Fantasy, Dreams and Play
Join Dan and Elizabeth as we discuss the different between fantasy, dreams and play. This is a fun topic because it is so pervasive in our culture, although we typically don’t think about it and certainly don’t discuss it in the context of sexuality in public.
0:04 Elizabeth Wood (EW): Do you have a rich fantasy life that only plays out in your head? Are you curious as to how to talk about fantasy and role-play with your partner? If so, this Naked Talk is for you. I’m Elizabeth Wood.
0:17 Dan Powers (DP): And I’m Dan Powers with Beyond the Bedroom.
0:20 EW: Naked Talk is where we get naked in a conversation of sexuality, intimacy and relationship. We strip down and expose the bare facts so that you can learn what it takes for your love to thrive. Welcome to tonight’s fantasy talk. What should we call it? Do we have a title?
0:43 DP: Yeah, Fantasy works for me!
0:45 EW: OK.
0:46 DP: Dreams and fantasies.
0:48 EW: Dreams and fantasies and actually that’s a good point because I do want to differentiate between a dream and a fantasy. Dreams are something we aspire to. Like, “Oh I dream of going to Europe and living there for three months next year.” Or something that happens in your sleep time or “day dreaming”, sort of that wandering off into some place during the day; they’re emotions that play out in our minds, thoughts and experiences that play out in our minds when we’re either drifting off or in sleep time. But fantasy is…
1:24 DP: Fantasy is about imagining something that you’re interested about, sexually, and in our context it’s going to be sexually. It’s something that you desire to do and to play with and have and it can come it many different forms. It can come in actually just talking about or it can actually come in the way of actually doing it as well. So it’s kind of dreaming about what it is you want to do. Is that right?
1:50 EW: And playing it out in the real world. So one of the things that we hear most often around the subject of fantasy is, “I don’t know how to talk to my partner about it”, “Is it wrong–“, another question, “Is it wrong? These fantasies seem really bold and sort of outrageous and out there?” And I want to show everybody that fantasy kept within– fantasizing, you can fantasize about whatever you want. We’re not gonna control your fantasy world. It’s how you play that out that actually matters. One of our teachers famously says, I think, I don’t know famously but it’s certainly something that stuck with me, that anything in the outside world that’s bad, like, you know, let’s be honest, we can’t flip off a cop. We can’t ask a cop to strip down so that we can see them in their birthday suits…
2:46 DP: Really? Why not?
2:47 EW: You can’t do that.
2:49 DP: OK.
2:50 EW: We can’t– you’re gonna be thrown in jail, that’s why. So anything that’s– that may have severe consequences in the outside world, as long as it’s consensual, it’s like a thumbs up; that’s a rich fantasy, you know, food for fodder to play out in a consensual, negotiated relationship. So, is there another– you know, she talks about, like, you know, you’d never really wear, you know, fire fighter suits if you’re not a fire fighter outside, but dressing up and role playing and wearing costumes inside your bedroom or your living room or wherever that might be, that’s a double thumbs up again. So it’s an opportunity for you to play and express your creativity and fantasy land is, you know, whatever your imagination can drum up. So…
3:41 DP: So who was this famous person and what did she say?
3:45 EW: Nadori, I don’t know how to pronounce her name…
3:47 DP: Madori.
3:48 EW: Madori.
3:48 DP: OK.
3:48 EW: Yeah, she said anything in the outside world that is, you know, “no-no”, bring that into your play time to enliven and spice up things in your bedroom, so…
4:00 DP: Right. So basically what she was getting at is there’s things that we normally wouldn’t want to do in a regular setting in real life, like going up to a cop or flipping him off or something like that, that’s kind of what you were saying. However, in fantasy, in role-playing, in the bedroom, those are things that you could do. You could, you know, play the role of good cop/bad cop, for example, and have somebody dress up as a police officer, you know, your partner, bringing them to the bedroom, and act out whatever kind of fantasies you might have. There’s nothing wrong with that, you know, it’s absolutely OK. Yeah, not OK in real life because, you know, people could be offended, people aren’t part of what it is that’s going on, you know, not a good thing.
