Some erotic fantasies people want to enact, some they just want to talk about, and some they only want to think about. Knowledge is finite; imagination is endless. If we don’t want to act on a fantasy, the question is: Are we really not interested in its materializing, or are we ashamed of it? Sometimes our sexual fantasies baffle us. We can’t believe we’d actually be turned on by that. What does it say about us? We’re weird. But, like dreams, fantasies are symbolic scripts for our deepest emotional needs. They rarely mean what they appear to mean on the surface and must be decoded. What does being tied up mean to you? One person might say, “It helps me realize that I have no choice but to receive. I don’t have to feel guilty about receiving, because it’s the other person who decides to give.” As psychologist Michael Bader so beautifully says, a good fantasy both states the problem and offers the solution. I always ask: What need does this fantasy serve? I might fantasize about spreading peanut butter on my skin because I never thought someone could delight in licking me. It could be a redemptive experience: I can be delicious.
If you want to know the deepest feelings a person brings to sex, ask about her fantasies. The gestures involved, the physicality of it, are like words for a poet. You need the words, but the poem has another meaning beneath the words. Octavio Paz says, “Eroticism is the poetry of the body, the way poetry is the eroticism of the word.”
— Esther Perel interviewed in The Sun