Final Fantasy
June 9, 2024 12:09 AM   Subscribe

Have you successfully changed the content of your sexual fantasies? How?

I'm 50 years old queer woman, and for my adult life I've always needed to fantasize about power imbalances to orgasm. These fantasies generally involve age differences, heterosexual rape, or heterosexual coercive sex. If anything, the specifics of these fantasies have gotten more and more narrow as I age, to where I have to imagine one or two very specific scenarios with the above flavor to get off.

Goes without saying I have zero percent interest in any of the above in reality. The reasons for these fantasies seem kind of obvious to me: namely working out the inappropriate sexual dynamics I was subjected to in childhood, and the human norm of getting off on 'forbidden' topics. I've basically tried to make peace with these fantasies because trying to make them go away just hasn't worked, and I want to get to have a sex life! I have had a lot of positive adult consensual experience with both BDSM and vanilla sex. I like to masturbate. But I cannot have an orgasm without thinking of this very specific thing that I am pretty bored of and in a weird way, turned off by at this point. I am just really tired of this fantasy and would like to have an orgasm without it.

It seems like there is a ton of bad information out there on how to repress sexual desires. I'm thinking repressing my sexual fantasies is not likely to work. But hey, if there's a way to repress this occasionally, sure, I'm open to that! Basically, I am wondering if there are strategies that might help to broaden my imaginative palette when coming.
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posted by anonymous to Human Relations (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There was a question similar to this that had a lot of useful answers a while back I’ll link it once I find it!

But effectively- building new neural pathways! We take the easiest route, mentally, so building up new fantasy time around topics you enjoy and that you want to enjoy! It might take longer to arrive but spending time getting yourself there is worthwhile (and it’s enjoyable at least!)

I could have written this question and I have managed to change things for the better, hope you manage to as well!
posted by eastboundanddown at 5:15 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

The previous question I’m sorry my linkfu fails me somehow

Link here.
posted by eastboundanddown at 5:18 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

It’s difficult, but try to release any guilt and frustration you have about your fantasies. They are just that - fantasy - and they are only as harmful as you allow them to be to yourself. It’s not as simple as that of course but please remember that you are not doing anything wrong. Thoughts are not crimes.

I’ve successfully added to the things that arouse me, but never intentionally removed anything. Weird shit from puberty still pops in now and again, you know? It’s all just bubbling around like a horny soup. I’ve had bad experiences that make something I would previously like to think about into a mood-killer, but that was not voluntary on my part and I would never suggest negative reinforcement in that way for someone else.

Luckily for me I’ve never had too much trouble orgasming, though as I age and work through mental health stuff I’ve had fluctuations of achievability in that arena. It’s never been a bad thing to masturbate though, it can still feel nice and be a good way to spend a little time with myself and recenter or whatever without achieving climax. Can you enjoy yourself without an orgasm, and also without your specific go-to fantasies? I would suggest engaging in a wide selection of erotica and different kinds of toys and/or manual techniques while you are in a positive mood, without any intention of orgasm. One might take you by surprise, but also just knowing that you can get a lot of the benefits regardless might lift some pressure from your shoulders and allow you to begin associating pleasure with a wider range of sensations and thoughts.

Do check in with a doctor if you can. You are in the window where perimenopause has most likely kicked in, or possibly menopause, and that can be awesome for some people’s sex drives and terrible for others. It’s really a mixed bag. But there are lots of things that might be working together to make it harder for you to feel pleasure, even if the other aspects of hormonal aging are going hunky dory for you. (If you are not cisgender, you already know a lot about hormonal things I’m sure, but they do need to be adjusted and monitored as you age.)

Try out some different styles of toys you might not have bothered with before. They have really improved in recent years, particularly non-penetrative toys for people with vulvas and clitorises. You might also try stimulation to other erogenous zones too. Having something physically different with you when masturbating might help keep you more in your body and less in your fantasy scenario.

There is a ton of erotic fiction that is well written - digital publishing has been good for this - and you could write another AskMe for recommendations with aspects you are and are not looking for. You might also set up a throwaway email for mefites to send you suggestions and recommendations one-on-one, since we can’t leave anonymous answers. If you want to do that for this question, contact a mod and they will help.
posted by Mizu at 6:38 AM on June 9 [4 favorites]

If you have a private email to provide, you can send me a MeMail, and I can let you know what I learned
posted by Countess Elena at 6:40 AM on June 9

Through positive sexual experiences in a new direction. Having fun sexy times in a new context, with a new type of person, with a new type of stimulation/toy, all of these have broadened my feelings about what is "sexy" to me. It helps if there's no sense of urgency around it - if you're trying to get off ASAP then your old pathways will be fastest, but if you're trying to have pleasure and fun and you've got an hour or two with nothing else planned, that's a good opportunity to play and explore and build some new comfort.
posted by Lady Li at 1:40 PM on June 9

That other thread is great, but in addition, for the 'making new pathways' thing/broadening your pathways...

At the moment, you have the equation:
Fantasy you don't like + masturbation = orgasm

It's a direct route to get there, but it's a route that goes past a metaphorical abattoir/sewage treatment plant, and leaves you feeling queasy.

How can you compensate for it? You probably need to combine a bunch of factors to 'get there'.

