Which, in a roundabout fashion, brings me to the topic of this post, which is, of course, sex.
A Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless For His Own Good Unless He Cares To Own Up made a lengthy viewable-by-certain-friends-only LJ post about sexual fantasies. Namely, the fact that the women he ran across didn't seem to ever have any. And the poor unsuspecting dear made the mistake of a) including me on said viewable-by-certain-friends-only list and b) asking, publicly, why this was so, that the women he ran across didn't seem to have sexual fantasies.
The following blog is a serious retooling and expansion of the answer I gave him, which was probably a lot longer and more in-depth than he was looking for. But hey, if I'm really lucky maybe that's one of his fantasies.
Of course, most of this is sheer opinion, and anecdotal to boot. If I had hard numbers for this sort of thing, I'd be selling articles about it to major publications instead of just writing a little blog. But you knew all that.
It's not that women in general don't have sexual fantasies. It can't be. What else are romance novels but sexual fantasy catering to women? I suppose it's possible that by depending on fantasies created by writers they lose their ability to create their own, but you'd think they would at least be able to call up a particularly evocative scene to recreate.
Sexual fantasies for women, even quote-normal-unquote women, are everywhere. Romance novels, certain parts of mainstream movies, strutting boybands, pretty-boy actors... and this, of course, only covers the heterosexual end of the spectrum. So, for the moment, let's assume that women do, indeed, have sexual fantasies. (Fair enough, judging from personal experience. Ahem.) Therefore, the question becomes not 'why don't women have sexual fantasies?' but 'why won't they share their fantasies with me when I'm willing to share mine with them?'.
What I'm thinking is this: either the depth of your fantasy and the obvious amount of time you'd spent refining it was intimidating (possible) or they were too shy to actually share their own fantasies (also possible).
I am most definitely not going to get off on a tangent about women's sexuality being repressed in our current culture here. Boring (if quite possibly true). So, let's examine these possibilities.
1). The possibility of intimidation. You, being the generous sensitive new-age male that you are, volunteer to go first. You then share your fantasy, and it's so detailed and well-thought-out that her more nebulous fantasies don't seem like much. And she, therefore, wimps out and tell you she doesn't have any fantasies. I'm not so inclined to accept this one, except possibly on a case-by-case basis.
I would, however, be willing to believe that her fantasies were less detailed and more generally sensory in nature. In other words, her fantasies aren't a scripted play-by-play, but more of a certain sustained mood, leaving her with less in the way of concrete words to share with you and more in the way of a combination of emotions and mood that is hard to express properly in speech. It seems consistant with my own experience.
Anecdotal. Anecdotal! Moving on.
2). The possibility of shyness. Actually, this one ties into repression just a bit. It's not unusual (for me, at least) to speak to heterosexual women who believe that their sexuality is, quite plainly, embarrassing. And you know, the younger they are, the more this is likely to be true. In that case, it would probably embarrass them too much to actually share their fantasies, no matter how well they knew you; but somewhere, they would have some. So, they'd probably just weasel out of answering the question by saying 'I don't have any'.
She might be afraid that you'll laugh at something she holds dear, or think she's depraved, or not love her as much once you've seen the 'real' her, or something. That, uh, that's a big problem right there. To go off on a tangent:
Women do, in general, mature a lot faster than men, and are ready to think about love and relationships earlier as well. I spent years and years and years of my adolescent life being told to be careful how I acted around boys, not because I might get in trouble, but because I might scare them off if I was too plain about how I was feeling and what I was thinking. And it turned out to be true, over and over again; at that age, boys were really nervous about such things, and being anything but coy and girlish would make them scatter like panicked sheep.
And I've internalized that message: boys are skittish. Be very careful, you might scare them off. If you're too honest, too open, too blunt about your needs, they'll run away. Not that this is quite as true now that we're all nearly thirty, but it's still an idea that's been ingrained into my mind. I can't get over it. Maybe they can't, either. If she loves you -- or even likes you an awful lot -- she's probably willing to subvert parts of herself to make sure she keeps you. No matter how counterproductive it actually turns out to be, locking away her fantasies for fear they're inadequate or shameful.
Also, think of how furiously embarrassing she might find it if she did take that chance and open up to you and then you somehow didn't understand, or missed the point. I've noticed that some men -- okay, a lot of men -- just don't have a clue about women's sexuality. For example: go to a truck stop somewhere in rural Texas. Find some man with at least three prison tattoos and a belt buckle the size of your head and a big chaw under his lower lip. Buy him a cup of coffee. Then try and explain the concept of slash fanfiction to him.
