Fantasy is the spice of life. Creating narratives, both sexy and non-sexy, is human nature. So, is it normal to think about other people? Yes. But, you may find yourself picturing yourself in the shower with your partner a lot more often than, say, Chris Hemsworth.
Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., author of Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life, surveyed over 4,000 people and discovered that we actually tend to fantasize about our partners more than anyone else. He found that nine out of 10 participants had fantasized about a current romantic partner-and nearly two-thirds of participants who were in relationships had sexual thoughts about their partners often.
Most people just want to sleep with their partner
It's not that hard to believe that people think about their partner a lot. This is a person you love, feel comfortable with, and have likely done some pretty dirty, hot things with.
Beyond the elaborate sexual fantasies we sometimes like to concoct in our heads, for the most part, we stick with what we know best.
When you love someone and are turned on by them, you think about them in a sexual way. That comes along with the territory once you're married or in a committed relationship. Hey, you might even use actual scenes from your IRL sex life for orgasm-inducing material. And that doesn't make you boring or lame-you're simply using your own stuff.В
And it seems pretty clear that making up an elaborate fantasy involving Taylor Swift and a rabbit vibrator requires more brainpower than imagining the person you're married to holding that same rabbit vibrator.
But is your relationship in trouble if you fantasize about other people?
Contrary to popular belief, it's perfectly normal and healthy to have sexual fantasies outside of your current relationship. One in 10 participants in a relationship in Lehmiller's survey said they frequently used famous celebrities to turn them on. But through his research, Lehmiller did find that those who were fantasizing about other people and excluding their partners entirely may have some issues in their relationship.
It's not to say there's anything wrong with picturing Idris Elba going down on you on a beach in Tahiti, but if he's the only person you're thinking about during partnered or solo sex, you might want to consider why that might be. Is there a particular reason your partner doesn't make a single cameo when you're having sexual thoughts? If they are never the source of your erotic fantasies, you might have some deep soul searching to do.
What does this all mean for you?
What this survey really does is serve as a reality check-a glimpse into everyday, average American couples who like to have sex with each other. While the media hypes up anything that deviates outside of conventional norms, it's the diversity of human sexual desire, as described by Lehmiller, that helps to strengthen relationships in the long run.
This research and data indicate that we like to have sex with our partner, and we like to think about having sex with our partner when we're not having sex with our partner. While sexual fantasy can (and does) include more than just our current sexual partner, our significant other usually has the starring role.
Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.