4:48 EW: No, you’re gonna get in trouble if you don’t abide by the law so it’s not our advice to go out there and flip off a cop– unless they can’t see you. So anyway, we’ll move on from that. It’s, you know, let’s talk about consensual fantasy. You know, if you’re gonna bring in certain characters or ask that your partner, partners, partner puts on a costume, you best talk about this outside of the bedroom and that’s actually what we advise, is to have, sort of, an inventory of what you are willing to play with– that’s another nice word for fantasy, is like it’s a playground. It’s kind of like adults; we’re playing with costumes and our imagination. So maybe you have an inventory and a checklist when you sit down with your partner to discuss what might happen inside your bedroom. For instance, make a checklist of, “No, I never want to be blindfolded”, or, “Yeah, awesome, I’ll experiment with that.” Another one is, “Don’t ever use handcuffs on me”, or, “Don’t ever ask me to dress up like a French maid”. But in addition to all those that you won’t do, please make sure you have a column of what you may wish to explore and things definitely that you’ll play with at ease.
6:15 DP: Right, so let’s go ahead and set this up a little bit for you. You know, one of the most difficult conversations to have with your partner is about fantasy. I’ve actually read somewhere that people would rather die than express a fantasy to their partner. And why is this? Well, it’s simple, your partner is the person that you’re with, that you’ve made a commitment to be there, and if you were to make a statement of or a request for some fantasy to be played out that he or she might find offensive, then what are they going to think about you? So if I were to tell Elizabeth that I wanted to wear diapers, for example, and that is a fantasy that some people like to do, then you know, if she thought that I was really weird or disgusting or whatever around that, then what’s that gonna do to our relationship? So there’s something that you really need to put in place to make it safe for each other to talk about these fantasies and try to create that. So we’ll try to go over a couple steps. One of those, what she was talking about, was create a list. So the way you can do this is create a list of different fantasies, and there’s various places or resources out there. One that I’m aware of is Screw the Thorns– Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns. It’s a great book, an intro book, on the whole bondage discipline sado-masochism, or BDSM and they’ve got whole lists of different things that people like to do in fantasy, whether doing it in real life or acting it out or whatever it might be. So you write down this list and on that list you put, “I would never do this”, or, “This is something that I could do”, or, “This is something I really, absolutely want to do”, and then you compare those items that match up. The ones that either one of you say, “Absolutely, this is a do not pass go, do not collect your $200”, then you just cross that one off and don’t even discuss it. The others you might discuss and figure out where you– which one of those you might want to do. Now one of the keys here is that your partner has to be in a place that they can, you know, create a safe environment for you. So when you ask a question about something, you can’t feel judged around that and whether you feel judgment or not, you really need to try to make that safe or otherwise this really isn’t going to work.
8:46 EW: Yeah and, as I said earlier, I recommend you do this outside of something that’s going on sexually. So maybe, you know, some lazy Sunday afternoon, the Broncos lost here in Denver so some of us Denverites might have a little bit more time on a Sunday afternoon. But, you know, don’t make it so charged like, “Oh, you’re going to talk about this while in bed.” Really, that doesn’t make a lot of sense because it’s so emotionally charged in there. So, you know, on a really nice afternoon go out and sit outside and have a glass of iced tea, it sounds old-fashioned. But, you know, do it that way so it’s a neutral ground in which to start and launch this conversation.
9:30 DP: Yeah I think that would be a great way to do it; set up some neutral environment where you both feel safe, you both feel comfortable. Agree with Elizabeth completely, don’t do it in the bedroom because, you know, that’s a place that you’re already set up to do intimate kinds of activities with each other so if you start to get on to something that’s really charged like, for example, say I wanted to have a threesome. As we’re in bed, my partner may immediately jump to the conclusion I don’t actually want to have sex with her, I want to have sex with another person and so, you know, really not a good thing to do. If you’re doing it outside the bedroom, then you can have that discussion and I think it’s more viable.
