Feeling uncomfortable desires

A common problem people have is when they realise that they have desires which make them uncomfortable, perhaps because they are uncommon desires (although you might be surprised by the things that other people fantasise about) or because they seem scary or dangerous in some way.

The first important thing to remember is that fantasy and reality are two very different things. It is okay to think about whatever you like. Imagining eating a big slice of cake is not the same thing as actually doing so. Most people have things that turn them on sexually which they would not want to do in reality: perhaps because they are impractical, or other people wouldn’t be interested, because they wouldn’t be consensual, or because they just wouldn’t be as exciting as they are in their heads.

If you think these desires are something that you would like to act out then a vital question to ask yourself is whether they are uncomfortable because they are generally considered unacceptable or because they involve forcing someone to do something against their will.

Things Considered Unacceptable

If it is just that your desires are generally considered unacceptable it may well be that there are people out there who have the same desires as you who you could talk to about them and maybe even act them out with (if they require someone else). The internet can be a great place for finding people with similar interests. There are communities out there for most sexual interests, identities and activities.

Remember that there have been times in our society when it have been considered unacceptable to have sex other than for reproducing, to have sexual pleasure alone, or to have sex with someone of the same gender: all of which are now acceptable.

One type of desire which is still often seen as unacceptable is the desire for ‘kinky’ sex. You might be surprised to learn how common such desires and activities are: around two thirds of people have fantasies about being tied up (bondage), and between 10% and 15% of people think of themselves as being into ‘SM’ or ‘sadomasochism’, with many more occasionally using spanking or bondage to spice up their sex life. If you want to incorporate role play, different sensations or power play into your sex life there are some good websites which advise you on how to do this in a way that is ‘safe, sane and consensual’. Visit informed consent to find out more. You can look for a ‘kink-aware’ therapist if you want to talk about it at www.pinktherapy.com.

Things that Involve Force

If acting out your desires would involve forcing anyone to do anything against their will then its not OK to act them out. Consent is a vital part of sexual activity and everyone involved needs to know what they are doing and say that they want to do it.

Examples of non-consensual activities would include: making someone have sex who doesn’t want to, having sex with a child or anyone else who is unable to consent to sex (for example if they are asleep or drunk), watching or touching people who do not know you are doing so, lying to people to get them to have sex with you, or being sexual in front of people who are uncomfortable with it. If you find that you strongly desire to do any of these things there are some charitable organisations who can help advise you, such as www.circles-uk.org.uk and sex therapy may well be helpful.

Also check out the sex tips, elsewhere on the website, which are useful more generally.

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