How Sharing Your Fantasies Can Strengthen Your Relationship

by Kristine Fellizar
BDG Media, Inc.

Sexual fantasies can be such a personal thing, and for some, they're secrets. So the thought of sharing it out loud with someone else can seem terrifying. But if you don't already do so in your relationship, there are some really good reasons why you should start talking about your fantasies. As a new study published in The Journal of Sex Research found, couples who are open with each other about their sexual fantasies tend to have better sex and a happier relationship overall.

Researchers Randal D. Brown and Daniel J. Weigel from the University of Nevada, Reno conducted a study of 265 people in long-term relationships. Participants took online questionnaires that asked them on relationship stability, communication within their relationship, how sexually satisfied they were, and how open they were with their partner on things related to sex.

"In my experience, partners who talk openly about their fantasies tend to have good communication, solid trust, and more excitement, which leads to great sex and nourishing relationships," sexologist and relationship therapist, Kelly McDonnell-Arnold, tells Bustle. "This is the result of just the right combination of safety and risk."

Sharing fantasies are a relatively safe way to take erotic risks, she says. When partners have good communication, they learn to understand each other better, which builds trust and makes fantasy sharing a safe activity.

What are some other benefits? Here's what the study found:

People Who Are Sexually Satisfied Say They Have Excellent Communication In Their Relationship

People were also happy with their relationships and felt stable. According to the study, it's all about being comfortable. Those who were more comfortable with their partners were better able to open up about their sexual fantasies than those who were less comfortable.

The Reason Behind Why People Are More Open Than Others Is Important

As researchers believe, their study doesn't just show a connection between sharing fantasies and happiness in relationships. It's important to look at why some have trouble being open with their partners more than others. If you're uncomfortable opening up to your partner, why do you feel that way? What needs to be done in order for you to feel more comfortable? Because as their research shows, openly communicating your desires can greatly impact how satisfying your sex life is.

How To Be More Open About Your Fantasies

So sharing your fantasies can do your relationship a lot of good. But it can also be scary if you've never said them out loud to anyone before. As McDonnell-Arnold suggests, you can start by asking any of these questions:

  • What did you fantasize about when you were a teenager?”
  • “I saw this movie that had a scene where the actors were doing [describe sexy thing they were doing]. Would you ever do something like that?”
  • “How do you feel about [fantasy]?”
  • “I’m not sure I’d actually like this, but I’ve always been a little curious about trying [thing you’re curious to try].”

You can even have a little more fun with it by creating a fantasy box to explore your sexual wants, likes, and dislikes. It's pretty easy, she says. Each partner puts one fantasy inside the box every week. Once a month (or more often), you can choose an intimate restaurant or location that’s not the bedroom, to explore whatever fantasy was chosen through open conversation. "The imagination is a big part of sex, so sharing sexual fantasies can be fun and exciting," she says.

You’ll also want to discuss boundaries associated with fantasy sharing. "We all have the right to a little privacy when it comes to our dreams," McDonnell-Arnold says. So stay open and curious. Who knows? You might be surprised that one of your partner’s fantasies might become one of your favorite things to do.