On Having Fantasies About Acting Out Fantasies

Please note: This piece discusses my sex life — specifically, my sexual fantasies — in a whole lot of detail. Family members and others who don’t want to read about that, please don’t read this one. This piece was originally published on the Blowfish Blog.

Does anybody else do this?

I’ve been doing this for much of my adult life. And I’m starting to be curious about whether anyone else does it, too.

My secret garden
I’m talking about having sexual fantasies about acting out sexual fantasies. Or meta-fantasies, if you will.

I realize that’s a little oblique. So let me give a concrete example.

Lately, I’ve been having this very intense fantasy about acting out a coercion/ rape fantasy. Consensually, with a consenting partner. In this fantasy, my partner is a professional submissive, someone I’ve played with many times before. She tells me we’ve been playing for long enough now that she’s willing to forego her “no genital sex” limit; I ask her if that means we can act out a rape fantasy, and she agrees. Nervously, but excitedly. Enthusiastically, even. In some versions of the fantasy, she says she was hoping for that.

(Just to be clear: No such person exists. I tend to make up very elaborate backstories for my fantasies.)

In the actual fantasy part of the fantasy — as opposed to the backstory part — we both get deeply into our roles. It’s clear that she’s consenting to it, even that she’s getting off on it… but it’s also clear that the role of the victim is feeling real to her. Just like the role of the perpetrator is feeling real to me. So I get to experience those dark emotions of power, forcing myself against resistance and reluctance, making someone feel frightened and violated and helpless — and getting off on it. And I get to experience those emotions in an ethical context of consent.

And I’m wondering:

What the hell is this about?


It’s a fantasy, for fuck’s sake. Of course it’s in an ethical context of consent. It’s all taking place inside my own head. You can’t get any more consensual than that. Why can’t I just have a nice, normal rape fantasy, without adding in these meta- layers of detachment from it?

And does anyone else do this?

When I first started thinking about this, I thought the problem was how literal my mind is. Ridiculously literal at times. I have a reality check deeply embedded in my brain, and it goes all the way down into my libido. I don’t like impossible or implausible porn; I spend absurd amounts of time figuring out the backstories of my sex fantasies to make them believable; and I rarely have fantasies about things that couldn’t really happen.


(Except for the Snape fantasies. But that’s different. Don’t ask me why. It just is. Shut up, that’s why.)

But here’s the thing. I can and do enjoy fantasies of force and coercion and even rape… as long as I’m the victim. If I’m the victim in the fantasy, I can let go of my desire for plausibility and realism. I can get into the fantasy of feeling forced and violated, humiliated and powerless… even though I know that the reality would be an appalling nightmare. I don’t have to have fantasies about acting out a fantasy of being raped. I can just fantasize about being raped.

It’s only as a top — as the coercer, the abuser of power, the rapist — that I insert these meta-levels of detachment. It’s only as a top that my fantasy life gets an ethics committee, making sure that even the made-up characters in my head are all having a good time before I can get off.

So I don’t think plausibility is the problem.

Prisoner of conscience

I think the problem is a hyper-active conscience. A conscience that has a hard time even imagining doing things I know I shouldn’t do.

Even in my dreams. I almost never have dreams where I’m having sex with someone who, in real life, I want to fuck but shouldn’t. Instead, I have dreams where I almost have sex with someone I want to fuck but shouldn’t… and then back out and say No. (And then wake up, totally annoyed with myself, going, “It was a dream! It would have been okay! Nobody would have gotten hurt!”)

It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with having coercion/ force/ rape fantasies without the “meta-fantasy” distancing technique. I don’t, at all. I feel very strongly that no fantasy in this world — not a fantasy about being Hitler molesting a kitten, nothing — is unethical. Fantasies are, by definition, consensual. No fantasy is bad.

But apparently my conscience is as deeply embedded in my libido as my reality check. I know that having a fantasy about an unethical act isn’t unethical… but my libido, apparently, knows nothing of the kind. When I get deeply wrapped up in a fantasy, my libido takes it seriously. It thinks it’s real. And if it’s a fucked-up fantasy where I’m being a bad person, it can’t do it.

Which is kind of annoying. It’s not a big deal or anything. It’s just kind of annoying. Kind of ridiculous. And, okay, if I’m going to be totally honest, kind of funny.

And so I ask again:

Does this happen to anyone else?

And if so, what’s your take on it?

