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The fabulous and funny Tracey Cox from the U.K. is one of our favorite sex writers out there. We're thrilled to present the following excerpt from her new book, Dare: What Happens When Fantasies Come True:
Think of your fantasies as a vibrator for the mind. There are a finite number of possible physical combinations of what we can do with our bodies, but our minds are limitless.
Your imagination is the single, most potent engine driving sexual desire. Tap into your imagination and you've turned on nature's built-in aphrodisiac. Fantasies are what keep sex fizzy when your sex life - or your partner - goes temporarily pear-shaped. They're what can make sex with someone we've slept with hundreds of times seem not only remotely appealing but exciting. One of the quickest ways to arouse yourself is to fantasize. Even better, fantasies are a form of foreplay we can access in an instant - anywhere, any time - because we carry them with us always.
Some fantasies are fleeting. Others start off small then develop over time into rich, complex formats. Often they'll start the same or feature the same characters but have different endings, designed to suit the mood we're in. They generally last as long as it takes us to orgasm and we become adept at timing them so the climax happens when we do. Just like sexual positions, most of us have three or four favorite fantasies we return to time and time again.
Our fantasies tend not to change in theme terribly much, though women's tend to be more involved than men's are. Women read more, are generally more imaginative and need more varied stimulation to arouse them. Our fantasies almost always have a plot. There is scene setting, character development, a narrative arc . . . Men go for instant action. They fast forward straight to the naughty bits - often sliding straight into bits in graphic detail. They'll often have one simple image rather than a 'video' - usually of someone they could pull in real life.
This is why amateur porn sites and live webcams with 'normal' looking girls are so popular with men. They like to think they've got a chance of the sex actually happening. Women, on the other hand, have no problems picturing Bradley Cooper frothing at the mouth for the chance to slide a hand up our skirts. It's one of the few times we allow our egos to run rampant and our self-esteem to soar!
Another significant difference between the two sexes is that women are more likely to fantasize when we're having lots of sex. Men do it more when they're not. Which backs up the 'use it or lose it' theory about female sexuality: we need stimulation, physical or mental, to kick start ourselves. But for all the similarities about fantasies, there's one thing that's abundantly clear on reading Dare: they're highly personalized.
This is because our fantasies are influenced by everything from genetics, libido, childhood and parental upbringing to religious beliefs and the resulting moral codes and 'erotic blueprints' we form as a consequence. A desire to want to strip on stage might stem from something as simple as catching a glimpse of our mother undressing at a time when our sexual thoughts and feelings were first being formed. The act of taking clothes off, someone watching and our sexual arousal get, albeit innocently, linked.
Most of the time we're not conscious of where our fantasies originate from and - somewhat wisely - don't rummage around our subconscious searching for answers. This is mainly because most fantasies seem harmless and we're aware of making them up, constructing them from things we know turn us on and adding a few fictional flourishes along the way to turn them into an even more appealing scenario. Scenes from books, films or porn are also great fantasy fodder, though even then we'll tweak them to suit our individual preferences.
However we get there, the end result is rather marvellous when you think about it. Homemade movies, tailor-made for every single one of us, and we get a front row seat in all of them. If only we could customise the rest of our lives the same way!
Dare: What Happens When Fantasies Come True by Tracey Cox is on sale now