News & Politics

Women and Their Sexual Fantasies, Circa 1973

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April 12, 1973, Vol. XVIII, No. 15

Female fantasies
by Elaine Louie

Asking a woman her sexual fantasy is a new way of saying, “Who are you?” If she tells you, she may be doing a mental strip-tease or she may be trying to liberate herself. Certainly she’s taking a candid look at herself, because revealing one’s sexual fantasies means opening up a very intimate and hitherto very repressed part of herself. The repression is perfectly clear by the utter absence of intimation on the subject. Screw magazine, citadel of sexual fantasies, spent two years trying to publish an article on the subject.

Seeking some sort of documentation, I pored through a dozen books; I spent five hours with a Jungian psychologist; I went to the women’s bookstore on Barrow Street. Nothing. Even the psychiatrists have little to say…

Not being a psychiatrist, but simply a reporter, I offered anonymity without judgment for the revelation. Those who’d answer freely asked for pseudonyms. Their candor had to be protected by anonymity. They didn’t want to be recognized by someone who might know them…

ELLIE

Ellie is 19 years old. She’s a sweet pretty girl, with long brown hair and a fresh perky personality. She lives in the Lower East Side with a Brazilian artist. She grew up in a repressed Catholic family in upstate New York and came to Manhattan when she was 15. She manages a jewelry store in the East 70s.

“Maybe I’m a repressed lesbian in my fantasies, because that’s the fantasy I’ve had a lot. I dream I’m in bed with another woman, and we get into petting and stuff. We don’t’ really make it, but I have this dream pretty often, whenever I don’t have enough sex. Once I had a female roommate; I was 16, and she was 15. She was bigger than me, and she was very protective of me. Like she made sure I ate and stuff. So I guess the reason I have this dream is pretty obvious. My roommate was bulldyke-ish, and the reality of my rooming with her frightened me. But since I never really sexually dealt with her, I guess I still dream about her.

“Then for a while I didn’t have any fantasies. When I first came to New York, I lived with this animalistic biker who used to lock me up. I hated him, but I was scared of him. ‘Just don’t beat me up,’ I’d cry, and I’d go to bed with him. but I was frigid. There wasn’t any fantasy because there wasn’t any romance.

“But recently I had a new fantasy, and this one’s not a dream. I had it when I was with my old boy friend, who just got off the methadone program, meaning he couldn’t make love as much as I liked. So I have this four-inch little guy crawling inside me — inside my vagina. And he keeps me happy. He just likes me!”

(A week after telling me her fantasy, Ellie read a short story told from the point of view of a six-inch little man who lives inside a woman’s vagina, and complains a lot.)

JENNIFER

Jennifer is 24 and works in a New York publishing house. She graduated from Wellesley College, majoring in literature. She has dark hair, dimples, alabaster skin, and warm friendly brown eyes, once described by a boy friend as “too friendly.” She lives in SoHo with a film-maker and is in her third year of psychoanalysis.

“Sexual fantasies? Oh sure. I have them all the time! Mainly while I’m fucking. I have them when I’m fucking because I’m guilty about sex. It’s a childhood guilt. I’m guilty about enjoying it because my parents said sex was bad; it was evil and you weren’t supposed to enjoy it. So if I’m feeling guilty while I’m fucking, I can’t enjoy my orgasms, and have better ones. The fantasies create a higher sexual tension and then the orgasm is better.

“Most of my fantasies are the standard rape ones. Actually, they’re out of True Confessions. The usual one is the milkman/housewife rape. I’m the housewife, and the doorbell rings. I go to the door, and there’s the milkman or delivery boy who, of course, rapes me. And I have another regular fantasy too. It’s also a rape/submission fantasy. This one takes place near the ocean. You know, like the ocean is a big powerful force, and I’m afraid of it. It’s going to overwhelm me, and I’m threatened. So the only way for me to deal with it is to open my legs.

“When I try sex without fantasizing, the sexual tension just isn’t very good. Oh I know I’m off the wall having my fantasies from True Confessions, but I’ve got to have them. I don’t want to have fantasies, and there’s nothing mystical about my fantasies, but I used to be guilty about fantasizing. But then I figured out that the real guilt is about sex itself. I mean I only have the fantasies because I’m threatened. I’d really like to allow myself to feel the desireI really want to feel for the man, but I’m just not able to. I mean, I’d like to feel that sex is as it is — gentle, loving, good…because I like my old man. He knows I fantasize…I’ve told him, a little that is. I haven’ told him how much I do it. After all, I don’t really want to hurt him, but I’m not guilty about the fantasies. I’m just guilty about enjoying sex.”

ALICE

Alice is 22 years old. She has long wavy brown hair, and a very fresh pink-cheeked face, blue eyes framed by wire-rimmed glasses. Alice attended four different colleges, majoring in psychology. She worked in advertising in Washington, D.C., saved her money, and lives off the land in Virginia. Alice dreams about the astral fuck.

“I have this dream all the time, in color. I guess you could call it a fantasy, because I’d like it to happen.

