Psychological Self-Help

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Acceptance of sexual fantasies
For 75% of us, sexual fantasies are simply a pleasurable and
exciting escape. Over half of all men think about sex once or more
during the day, 20% of women do (Doskoch, 1995). Male college
students have sexual thoughts over 7 times a day, college women over
4 times a day. Over half of these thoughts are externally triggered.
About 85% of men and 70% of women fantasize when they
masturbate. The most common fantasies are about ordinary
intercourse with current or past lovers or with people we know, have
met recently, or have seen on TV or film. Yet, our sexual fantasies are
rarely revealed, not even to our closest friends. Perhaps this is
because some fantasies suddenly appear that are shocking to the
daydreamer, e.g. a religious person imagines having group sex or a
straight person thinks of an exciting homosexual encounter. About
25% of us feel quite guilty about some of our sexual thoughts. A few
people have no sexual fantasies, possibly because they consider the
thought equivalent to the deed, e.g. thinking of having sex with a
movie star could be the moral equivalent of premarital sex or adultery.
Also, a few people think sexual fantasies indicate poor mental health
or abnormal sexual desires. Rarely is that the case, although some
persons with psychological problems have fantasies of punishment
which disrupt their sexual acts or have repeated sadistic fantasies
which they feel pushed to act out. For most of us, however, fantasies
are beneficial--they increase our sex drive, make masturbation more
exciting, boost our confidence, permit the impossible or impermissible
(in fantasy a teenaged girl can touch the penis of a Playgirl center fold
or a teenaged boy can seduce his friend's mother), release tensions,
help us overcome sexual fears, and provide a rehearsal for a real
encounter. Most of us do not consider the thought as morally
equivalent to the deed (see discussion in chapter 6). People who
fantasize more have more sex and more fun doing it. Professionals
often consider having no fantasies as an unhealthy sign. 
Masters, Johnson & Kolodny (1985, p.344) say having kinky sexual
fantasies does not necessarily mean you want to actually engage in
the same sexual acts (e.g. no one wants to be raped). Of course, some
daydreams are about actions one would like to experience, some are
not. The common sexual fantasies of men and women are quite
similar, except women may imagine being in more romantic situations
(and the personal-emotional aspects of the man) while men focus on
body parts. Also, men are more prone to imagine themselves doing
something to the woman (dominating), while women imagine being
done to (submitting). It is common for men and women to imagine
doing something different from the ordinary: meeting an attractive
stranger on a moonlit beach, being the star of a porno film, being a
prostitute, having sex in the middle of the football field, watching
animals having sex, etc. We like to imagine being desirable. We seek
novelty. Especially during masturbation but also during intercourse, it
is common to imagine having sex with someone else other than our
real life partner: a previous lover, a neighbor, a teacher, a celebrity or
star, etc. (This is the most common source of guilt and it may not be a
good idea to disclose those fantasies.) 
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