... okay, that was way over the top, but I think you get my point. Which is: Mooncalf loves to go off on stupid tangents. But frankly, if you don't understand that men and women are capable of having radically different sexualities, you haven't been paying attention in class; if you think that women are going to get off on much the same things you do, ninety-five women out of a hundred you'll be wrong. Unfortunately, this includes fantasies and the sharing of fantasies.
If you want to relate to a woman's sexuality, you have to learn to think like a woman... or at least fake it very, very well. But don't try to fake it. Women can smell fakery. It smells like fear but oilier.
3). And of course it's always also possible that these particular women just don't fantasize very much. Some women don't. Not that I've ever understood that, but.
And be aware that a typical woman who has a sexual fantasy ready and waiting for you may only be saying what she thinks you want to hear. That, or she's one hell of a libertine. If she tells you her fantasy, and it's exactly like one of yours, she's probably faking it. God knows what else she fakes.
Alternately, this might mean that she's already been asked this question before, by someone else, and therefore she's already gone through the awkward bits before you even got there. Heh. Heh heh heh.
Sheer opinion, of course, but: for most American women, learning to be open and honest about their sexual fantasies takes practice, as well as plenty of patience and loving tolerance on the part of their partners. Women's sexual honesty is not something that our culture seems to encourage.
Furthermore, it's not unusual for guys to be a little nervous about this. God knows it's been hard enough for me to get guys to open up about it. It's not simply 'getting your partner to be open with you', it's 'finding someone who enjoys the same level of openness that I do'.
What I'd recommend you do is not just flat-out ask 'what are your fantasies?' but ask specific questions. Specific questions that can generally be answered with 'yes' or 'no'. Lots of them. 'Do you like this?' is more likely to get a real answer than 'so what are your fantasies?', especially if she can hide her face against your shoulder and blush herself stupid. And keep at it; don't get discouraged. If she gets mad at you for pushing, well, now you know to treat her a little more gently, or go find yourself a more open playmate if it really bothers you.
And, you know, be sure the mood is right for this sort of thing; don't ask her over breakfast, ask her in bed when she's relaxed. Maybe even just after having sex. Bonus points if it's dark. Darkness helps. So does a soft voice. Be gentle with her, sir.
(Suddenly, I have an urge to write smut based around this premise. Um.)
Alternately, watch romantic movies with her and watch to see when her mouth falls open. Not porn, you insensitive boob. Romantic movies. Chick flicks. Pick up the books she reads and flip through them. Or just spring surprises on her and see how she reacts; be careful with that one, though. Really careful.
Boy, have I ever overanalyzed this question; at the same time, I've left a lot out. And I know that a lot of my female friends have read all this and are now ready to call me an idiot over it; this is because I have excellent taste in friends and most of them are not sexually repressed at all!
No, I won't be giving you their numbers.
Replies: add your comment: currently 17 comments
There's also the possibility you forgot to mention: That when asked what her fantasies are, the woman is reluctant to share them for fear that the fellow asking will take ANYTHING as a come-on and/or permission and/or an invitation to enact said fantasies with him.
Assuming, of course, that this is in the course of conversation between two non-romantically-involved parties.
Some women may also be reluctant to share fantasy scenarios that they *know* are only enjoyable in the realm of imagination and simply don't work in reality.
Err, just speaking from conjecture, of course.
Posted by Big Big Truck @ 06/06/2002 11:05 AM EST
This blogg reminded me that I once read several books on the subject of women and their secret fantasies. One in particular pissed me off because it was so obviously meant for a male audience in that all the storys in it were /exactly/ what a guy would want to hear. "All women are secretly dick-crazed horny blah blah blah and would love it if you..." Yeah you get the idea. So maybe it's just that women have this assumption (for good or ill) that guys (a) don't really care what they want sexually (b) wouldn't understand even if they did care. Part of that 'men from mars' concept? Who knows. I like the idea that some women's fantasies are so entwined with mainstream concepts of romance that most guys wouldn't be turned on by them. It seems I spend half my life day-dreaming and sure some of it semi or mostly smutty :) but then, it would be a rare man who if they asked for details, would ever get them. The only one I can think of who I ever told and didn't dissapoint me, was gay. Go fig. :) *thumbs up*
Posted by Lunar @ 06/06/2002 11:38 AM EST
somewhere in there I think you got it right for me... but then, in addition, a lot of my fantasies are pretty much impossible for him to fulfill anyway, for one reason or another, so telling him would just be embarassing for me and frustrating for him. But anyway. I think I'll have my boyf read this entry of yours and see if he becomes a more pleasant bedfellow. Kekeke. ^_^
Posted by benimaru @ 06/06/2002 04:45 PM EST
Again, I must agree with all your points, Moon. True, some may be shy about sharing their fantasies. I mean, that's a little PRIVATE, isn't it? Although it depends on the intimacy of the relationship (by intimate, I do NOT necessarily mean they are having sex), I guess. Some just may not have many fantasies, and become scared by the telling of others's fantasies.
