Fantasy issues

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iLilli
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Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

Hi. So, I’m 28, neurodivergent and AMAB, but very uncertain regarding my identity, and have spent a lot of my life dealing with guilt and shame regarding sexuality. The paranoia, anxiety, and lack of information I’ve experienced in the past have greatly shaped how I interact with sexuality, and I’m currently trying to break out of that.

While there are a variety of areas I’d like to explore, the one that I’ve wanted to deal with most is the topic of sexual fantasy. To make a long story short, while I know that many people include fantasies as part of how they masturbate, I seem to have more or less made it the sole factor - to the point that physical masturbation doesn’t generally feel good. This is complicated by the fact that the fantasies I find arousing tend to be uncomfortable or distressing to think about or remember afterwards - in fact, it sometimes feels like the distressing or repulsive nature of these fantasies is exactly what makes them effective and arousing, because reading stories about them being practiced in safe ways doesn’t have much effect.

I’d like to have options beyond things that I know I’ll later regret dwelling upon - either by finding ways to reach orgasm primarily through physical stimulation, or by finding less distressing but equally satisfying fantasies. I’ll admit that I have very limited experience with the former, and haven’t had much success with the latter.
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by Ellie »

Hi iLilli,

Welcome to the boards!

Just to clarify: the content of your fantasies is distressing for you to think about objectively, or does shame for enjoying these fantasies play a role in your distress?
iLilli
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

Likely both to some extent. There’s definitely an element of shame that makes it difficult to think about or remember these fantasies without distress - I spent a long time with feelings of shame attached to the concept of sex itself, let alone the shame that’s often attached to fantasizing about particularly extreme or unrealistic scenarios - but at the same time, I don’t think that’s the whole issue either.

A lot of these fantasy scenarios are of things that I wouldn’t actually want to happen to me - or anyone - in real life. When I’m aroused, that arousal tends to drown out other feelings, but afterwards thinking about it is distressing because the lack of arousal means that the fantasy appears in a much harsher light, if that makes sense? Basically, when in the specific context of a sexual fantasy, I’m okay - or at least getting better at not judging myself. But later, recalling such fantasy scenarios results in me viewing them outside of that context, which means my empathy for the unfortunate fictional or imaginary characters suffering for the sake of my kink acts as an ongoing source of discomfort.

It’s especially frustrating due to how willing my brain is to latch onto and remember the details of these fantasies, as well as calling them back to mind with even minor prompting or mental associations. An innocuous phrase or thought can unearth a detail that my brain will quickly use to dredge up something that I would rather not think about outside of sexy times - or even at all.
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by Ellie »

Okay, I understand! Firstly, I want to make sure that you know that it's very common for people to have extreme fantasies that they would never want to act out in real life, and even fantasies that go against their values. I absolutely understand where the shame is coming from, but know that your fantasies really say nothing about who you are as a person. That point aside, if your fantasies are causing you distress in your day to day life, I think it's a good idea to explore other outlets. Sexual arousal is mental as well as physical, so it makes sense that trying to masturbate without the fantasy component doesn't feel very good. Do you think that there are aspects of your fantasies that you could either tone down or place in a different context but still find exciting, only less disturbing? I also wonder if reading fantasy stories written by others instead of relying on your imagination might help.
iLilli
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

Honestly, a lot of it IS stories by others - in fact, that’s probably more of a problem, because it means that I’m less in control of where a fantasy scenario goes, and the characters involved are actual characters rather than “some featureless, unspecified person” like my imagination would create. Other people can come up with things I wouldn’t think of, too, which in this case can be a bad thing.

I also suspect - or at least worry - that some of the qualities that make certain fantasies or scenarios appealing are the same things that make them distressing. I’ve wondered in the past whether I actually associate arousal with pleasure, or with some other emotion or cognitive response. It certainly seems that the things that end up being arousing to me are less about “feeling nice” and more about achieving an emotional extreme through shock value.

I can absolutely think about scenarios involving various kinks or other situations that aren’t distressing - I can even create daydreams where they’re pleasant. But when I want to “get off”, that doesn’t work - it seems like it needs some element of horror or tragedy or… something. I’m not quite sure yet exactly what it is.
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by CaitlinEve »

As Ellie mentioned before, it's common for people to have fantasies like this that may cause them distress after the fact. You may be correct that the aspect of your fantasies that is interesting to you and your body are the same that make them feel 'wrong'. With fantasies like these, the fact that they go against your values or morals may be exactly why they're attractive and arousing to you in these instances. Oftentimes, the feelings produced by distress and eustress can feel the same.

