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Untapped sexual fantasies exist in most of us. But if you want to turn those steamy dreams into reality, now may be the time to put pen to paper. In a similar way to regular bucket lists, which detail things you want to try before it’s too late, sexual bucket lists encourage you to take control of your own pleasure. They spark ideas, conversations, and arousing moments that will no doubt turn your erotic fulfilment up a notch. Just in the same way that journaling can be cathartic, listing your sensual wishes can help you understand your own desires and explore ways to satisfy them.
“Writing is a process of self-reflection,” says sex and relationship therapist, Shadeen Francis. “Naming what you want or need sexually allows you to get clear on your sexual desires, beliefs, and boundaries.” She explains that being able to see your fantasies in written form gives you the opportunity to process them on a deeper level. “We engage differently with material we can see. You can examine your thoughts from different angles, edit and revise your stories, and even challenge shame-based attitudes more easily on paper.”
Starting your sexual bucket list
If you want to start off gently, begin by thinking about what you already enjoy. Ask yourself questions like: What feels good to you? What are your favorite sexual memories—the ones you revisit fondly? What made them so pleasurable? Shadeen explains that our bodies have “sensory memory” which actually heightens experiences of pleasure as we remember how great things felt the first time around. “Your bucket list doesn’t have to be brand new,” she adds. “There is something erotic about stories that begin with ‘remember when…’”
It’s important to see your sexual bucket list as a form of self expression. The task is about as personal as you can get, so don’t be shy with yourself. Remember, this is for your eyes only, for now. Pen out everything you’ve ever wanted to try. We’re talking toys, positions, people, locations, scenes—make it as long and as detailed as you want. It’s yours, after all.
Breaking through mental blocks
“If you are having trouble fantasizing, that’s okay,” says Shadeen. Mental blocks are common, and it could take some time for you to feel confident in writing your desires out. “Fantasy is fueled by imagination, and our imagination is supported by inspiration. There are so many ways to get erotically inspired, from movies and television shows, to music, books, and apps. These can be traditional media, or sex-specific, as in pornography or erotica,” she adds. Why not delve into Dispea’s sexy library and get creative? Spend some time tapping into different genres that explore a range of scenarios, settings, and participants before you sit down for your writing session.
Shedding erotic shame
Worried that you’re going to be embarrassed, or worse yet, shamed for your fantasies? If you’re bringing a partner into the mix, have a frank conversation first. “Make an agreement upfront that you won’t yuck one another’s yums,” says Shadeen. Opening up about fantasies can be a vulnerable experience, and it can be incredibly hurtful when you’re judged for your desires. “Give yourself space to name and claim what you are interested in, knowing that just because you shared, doesn’t mean your partner needs to participate in it.”
Exploring with a partner
Sharing fantasies can really elevate intimacy levels between couples. Shadeen offers her tips on how to gently approach the topic. “Clearly stating what you fantasize about is one way to give your partner space to decide how/if they want to engage. Timing matters, ideally you share at a time when both of you are relaxed, paying attention to one another, and are feeling connected. Being straightforward and clear helps, like: ‘I often fantasize about having sex on the balcony in the moonlight.’ This doesn’t require a response, or any response in particular, if you are merely sharing. If they’re interested, they might ask more questions, or they might share a fantasy of their own.”
She continues: “If a direct conversation about sexual fantasies feels too uncomfortable, consider the conversation as a process of sexual exploration, an opportunity to learn more about ways to create pleasure with one another. Questions may feel more approachable, especially if they are expressed without tones of judgment.” Shadeen suggests asking things like, “What’s one thing you might like to add to our sex life?” or “I’ve been thinking about watching this movie, I heard there’s an incredible sex scene in it. Want to watch it with me?” or “Can I show you something I’d like to try?”
Encourage your sexual partner to respond with their own fantasies, too. If they don’t line up with your ideas or you feel anxious about something they share, question them with kindness. “Ask more about it with the intention to understand it more,” explains Shadeen. “Anxiety is fueled by a lack of information. An example is, ‘I hadn’t thought of that. What excites you about that fantasy?’ If there’s a specific concern you have, you can ask about that too. For example, ‘How would you tell me your safe word if you’re gagged?’”
Turning your list into reality
Once your arousing ideas have been written down, run through the following questions—even if your fantasies involve spontaneity, says Shadeen.
What materials or tools do you need to make, borrow, or buy?
Who is involved?
How do I create a safe, consensual experience for everyone involved?
What skills might you need (e.g. flexibility, rope-tying) and who or what could support your development of that skill? A friend, a book, YouTube videos, a Dipsea Wellness session?
What are the potential barriers that need to be accounted for?
What are the safety considerations and how do you minimize your risks?
After all the logistics are figured out and the prep work is done, set aside some time to go wild! Remember, while sexual bucket lists are there to spark inspiration, they can also be used as a tool to explore desires, communicate ideas, and even combat shame-based fears. It’s important to note, though, that fantasies can remain as fantasies. If you're feeling uneasy about bringing your list to life, that's okay. It may be that some things are better left to the imagination. Use your spicy checklist to enrich your sex life, checkmark by checkmark, in whatever way feels right for you.
Ready to explore your fantasies? Listen to "Fantasy Threesome," "Submission Fantasy I," or "Submission Fantasy II" on our app!
Shadeen Francis is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in sex therapy and social justice. You can find her on Instagram at @shadeenfrancislmft or Twitter at @shadeenfrancis.
Claire Blackmore is a freelance writer and editor focusing on women's health, beauty, fashion, travel and sex. She specializes in straight-talking body, sex education and self-care features, plus trend reports on shopping, style, skincare and wellness.