"People always wonder if it's OK to fantasize about someone other than their partner," says Cory Silverberg, a sex educator and "sexuality guide" for About.com. "Well, of course it is—fantasy isn't the same as real life. Besides, if you squelch your fantasies, you'll just create problems. So fantasize about having sex with a thousand different people if you want. Just don't actually have sex with them.
Perhaps that warning is relevant if you're a willowy blonde hotel heiress. For everyone else, the biggest fantasy dilemma is figuring out what to do with the fantasies themselves.
Should you keep them to yourself? Share them with your partner so the two of you can act them out? There's no right answer—but keep in mind that most sexual fantasies remain just that for very good reasons.
"In many cases, the fantasy is better than the reality," explains sexologist Logan Levkoff. "For instance, having a threesome is a common fantasy for men. But in real life, most relationships couldn't handle it—plus the reality of having to consider safe sex isn't part of the fantasy. Fantasies should heighten sexuality, but you have to think long and hard about which ones you should share—the last thing you want to do is make your partner uncomfortable."
Hilary* had been dating her boyfriend, Sean, for three years when she first broached the subject of role-playing. But the relatively innocuous scenario she suggested—he the professor, she the student—made him uneasy because she was in business school at the time.
"I knew it had nothing to do with any of her profs, but I still couldn't get past the idea of her thinking of them while she was with me," explains Sean, a 30-year-old engineer. So he suggested something he was comfortable with.
"He said that, at least at first, he didn't want to play anyone but himself, which I actually thought was sweet," says Hilary, a 28-year-old consultant. "So one night he started talking to me as though he had somehow traveled through time and found me while I was in high school. Entering that role immediately made me feel every sensation multiplied by a hundred, like I really was an inexperienced young girl with an older man who knew everything about me. And I realized that was exactly what I'd wanted in the first place."