The Plausible Fantasy


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.

Thought_bubble Does anybody else do this?

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.

It’s this:

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.

Alyson_hannigan_3 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.

Wicked grounds 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.)

Severus Snape 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.

Really.

Shift_stick 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?

Pensive_Boater 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?

Comments

  1. says

    I used to do the same thing until I saw you mention it. :)
    Now I’ll include a backstory if it enhances the fantasy. But not to make it plausible.

  2. Persephone says

    I do this, too! Sometimes I spend more time making up the backstory leading up to the sex than I do fantasizing about the sex itself.
    I’ve not done anything to really deal with it other than what you’ve mentioned. I either work with it to make it OK in my world, or I change the fantasy.
    If you come up with anything that helps, I’d really like to know. I tend to over think things anyway, so this may just be an extension of that.

  3. sophia says

    Yes, I do a similar thing. reasons why you’re at places, why you’re wearing that skimpy dress that’ll come undone at the ‘wrong’ moment, how you end up at a party with just you and a horde of guys…
    what i do most of the time is i have a ‘stock fantasy’. that has the general scenario, the back story all sorted as i’ve done it before. then i rearrange the details as i see fit, and can just start on thinking up the good stuff right away.

  4. Meagen says

    I came up with a fantasy once about being abducted by a race of psychic blue-skinned shapeshifting aliens who have to get their sexual kicks through empathic connections with humans because their own pleasure response is rather stunted in comparison.
    I ended up putting so much thought into the dialogues and character development and the political relations between the alien race and the Starfleet-like organisation that the whole thing could be converted quite easily into a “clean” space opera story.

  5. yb says

    Hypothesis: Seems like they’re mostly character-driven fantasies. Character-driven anything is only as effective as the details. Characters are only effective period because of their details. Remove the details and the background work to accommodate them and you remove the whole reason they’re hot in the first place.

  6. Kat says

    This is why I enjoy reading other’s already laid-out fantasies. I don’t have to worry about consistency and continuity, I don’t have to worry about backstories, etc. And also why I tend to only have them about purely fictional characters- I can never justify trysts with real people.

  7. Angel Kaida says

    I do this too, and it’s *infuriating.* I sometimes get lost in an interesting backstory and end up just making up fiction in my head until I accidentally fall asleep or forget what the original intention was and wander off.

  8. Jack Rawlinson says

    Totally with you on this one, Greta. I always have to have a thread of plausibility in fantasies, even if it ‘s fairly remote and optimistic. As I get older it becomes ever more remote and optimistic, but it still needs to be there. :-)

  9. Miranda says

    What if there is a sign on the restroom door that says, “Out of order. Please be patient; Plumber coming tomorrow!”?
    … Um, yeah, I absolutely do this too! :)

  10. says

    I can’t say I do this, but I can understand why you would. I mean, I have to have a reason why I’m having sex with that particular person, but not a backstory.
    Your post actually reminds me of something I saw on one of my favorite shows fairly recently. Only I can’t remember which show it was on. Maybe “Scrubs”, maybe “How I Met Your Mother”, possibly “Two 1/2 Men” or “Big Bang Theory”. But it was funny, the way they laid it out! Looks like you’re not alone, if they’re writing tv scripts about exactly the same thing. :-)

  11. says

    Yeah! I think this is very common. I have to have the whole narrative pretty much sorted before it works for me.
    Right now I’m working on one where I spank a famous blogger in a cafe bathroom.

  12. Wesel says

    For a long time I had the greatest difficulty to fantasize about consensual sex because nobody had ever expressed sexual attraction towards me so I couldn’t plausibly imagine it…

  13. Quinapalus says

    Shelli, I think you’re remembering Marshall’s elaborate justification process for fantasizing about someone besides Lily. Funny scene!

  14. says

    I fantasize about things that I know my wife wouldn’t do. I know my wife would do the sex stuff, but locations, times, etc. I have to figure how to convince her or persuade her.
    I do the same thing with non-sexual things as well…like when I dream about playing in the NBA or something. How would I get [insert NBA star here] to see me playing and think I’m awesome and bring me to a tryout. haha
    I’m a new reader, and just want to let you know that I love what I have read so far. I’ve seen a few things that have been linked to by others, but now I am starting to go backwards and read.

  15. says

    I do pretty much the same thing. It’s actually one of the reasons I don’t enjoy most porn, because it is so obviously unlike reality. When I do fantasize, it is usually something that I think I have a pretty good chance of happening. I actually prefer to fantasize about people who I know, especially during that flirting phase where I am not sure if some sex will come out of it.
    And sometimes it’s just about people out-of-reach, but who I can tell there is an attraction. For me, it is more about whether it is with a person who may fantasize about sex with me. Whether they will actually do it or not is not my main concern.

  16. says

    My fantasies tend to be either similarly elaborate or starkly simple. I lack middle gears. And I like something similar when I read porn. (Watching porn, any storyline at all is an unwanted distraction.)
    TRiG.

  17. says

    oh goody, this thing I thought was me being terribly repressed as usual is something Greta Christina does too ;-)
    I am working on Not Using A Condom in my brief-encounter fantasies…
    As you can see, I’m a novice
    at this.

  18. cpsmith says

    I think I’m even worse than you are. If I am fantasizing about characters from books or in sci-fi/fantasy settings I start having to come up with possible (if not probable) ways that I could be transported to that setting and how it is that the authors came to know about those worlds/places/people etc. It is a pain in the ass sometimes, but it can also expand the fantasy and make it more interesting.

  19. Skreeran says

    Hi there! Been lurking for a while. Love the blog, and considering I do THE EXACT SAME THING (emphasis added), I figured I’d post… :P
    But yeah, I have the same problem. My big hook is World of Warcraft. No, I’m not joking. I’m a huge WoW fan and nothing gets my motor running like kinky WoW-universe fantasies.
    And yes, being a big lore nerd, I have to make sure that they are all totally consistent and fit well with the canon.
    I’ve found that my solution is to find something that works, craft the scenario carefully over several days if necessary, and then just replay my masterpieces over and over when needed. :P
    Not the ideal fantasy (so much for spontaneity… :P), but it works.

  20. says

    I think you’re just fishing for Alyson Hannigan to stumble upon this post, think “Hey, that’s not a bad idea” and come looking for you. Sort of a self-fulfulling prophesy.

  21. Nathanael says

    Oh good lord. I do this too.
    I think it’s a symptom of having the analytic part of the brain running constantly, or nearly constantly. Which is not a bad thing, it’s probably part of why people you and I are so incredibly analytically competent. Even when you’re fanaticizing, it’s still running and sending up the same alerts to your conscious mind which it would send up if you were doing your tax returns.
    Plausible explanation, that? I hope?

  22. Israel says

    Oh. My. God.
    I thought I was the only person that did this. I actually have a plot device that explains how I can drop into any fictional universe. Because Capt. Janeway is not enough.

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