On Having Fantasies About Acting Out Fantasies

8 thoughts on “On Having Fantasies About Acting Out Fantasies

  1. 1

    When I read your meta-fantasy, my first thought wasn’t “her conscious is holding her back.” Instead it was “her (non-meta) fantasies have become as romanticized as an actual rape used to be.”
    What I mean is, the thought of performing the role-play is as sexually exciting (maybe more-so?) to you as the thought of having that romanticized rape experience “for real.”
    (Admittedly, I’m going under the assumption that fantasies are expressions of desire, not desire that might get mucked up by other states of mind.)
    Of course, you know yourself better than a reader on the internet, but if I were you I’d consider myself lucky, not annoyingly moral. In effect, those times that you do get to physically act out your fantasy, it is “the real thing,” and not just an imitation.

  2. 2

    I think I might have sort of done something similar once or twice.
    There was one (I was much younger, she adds hastily and not-quite-mendaciously) which involved an enchantment you could take which would take over and thus appear to make your fantasy real, while also shielding you from interruptions or discovery from family members (I also generally need quite a lot of backstory).
    That one involved sexual violence, which I wasn’t particularly comfortable fantasising at the time.
    Although as it never actually worked – I tried several times before realising that I was always going to get bored half-way through – I’m not sure it counts 😉

  3. 3

    … That’s actually really fascinating to think about.
    Q: Does this happen to anyone else?
    Not as overtly as you’ve described here. I haven’t really thought about things in terms of a meta-fantasy before. Now that you’ve given me the idea, I’m probably gonna start noticing them everywhere. ^_^
    In my case, methinks I’m a bit more vanilla when it comes to sex than yourself. But I do occasionally have the odd fantasy of doing horrible things to a girl – usually a girl that I’m attracted to in spite of disliking her.
    But in the fantasy, even if the girl finds the act somewhat uncomfortable, I never actually fantasize about a situation where she actually objects.
    So maybe that’s something of a boundary condition – not quite a meta-fantasy, exactly. But it feels like a similar vein of thought.
    Q: And if so, what’s your take on it?
    I don’t think it has as much to do with conscience as you were musing it to be.
    I think it comes down to what we really want.
    If you wanted a fantasy where you were doing dark and horrible things to a person, my guess is that you’d just have one. However, it may just so happen that that’s not a fantasy that you actually want to have right at this moment.
    And if that’s just not what you want, then that’s just not what you want. I don’t see the need to go any deeper. Most of the time, our wants are the way they are because that’s just how they are.
    Simply put, I think that having an actual rape fantasy where I’m the perpetrator wouldn’t make me feel good. So I don’t want it. So I don’t do it.
    In your case, a fantasy about performing a rape fantasy with a consenting partner where you’re performing the role of the perpetrator clearly feels good to you – and I’d agree. So we want it. So we do it.
    I just don’t see what role ‘conscience’ has to play in it. Ultimately, we do what we want. Some of our wants are noble. Some of them are dark. How it all falls over into the actions we take is a waaaay more complex than whitewashing it all with a label like ‘conscience’ presents it to be.

  4. 4

    Yes, I do this all the time – my fantasies sometimes include segments where the protagonist approaches occasional playmates at a fetish club to discuss setting the scene up, or even the bit where people are drinking cups of tea waiting for everyone to turn up, and talking about what they’re about to do.
    I think there’s no more to it than that once you’ve had a lot of SM sex, it provides a familiar backdrop against which suspension of disbelief is a breeze.

  5. 5

    That’s very interesting. It never happened to me that I can remember. My intellect tells me the same thing about sexual fantasies that you wrote here:
    “It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with having coercion/ force/ rape fantasies without the “meta-fantasy” distancing technique. I don’t, at all. I feel very strongly that no fantasy in this world — not a fantasy about being Hitler molesting a kitten, nothing — is unethical. Fantasies are, by definition, consensual. No fantasy is bad.”
    And my libido seems to agree with this too.

  6. 6

    And so I ask again:
    Does this happen to anyone else?
    And if so, what’s your take on it?

    Yes, actually. At length. I think it has more to do with my meticulous approach to backstory and plausibility than with specific feelings of conscience. I don’t think it’s something to worry about, though it’s fun to analyze these things.

  7. 7

    As a second thought, I suspect part of it has to do with the astonishingly large number of people who need it explained to them repeatedly that having a fantasy (or being turned on by reading about one) doesn’t equate to a desire to actually live it (IE, not just roleplay it, but act on it).

  8. 8

    I think one of the key differences is that the Atheist movement is all about getting rid of superstition and irrational thought. Atheism is all about approaching the world around us rationally. If you can’t actually see/hear/touch/taste/smell it – it doesn’t exist. No mumbo-jumbo about a magic man in the sky.
    And a lot of hatred and prejudice is just plain superstitious. There’s no rational reason for homophobia.
    When your community is all about getting rid of superstition, you wind up throwing away a lot of hatred too.

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