When people talk about sexual fantasies, they may be talking about something they’ve conjured up in their imagination — a tryst with a celebrity crush, something pulled from porn, or a threesome that they may not even want to have IRL. But there’s a lot to be said for having many varied fantasies.
“Fantasy is free space,” sexologist and relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein tells Bustle. “It doesn’t always make sense and it doesn’t have to.” Your fantasies should run as wild as your imagination allows, but new research shows that the most beneficial kind of fantasy might actually be something a little closer to home.
Research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows that fantasizing about your current partner can actually help your relationship. Researchers at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel found that fantasies about your partner help promote “relationship-building behaviors”.
The researchers utilized four different students to find out how dyadic fantasies (fantasies about your partner) and extra-dyadic fantasies (fantasies about someone else) affected relationships. In the first two studies, people in relationships were asked to fantasize about their partner or about someone else and then asked to rate their interest in relationship-promoting activities. While some of these actives were sexual and some weren’t, the researchers found that those who had engaged in dyadic fantasies were more likely to want to participate in activities that would strengthen their relationship.