A few months back I met with a man who told me about his sexual fantasy involving oral sex with honey-soaked Rice Krispy treats. There’s something about the texture, he explained, that would enhance the experience. A woman I met in New Orleans shared her fantasy – she imagined herself licking chocolate off of a man’s leg “stump” after amputation. I wish I could try it…I can’t stop thinking about it. Another client shared his ultimate sexual turn-on involving urine-soaked cinnamon buns during sadomasochistic sex with his wife. Needless to say, his wife was not entirely on-board with this idea. She said she’d try it…if it weren’t for the smell. – God, I love my job.
These stories can appear extreme in nature, but everyone has a kinky layer to their imagination – whether it’s been realized or not. Intense sexual fantasies are a natural byproduct of our imagination. Yet, many people feel uncomfortable realizing the darker sides of our daydreams. We are happy to watch the fantasies conjured up by authors and screenwriters; but when it comes to penetrating the deeper layers of our mind, many of us just can’t go there. And despite our best efforts to avoid our darker dispositions, our fantasies will creep up into our consciousness, often without warning and usually at the least convenient times.
Since the beginning of time we’ve seen reflections of the sinister, shady, and obscene all around us. Forceful pornography is an obvious catalyst for “other people’s” perversions, and yet it’s a billion dollar industry. Why? Because for many of us, erotic photographs and films reveal the duality of our desires. Within the thousands of porn sites you’ll find themes of voyeurism, exhibitionism, sadomasochism – most “isms” in general, along with the usual iconic figures: nurse, school girl, maid, cabana boy and dominatrix using nipple clamps, cock rings, anal beads, and leather straps. These themes didn’t simply appear out of thin air. They represent our internal conflicts – to control and be controlled, to dominate and be dominated, to live within the light AND the dark.
Sexual fantasy is a vital part of the human condition because imagination is what separates us from other creatures. We have a fascination with the sensual and disturbing. When we see a deadly crash on the side of the road, most of us slow down in an effort to catch a glimpse of the disaster. We delight in our screams during horror films. When we hear a sexual scandal, our pupils open wide in excitement. How many of us know exactly why Monica Lewinski’s blue dress became so famous? – What? That’s disgusting!…Tell me more. There’s nothing wrong with this kind of fascination, and therapeutically the journey into one’s darkness is vital to understanding the inner workings of our mind.
Sigmund Freud taught us that the subconscious is a truer reflection of who we are than our conscious awareness. The unreal is more powerful than the real and reflects something much more profound than just imagination. According to Carl Jung, our darkest daydreams reflect the shadow – the unconscious part of our soul, which encompasses themes of obsession, rage, lust, vengeance and other socially “unacceptable” feelings and behaviors. Our conscious self tries to deny the shadow out of fear of losing control; however, in most cases, this fear is unfounded. In fact, most clients end up in therapy out of trying to suppress their darkness for too long. Just like any other integral part of our personas, the shadow will not be ignored and when you try to suppress its expression, its screams only get louder.
We are complicated creatures. Social norms are only as convenient as the moment allows and things are not always as cut and dry as we would like. When we repress our eroticism, our true self gets strangled by the false self, which leads our bodies to manifest psychological symptoms. However, when we embrace our inner “freak,” and allow ourselves to momentarily delight in the forbidden, we become more genuinely human.
Dr. Suzana E. Flores is the resident clinical psychologist to Prose & Cons and author of Facehooked: How Facebook Affects our Emotions, Relationships, and Lives due out September, 2014 through Reputation Books.
Over the past three years, Dr. Flores has interviewed Facebook users, from across the globe, to explore the positive and negative features of social-media and evaluate the effect Facebook has on our lives.
Dr. Flores frequently presents at universities and organizations, and was recently quoted in Esquire.com, Mashable.com, Everyday Health Magazine, Dame Magazine, The Nation, SheKnows.com, New Parent Magazine, Newlyweds, Upwayve.com and Moms.me. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her literary agent, Liz Kracht at email@example.com.