“I’m walking through the fields, near a river. Everything’s beautiful. There are trees, meadows, and birds. It’s ethereal, and everyone’s playing music. There are guitars, harps, autoharp, pianos, oboes, and flutes. And there’s every sort of music — symphonies, countrywestern, and Bach on synthesizer. There are many different groups, but all the music blends together. And I am the instrument. I am fucking with the music. I am the music. We’re outside our physical bodies. I guess it doesn’t sound very sexual, but it is. To me. The music vibes are sexual vibes.”

SPIDERWOMAN

Spiderwoman is 18. She grew up in Panama and in Brooklyn, At 15, she was hanging out at the Hotel Chelsea. “It was more interesting than the local malt shop.” She’s just entered college in Amsterdam, where she’s something of a curiosity as an American freak.

“There’s one dream I’ve been having since I was 10. I’m kidnapped by a sheik, and he takes me to his castle and puts me in a huge contraption that holds my arms and legs open. I dangle from the contraption, and I’m hanging near a window. Looking out the window, I can see lines and lines of men coming to rape me. I guess I’m being raped by the whole Arab nation.

“When I was 12, I started fantasizing about Clark Gable. He’s my astral twin. I saw a re-run of ‘Gone with the Wind’ at that time, and dreamt about him abducting me and taking me to other planets. And I dream about my father too. My parents divorced when I was very young. I didn’t see my father for years. So I fantasize and dream, actually about chasing him along fire escapes. I still have them. I guess maybe I want someone to whisk me away.

“But I have other fantasies beside abduction ones. One of my favorites is a dream about the Cockettes. I’m part of their show, and we’re all on stage. They’re bisexual, and they come out pretty naked in some far out costumes. And I run around in a black slip dressed like my mother, and we carry out a lot of fantasies. Everybody’s grabbing cocks and tits. There’s the longest possible line of people grabbing each other, somehow, up on the stage. And you know what? By the time we really get into each other, the audience is doing it too!

“So maybe I am a little starstruck, but I believe, I really do, our fantasies can become reality.”

MICOL

Micol is 27 years old. A graduate of Radcliffe, she’s extremely intelligent and articulate. She works in New York City as a film editor.

“Never little boys and never old men. The sexuality of the young man doesn’t interest me. The young ones are too pubescent, and there just isn’t enough animal in the sexuality of old men.

“But when I was three or four years old, before I knew anything about sex, I fantasized about birds, fish, cows, every species mating with each other. I don’t remember ever seeing animals doing it, although I did spend a little time in the country as a kid. So if I did see them mating, I may have repressed it, but I did fantasize it. Then when I was nine, I found out about sex, and started having fantasies about imaginary people fucking, and doing anything sexual, like licking each other.

“I has to fantasize about imaginary people, because I couldn’t imagine real people doing it. I couldn’t imagine my parents doing it! I turned away in horror. But I could fantasize about imaginary people. In fact, I developed whole genealogies of people. I knew their kids, their backgrounds, and carried out these fantasies through the next generation. These fantasies developed when I was 15 or 16 and only stopped recently. But I remember my last tribal fantasy very clearly.

“It took place in Africa. The fantasy, by the way, came from a movie I saw where a boy had to kidnap a girl who was conditioned to expect complete sensual seduction by him and only when she’d completely submitted did she become his wife.

“Anyhow, in my African fantasy, the men and women live separately from each other. The women rear the girls, and the men bring up the boys. But the men and women get together for a week or so now and then just for sex. These are seasonal excursions. The sex orgies usually take place during the harvesting and planting seasons. The men and women take off together at this time and leave the kids behind. But I had to abandon this part of the fantasy, in a way, because I couldn’t figure out what to do with the kids, since they don’t have day care centers in Africa.

“But I do know what else happens to this tribe of people. The virgin is blindfolded and conditioned to be terrified of men. The men tie her up and seduce her gradually through tactile pleasure until the woman’s fear becomes allegiance to a man she’s never seen. Once the woman is older and has kids she teaches the younger women about sex through masturbation. With local organic vegetables.

“But other than these ritual matings, the men and women live pretty independently of each other. And they’re very beautiful people. The women have been large-breasted unlike myself, and the men are long, lean, and strong. They’re very healthy and radiant. I don’t have this sort of fantasy these days, but they did serve me well as an arousing fantasy.

“For a long, long time, my sexual fantasies didn’t involve me. The ones I did have involving myself were about men I was about to get involved with. I’d try to fantasize what making love with them would be like, and this would generate masturbation. They aren’t so much fantasies as they’re a way of getting a sense of what the man’s about sexually and whether or not I want to get involved. I’d call them preparatory fantasies. They’re quick nonvisual fantasies. Sort of a sex wire…and I know I’m becoming increasingly accurate with this fantasy. They’ve helped me a lot — especially by avoiding certain men. Either I’ve gotten what I was looking for or when I’ve gone against this intuition and leapt into bed anyhow and regretted it, I know enough that my intuition was right.

“Last winter I fantasized about myself and a man I’d been close to getting involved with but didn’t. Then I spent five days fantasizing about him. So finally I called him up and we’ve been seeing each other ever since.

“I thought of acting out the fantasies once we got together, but the reality had its own power. So I let the fantasies stay fantasies.”

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]