I suppose it's also possible they may not say so because they are wondering "Wait....why do YOU want to know?? What are you up to??"
And of course, there ARE people who have....very odd fantasies. I mean REALLY odd. While flipping through channels one night (I swear to GOD I was innocently flipping when I saw this!!!!), I saw one of those kinky sex shows on HBO, where there is a....ranch where people.....enact their fantasies of....being a horse. I am NOT making this up. It was a sex place where people pretend they are horses. They even ride on each other bareback!! *_* Would YOU want to share your secret fantasy of being a horse with a trainer, assuming you did or do have one, with another person?? Now, there are people who have a sense of humor about themselves, and would not mind sharing this information. But most people will probably shy away from sharing something of this nature!
So then, if these people have sex on the ranch, should we call them horsefuckers?
Uh, anyway, so again, depending on their relationships with people, most people, guys OR gals, probably wil lnot share a lot of fantasies they have. It sometimes....just doesn't seem right to talk about, you know? Unless you're about TO have sex with someone. Then that might be okay. Even though yes, they exist everywhere, particularly in smutty novels. I work in a library; I see these things every day I'm there. God, they even LOOK like cheese! My top favorite Harlequin titles, which I am NOT making up, are:
The Virgin Bride Said "Wow!"
Just a Little Bit Pregant
LOL I've forgotten a number of amusing titles. It's fun to go through them and laugh!
Just about EVERYONE, whether they admit it or not, is due to have SOME kind of fantasy. It could just be kissing someone. And it could be so much more. People probably just don't feel like sharing a lot of their fantasies. It's really private. I suppose some might share theirs with others in hopes that the audience will open up and share THEIR fantasies. I mean, just for curiosity's sake. I often wonder what other people are thinking, and what they may fantasize about. And then I remind myself, I may NOT want to know afterall.....
I don't mind sharing this with you. I often fantasize about licking maple syrup off of the fully-covered body of--
Well....as you can see, I've said too much. *_*'
Posted by Wolf @ 06/06/2002 05:47 PM EST
Consider me 0wn3d. It was me what was responsible for the unfortunate collection of letters and punctuation that resulted in this masterwork of an entry you see here ^^;;. Thanks to Moon again for not ridiculing me too bad.
Anyway, just wanted to reply to own up, and to address Lunar: Dude, do you know how many times I have to tell people ALREADY that I'm not gay ^^;?!
Honestly. Just because a guy likes wearing pink chiffon and high heels. The NERVE of some people.
Posted by Shaz @ 06/06/2002 07:18 PM EST
I salute you, Mooncalf. That was a very, very cool post.
I'd say more, but I'm at work right now. Maybe later, maybe not.
Posted by Carlos @ 06/06/2002 09:13 PM EST
I like naked pirates.
Posted by Glass @ 06/07/2002 02:29 AM EST
Wolf -- you think ponyboys and ponygirls are kinky?
Really, you know, you might want to be a /little/ less condescending. I mean, heck, "equestrian" play isn't even all that kinky or extreme -- certainly not "REALLY odd". Involved, yes. Extreme? ... well, compared to /other/ sectors of the leather scene like, uh, mine -- not hardly.
Just because someone's worried about a potential negative or ignorant reaction doesn't mean that they lack a sense of humor about themselves /or/ that they're embarassed, either.
... better not mention the handcuffs, scalpels, needles, brandy, and panty-gags, huh?
Posted by s00z @ 06/07/2002 02:39 AM EST
That was grand in every sense of the word. Dear googs, my reply to the same friend is so radically different from yours it's not even funny:
"I have the biggest fantasies of giving orals to watermelons. Them wet red slurpy things are yummy!"
Said during actually eating watermelons, BTW.
Posted by Keiiii @ 06/07/2002 04:19 AM EST
Keiiii: That's still giving me the most magical mental image, y'know ^_-. You'll forgive me if I draw it, won't you XD?