It's possible that because you've struggled a lot with guilt and shame regarding your identity and sexuality that that is reflected in your fantasies. How much of your distress can be related back to that, and how much is new and associated only with these thoughts? When you find something that works for you, it can be hard to try other things no matter how your original fantasies make you feel. It sounds to me like you are carrying this guilt around with you afterward and that it is often triggered by seemingly unrelated things outside of the bedroom. Have you tried thinking of your fantasies, or the stories you are reading, as a sort of consensual 'roleplay' to negate your feelings of guilt afterward?
iLilli
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

I have definitely considered that, because so many of my early experiences with sexuality and arousal were so steeped in shame and guilt, my brain may have correlated them so that a feeling of shame or guilt is necessary for arousal in some way. Although, neither shame nor guilt seem to prompt arousal outside of this fantasizing.

On the topic of framing a fantasy as roleplay, I’ve tried it, but not had much success. Doing so in advance tends to rid the fantasy of… emotional intensity, I suppose? There’s nothing at stake, nothing being lost, so it’s difficult to get invested. I guess maybe there’s some connection to the way that fear and arousal are often linked? Honestly there are other psychological factors that I could analyze regarding my specific kinks and such but that’s kinda besides the point. Recontextualizing a fantasy as roleplay after the fact works better, but often doesn’t replace the original scenario in my mind. Continuing the scenario to reach a satisfying and less upsetting conclusion has the same problem.

That said, it’s true that I have found it difficult to actively experiment with new things when I know something that will reliably work, despite often feeling bad afterwards. Even my early turn-ons and initial forays into sexuality were far from “vanilla”, so I suppose it’s not too surprising that I derive pleasure from the strange and unsettling. It may also be that my brain seeks such emotional extremes for arousal because of a lack of physical stimulation - paranoia, anxiety, and a general lack of information meant that I never really… did anything, and that trend has continued basically uninterrupted. Living at home with your parents and younger siblings means reliable, uninterrupted private time is something you only realize you had after the fact, and the specifics of my situation just complicate things further. I don’t actually know if focusing more on the sensory side of things would help, but I feel like it wouldn’t hurt, at the very least.
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by Willa »

Hi iLilli,

I'm sorry this has been such a difficult process for you. It can be frustrating when things such as guilt and shame influence our ability to experience pleasure. I want to make the space here if it is something that would be helpful to you, for you to expand on some of these early experiences that you feel may be the root of these overwhelming feelings of shame and guilt. I can also link a source here that discusses this in greater depth: https://www.scarleteen.com/article/poli ... xual_shame

I understand the desire to stick with what is reliable, but to echo what Ellie stated if it is causing a considerable amount of distress in your day-to-day life then it is worth putting in the time to explore other avenues. It seems as though these stories are arousing to you because of their unpredictability, have you tried exploring other forms of sexual media that don't so overtly deal with these topics that are triggering or distressing to you?

You also mention wanting to explore the more sensory side- would you like to expand on that? There are many different ways to explore one's own body, masturbate, and experience arousal- and we can talk more about that if that is something you have an interest in.
iLilli
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

Oh my god I spent so long writing out my early experiences that I got auto-logged out and lost the whole thing.

Long story short, big contributing factors were a parent with trauma on the subject (meaning nobody ever talked about sex with me at all - never got The Talk), a religious upbringing, crippling fear of judgement by others, and my own self-righteousness and unwillingness to learn anything about sex out of fear of “temptation”, which all put together meant that I ended up with a stricter stance on it than anyone actually expected of me - I was sure that even showing the slightest interest in the opposite sex would be an irreparable loss to how others saw me. Of course, for a multitude of reasons I ended up skipping the stage of typing “sex” or “naked people” into a search box and ended up in the realm of kink stuff pretty quickly. Knew about BDSM before I knew what an orgasm was, for example.

I’ve tried using media that doesn’t deal as directly with the stuff that distresses me, and had some success, but it’s not exactly reliable in terms of arousal, and a lot of the time it’s a bit of a gamble how much or how little a story or something will lean into that aspect of things. Like, I don’t actually have any experience with sex or physically masturbating to any meaningful degree, so reading about people just having sex is kind of… nothing. It’s just not interesting or engaging.

Speaking of not having much experience with masturbation… yeah. I’m pretty much always just sitting on the toilet, phone in one hand with the other keeping everything pointed down to prevent any mess. I’ve unsuccessfully attempted to get off in the shower a number of times that I could count on one hand, and beyond that… nothing. Too afraid of being caught, or making a mess, or… I dunno. I’m not sure how other people do it, and I have no idea how I’d clean up if that became an issue.
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by CaitlinEve »

Did you get a chance to check out that article that Willa linked? Unfortunately, stories like yours aren't uncommon at all. The good part of that, however, is that there of a lot of resources out there about religious trauma and its relation to sexuality. BDSM, for example, is often a kink that is explored as a facet of either you (or someone else!) having control over your sensuality and experience.

