What your sexual fantasies mean (and how you can bring them to life in the bedroom)

What your sexual fantasies mean could be more revealing than you think

What do sexual fantasies mean
(Image credit: Getty Images / Jena Ardell)

Sexual fantasies can be wonderful and even better when you make them come alive alone or with a partner. But, if you've found yourself wondering what your sexual fantasies actually say about you, you've come to the right place. Here we decode the most common sexual fantasies and what they really mean. 

Whether you fantasize about using the best vibrator with your partner, having sex in the shower, or dressing up as your favorite Harry Potter character, they are all perfectly normal fantasies. 

It's also normal to fantasize about something or someone you wouldn't normally be attracted to.

"A fantasy may also involve people that we wouldn't be sexually attracted to in real life, but our fantasies don't always have to be something that we would want to act out in reality," says LELO's sex and relationship expert Kate Moyle. "We may only want to explore our fantasies within the safety and control of our imagination.” 

Whether you decide to live out your fantasies or keep them to yourself, here's everything you need to know about sexual fantasies and what they mean. 

What do my sexual fantasies mean?

Fictional characters

Research by Lelo found that one in 20 people in the UK has masturbated to the idea of a fictional character. 

“Our fantasies can stretch as far as our imagination can take us, and curiosity about fictional characters is not uncommon," says Kate. 

"Fictional characters are created and designed to connect with us in some way and for us to be interested in. Even though we know they are not real people, we relate to them, and a part of this may be sexually, or by being sexually interested."

Being caught having sex in public

Having sex outside is a common fantasy, with the idea of being spotted making it even more exciting. But, fantasizing about being caught having sex outside fulfills two fantasies at once.  

"It's the idea of the taboo of having sex in a public place and the idea of voyeurs watching you," says psychologist Emma Kenny from killingkittens.com. "Fantasy is all about pushing boundaries and getting caught in the act plays on this."

couple hands holding bed sheets

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cheating on your partner

If daydreams about cheating on your partner are turning you on, you shouldn't worry - it doesn't necessarily mean you actually want to end your loving relationship and jump into bed with someone new. 

"This fantasy is natural, healthy, and has no connection to cheating," says Emma. "The majority of women fantasize about sex with their partner’s friends, father, work colleagues, or pretty much anyone. You don’t have to tell your partner that you’re imagining their best friend on top of you. We all have our secrets." 

However, if you're in a sexless marriage and fantasizing about seeking pleasure elsewhere, you should sit down with your partner and talk about why you're having less sex. Having an open conversation about how you're feeling and what you'd like to do will help you to move forward together as a couple, and open up more opportunities for play in your relationship. 

handcuffs on background

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Someone in uniform

While the idea of women swooning over a man in uniform is quite the stereotype, there could be something to it. If you've ever secretly fancied a police officer, firefighter, or doctor, you're not alone!

"Uniforms are synonymous with strength and knowledge, and that’s a shortcut mentally to feeling turned on by the anticipation of the body beneath the outfit," Emma reveals.

Celebrities

There may be some celebrities you openly gush about, while others are secret crushes you'd never admit. Either way, fantasizing about being with a celebrity is actually pretty normal.

"Fantasies regarding A-listers who you know through films mean that you can draw down scenes in your head with and make them sexy and translatable to you," says Emma. 

Research by Dr. Justin Lehmiller, author of Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life, found that two-thirds of participants fantasized about a celebrity. 

Someone who is the same sex as you

If fantasizing about some who is the same sex as you are throwing up sexual identity questions, it's totally normal.

"If you're a heterosexual woman fantasizing about another woman, that doesn’t mean that you're gay or bisexual," says Emma. "In fact, 50% of women relate to involving another woman in their sexual imagination. That’s not to suggest these kinds of fantasies cannot become more physical, but the truth is that many fantasies remain in our heads."

Being sexually dominant

Being turned on by the idea of BDSM or bondage is incredibly common and can be a fun and enlightening experience for you and a consenting partner. 

"This fantasy is more commonly held by independent women who like the idea of handing power over to someone for a little while," says Emma.

But women also fantasize about being the dominant partner who is in control of play. TIn these fantasies, you might see yourself tying your partner up, engaging in role-play, or using sex toys, such as the best rabbit vibrators, for your pleasure during sex. 

Having a threesome

Unsurprisingly, having a threesome is a very common sexual fantasy for both women and men. 

"The idea of allowing more than one person to please you sexually at a time can feel exciting," says Emma. "More and more adults are experimenting with threesomes, and as long as you are aware of the potential damage they can cause on occasion, then bringing them to life can boost your sex play. However, for many of us, simply imagining them can be titillating enough."

How to live out your sexual fantasies

First things first, if your fantasy involves your partner or another person, talk to them about what you'd like to do and ensure you have their consent. If they're keen to help you make your deepest desires become a reality, role play or dressing up is one of the easiest ways to do just that, Emma says. 

  • Pick a power couple
    "
    Sex shouldn’t feel like reality, so you’ll get bonus points for using your imagination when it comes to choosing characters to dress up as," Emma says. 
  • Keep changing things up
    "Everyone has a go-to fantasy, and often the anticipation of knowing exactly what is going to happen is tantalizing," says Emma. "That said, sex should be evolving, and that means creating lots of fantasy role-plays." 
  • Go full out
    "From accents to thigh-high boots, the more you work at it, the better it feels," says Emma. "I get my clients to go out separately and meet up as the characters they are playing. While you may have to keep a coat over the costume, it makes the experience more evocative."
  • Add props
    "Props such as a feather duster can add to play, but whether you go, the whole caboodle is down to confidence. For many men, simply seeing you dressed in a provocative outfit will suffice," Emma adds.

Feel like you don't have sexual fantasies? Don't worry, Emma says this can either be a sign that you're totally satisfied with the play in your relationship, or it could be that you just haven't unlocked your deepest desires just yet. 

"Write down the things you think about while you masturbate as often you are far more fantasy focussed than you think," Emma advises. 

Faye M Smith

Faye M Smith is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience in the magazine industry. Her continued work in the area of natural health won her the coveted title of theHealth Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) Journalist of the Year Award 2021. 


Currently Acting Health Editor across several brands including woman&home, Woman and Woman’s Own, Faye specialises in writing about mental health, the menopause, and sex and relationships. In fact, having previously been the go-to sex columnist for Now magazine, there isn't much she won't discuss when it comes to women's health. This makes her the best person to review must-buy sex toys, describe how to have a mind-blowing orgasm or explain how to navigate sex in the shower without it ending in a medical emergency. 


While not anti-gym, Faye’s fitness routine is more focussed on finding inner balance rather than burning excess calories. An advocate of mindfulness, she loves power breathing, yoga and plenty of walking in nearby woodlands rather than a sweaty HIIT class. Follow her @fayetuned