Literally list, what are the physical factors that have *ever* made it easier to orgasm?
Even things like
- having a hot shower or bath before hand.
- a small amount of weed (or alcohol - only if these work for you)
- a flirty social situation beforehand even if you don't go home with anyone
- additional toys (eg insertable toys for stretch, nipple stimulation , and theeeen combined with a strong clit simulator)
- you may not think you're interested in anything that feels uncomfortable or painful, buuuut, I've known a few people who realised that transgressive fantasies were providing an apparently 'necessary' level of mental discomfort, and it turned out they *could* substitute with a small level of physical discomfort (eg nip clips etc), just right at the end, not while they were warming up etc, and this applies to me too, even though I don't think of that discomfort as 'sexy' weirdly
- *not* using vibrators or clit stimulators at first, so that you don't desensitise yourself, but manual stimulation for a long while before a heavy duty tool to take you over the edge at the end

For awhile, you might have to throw *everything you've got* at the new fantasies. Yep, so be it. You have a lot of *practice* with the current 'technique', so you need a helping hand while you give yourself more practice with new, or broader fantasies.

Physical aids above, combined with a fantasy that you *like better* (even if it isn't currently that well trodden pathway):
- are there any tertiary fantasies that used to work that feel more comfortable for you?
- can you find any written erotica/fantasy in that genre or similar, and see if reading someone else's fantasy can slowly rev you up to the point you feel ready to add masturbation & orgasm?

Get recommendations of books and visual porn to try new things. Read them and then if you get to the point you are actually worked up, then start adding all the above tools you've identified.

Yes, these other methods may require more time & work at first, but you're metaphorically clearing pathways in your brain.

Finally, something that worked for me, as a once off - LSD.
As a drug, it seems to allow you to ignore ruts in your brain and/or establish new ones. It allowed me to break a pattern in my head I hadn't been able to before, while masturbating. That showed me it was possible, even if that particular fantasy didn't seem as interesting afterwards (but it was so wholesome in comparison, which was delightful!).
posted by Elysum at 4:06 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]

I'd suggest looking into smut fiction that involves your kink. Other people won't have exactly your fantasies, so you might get some fun new scenarios out of their ideas. Also, have you ever tried acting out these fantasies with another person? Maybe that will just feel embarrassing, but you might find that it's off the charts hot.

Alternately, you could try flipping the script in these scenarios and seeing how it feels to imagine yourself in the opposite role from the one you usually take. If you're normally the weak, submissive little thing, for example, try imagining yourself as the big meany dominating the weak, submissive little thing. You may be surprised to find that you slip into the other role more naturally than you expected, and that could open up a whole new world of kink for you.

Finally, it's not unusual for fantasies to become more weird and baroque over time, as you get jaded with the old stuff. Have you considered introducing an element of the fantastic to your imaginings? Pretend you've physically transformed into a body that emphasizes your role in the scenario, that you've become a cruel, hulking beast or a helpless little dolly. See what happens when you really lean in to the power dynamics of your fantasies.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:24 PM on June 9

Have you ever considered writing erotic fiction about these scenarios/kinks? I have written a fair bit of smutty fanfiction and I've found that if I write about a scenario it's fun while writing, but then imagining the scene subsequently just becomes kind of boring. It feels like in writing it I have already explored it from all angles and the appeal is only intellectual/literary after that.

Important tip: this only works if you write completely without shame. At some point I made a little promise to myself that in my writing, whenever I hit one of those lines that's so self-indulgent, so directly pulled out of the recesses of my brain that I have to take a deep breath and close my eyes just to type it - I would not resist, and I would write it. That squirmy exposed feeling is the feeling of actually seeing myself.
posted by capricorn at 7:08 PM on June 9

Fiction is full of convoluted plots to enable the writer and the reader to get deeply into dubious scenarios. First there is the atrocity, and then they present some highly contrived implausibility such as "Your twin sister the masochist begged me to enact a rape fantasy with her and I kept trying to prompt you to say her safe word. I didn't realise you were not her!!"

An alternative writing device they use is to move back a couple of steps. All the brutal detail comes out during the investigation and conviction of the rapist and you get secondary participants like the investigative detective to have the appropriate emotions. In another version, it's a lesbian anti rape hit squad who are going to kill the attacker(s). There is still the bad thing happening but there is retribution, prevent of recurrence and the good guys have the power. Someone expresses the appropriate emotional and ethical response.

Or sometimes it is an entirely detailed brutal rape scene - which is happening to Jessica Rabbit, NOT a real person, and includes her bodacious big unrealistic cartoon breasts as a focal point.

Often you can't get away from he certain key points that bring you off. If you move away from them, then you can't orgasm. So instead of trying to change the key element, you change the context that it occurs in. The thing to look at is the parts of the fantasy that are optional and tinker with them so that they are less realistic, or you add in additional narrative that redeems them.

Since everything is happening in fantasy you can use the tools of fantasy to dial it up or to dial it down.

You may be turning off your imagination the moment you achieve orgasm. You're ending at the most brutal part of the narrative and shame is perhaps making you stop thinking about it right away, so you don't switch to feeling squicked. If so, I suggest you lie there panting and continue the fantasy. "Cut," says the director. "That was really good acting." You back away to reveal lights and camera and film crew. The victim unhurriedly shrugs into her robe, and the bad guy, scrambles into his, showing a little bit of embarrassment. Nobody on the film crew likes him much. That's the trouble with acting roles as a bad guy. Only after you finish with some additional much more reassuring fantasy do you stop thinking about it, having moved to a position where there will be a whole lot less anxiety and shame built up inside you.
posted by Jane the Brown at 10:15 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

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