You have two main 'options' you could pursue here; do you think it would be more helpful to try and learn how to be comfortable with what you enjoy, or do you think that you'd like to try exploring new fantasies and approaches to masturbation? I can understand not wanting to experiment with new things or fantasies that don't work as well for you, considering you don't seem to have the time or space to explore yourself in regards to masturbation right now! But if your current fantasies and routine are causing you distress, it may be worth it to put in the work to find something else (that stresses you out less!) that works for you, at the cost of some experimenting and possible disappointment.

Here are two more articles that you may find helpful. The first article, Deep Cover: Tips for Managing Anxiety or Privacy Worries When Masturbating at Home, has tips regarding privacy and anxiety with masturbating at home. See if there's any in here that you think would be feasible for you to utilize! The second article, How to Approach Sexual Fantasy and Desire on Your Own Terms, addresses sexual fantasy and desire, and how to process and explore them in your own way on your own schedule and terms. If you have a chance, check them out!
iLilli
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

Yes, I’ve looked at the various articles linked. There’s a quote in the second one you linked that stood out to me:

“If we aren’t both careful and creative we can get stuck in fantasies that don’t mature and politicize with us. We can get caught in fantasies that perpetuate things so counter to our beliefs and values that we feel ashamed of what we want, even as we find ways to get it”

I feel that this is essentially what has happened with me. Knowing that finding a fantasy to be arousing doesn’t mean that I would approve of it in real life is honestly the thing that prevents this from being an overwhelming source of guilt for me.

I think both options have some merit. I do legitimately like and enjoy many of the fantasies I tend to be drawn to, honestly - it’s just that the more extreme or upsetting versions of them tend to be what I can “finish” to, so avoiding them makes the whole process kind of drawn-out and unsatisfying.

I guess maybe what’s really frustrating about all this is that it so often feels… out of my control? Like there have been times when I tell myself that I want to try thinking about something else or trying something different, but it always ends up going back to the usual routine. When I’m in the middle of it, it’s hard for me to think about anything but the immediate gratification, and then afterwards I just get hit with a wave of “why did I just do that?” I just…

Sorry. I kinda feel like my feelings and concerns with all this are constantly shifting around somewhat. That happens with a lot of stuff for me, honestly, and it makes it really difficult for me to arrive at any meaningful conclusions about anything.

I guess ultimately I think finding new fantasies and approaches to masturbation would be more productive. Ideally, being able to derive pleasure from manual stimulation would mean that my brain would need to do less “heavy lifting” and hopefully reduce the degree to which I’m reliant on the “shock value” of any given fantasy. I think that alone would go far in making things more manageable.
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by Sam W »

You know, it's totally okay if your feelings and concerns around this are still shifting around. Trying to sort out our own fantasies, our feelings about them, and how those two things interact with masturbation as an activity can be pretty tricky sometimes.

I hear you saying that you think finding ways to make the physical aspects of masturbation more intense or pleasurable might be useful to you. While our brains still need to be engaged for masturbation to be pleasurable, I for sure think it's worth looking into some ways you could introduce new or pleasurable sensations into masturbation. Are sex toys at all an option for you? And if they're not, are there times where you have more privacy/time to try out different positions, angles, or motions to incorporate into masturbation?
iLilli
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

I suppose sex toys are technically an option, but they run into the same issue as trying to do things differently - or even trying to physically masturbate at all rather than rely solely on fantasizing. In other words, the anxiety/paranoia/general lack of knowledge of how things work makes it difficult to do anything sexually that isn’t just in my head, because I’m worried about being “found out” or making a mess or otherwise getting into a situation I don’t know how to deal with. I don’t know how loud any given method is or how to prepare or clean up properly. When I lack so much information, it’s difficult to feel comfortable doing something different.

Like… early experiences with wet dreams taught me that semen is tricky to clean up. It crusts up fabric and can stick to body hair, and my clean-up plan has always just been to have a toilet bowl below me and shifting to being in my carpeted room is something that I’m not sure how it’s supposed to work at all?
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by Willa »

Hi iLilli,

It totally makes sense to feel overwhelmed with trying something new you feel so unsure or uneducated about. Luckily we at Scarleteen are here to help you with any questions you may have. Is there anything in particular you feel anxious about having a "lack of knowledge" about? We have linked a lot of resources for you so far but I could provide more on the basics of masturbation if you feel that would be helpful to you. In general, many people feel shame about wanting to know more about topics like masturbation or sexuality, but you can take comfort in it being something that is a healthy and normal part of adult human life.

