What Might Happen
Few mammals are preprogrammed for monogamy and yet, most of us cheerily toe the line of commitment in the face of biology. But limiting libidinous conquest to a menu of one can’t cage the big fat sex organ in your head. Does a straying mind make you a stray dog? What are you freaks really thinking about in flagrante delicto?
In committed romantic relationships, extracurricular sex is generally frowned upon. That’s why people call it “cheating.” There are exceptions, sure. Some partners have open marriages, swing, or occasionally bring another person into the fold for added excitement. But by and large, most prefer a monogamous arrangement. Stay in the pasture. Eat the grass. No one has to release the hounds.
Of course, if your mind works anywhere close to normal, it’s going to wander—at least occasionally. It ambles away on the morning commute, in class, while the boss is telling you something important. So how can you be expected to keep it laser-focused on the sexual here-and-now every single time?
The short answer? You can’t.
Insert, remove, repeat.
Okay, let us first pray to your deity of choice, invoke the four winds and make a sacrifice to the flying spaghetti monster to ensure this is not an apt description of your sex life. If, however, you’ve reached a point where the moves have all been patented, you may be living in that odd purgatory where you’re getting laid regularly, but it’s become less captivating than, say, the Family Guy episode (which you’ve seen 37 times) that’s serving as the background noise to your coupling.
At this point, does the mind look elsewhere for titillation?
“It depends,” says Manuel, 39 straight and single. “Sometimes you get so used to your partner’s actions and reactions in bed that you have to psychologically enhance the experience if they can’t surprise you in subtle physical ways anymore.”
The good news, according to some of the happily-marrieds polled, is that sex can be good, and continue to get better, in long-term relationships. And healthy fantasy—some shared, some kept clandestine—is part of the equation.
Case in point: Palmer and Susan. In their late thirties and married 12 years with two young boys, their lives are far more complex than when they were college sweethearts or childless newlyweds. Sex is less frequent, maybe twice a week as opposed to the daily romps enjoyed early on, “but it’s more intense,” says Palmer, “more fun.”
In the years since getting together, they’ve moved from what Palmer calls “basic fucking” to a mode where other elements are incorporated. “Talking dirty, toys, or a certain environmental situation. If we’re staying at a hotel, for example, we always do it on the balcony or in front of the window. The thought of somebody watching is a huge turn-on for both of us.”
Fair enough. But back home, in real life, doesn’t the mind occasionally drift?
“Absolutely. Isn’t that what keeps sex with the same person for 12 years exciting? Though, when I do fantasize about other stuff, Susan is a part of the action. I never pretend that she’s someone else. I don’t cut-and-paste the hot bartender from the restaurant where we just ate into bed instead of Susan, but there’s a good chance that while I’m fucking her, I’ll imagine she’s licking the bartender’s pussy at the same time.”
It doesn’t hurt that Wifey often instigates with her own decadent dirty talk. “She’ll say, ‘What if that hot bartender was straddling my face right now? I’d stick my tongue inside her cunt and make her come in my mouth….’ It’s all over for me at that point.”
Deep down, says Palmer, his favorite fantasies are rooted in the idea that they’re not entirely implausible. “That’s much more exciting to me than getting all worked up about something that will absolutely never happen.”
Claudia, 45, is 14 years married with two small children “…and a sex life that a lot of my friends envy,” she says. “I can’t say I come every single time—but I think that part of having great sex, of being a good lover, comes from open-mindedness, exploration and an understanding that your own orgasm isn’t the only reason to have it.”
There are occasions where her husband will give her “absolutely knee-locking, toe-curling” oral in the middle of the night, “and I just roll over and go back to sleep,” she giggles. Sometimes, the scene flips and it’s all about him. “More often, we both get off,” she says, “but there’s no pressure. It’s not a contest. Why should it be? It turns me on just to turn him on.”
Claudia admits to fantasizing amid the action on occasion. “Sometimes I don’t think about anything specific. I just feel what’s going on and fall into the act of being turned on, body and mind. The whole universe, all that has ever been, is buzzing between my legs,” she laughs. But when her mind does wander, it moves not to the memory books, but ones that remain unwritten.
“I tend to think about things I probably wouldn’t do in real life,” she says. “Maybe I go to some swingers club and end up playing with a woman while her husband watches. Or I invent a friends-with-benefits fantasy with a fictional married woman. I’ve even had rape fantasies. Occasionally, I’ll think about being with a real man I actually know; what that first kiss might be like, how his cock would feel and taste, how his body would react, that sort of thing. It’s very exciting—that factor of unknown.”
