Miss Information

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I don't have any sexual fantasies. Is something wrong with me?

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Dear Miss Information,

I have a really great girlfriend who I’ve been with for a couple of months. We've known each other for years, and have always been close friends. We’re dating long-distance, and don’t get to see each other very often. Things are good, but I'm now afraid that the same problem I had with my ex is starting to develop with my current girlfriend, and I would really not like it to.

My last relationship ended due to my lack of willingness to be the initiator (in the bedroom and out). When I did initiate things, I felt extremely uncomfortable, and was never sure that everyone involved was getting enjoyment from it. Part of this might be because I don't think I have much of a sex drive, especially compared with other men. This makes it difficult, sometimes, to convince whoever I'm with that yes, I'm attracted to them, and I want them sexually (as opposed to the idea of them, I suppose).

My girlfriend recently told me (while a little drunk) that it was a little unnerving for her to be with a guy who doesn't have fantasies (I don't), and that she doesn't feel like I desire her. I do, to be clear, but I don't know how mto express it, especially since we are long distance. Also is there a way to get around my fear of being a disappointment when we are together in person?

Stranded Off the Coast of Fantasy Island


Dear Stranded,

I like how you set up a whole question scenario and then tacked your real question on at the end there: also, is there a way to get around my fear of being a disappointment? Because this fear is the core of your problem.

Of course it’s okay not to have fantasies you want to enact. It’s a misconception that all men are gentlemen in the clear and freaks between their ears. I’m assuming that when you tell me you don’t have fantasies, you mean that you don’t have specific fantasy desires that jump to the tip of your tongue when your lady asks you what you most want to do, not that you never have brief sexy daydreams or think about sex at all. If we’re defining fantasies as snippets of time during which your brain sends you a mental porno Vine, most people have those. But secret desires to tie each other up or wear furry suits or have orgies or even to follow a very specific menu of acts in very specific ways? Not so much. A 2012 study by the University of Granada found that among the 2,250 partnered Spanish men and women studied, the most prevalent fantasy for both genders was by far the fantasy of simply having sex with their partner. And according to the Sexuality Research Program at the State University of New York at Albany, while most people have a handful of fleeting fantasies on the daily, anywhere from zero to over forty is still within the range of normal. So no, there’s nothing wrong with the sexy part of your brain, and you can tell your girlfriend so. 

But if you don’t want history to repeat itself, the real problem it sounds like you’re having is a lack of confidence. Your discomfort with initiating sex and your fear of disappointing women who love you and want to bang you is troublesome. There’s nothing for you to be afraid of here except fear itself. Your girlfriends past and present think you are hot, and very much want to have sex with you, and want to feel like you want to have sex with them. You say you have a low sex drive compared with other men, but that you do desire your girlfriend, so stop comparing yourself to other men. Stop worrying that you can’t measure up to the imaginary dudes you’re measuring yourself against, and make the sex you do want to have count! 

If you’re just not a confident person in general, now’s as good a time as any to work on that, and it’ll improve your enjoyment of things outside the bedroom as well. If you’re just worried specifically about making sure your girlfriend satisfied, talk to her: good sex is dependent upon open communication. If you can get her off exactly the way she likes best, it’ll go a long way toward making her feel desired. Who knows, maybe the reason she’s fixating on your fantasy life is that she’s got a fantasy she wants to indulge, and if you can help her get there, you don’t have to worry that you’re leaving her high and dry. 

Though, if her only fantasy is that you fantasize about jumping her bones all day err’ day, then the problem lies with neither of you, and it would seem that you’re just not sexually compatible. While your girlfriend might be a wonderful companion and friend and someone you think is hotter than the sun, things aren’t going to work out if you can’t find a way to align your sex drives. And you probably don’t need to be going at it constantly to make her feel like you want her: make it clear to her through words and actions (sweet texts, letters, small thoughtful gestures – all extra important in a long distance relationship) how sexy and great she is. This might speak louder than boners. And if she’s still just not compatible with you sexually, may I suggest you channel the late, great Dorothy Parker: “Now I know the things I know, and I do the things I do; and if you do not like me so, to hell, my love, with you!” 

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