His and hers fantasies–more alike than you’d think

Coming clean about something he says he regularly does in the shower—and I’m not talking about washing behind the ears—Ray Romano explains one of the burdens of guyhood.

“We were given the gift of fantasy,” he says in a 1996 HBO comedy special. “I know women can fantasize—but you have no idea what men are capable of. There’s a cast of thousands in there. It’s crazy. Men need a director in their head, someone who can run the show. ‘We have a new cast member with us today: Julie. Hi, Julie…how’d you get here? He saw you bend down in the subway? Don’t be frightened. There’s a lot of scene changes. You’re in, you’re out, you’re in, you’re out. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Are you bisexual? Well, you are now.’”

It’s funny, but it got me wondering about whether things are more reasonably rhymed inside the head of a typical female.

My ridiculously shallow and incomplete research of the World Wide Web suggests the answer is yes. And no. You’d think someone would have been able to figure this out by now, but my limited sources conflict.

“A woman has a more erotic mind than a man,” sexologist Robert Birch, Ph.D., told Men’s Health magazine. “A man is more likely to say, ‘Yeah, I want to have sex, let’s get into it.’ A woman is more likely to say, ‘Yeah, I want to talk dirty.’ Women are more into the theater, the romance, and the drama surrounding sex, rather than just the act.”

On the other hand, a study by the University of Granada in Spain found that men and women tend to have very similar fantasies, but that women have more “pleasant” ones. Which makes me wonder what would constitute an “unpleasant fantasy” and why anyone would entertain one.

Em & Lo of Em&Lo.com posit that women may be “less conflicted” about their fantasies than men. There may be something to that. For example, author Nancy Friday told People magazine in 1980 that while men love to fantasize about threesomes and orgies, they wouldn’t ever share their wives or lovers with other men in real life. “It would set up too much ambivalence and anxiety,” Friday said, “but in fantasy it’s fun.”

That, however, is no different than Ask Men.com’s explanation of its Top Female Fantasy No. 6: Threesome with another woman: “This (fantasy) rarely involves you (the guy) getting playtime with the second hottie, as most girlfriends do not want to see their man touch another woman. In this scenario, you’re meant to play voyeur until your woman is ready for something more hardcore. This allows her to experience the best of both worlds without having to worry about things like jealousy or sharing.”

Laura Anne Stuart, who owns The Tool Shed, an erotic boutique in Milwaukee, nailed the answer in her Sexpress column, which appears in the Shepherd Express newspaper: “Much of the anger and confusion about sexual fantasies comes from the fact that we don’t distinguish things we fantasize about from things that we actually want to do.”

For example, that Spanish study found that women are more likely than men to fantasize about being forced to have sex. But, I’m pretty sure I don’t know any women who are actually hoping some flesh-and-blood creep will drag them into a dark alley.

Anyway, I was pleased to see that the Granada study found similarities between men’s and women’s fantasies. Palm Springs Heat and Malibu Bride both have scenes in which the romantic leads fantasize about each other. In each case, the scenarios are exactly the same, but they’re told from slightly different points of view.

So far, no one has said, “Hey, Dave, your dual fantasy scenes are bogus. No man/woman would ever think that way.” To the contrary, these scenes have gotten some of the most enthusiastic thumbs-ups from my writing group members, beta readers and reviewers.

Which means I can proceed with confidence as I embark on writing at least one more full-length installment in the Fast Lane Romance series, and maybe a few shorter ones about some favorite side characters attaining their happily-ever-afters. I should have no trouble making their fantasies come true. All I have to do is enlist the cast of thousands that lives in my head.

Malibu Bride will be available as a Kindle download and as a paperback in mid to late May.

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