Posted by Shaz @ 06/07/2002 08:48 AM EST
I was generally going to keep my mouth shut on this. But, no. I know better, and yet I am opening my big fat mouth.
I happen not to be dominated by hormones. My general opinion on the whole sex issue is something like this: Oh. It sounds, um. Undignified. And messy. Maybe pleasant, but.. Messy. And much with the undignified. No thanks, maybe later. Much later.
Meaning, the subject is not one I think about a lot. Ergo, I have no real fantasies on the subject.
Not that I don't fantasize, I just don't fantasize about /sex/. I fantasize, well a lot of Science Fictiony and Fantasyy stuff. But not Heinleinish stuff, just the exploring new worlds or being a Mage kinda stuff.
Posted by Felicity @ 06/07/2002 01:24 PM EST
New reason for the pile: The guy's or un-gender-specific other person's insecurity.
"Um, so you would like me more if..." or "Do I have to..." or "I could do that..." was why I kept my mouth shut 30% of the time in my last (and I do mean last) relationship. The other 70% was for reasons already cited, mostly fear of being misunderstood and the assumption that I'd want to act everything out.
On another note - the truck-stop dude knows about the fakey "girl-on-girl" stuff cranked out for hetero men. Sheesh. You'd think at least the concept of slash would be easy to grasp, but I don't think it usually is. Hm.
Posted by StB @ 06/08/2002 12:21 AM EST
Heh. You know rather well what I'm like, Moon, and the romantic movies bit raised a giggle with me. I wouldn't call this entry stupid, though... some people need a good telling off for thinking the majority of women have no sexual fantasies! (Sorry Shaz. XD)
Loved the bit about fakery, though. That encapsulates a good two-thirds of what makes me laugh about men...
Posted by Pirotess @ 06/08/2002 08:11 AM EST
No, I do't really think pony-play is "kinky"; I just used that word because it would probably generally fall under that category, in most people's minds. I guess it's meant to be short for "kinky sex-play", which is the category I guess it would fall into.
I guess that it is harmless (unless it's time for the horse to visit the glue factory...)comparatively speaking to forms of s & m play....which DO frighten me. Yes, please do NOT mention the chains, whips, gimp-masks, etc. I don't wanna know!! It's definitely silly, which was my point. We're silly creatures overall anyway.
I guess not all people lack senses of humor of themselves if they don't mention their...interests because of fear of reactions. I did't mean EVERYONE. I meant that many people probably do. I mean, this is private information! So it's best kept to themselves. But there are people who are not afraid to share this stuff and openly do, and I believe these people MUST have a sense of humor about themselves, in order to share the silly things that they do.
'Course that's my opinion.
Posted by Wolf @ 06/08/2002 07:17 PM EST
Okay...heres a flip side. I am actually a guy who honestly does not have any sexual fantasies. I swear. Ive been asked what mine are...and its true that some guys dont have them(Please dear GOD dont let me come across gay..)Even if i did...i probably would be ashamed to admit them. Alright..let me rephrase this. Not long ago..i didnt have any fantasies. And when i started having them..i WAS reluctant to reveal them. So now no one can say its juts women who are like that. Then again..this IS from a non-egocentric...non-shogunistic...thinks-with-his-BIG-head-male. So this may not apply to many.
Posted by Cloud @ 06/08/2002 07:22 PM EST
That was a very interesting and thoughtful blog. I don't think I would mention any of my fantasies, especially the ones about the seacucumbers.....
Posted by Sheerlyevil @ 06/08/2002 10:28 PM EST
I *am* egotistical. My wife is there to deflate said ego. I appreciate this, because I am being properly domesticated. ^_~
Back on topic - most porn honestly makes me laugh, whether it's video or literature. It's amazing what vast amounts of cheese and corn are involved in the production of pornography - you'd almost swear they were making nachos. And frankly, I prefer reading shoujo romance manga to watching pornography.
But that's because I'm a freak. =p
Still no slash or yaoi for me, though. And shounen ai only if it's well-written, and for the writing only. (Though I will admit that some male-male couples are damn cute. Coupling cuteness crosses borders of sexuality frequently. Hell, I think Misaki-Tamayo-Kotarou would make a cute poly, and you know Tamayo is IN CHARGE. Shit, I'm rambling again.)
Umm, whatever you all said. ^_^
Posted by Carlos @ 06/11/2002 12:55 AM EST