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Medical Fetishism!

EVERYONE USES FANTASY. In our daily lives, we all use fantasy. Without this necessary ability, life would be dull, unimaginative, and far less satisfying. Accordingly, most survey research reveals that the vast majority of men and women report the use of fantasy as an aspect of their sexual lives. Sexual fantasy, if utilized properly, is an extremely effective method of sexual enhancement. If used improperly, sexual fantasy can reduce sexual satisfaction, inhibit performance, and/or prevent sexual functioning altogether. Thus, a repeat of the often stated, "The mind (brain) is the most important sexual organ".

SOME POSITIVE USES OF SEXUAL FANTASY: Increases concentration and attention to what is actually happening during lovemaking; Serves as a creative outline or guideline for what might happen during lovemaking; Provides additional stimulation to lovemaking by providing (through imagery and fantasy) what is unlikely or impossible during lovemaking between partners; Creates an exciting interchange (and sometimes a dialogue) between partners about sexual ideas, sexual limits, and/or new possibilities; Allows for individual differences for the individuals during lovemaking, i.e., through imagination, one partner is allowed to focus thoughts upon one topic or activity while the other partner has a different mental focus; Allows the individual a sense of control over one's own level of physical excitement during the sexual response cycle, i.e., one individual can use one type of fantasy to gain arousal, if needed during any given moment, while the other individual may do the same thing or, if needed, use an alternative thought or image to temporarily reduce the level of arousal to avoid or delay orgasm until a more desirable moment. The latter mental technique is a very effective method for males to extend the "plateau phase" and avoid "premature" ejaculation.

SOME NEGATIVE USES OF SEXUAL FANTASY: Over focus and over use of fantasy that distracts from the lovemaking partner or the activity "in the present". Over use of a fantasy which leads to a dependence upon a specific activity, object, or image and therefore a loss of spontaneity and responsiveness to the lovemaking partner. Fantasies which lead to worry ,phobias, or negative imagery about performance are very unsatisfying and inhibiting. Fantasies that include other known individuals can lead to distraction and interference with the couple and possibly create unhealthy "fantasy-based" attachments with other individuals.

SHOULD SEXUAL FANTASIES BE SHARED BETWEEN PARTNERS? It depends upon several factors. It should be born in mind that generally men and women differ in the types of fantasies that they create. Additionally, individuals, regardless of gender, also differ in their sensibilities about sexual fantasies and activities. Therefore in all cases, sharing of sexual fantasies should be respectful of the "boundaries and limits" of one's partner. A fantasy that creates jealousy or intimidation is hurtful and unhelpful. Safety should be kept in mind when sharing sexual fantasies. If a sense of psychological, emotional, and physical safety has been created, there is a greater likelihood that the sexual fantasy shared will be met with consideration and acceptance. If the fantasy is not acceptable, but is discussed in such a safe environment, there is usually little harm done and there can be a more graceful refusal (and signal that boundaries have been over-extended). Once discovered and implemented effectively, sexual fantasy usually becomes an important aspect of healthy and satisfying sexual functioning. For an individual who learns to utilize sexual fantasy deliberately, effectively, and with increased satisfaction, one is likely to realize how unfortunate and reckless it was, or would be, to not understand these concepts and/or to not have access to such a rewarding strategy.

D. Jerome Meers, Ph.D.