find your partner's sexual thoughts; you are not allowed to shame them. Would you want them to shame you for something they find unsavory? Obviously not.

Come to them with empathy. You asked for your partner to be vulnerable. It takes a lot of guts to share our sexual fantasies openly. Honor their openness and be kind. Let them know that you love them and appreciate their sharing. Now, share a fantasy of your own. It's fantastic that the two of you can be open. Be grateful for that. So many people would kill for that in their relationship.

Communication is a good thing

Communicating is a huge factor in relationship health. Even if this was slightly (or a maybe a lot) TMI, remember this. Being able to share openly with your partner is part of the relationship contract. You should feel able to open up about all the weird things you've thought about sexually and your partner should have that same privilege.

"When spouses talk about their sexual fantasies, they learn very intimate things about each other," Locker explains. "The more your share your sexual fantasies, the more your spouse will understand your thoughts about sex."

Keep an open mind. You may not be into what you've heard, but it is just one more step towards open honesty. You'll be stronger as a couple.

Let it go

Don't get bogged down by the creepy crawly feelings that came from this newfound "knowledge." Imagination is imagination. Let. It. Go. Move on. Seriously.

"It's important to be able to move on after you hear a fantasy, without it sticking in your mind all the time," Locker tells us. "Simply enjoy the sex life you've always had, without feeling pressured by the fantasy." We know it's easier said than done, but you've definitely overcome harder things in your relationship than your partner's thing for clowns.

Explore an alternative fantasy together

To help with letting go, move on to something else. Watch some porn together. Find common ground. There may be a delicious fantasy you both share just around the corner, waiting to be discovered. Perhaps you'd want to try role play as a doctor and patient? Perhaps you haven't given anal pleasure enough thought. You don't have to do any of it, but it's fun to feel around the boundaries.

You are not obligated to share your partner's desires, but you are obligated to love them no matter their masturbation material. Don't yuck anyone's yum. Life is too short for that.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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