10:13 EW: Great. Wonderful. So, again, there are resources that Dan mentioned, Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns, online, there might be, you know, a place where you can discuss or look at together and then discuss fantasies. You know, fantasies– just Google it and find out what’s out there. Types of fantasies– the one thing we definitely want to reiterate is that there’s a sense that most of the fantasies that we have are abnormal or disgusting or dirty. It’s our imagination, we really want to normalize and empower you to feel OK about your fantasy life. Consent, when we act them out, it’s consensual and negotiated and, you know, heavily discussed, especially if it’s the first time you’re gonna go into role play. You know, and always be safe. I have a fun story of the days long ago when a client came into the office, not my office, it was a story I was told, and was kind of a little bit bruised and battered and he told the story of wanting to impress his wife; he put on a batman cape and the mask and tried to jump from their dresser onto the bed where she was tied with her hands and legs naked, so as he went go jump he, by accident, hit the ceiling fan and fell straight down onto the floor and knocked himself out unconscious. So there the poor wife is, can’t see him, can’t move and it was a very, very funny story, but it wasn’t safe. So be safe when you are acting out your fantasies and, again, the world is your oyster– costumes, there are so many things to support you– costumes, disguises, things that you, you know, I’m never gonna be a French maid, but it might be really fun for me to play that out, who knows? Whatever turns you on, whatever you feel really comfortable or hot or sexy or mysterious or demure, play out all those archetypes in the bedroom with your partner. They don’t have to match, necessarily. You can take turns doing Indian and Chief and/or French Maid and butler, whatever they might be.
12:44 DP: Indian and Chief? Is that a real one that you’ve got?
12:46 EW: But and Indian and the Chief… whatever. You know…
12:50 DP: Cowboys and Indians?
12:51 EW: Well, maybe Cowboys and Indians. I don’t like to play that much with Indians or Chiefs… Anyway.
13:00 DP: But it really is a great idea to use costumes. You know, it’s funny, we’ve had masquerade parties for some of the Beyond Bedroom events we’ve had and it’s amazing to watch people just metamorph into something completely different just based on having a simple mask on their face. They’re more gregarious, they’re friendlier, outgoing, you know, all of that, and it just– it’s really amazing to do that. So when you adopt that persona for yourself, then you give yourself permission to really play it out and be somebody else, you know, like the cops and robber kind of thing, or the French maid. You know, somebody who, typically, like Elizabeth, you know, she’s very strong, very powerful woman and we typically think of the French maid as somebody who’s kind of a servant and, therefore, our pleasure kind of thing. You know, kind of the fantasies that I always have around anyway… But to put Elizabeth in that situation, it’s all play. It’s consensual at that point if we’ve had that negotiation and it’s not saying anything or taking anything away from her, because I know who she really is, but in this particular moment we can play with that and we can have those stereotypes of what might expect a French maid to do or be a part of.
14:26 EW: Absolutely, with one of those– they’re called fluffers, those feather dusters.
14:31 DP: What you do is the fluffing.
14:33 EW: There you go. OK people, wow, it’s getting hot and steamy in here. So I definitely want to talk about women and fantasy, there are some women who actually don’t fantasize. So a lot of women have, not complained, but been really, sort of, torn about not having that imagination or that, it’s not even, I wouldn’t quite call it a skill set, but they just don’t fantasize so for the viewers that are watching, the women that don’t fantasize, that’s OK too. What might help you is to read stories of erotica– Anne Rice, the original erotica–
15:14 DP: Fifty Shades of Grey
15:15 EW: Yeah, the original, I mean her writings are beautiful. Maybe that’s gonna give you some ideas and clues. Maybe watching some romantic videos or romance online, that might give you hints and clues, that might be where your fantasy life comes in. So please, I just want to sort of normalize that a lot of women do have guilt about not fantasizing–
15:40 DP: They think there’s something wrong with them.
15:41 EW: And you’re completely normal too. It’s a spectrum. We always have to remember that there are people who fantasize 24/7, some, you know, maybe once every couples months, once every couple days, and then there are women that don’t. So just that whole spectrum, let’s really help educate the audience to know that where you are perfect. If you want to do something about it, that’s where the educational tools come in, you can beef up your skill sets. Use other people’s fantasies, look at some blogs that are out there and see if there is anything–
16:17 DP: There are all sorts of erotica that you can get online.
16:20 EW: Yeah and see if there’s anything that you might want to try on for size. So that was definitely something that I wanted to talk about.
16:27 DP: You know, one of the things that we do, for example, around that, is I will tell a story, a fantasy of mine, that I’ll make something up while we’re in bed and that actually can work really well also. So it’s kind of my own version of erotica that I’m making up in the moment and I’m trying to pick things that I think she would be interested in and definitely things that I know I’m interested in so it works out really nicely in that respect.
16:52 EW: Because women are actually more auditory. I mean, we like those deep, dark accents, we like to hear stories, we’re not as visual as the men. That’s why so much of the porn is devised for a male audience, the magazines that used to be out there, I don’t even know if Hustler still exists, but Playboy, what are the other ones? Well, anyway… Playboy and Esquire– not Esquire– Hustler, were developed for the men because of that visual sense that is–
17:24EW: Penthouse, yeah. — That is a turn-on.
