So in the end, was living out my most deeply held sexual fantasy a disappointment? Not at all. It was just different. While I thoroughly enjoyed my adventure, it in no way replaced the role of fantasy in my personal sexual chemistry. Nor did the enjoyment come from the same places that I expected it to: I didn't feel any frisson or thrill along with the act of exposure, for instance. And the feeling of others' eyes on my body wasn't as powerful as in my mind's eye.
Sexual fantasies, I've learned, aren't the same as sexual desires. A desire is something we want to realize, a yen for a person or a specific act. A fantasy is self-contained, a personal myth that can perform powerful voodoo in our interior landscape, but that doesn't always keep that power when exposed to the light of day. To complicate matters, sometimes our fantasies and desires overlap, but not always. Why We Fantasize And What's Normal
My friend Alex recalls his first attempt at enacting a spanking fantasy many years ago, with a partner named Lisa, whose fanny had been the object of much onanistic speculation on his part. When Alex finally fessed up to his desire, Lisa gamely agreed to bend over and give it a try, but the results were underwhelming.
"In reality it was just kind of awkward," Alex told me. "Not embarrassing, just uninspired and oddly unarousing. I think because it was my fantasy, not hers, so she wasn't really feeling it."
Interestingly, this bucket of cold water didn't stop Alex from continuing to fantasize about spanking Lisa in the privacy of his wanking chamber. Years later, Alex has had several partners who enjoyed a playful spank as much as he did, but to this day he occasionally still fantasizes about spanking Lisa. Spanking For Beginners
The trick is not to take fantasies too seriously, or to confuse them with reality. It's important not to fall into thinking that a person's sexual fantasies represent what they "really want." The fear of being misunderstood in this way is the main reason we withhold our sexual fantasies. As a self-sufficient, powerful professional woman, I don't want anyone to think that what I "really want" is to be dominated by a big, strong man. So I don't tend to advertise that occasionally, my dirty little mind does go all lumberjack on me.
So much of sex involves the exchange of trust and of power, and many of us are shy to express fantasies that we see as violent or untoward. But when I fantasize about being overpowered by someone bigger and stronger than me, it's not because I am a weak woman who "really" wants to be dominated by a man—in my fantasy, I am the strong man as often as I am the weak woman. In Jungian terms, the struggle taking place is an archetype, and the combatants my animus and anima. In reality, the partners I choose do not tend to be domineering types, further indicating that my domination fantasy is just that—a fantasy.