Claudia doesn’t share these thoughts with her husband, though she sometimes tries to get him to talk about the girls who came before. “Maybe it’s the security I feel in our relationship that allows me to be turned on by his past.”
What Already Has
“My mind wanders all the time when I’m having sex with my wife,” says Warren, 40, who calls their sex life after 14 years of marriage “active and fulfilling.”
“Sometimes it’s just bills or work or my parents or whatever. Sometimes I get a song in my head I just can’t shake—which is actually cool because it can buy me a few extra minutes. But most of the time it’s generally images and memories of girls I’ve fucked in the past or the ones who gave really great blowjobs. I have a couple of old girlfriends that I take in there with me on occasion.”
Heather, 39 and single, is in a long-distance relationship. “We have our share of hot phone sex—and great sex when we’re together—although my drive is much higher than his.” Historically, she runs her own version of Warren’s play when things in the bedroom aren’t necessarily punching her clock. “If it’s not good, I go to the highlight reel and replay an encounter that was amazing.”
Damian, 36, finds himself in a situation he never thought would happen. “I love my wife deeply, but am starting to grow concerned about our differing attitudes toward and appetites for sex. It’s strange to see my moods change when time passes without any. I start to get grumpy and pessimistic. I can get resentful and standoffish.”
Sex is infrequent, he says. “And when it’s available it is less enthusiastic than it has ever been. Although, I still come pretty hard.” His biggest pet peeve? She never makes the first move.
“I instigate every session and it drives me nuts. I like to be dominated a bit sometimes. I don’t want to be the leader every time. I want her to slide her hand into my shorts while we’re watching TV. I want her to demand that I fuck her. I want her to grab my cock, to be forced and told. This element doesn’t exist in my sex life and it’s tough for me.”
Even so, Damian’s mind tends to stay where his body is in the bedroom. “Where it does wander is to the physical act itself. “There is very little in this world that fascinates me more than the vagina. I think about spreading it open and burying my cock or tongue deep inside it. I think about the color, the skin texture and even the smell. During sex, I go out of my way to make sure I can see the actual penetration. It’s hot to watch my cock slide in and out.”
Single Sex for Double X
Jane, 38, is a single mom and self-described, “100 percent, born-and-bred, dyed-in-the-wool, gold star-lesbian, meaning the last time I saw a penis, I was very young and it was purely by accident.”
Recently ejected into the world of dating following a monogamous eight-year relationship Jane calls “satisfying in many ways, but not true love”—she says they were great friends, but almost never kissed or had sex. Jane feels semi-culpable. “She was so beautiful to me and I loved to hold her, look at her, date her and—as the lesbians do—snuggle her, but there was almost no chemistry.”
Everyone’s mind wanders sometimes, says Jane, “It might wander while someone is doing me—if it ain’t so good—but it never, ever wanders when I’m doing someone else. I’m 100 percent there with her.”
Think the Samantha character on Sex and the City is unrealistic? Meet Yvette, 34, who is doing so many men since the break-up of her five-year relationship (one she thought would culminate in marriage), that friends are unsure, quite frankly, how she manages to do anything else.
“I assembled first my 12 disciples,” she laughs. “Then the numbers got too large and my friends suggested I field a baseball team—with men in the farm league, the minors, guys who had contracts extended. I like to say I have three franchise players; guys who have potential to make the final relationship cut.”
Even with multiple partners, Yvette still finds her body might be with one while her mind is with another. “There is one guy who has the most flawless penis—long and wide with the perfect head. I sometimes fantasize about him when I know I’m close to getting off. Usually him tapping that perfect dick on my clit. Sometimes it’s more situational. There’s this basketball player I see who’s 6’9” and it really turns me on to think that this guy is kneeling between my legs. Can you say ‘power trip?!’ ”
Matthew and Rick, 20, are identical twins. Both are business majors, both play in a basketball league, both love fixing up old cars, both love blondes. Matthew’s current celebrity crush is Carrie Underwood. Rick’s is Daniel Craig.
Even people with the same DNA find different things sexy, and once you move from the physical to the cerebral, there's no rhyme of reason to the things, scenarios, and situations people conjure up.
So, are you what’s on your lover’s mind when you're doing the nasty? The best answer our limited research can unearth: Sometimes. Don’t feel any guilt about pretending he’s your kid’s hot soccer coach or she’s Miss November. Or you’re Miss November. Or anything, really. Why limit ourselves in one of the few places we can be limitless?