17:26 DP: You see, we don’t look at that stuff very often.
17:29 EW: But it can, some of the– and the turn-ons that both men and women have are very different. Women are more attracted to the story, more attracted to the romance, more attracted to the emotion, if you will, where the men, if you’ve watched porn lately, it’s fast, hard and furious without much connection. So women like more of a real scene to be told or described or discussed so that’s…
17:58 DP: And that’s, of course, a generalization. There are some women that absolutely fantasize, that love porn, and there’s nothing wrong with that so please don’t hear that we think there’s anything wrong with that or that you’re wrong or broken if you do, because that’s absolutely not true. And there’s a lot of men, as well, that are more deeply connected auditorally than visually, so, you know, that’s something to look for.
18:24 EW: That’s a broad stereotype that the men are more visual and the women are more auditory and they use the different senses and we, actually, more than men, we typically use more than one sense at a time. So we’re multi-sensual, shall we say. And there, again, there are really sexual fantasies and there are sensual fantasies. So, in discussing them with your partner, what we really actually want you do first is kind of look and see what you would like to really engage in, what you would like to explore and see if there are some fun things that you then, you can, you know, travel down that road with your partner. The inventory checklist is great.
19:13 DP: Maybe one of the things that we should do is, too, is, in a different Naked Talk, create that list or have that list and we can kind of go through them. Because there are some in there, I know when I first saw them, I was like, “What is that?” So we could maybe describe those.
19:28 EW: Well, yeah, and you want to cover all the bases from, sort of, the very newcomer, like baby steps, to all the way to the most extremes because you never know, and again, the discussion is really to avoid the shaming and the judgment when you know that our imagination is wild, our imagination is what feeds creativity. Look at the paintings out there! Might not be for you, but can you value what the artist is trying to express? So can you be in a space, if you and your partner are going to have that discussion of fantasy, where you can hear it, in my case, where you can hear him out and say, “Hmmm, that’s interesting”, not, “Ugh gosh, that’s gross.” But, “Wow, OK. Hmm. Maybe I’ll think about that.” Those types of things where, “Thank you for sharing, I never thought about that, myself, but maybe.” Those kinds of things we just want to make sure that we’re not going to, as Dan said earlier, do any damage to our relationship.
20:32 DP: You know, and one of the– we’ve used some of the terms, but one of the things that we like to use, and this is actually described in Screw The Roses, Send Me The Thorns, is safe, sane and consensual. And this is really something that’s used in the BDSM community, but it really applies throughout and all sorts of things. So first of all you want to be safe. So, like her story about the guy jumping off the dresser, you know, that wasn’t really safe; there’s a moving ceiling fan, you’re jumping across the room, don’t do something like that. If you’ve got, like asphyxiation play, which is where we’ve heard a number of people who’ve died as a result of this, you know, that’s not really safe.
21:13 EW: OK, now those are very, very, very, that one, advanced fantasy play.
21:17 DP: Yeah. Yeah.
21:18 EW: So let’s take it down a notch.
21:21 DP: Well, but I want to show something that’s not safe.
21:23 EW: OK, yeah.
21:23 DP: So that’s why I was describing that. So the next is consensual, both of you have to want to be able to do it and it’s not OK if one of them is a ‘no’ to go ahead and do it anyway just because your partner wants to do it. It’s OK, I think, to do it if you want to please your partner and this is something that is OK with you, then absolutely go for it. But if something that turns you on repulses you, then by all means–
21:50 EW: Turns you off.
21:51 DP: Turns you off– then by all means, don’t do it. It doesn’t make sense to do that at all.
21:56 EW: Yeah, believe us when we say it’s way more fun and way more pleasurable when your partner’s into it so that just amps up the sexuality, the sensuality, the eroticism, when both are really exploring and having a good time. You want those juices flowing on both sides to make it a much richer experience and to make it a safe place to then go– return to time and time again because if you do play out a fantasy and you’re really a ‘no’– so the next time your partner brings that up and wants to explore a different type of fantasy or go into the fantasy realm again, you’re probably gonna be a hard ‘no’ and nothing’s going to happen. So let’s make sure that we can repeat these activities and have fun all along and that means, you know, “Hey, yeah, I’m in. I’m definitely in.” So that’s, as our friend Monique says, who’s been on a previous Naked Talk, if you’re a ‘Hell Yes’ it is way more fun than you just being neutral.
