Important note: This piece discusses my personal sex life and my sexual fantasies, in a fair amount of detail. Family members and others who don’t want to read about that stuff, please don’t read this one. This piece was originally published on the Blowfish Blog.
There’s this thing that I do sexually. It’s kind of funny, but it’s also kind of irritating, and at times it drives me nuts. So I’m wondering if anyone else does it… and if so, how they deal with it.
I seem to be incapable of having sex fantasies that are implausible.
I’m not talking about supernatural or sci-fi sex fantasies and my general disinterest therein. I’m talking about perfectly ordinary, non-fantastical, physically possible sex fantasies… in which people simply don’t act the way they would in real life.
Examples. If I’m trying to have a fantasy about having sex with a famous person, I first have to come up with a backstory: not only about how we met, but about why, among all the people in the world who are probably throwing themselves at this person, they would pick me. (That’s probably why my “famous person” fantasies tend to be about only moderately famous people rather than global superstars. Supporting actors on cult TV shows; obscure alternative musicians; big fish in small ponds. Alyson Hannigan, yes. Madonna, no.)
If I’m trying to have a fantasy about someone I know, and in real life that someone is in a monogamous relationship, I first have to come up with an excuse for why it’s ethically okay. The couple is experimenting with non-monogamy, or the other partner is watching, or they’ve given their blessing as a one-time birthday dispensation, or something.
If I’m trying to have a fantasy about having kinky sex in the bathroom of a particular cafe, I first have to come up with some explanation for why the other cafe patrons aren’t getting irritated at us for hogging the bathroom.
That’s actually the one that’s been bugging me lately, the one that inspired me to write this piece. There’s a lovely new kink-themed cafe in San Francisco, Wicked Grounds, with a lovely bathroom very suitable for a kinky tryst. So I was having a fantasy about meeting someone at the cafe to negotiate a scene, and spontaneously deciding to go do it right then and there in the bathroom. But because this bathroom is the only one in the cafe, and having sex there for more than five minutes would definitely constitute hogging it, the fantasy got totally bogged down in this stupid detail. I finally had to switch it to a fantasy where we ask a cafe worker if we can play in their storage room. (And she says yes, of course… but only if she can watch. Which is a perfectly wonderful fantasy. But it’s not the same as the fantasy about getting spanked in the cafe bathroom. I still have not successfully had the fantasy about getting spanked in the cafe bathroom.)
And even when I do have supernatural sex fantasies — as with my surprisingly persistent Snape fantasies — I still have a need for something resembling plausibility. I don’t much care that magic isn’t real; I don’t even care that my fantasies are wildly inconsistent with the canonical storyline. But I do care if my fantasies aren’t internally consistent: either with the core personality of the character in the books, or with themselves. As the religious apologist Karen Armstrong might say, I don’t need the story to be literally true… but I need it to be psychologically true.
And if it’s not psychologically true? If I can’t convince myself that my friend’s partner would really give their blessing to our one-time birthday tryst? If I can’t convince myself that Alyson Hannigan would really stumble across my blog, become a fan, introduce herself at a reading, and ask me to be the customer in her long-time prostitute fantasy? If I can’t convince myself that nobody in the Wicked Grounds cafe is going to need the bathroom for the entire forty-five minutes that my date and I are hogging it?
Then I can’t have the fantasy.
I have to switch gears. I have to find a plausible twist on this one, or else switch to a different fantasy entirely. Otherwise, I’ll spend my entire whack-off session in my head instead of my clit: tinkering with my story, finding holes in it, editing it and re-editing it, and eventually either abandoning it or having a puny, detached, not terribly satisfying orgasm.
I’m even like this in my sex dreams. More than once, I’ve had dreams in which I almost have sex with someone I shouldn’t… but we decide it’s a bad idea, and don’t. (And then I wake up, totally frustrated with myself, going, “It was a dream! Nobody would have gotten hurt! I could have done it, and enjoyed it, and not had any reason to feel guilty!”)
Now, the plus side of this ridiculous habit is that, IMO, it’s one of the main reasons I write good porn. (Assuming you agree that my porn is good.) My bone-deep reflex to come up with plausible sex fantasies, sex fantasies with rich, complex characters and believable backstories… this carries over to the fantasies I decide are interesting enough to flesh out in print.
But I still have to wonder:
What the fuck?
They’re fantasies, for fuck’s sake. The whole point of fantasies is that they’re not real, and don’t have to be. The whole point of fantasies is that they’re for my enjoyment, in the entirely consensual privacy of my own head. That’s the whole point of having a fantasy about getting spanked in the cafe bathroom, instead of actually doing something. And if I enjoy thinking about getting spanked in the cafe bathroom, then I should be able to enjoy thinking about getting spanked in the cafe bathroom… without worrying about whether actually getting spanked in the cafe bathroom would be an unacceptable breach of cafe etiquette.
But that’s just the point. Fantasies are for my enjoyment… and if they’re not plausible, I don’t enjoy them. If they’re not plausible, I can’t get lost in them. I can’t get immersed in them to the point where they feel real. With a good fantasy, once I’ve built the foundation, once I’ve sketched out the characters and the situation and the backstory, I can forget about it, and just play the images in my head. And the richer and more real the characters/ situation/ backstory are, the more deeply and thoroughly I can savor those images. If there’s no plausibility, that immersion just doesn’t happen.
So again, I’m wondering:
Does anyone else do this?
And if so, how do you deal with it?