Saturday, June 21, 2014

In Defense of Dark Sexual Fantasy

A few months back I met with a man who told me 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 just can’t stop thinking about it. A young man 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. 

These stories are extreme in nature, but everyone has a kinky layer to their imagination – whether it’s been realized or not. Sexual fantasies are a natural byproduct of our creativity. 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 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. 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 internal conflicts – to control and be controlled, to dominate and be dominated, to live within the light AND the dark.

"You call that begging?"

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 essential 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, some clients end up in therapy out of trying to suppress their darkness for too long. Just like any other integral part of our persona, the shadow will not be ignored and when you try to suppress it, its deranged 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, the true self gets strangled by a false persona, which leads our bodies to manifest psychological symptoms. However, when we embrace our shadow, 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 through Reputation Books. 

Dr. Flores frequently presents at universities and organizations, and was recently quoted in, The Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post,, Everyday Health Magazine, Dame Magazine, The Nation,, New Parent Magazine, Newlyweds, and

She can be reached at or through her literary agent, Liz Kracht at


Elizabeth Kracht said...

Your article reminds me of a book I've read called Dark Eros by Thomas Moore, who wrote in defense of the writings of the Marquis de Sade, and another book called Mating in Captivity. Fascinating books, for different reasons. They have real insight into why people in long-term relationships end up without a sex life, as well as why those afraid of their dark side often end up going off the rails. Moore seemed to think our soul is not just light and innocence, but a combination of both light and dark. Being at one end of either spectrum, he says, is an imbalance. Ultimately, he suggests, that if a person can make room for those people (like your clients), whom are at one extreme end of the spectrum, we can bring more balance to our own nature. At times the psychology aspect of Moore's book went just a tad over my head, but it was fascinating nonetheless.

Interesting stuff, Dr. Flores!

Dr. Suzana E. Flores said...

Thank you Liz!

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