23:00 DP: Yeah. Yeah. And then finally sane, if it’s something that just doesn’t make sense to do, then just don’t do it. And I can’t think of any real examples…
23:10 EW: Well, again, like the guy jumping off– what was he thinking? He’s a grown adult, I have no idea how tall the dresser or bureau was, but he tried to take a leaping dive from however far away, just assuming it was pretty far away, from that dresser to the top of that mattress.
23:28 DP: I just have a visual of that, even the video I can take of Super Man…
23:32 EW: Yeah, I mean, it’s just– Batman– it just didn’t work and, you know, he ended up having to go to the doctor and can you imagine having to explain that? Listen–
23:43 DP: Didn’t they have to call their neighbors because she was tied down?
23:45 EW: Yeah she was screaming for her neighbors like, “Help, help!” And can you imagine what the neighbors saw when they came in there? SO save yourself some embarrassment and do something that’s sane. Perhaps Batman could just leap from a dark closet or something and startle her looking for Cat Woman– is that what she was called, Cat Woman?
24:04 DP: There is a Cat Woman.
24:06 EW: Yeah. Betsy Newman is her name, searching for Betsy Newman, a movie. Anyway, I digress. So let’s hit those again.
24:12 DP: Yeah you did.
24:13 EW: So consensual…
24:16 DP: Safe, sane and consensual.
24:16 EW: Safe, sane and consensual. So any last thoughts on this? Because we’re coming up on our half hour…
24:24 DP: Oh! Yeah. So one thing, we have a previous workshop on shame and we already talked a little bit about shame around being able to talk about these conversations but know that having a fantasy and not actually acting it out, there’s nothing wrong with that, whatever it might be. It’s– things come into my mind from one point in time to another where I’ll look back at a couple years later and say, “Wow, was I really interested in doing something like that?” And in that moment it’s completely fine, I didn’t act it out so there’s not a problem with that. So, really, shame is about feeling wrong and bad about something that you like to do or want to do, in this case around shaming– I mean, around fantasy. So don’t take on that shame. I think that’s one of the key points that I really want to make is that if you’ve got a fantasy, talk with your partner about it and, you know, if she doesn’t want to do it or he doesn’t want to do it, that’s fine, don’t do it, you can still have that fantasy and there’s really nothing wrong. So don’t take on any shame for that.
25:33 EW: Right. Keep it in your imagination and play with it there. Let that become something that maybe you use to turn yourself on when in love play with your partner. And partners who are listening to the other person describe fantasies, please, there’s no room for shaming or judgment there. There’s a ‘yes I would participate’, ‘no’, or ‘let me think about that’ and maybe ‘ask again’. So that’s, I think, the highlight is we really want to reduce shame because it’s just- it’s just injurious, injures, injurious and detrimental, that’s a better word. It’s hard to come up with these words spontaneously. But so detrimental, shame does not belong in relationships, so…
26:20 DP: Yeah.
26:21 EW: You know, have fun. Always make sure it’s the right time to talk about this, don’t do it when your partner has a headache, don’t do it when he or she has a deadline that they have to– that they’re rushing to meet, make time and have this conversation and, again, it’s all about communication, non-judgmental and non-shaming.
26:41 DP: And if you need somebody else that you want to go to to kind of talk this through, you can certainly contact us, you know, we’re happy to talk with you about it. You know, we can let you know if this is something that’s OK or not OK and facilitate a conversation with your partner around that, too.
26:58 EW: But also want to make one more point, it’s really not our job to tell you what’s OK or not OK, it’s just, what we like to educate, is around that safe, sane and consensual. So that about wraps up tonight’s Naked Talk. Thank you everybody for being a part of this potent conversation. Please remember to like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/BedEvents
27:30 DP: ssss
27:30 EW: Bed Events, plural, Bed Events. Plural. And the Twitter– you can say that one.
27:35 DP: Yeah, it’s @BedEvent, it’s the singular version of that.
27:39 EW: So BedEvents, plural, Facebook, BedEvent, Twitter.
27:44 DP: Yeah
27:44 EW: And look for more Naked Talks and have a great night.
27:49 DP: Thanks everybody, have a great night.