Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dream on?

Love is in the air as “the most romantic date of the year” takes centre-stage spotlight halfway through February. But while many of us busy ourselves booking intimate tables-for-two, hassling Interflora and urging Cupid’s to programme his GMS properly, many more have an entirely different interpretation on the meaning of content coupledom...and the verses that put their feelings into words ain’t gonna be found on a Clinton’s card.

If you Google the term “advice on sharing fantasies”, you’ll be presented with a list over 5m sites focusing on the subject. The first 30-40 hits largely constitute beginner’s guides, translations of what particular fantasies mean and confessionals from people who claim that turning their dream life into reality has spiced up their love life no end - hats (and everything else) everybody involved; after all, nobody wants the words “sadly, he never did get his wife to wear stockings while she did the housework” included in their obituary.

Keep on clicking, however, and you’ll soon be cruising deeper and deeper into far murkier waters infested with bottom-feeders offering easy access to real life, “discrete” encounters with like-minded people, contact details for pay-as-you-go escorts who claim they can “make your wildest dreams come true”, horror stories that started with a kiss (albeit often on a studded leather gimp mask worn by a man who insisted he be called ‘Master’) and - sadly but perhaps inevitably - direct links to child pornography; within a matter of seconds, your back-of-the-mind idea about recreating “that” scene from An Officer and a Gentleman this Valentine’s Day could be likened to taking your loved one for a curry and ordering a korma when what you really want is a phal.

Now I’m not for one moment suggesting that harbouring a personal amorous fantasy is the first step of a journey into far more sinister zone; imagination is widely acknowledged as the most powerfully erotic outfit in our sexy dress-up box and makes a very interesting bedfellow indeed. But unlike Quality Street, fantasies aren’t necessarily made for sharing (who wants to be bullied into biting into the Toffee Penny when they’ve always been happy with the Vanilla Fudge?) and that weary old platitude involving being careful what you ask for never has more resonance than when it’s used within the context of a love life debate. The self esteem of all parties involved in your little bout of selfish indulgence is subject to severe threat: if your partner urges you to consider taking on an entirely different image, attitude and personality in the bedroom, might he/she actually be subliminally wishing you out of their life altogether? And what if the “new role” simply doesn’t wear well? A woman who believes that “sugar!” is a suitably expressive expletive when riled probably isn’t going to be comfortable telling you exactly what kind of dirty whore she is next time you’re in bed, a 21-stone, rugby playing macho man isn’t, in reality, going to look all that fetching wearing a nappy and few people have the emotional largesse to accommodate three in a bed for long; whoops, it looks like we’ve suddenly got a nightmare on our hands.

But the “Me!” generation is used to being encouraged to “go for it” in all aspects of life, and instant, egocentric gratification is the order of the day. Almost every relationship pundit in almost every from of everyday media concur that our private, innermost fantasies must be outed, offering hints and tips on how to broach the subject (over an intimate supper; by sexy text message; by downloading a template of a ready-written letter/email - honestly!) and even suggestions for fantasies for those with no imagination at all to consider making their own; only the very best professionals in the bunch offer warnings about the emotional havoc that the multilayered pressure of attempting to recreate a fantasy can wreak. Do you dream in X-rated Technicolor? Lucky you! Now keep it to yourself and dream on.

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