It may help some of the problems you have been identifying here if you move where you masturbate so that you can be more comfortable and relaxed, and can start shifting some of the feelings of shame and guilt. As far as clean up there are many different options. Some people prefer to masturbate in the shower, while others prefer to use things such as tissue to catch the ejaculate. I can link this source which discusses masturbation sleeves: https://www.scarleteen.com/article/sexu ... ve_edition. Using something soft such as a sock or latex glove so you can quickly wash or discard of it once you are finished. This can hopefully help you to masturbate somewhere more comfortable such as your bed.
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

I suppose a lot of my questions and uncertainties revolve around disposal or being able to set things up in the first place. Like… I don’t know if semen has a particularly identifiable smell or something, so I don’t know if that would be recognizable as “evidence” or something? If I failed to keep everything contained, what would the best way to clean it out of carpet or something be? My dad will sometimes, albeit very rarely, check through a garbage bag in case something important was accidentally thrown out or there are things that should go in the recycling instead - likely a consequence of his own neurodivergent habits to deal with uncertainty, but it means that the trash can isn’t a guaranteed solution for surreptitiously disposing of used tissues or something. Even using something like a sock or latex glove, wouldn’t it be a little suspicious to bring a single sock downstairs to the washing machine, or even just over to the bathroom sink?

Another issue is the fact that, as previously mentioned, the private time I have isn’t consistently uninterrupted. It’s not that I lack privacy, per se, but I don’t have any control over when or why another family member might call up to me to ask a favour, or to discuss something with me, or just to show me something they found interesting. To further complicate matters, my ADHD means I struggle to follow schedules at the best of times, so even attempting to arrange a specific time during which I don’t want to be interrupted wouldn’t work. It’s not even necessarily that this happens extremely often, but there just doesn’t seem to be a good way to be certain it won’t happen on any given occasion.

Obviously, anxiety is the biggest hurdle in all this - I know that’s not something you folks are equipped to help with, though. If I’m nervous at even the idea of buying condoms at a convenience store, buying a sex toy or something would be impossible to go through with. Heck, even if I did, how would I clean it without drawing attention?
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by Sam W »

If you're in a living space where things like the laundry or sinks aren't set up for any degree of privacy, that can for sure make it trickier to try to clean anything like a sex toy. I will say that semen doesn't have a super strong smell, and if someone were going through the trash and saw a bunched-up tissue, their guess is more likely to be that someone used it to blow their nose, if they think about what it was used for at all. As far as cleaning any stray fluids, I'd approach it the way you would if you spilled another substance on that area. So, grabbing carpet cleaner, a soapy rag, something like that.

When it comes to having time to masturbate uninterrupted, is there an option to do it when you're already in bed, either at night or when you first wake up? If people think you're asleep, they're far, far less likely to call for you.
iLilli
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

Morning or night is an option, technically, but I don’t think it would really work for me. I go to sleep pretty early compared to the rest of my family, and while I wake up early too, I’m not generally in the mood around that time - it’s usually closer to afternoon or evening.

Also, I’m not sure how I would be hygienic? Washing my hands after getting off on the toilet is one thing, but going from my bedroom to the hallway to the bathroom in order to wash my hands after masturbating seems like there could be problems involved - especially if the bathroom isn’t free at that point. I have no idea how other people figure out stuff like this on their own, to be honest.
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by Sam W »

In terms of hygiene, if you're not sure you'll have reliable access to the sink, having some hand wipes/wet wipes around can be helpful (and honestly I tend to keep a pack around anyway because they're great for day to day cleaning like when I inevitably spill coffee on my desk). Plus, they're a common enough item that it's unlikely anyone would even notice you have them.
iLilli
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

Tried to masturbate in the shower and… well, it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t really great either. I dunno if maybe I was doing something wrong, or if my expectations were incorrect, or something else? I’m not gonna get into specifics obviously, but… there was sensitivity and stimulation, but it didn’t really build to anything, which made it sort of unsatisfying. I wish there was somewhere I could go to be able to just… experiment and figure all this stuff out without having to worry about the logistics or secrecy or whatever. Though even if something like that existed, I dunno if I’d be able to work up the courage for it.

I guess I’ll just have to make a point of trying different stuff when I have the opportunity, and not just falling back on the same habits.
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by Sofi »

It does sound like for now you'll have to find moments and places when you're able to explore and experiment, rather than sticking to a routine per se. I want you to take some pressure off it though so when those opportunities come up, it doesn't feel like you HAVE to, or if you do and it's not as satisfying as you were hoping, it doesn't disappoint you. Does that make sense?
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by iLilli »

Yeah, you’re completely right. Putting too much pressure on myself to “get it right” or figure things out as soon as possible wouldn’t end up doing any good.
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Re: Fantasy issues

Unread post by Andy »

I’m glad what Sofi said was helpful!

And that sounds like a good approach. Let us know if you need anything else around this or something else!
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