The Benefits Of Fantasizing About Someone Else In A Relationship

People fantasize. You could be madly, totally head-over-heels in love with your partner, but there's just something about that client that you meet with once a month that intrigues you or that barista who always gives you a sly wink. So, you start thinking about them. A lot. Then you think about them naked. You wonder what it might be like to have sex with them. Suddenly, you go from simply wondering to fantasizing about having sex with them. Don't fret! It's normal, it's healthy, and it's part of the human experience. Fantasizing while in a relationship with someone else can actually be quite beneficial.


"Human beings are aroused by novelty and newness," psychologist Dr. Wendy Walsh tells Men's Health. "It's part of our anthropological mission to spread our seed. Sexual fantasies let [your partner] create that newness in her head — rather than in her bed... Fantasies are the number one thing that help monogamy survive long term."

So, if you've been fantasizing about someone who isn't your partner and thinking that your partner might be doing the same, don't sweat it. All this fantasizing is actually a good thing, and your relationship will be better for it.

It can awaken your sexuality

According to a 2021 study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, when people are turned on — even by someone who isn't their partner — the relationship benefits because the stimulated part of the brain puts arousal into motion. The study went on to further discover that sexual fantasies highly influence the levels of one's emotional and physiological state for their primary partner, thereby positively attributing to sexual desire and sexual function. Desire and excitement are the first two stages of the body's sexual response, meaning that having these heightened can aid in having an orgasm — especially in those who struggle to climax. 


If you're not in the mood, you can let your brain wander off into other places with that person you've been fantasizing about, and when you've reached peak arousal, the sex you have with your real-life partner can be highly pleasurable.

It can inspire role play

When people hear the term role-play, they tend to think of a woman dressed as a French maid or a cheerleader. If that works for you, that's great, but if not, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate this kind of fun into your sex life as well.


"In my professional experience, I have found that people find great fulfillment in finding ways to live out their fantasies," clinical psychologist and sex therapist Dr. Christopher Ryan Jones tells Brides. "It has been very helpful in couples therapy, as a tool to reinvigorate their sex lives."

When it comes to role-playing, the sky's the limit. It allows people to step out of their everyday lives and experience a persona that's not their own. For some, this could involve reenacting a favorite scene from "Game of Thrones" or, if you happen to be more into leisure suits and disco, then you and your partner can act out a clip from that John Travolta movie "Saturday Night Fever." It's all about whatever type of role-playing gets you revved up. 


It can help you explore different parts of your sexuality

Fantasizing about other people besides your partner has the possibility to trigger things inside you that you may not have ever realized were there. For example, perhaps, BDSM may have never appealed to you in the past, but now every time you fantasize about that particular person, all you can think about is being tied up and dominated because that's what they've evoked in you. That's a part of your sexuality that fantasizing about someone else can help you explore — and you should never feel bad if it took someone other than your partner to spark these lustful thoughts and intense feelings in you.


"Being with one person does not mean you don't find others sexually attractive," psychologist Dr. Elyssa H. Barbash tells Romper. "As long as you feel connected and stimulated in your primary romantic relationship, fantasies are a functional part of a long-term relationship."

If it takes fantasizing about someone else to keep the fire alive, then lean into that sexual exploration with your partner. They may realize they've been a BDSM fiend all this time too. 

It can create a healthier relationship with sex and intimacy

According to Psychology Today, fantasizing about people other than your partner can help to improve sex within your relationship and can actually help you have a healthier attitude when it comes to sex, sexuality, and intimacy. In a culture that shies away from the topic of sex, despite images of it being everywhere, this is an important discovery of how we can shed the taboo that's still attached to sex.


And, considering a 2021 survey of 2,000 people by Durex found that one-third of couples are uncomfortable talking about sex with their partner, if promoting fantasizing about other people is what it's going to take, then maybe that's what needs to happen. There's no shame in fantasies because they're just that: fantasies. Perhaps if more people allowed themselves the very human behavior of fantasizing about people outside their partnership, then maybe, just maybe, their relationship with sex would be far healthier and void of stigma.

It can make you grateful for your partner

The most beneficial part about fantasizing about someone else when you're in a relationship? At the end of the day, you have the real thing at home.

"Our imagination is polyamorous and is the only part of our lives that is truly free," family behavioral specialist Dr. Jennifer Freed told Bustle. "In our imagination we are liberated from responsibility and constraint, and we have an outlet for the many parts of ourselves that cannot be safely expressed in real life. As long as you feel closely connected and inspired in your primary relationship, fantasies are a functional part of a long-term relationship."


Fantasizing about that barista, or the cashier at Target, or the elevator person in your building is fun, exciting, and can get you all hot and bothered so you and your partner can reap the sexual benefits, but ultimately, there's nothing quite like having the real deal to spoon with while eating popcorn and watching "Gilmore Girls" for the hundredth time. That's the good stuff right there.