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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Are Sexaul Fantasies OK?

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Sexual Fantasies with "Slap and Tickle"

Quick Access:
Are Sexual Fantasies OK?

Is there anything deviant about sexual fantasies that involve a little "slap and tickle"?


Rest assured, there’s nothing crazy or abnormal or wrong about such types of bedroom play. In fact, it’s quite common both as a fantasy and as actual foreplay. I encourage people to read up about the facts versus the fiction when it comes to dominant and submissive (D&s) activities.

Wikipedia is a good place to start, as are the works by Peter Masters and Yvonne Fulbright. In short, D&s is as much psychological as it is physical. It’s a fascinating form of sexual expression – and admittedly not for everyone – so let’s explore some of the basics based on the insights from Peter Masters.

Experts who routinely engage in D&s play identify five basic types of play or dynamics:

Master/ slave; Trainer/ trainee; Dominant/ submissive; Owner/ property; Top/ bottom

These categories are not cut-and-dried in real life – they can blend into one another. However, these categories help make it easier to understand what makes them different and how couples use them for fulfill psychological and physical needs. The dynamics that address these needs revolve around issues of Authority, Interaction & Feedback, Emotional Involvement and Development & Growth.

Authority dynamic
Control is very attractive for some people and to some people. Authority is expressed differently among the five dynamics above. IFor example, a trainer obviously has authority over a trainee, but it is limited to requests that are necessary to achieve training objectives. A master/ mistress, on the other hand, might be able to demand any form of service from a slave, but not be able to require the slave to learn completely new skills if that was not part of the original negotiations. And a “top” certainly can’t expect anything that isn’t negotiated from moment-to-moment with the “bottom.”

Interaction & Feedback dynamic
Interactions can be personal or impersonal – depending on the dynamic at work. For example, an owner might simply expect that when he tells a person (“property”) to cook dinner that the dinner is prepared and that is the extent of the interaction. On the other hand, and by definition, a master controls a slave. Thus, the feeling and experience of exerting and manipulating authority is what is rewarding and stimulating. Tops and bottoms seem to rely heavily on physical action and interaction with each other. But this interaction is mainly physical or sexual and there is no exercise of authority—everything is done by agreement and the feedback is an implicit part of the “contract” between them.

Emotional Involvement dynamic
Dominants and submissives often seem to be looking for a personal relationship with each other, while masters/mistresses and slaves often don’t. They might have an intimate relationship of one sort or another, but masters/mistresses and slaves don’t need to be friends or “in love.” Other categories also need not involve emotion as a prerequisite for role play. For some the trust and surrender with another person is the driver, while other times the driver is simply sexual pleasure with no emotional strings attached.

Development & Growth dynamic
This aspect feeds psychological needs. It may not be part of a top/bottom dynamic, but it is clearly part of a trainer/ trainee dynamic and might be so for master/mistress and slave as they interact and grow as a result of their relationship and experiences together. I know of one master who has slaves graduate to different levels, akin to a martial artist earning new colored belts, as the slaves develop in their roles. Freud would have had a field day with this type of system, but then again, it does resemble in certain ways the classic notion of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and self-actualization.

When you really think about it, all relationships (especially sexual ones) have elements of Authority, Interaction & Feedback, Emotional Involvement and Growth & Development. D&s play showcases these physical and psychological drivers in extreme ways. And even if such role play is not your thing, there’s still much to learn from the exercise of learning about the implicit dynamics. These dynamics attract us to certain people, can build up a relationship and maintain and nurture it. Of course, these same dynamics – in amounts skewed against the preferences of a couple – can tear a relationship apart.

Discussing your D&s fantasies with your partner can be fun, but it is fun and insightful to contemplate on your own why certain fantasies may appeal to you and what that means for what you are looking for in a relationship.

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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