Do you have erotic fantasies, but feel some are so inappropriate you barely admit them to yourself, much less share them with your mate? If you’d like to have a more satisfying sex life, you may want to bring them out of the dark and into your bedroom.
Many women have a rich fantasy life, which can be healthy and fun, since our minds have a lot to do with our libido. Playing with an erotic idea doesn’t mean you’re committing to it in real life. “There’s a big difference between what we fantasize about and what we actually want to experience in reality,” says Chicago sex therapist Emily Harrell . So, if you’re excited by the idea of being chained naked to a strapping Viking commander’s fur-covered bed (or is that just me?) you can go ahead and indulge in the images without feeling guilty about being a bad feminist, a bad mom, or promoting sexual abuse.
Not all fantasies are kinky — women fantasize plenty about romantic or “vanilla” scenarios like making love on the beach or sleeping with a celebrity, says Harrell. But we tend to shy away from talking about the more taboo themes out of shame and fear of judgment.
In Harrell’s experience, many of the more intense fantasies both women and men have are about power and domination — either being dominated or dominating someone else — which are really about control, she says. Exploring the potent trifecta of power, control and desire can offer relief from the pressure of daily life where we’re either always in charge — of the family, of the home, at work — or don’t feel like we are powerful enough.
Whatever you’re fantasizing about, here are ways to use those sexy images to improve your erotic life, as well as three starter ideas to bring elements of the more taboo fantasies into your relationship. Adding a hint of danger to a routine sex life can be super hot.
Amp Up Your Sensuality
A few decades ago, women were seen as passive sexual beings waiting to respond to male desire. Those days are gone. Women have little hope of owning and enjoying their sexuality if they don’t cultivate it, and fantasy is a powerful tool for self-knowledge.
Sexual empowerment expert Amy Jo Goddard , author of the book “Woman on Fire ,” says you don’t have to live out a whole fantasy, “but you might masturbate to it, write about it, or share it with a lover. As you do, you activate more of your own desire and sexual energy. The more you activate your energy, the more vitality, aliveness, juiciness, and vibrancy you feel.” It’s not the fantasy that’s important, but allowing yourself to learn what turns you on and makes you feel like a sexual creature.
Get Out of a Rut
Sex with the same partner in the same place in the same way can get boring over time — sexually, we’re triggered by the new and unknown. Monogamous couples need to make an effort to change things up for the relationship to feel fresh and fulfilling, and sharing each other’s fantasies can be a fun place to start. As relationship therapist Esther Perel, author of “Mating in Captivity,” says in her renowned TED talk, it’s “imagination, playfulness and mystery” that create spark in long-term relationships.
Sharing sexual fantasies can also bring couples closer emotionally. Being able to share your intimate thoughts and create a safe, trusting arena where you and your partner can explore them with the goal of mutual pleasure can really strengthen a relationship.
“There’s so much intimacy that could come in relationships from being able to disclose some of our fantasies and tell our partner what turns us on, what excites us,” Harrell says.
Your fantasies hold strong clues to your deepest desires. Why not see if there’s some common ground with your mate that would be fun to explore?
3 Playful Ways to Explore Your Naughtier Fantasies
You don’t have to drag out the whips and chains to dabble in BDSM. Place one partner in charge and let him/her guide the encounter verbally. Even simple commands like “No talking!” or “Stay still!” can create a highly charged erotic environment. Or blindfold your partner and surprise them with different sensations, sounds and tastes. Next time flip roles.
If you’re ready to play around with restraint, trust and communication are vital because, despite the control element, it’s important to keep things consensual, safe, and mutually pleasurable. For more tips about exploring kink, check out this post by Tulip Toy Gallery  (two Chicago locations).
2. Sleeping With Someone New
Don’t just close your eyes and envision Brad Pitt; get your drama queen on. Pretending you’re someone else not only makes you feel like you’re with a new person, it allows you to be a new person. “Stepping into a role is a great way to give yourself permission to explore a side of yourself you’ve never explored before or that you keep under wraps because it feels unsafe or unsavory,” says Goddard.
Dressing up in costume helps you get into character. Order your husband a Viking helmet or slip into a French maid’s costume and act your feather duster off. Here are some fun, sexy costumes ideas. 
3. Threesomes or Swinging
The threesome is getting a lot of press and sex clubs are becoming so ubiquitous that they’re actually reviewed on Yelp , but warning! This is an area to proceed with caution. Harrell says bringing other people into your relationship can cause damage if you’re both not on the same page. Still, if the idea is hot to you, you can read stories about it, watch videos together or conjure up a third presence in the room by setting up a video camera at the foot of the bed. Just be careful you don’t accidentally upload the video to your Facebook page a la the movie “Sex Tape .”
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