Maybe he’s got some sexual preferences that sound awful to you. Or maybe your fantasy is abhorrent to him. Everyone has different ideas about sexual pleasure. The erotic psyche is complex and seldom do two people have the same desires. What is great for him might leave you cold. Do you have an obligation to give his ideas a try?

The answer to that is: Absolutely not when the fantasy involves physical or psychological hurt. Also no when your own voice is obliterated and you have no say in what goes on. But you do want to remain open to new ideas if you want to please your partner. So how do you know when to say no and when to give something new a try?

First, have a conversation. If you’re curious about what fantasies your partner may have and why he may have them, talk to him. This can be an awkward conversation unless you remember a few things:

When Fantasy To Him Is Icky To You Nancy'S Counseling Corner

It’s only a fantasy. If your partner might be turned on by watching pornography with you, for example, it doesn’t mean he’s depraved. It’s his fantasy, not his reality. Fantasies are not necessarily politically correct or sensitive to anyone else’s feelings—that’s why they’re fantasies.

  • No shaming allowed. You’ve asked your partner to talk about his most intimate thoughts, something he may have never shared with anyone before. If you respond with even a hint of disgust, you will shut him down and you may never learn what turns him on. Resolve to react as neutrally or positively as possible to your partner’s inner-most imagination.
  • What are his reasons. You may find out a lot about your partner. If he tells you something that you find repulsive, ask him why he finds it pleasurable. What does it reveal? Does he need to have power? Does he want you to be passive? What can you learn about him? Where can you both meet to find mutual sexual pleasure?
  • Remember it’s not in stone. What your partner finds intriguing today—and what you find repugnant—can change over time. You may discover that if you keep your mind open and attempt new things, your sexual preferences may change over time, something like your palette changes as you mature. Artichokes might taste icky when you’re young but delicious when your taste buds have had a chance to develop.
  • Remain open to new ideas. Hear your partner out. Use your own imagination to explore how you might engage in something your partner would like. Try things that might please him that are in your realm of acceptable. Just remember you are never required to do something that makes you uncomfortable.

Sexual expression and differences in sexual taste are normal. Sometimes physical release is the most important thing, sometimes an emotional connection. We all have various longings that can be satisfied in our sexual relationship—for power, love, closeness, value, attention. Sometimes acting out our fantasies can help us achieve these needs. Which is great as long as it doesn’t hurt our partner and as long as our partner can participate willingly and happily.


Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: