Fantasy and Subversion
(Riding crop: check. Stockings: Check. Kinky Uniform: Check. Fantasy fulfilled: to be continued…)
This week I’ve been reading a lot about fantasy. Some of you may know from the ‘about us’ section that I’m currently in the midst of a PhD and as part of my continuing research into Gothic literature, I’ve been looking into the Fantasy genre, specifically ‘Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion’ by Rosemary Jackson. In her text, Jackson stats that “the fantastic traces the unsaid and the unseen of culture: that which has been silenced, made invisible and covered over and made ‘absent’” ultimately for Jackson, Fantasy is ‘a literature of desire, which seeks that which is experienced as absence and loss’. Combined with this literary excursion I’ve also been reading Violet Blue’s ‘Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy’, a book that MJ and I will be reviewing in full as part of a book blog tour in July (we’re excited to start trying and testing the excellent tips and techniques Violet has to offer and of course reporting back to you). Obviously I began to consider these texts together, if Fantasy is a literature of desire for something lost, then the Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy is a means of making that absence manifest and return, giving you a tangible turn-on. Both books suggest that fantasy is a means of upsetting norms, of turning ordinariness and mundanity on its head, of embracing the underside of cultural and sexual normalcy.
I’ve had a long relationship with fantasy, both my own sexual fantasies and the theory behind it. One of the most interesting papers I remember reading was Anna Freud’s ‘Beating Fantasies and Daydreams’ in which she discusses a female child’s prolonged and artful fantasy stories of which there are two kinds, ‘nice’ stories, and what we shall class as ‘naughty’ stories. The ‘nice stories’ which could be spoken about in public tended to deal with happy scenes and weren’t associated with any physical release, whilst the ‘naughty’ stories focused on beating scenes and were always coupled with ‘shameful’ and ‘guilty’ masturbatory actions. (The guilt supposedly derives from the idea that the person doing the beating in the fantasy, is actually a version of your father…Remember y’all, incest is best.). Anna Freud goes on to discuss how, due to the guilt surrounding the action of masturbation, the girl adds elements and plot twists to the original fantasy story, hoping to stave off the guilty masturbatory action whilst still allowing herself enjoyment of the fantasy. What is interesting is that the beating fantasies are presented as the dark erotic and forbidden underside to the normal, nice and permitted daydreams. Sexuality and sexual gratification is consistently something that is perceived as the inversion of normality, something secret, hidden and not to be spoken about.
The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy attempts to break that silence and invisibility, giving a hand to those people who want to enjoy their fantasies and sexual acts, as a guilt free erotic excursion. But we’ll talk more about the Ultimate Guide in a later post.
I wanted to reflect a bit about my own experience of fantasy. In this world of instantaneous pornographic content, fantasy is beginning to play less of a role in our erotic lives. Why bother working yourself up for an hour with a prolonged sexual story when you can get a quick fix at the click of a button and a type of a few keys? While I can admit I enjoy the quick release of a battery assisted porno orgasm, there are times when I really enjoy returning to the type of masturbation a young teenage me used to work on. For instance, I went through a pretty hardcore and lengthy Pirate fantasy stage, courtesy of Johnny Depp and his Pirates of the Caribbean era. I had plot lines, scores of characters and settings, all of which were carefully crafted to create highly charged erotic scenes that would help tip me over the edge; only when I finally allowed it. I also had a prolific sexual fantasy world mapped onto the Buffy-verse due to my teenage obsession with Spike. While sailing the seven seas of my orgasms I created various identities for my fantasy self, however in the Whedon world I was always a version of Buffy. She was kick-ass, funny, and sexy, and I found myself being naturally drawn to her, mostly because I’m short and have a similar penchant for puns.
(I’m pretty sure on some unconscious level the idea to dye my hair blonde at the age of 17 extended from my love of Buffy…I mean look at her. Friggin’ glorious)
These fantasies allowed me to live out my desires of bedding strong, sexy, beautiful men whilst also creating a wealth of characters that reflected all elements of my own erotic desires: some were submissive, some were dominating, some were unwilling whilst others were less reluctant to explore and be explored. I could comfortably engage all elements of my desires through these channels, I could think about public sex, about threesomes, about being dominated, about lesbian encounters and more. In the end, I realised that all of these fantasies were ultimately always filling a hole…so to speak.
It’s only through reflection that I understand my constant and extended indulgence in erotic fantasy used to be a way to escape the drudgery of a bad sex life. My previous boyfriends lacked the same high sex drive I possess, and thus my evenings would be spent creating long tales of seduction and romance after another monotonous missionary session.
Thankfully my current relationship with JD is an open line of communication. I feel happy discussing fantasies and desires with him, and now my fantasies, when they do occur, actually focus on a real-life human man and all of the filthy things we have/will get up to. I take our dirty phone calls, our sexting and our conversations and meld them into one long, erotic, sensual story. The best part being that we can actually turn the story into a reality when we next see each other.
Thanks to my current levels of satisfaction I’ve found that my taste in fantasies and pornography has changed. When I was bored and unstimulated (literally) I found my porn tastes venturing into the more extreme areas of the internet – mostly to the various sites on Kink.com – thier hardcore BDSM content filtering their way into my subsequent sexual imagination. The thing about fantasy is that it can extend beyond our actual comfort zones. I may have enjoyed watching the more extreme BDSM scenes, but would I actually personally enjoy being suspended from a ceiling and used and abused by strangers? In short, no. But the pleasure these people were enjoying seemed reciprocal and, whilst extreme, real. It was that element that was seemingly lacking in my relationships, and in standard porn (so many fake orgasms). The unequal levels of desire were damaging, and the lack of investment and interest in one another’s pleasure was dismissive and hurtful.
What I like to watch now, is stuff that reflects my current sex life, or will merely nudge it another notch up the scale. I enjoy watching the softer elements of bondage and submission, I like the foreplay and the games involved in that type of sexual encounter, because I can work them into my next personal encounter. Those types of sexual games, feel more engaging and thoughtful than a quick thrust and jerk, they demand a level of communication and trust that makes for a deeper and more rewarding relationship. I think what I’m ultimately trying to say is that good sex, really good sex, comes with a narrative. Much like a good book, a good orgasm needs a lot of buildup and attention to details. Various plot lines and character arcs building to one final crescendo. Fantasy can help you create the plot points on which to stage an orgasm, it can help you craft the ultimate erotic encounter and satisfy not only your own desires, but also that of your partner.