People fantasize about lots of things: an incredible vacation, for instance, or landing a huge, life-changing job. And who knows? You might manifest those dreams into a reality one day. When it comes to sexual fantasies, though, not every scenario should be fulfilled in the real world.

While thinking about a taboo sexual act or situation can be intensely erotic, "we may not actually want to do them," says Cyndi Darnell, a clinical sexologist based in New York City. "Instead, these fantasies can offer a portal into aspects of our non-sexual emotions that we're trying to reconcile in our day-to-day lives." out what your sexual fantasies might mean? These are a few of the most common ones.

It's perfectly healthy to role play or try new things in bed; it can be a great way for couples to spice up their sex life. But certain fantasies may be more difficult to talk to your partner about than others, such as ones that involve group sex, or getting busy with someone else. It's also important to know that imagining yourself enjoying oral sex with that friendly barista doesn't necessarily mean that you're looking to cheat or in you're in the throes of an emotional affair.

"What makes a fantasy powerful is the fact that it is just that: a fantasy!" says Darnell. "Its purpose is to help you process things, and is not a reflection of any latent erotic desire."

Wondering what your sexual fantasies might mean, regardless of whether you're actually going to give them a try? Here are 8 of the most popular sexual fantasies, and some experts' thoughts on why they're so common.

Being Dominated

Looking for a Christian Grey to your Anastasia Steele? Nearly 65 percent of women fantasize about being dominated sexually, according to a survey of more than 1,000 people that was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. "There's a reason 50 Shades of Grey made such an impact!" says Channa Bromley, a relationship and dating coach. "BDSM is alluring because one partner relinquishes all sense of control. They're submissive to the person touching them, but subconsciously give themselves permission to be wild, to be orgasmic in response—she doesn't need to hold back."

Fantasizing about being dominated doesn't imply that you're weak or that your partner is superior to you, though. "Fantasies involving power play may speak to a desire to gain or relinquish control regarding our private lives, work lives, or role in society," says Darnell. "Power dynamics in an erotic context create such sensorial arousal."

Having a Threesome

89 percent of the 4,175 Americans surveyed by social psychologist Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., for his book Tell Me What You Want admitted to fantasizing about having a threesome with other people (those in relationships did say that one of those people would ideally be their partner).

"Fantasies of being the center of attention and desired by large groups of people may be about a longing to be seen and valued as a person of worth or importance, or part of something much larger than the individual self," says Darnell. That could be why around 57 percent of women actually fantasize about having sex with more than three people at a time, according to the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Having Sex with Other Women

Lehmiller's study also found that 59 percent of women fantasized about sex with other women. But if you've always identified as straight, a sexy dream about a woman doesn't necessarily mean you're suddenly not into men. "Female on female sex focuses on oral and clitoral stimulation, and this is how many women orgasm," says Bromley. "A fantasy about another woman could be about the desire to be pleasured in a way that women understand best."

Not for nothing, it's only relatively recently that women have been able to express more freedom and choice around sex, thus learning to ask for what they want in bed. So dreaming of a little same-sex action may be more about that liberation than sexual orientation—or it could be about both. "Gender fantasies might suggest longing to break free of the social obligations placed upon us by gendered restrictions," explains Darnell.

Next: One of the greatest enemies of sexual desire...


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