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Are you having imaginary sex with your ex?

An Ann Summers survey has revealed that 57 percent of Brits admit to fantasising about someone other than their partner while making love — and that someone is often an ex.

The Ann Summers Great British Pleasure Survey reveals that women are more likely to fantasise about someone else than men are: 45 per cent of female respondents admitted to having naughty thoughts about another person while doing the deed with their partner.

And the survey says:

  • 40 percent of Brits admit that sex with an ex is their top “guilty pleasure fantasy.”
  • 35 percent of British couples say they are most likely to fantasise about someone else during sex just after an argument with their other half.
  • Brits aged 35-44 are most likely to fantasise about someone else during sex.
  • The most common fantasies are about someone they know in real life, not celebrities.
  • The Welsh are most likely to fantasise about an “inappropriate person” while the Scots prefer to fantasise about their partner and nobody else.

Why do we think about other people during sex?

First of all, fantasy shouldn’t be seen as a negative. Lots of couples in happy, healthy relationships use fantasy to keep their sex lives fresh. “It’s a reality in life that sometimes sex becomes routine,” says psychologist and sex expert Dr. Pam Spurr. “However, by injecting your fantasy into your sex life, it can boost libido levels and revive the excitement and lust with your partner.”

Dr. Pam wasn’t surprised that women fantasise about someone else more often than men do. “Fantasising provides an escape route which helps climax,” she says. “The fact that women do this more often could be that they feel more shy or inhibited to ask their partner to try a different technique — at least with fantasies, they give women what they need to reach a mind-blowing climax without having to ask!”

Over half of Brits fantasise about someone else in bedPhoto credit: Fabrice LEROUGE / ONOKY / Getty Images

How do you know when fantasy is dangerous?

Leading sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman agrees that there’s nothing inherently wrong with fantasies but warns of the potential risks if they get out of hand. Basically, a fantasy should remain just that: a fantasy. “Once it starts interfering with your real day-to-day life, it is no longer a fantasy,” Dr. Berman warns. “In general, when people feel fantasies are taking over their lives, it is because their reality is leaving something to be desired.”

Warning signs

  • You find yourself fantasising about someone you know, for example an ex, a co-worker, a neighbour, a friend’s partner or your partner’s friend, every time you have sex with your partner.
  • You think about that person a lot — out of the bedroom as well as in it.
  • You fantasise about having a relationship with that person.
  • You feel guilty about your fantasies, which makes you avoid getting intimate with your partner.

If you want to stay with your partner, start focusing more on your relationship and less on your fantasy, advises Dr. Berman. “With a little effort, you’ll find yourself easily generating more excitement and desire for your partner,” she says. If your sex life has become routine and fantasising about someone else has become a habit, mix it up. Invest in sexy lingerie. Try role play or toys. Start talking to your partner about what you — and he — want in bed. Remind yourself what you find attractive about him and what was great about your sex life in the early days.

What do real women think?

“I have a few tried and tested sex fantasies. I tend to go there if I need a little help climaxing. There’s one particular ex — who was more of a fling — who pops into my head from time to time. I’m sure my boyfriend fantasises about other women, and it doesn’t bother me. But that’s one aspect of our relationship we’ll never, ever talk about! Ignorance is definitely bliss in this case.” Lorna, 28, in a relationship for three years.

“I hate the thought of my partner fantasising about other women during sex. I never think about anyone apart from him. I don’t always have an orgasm, but that’s ok: for me, sex is about feeling close to him.” Jennifer, 35, in a relationship for 18 months.

“My husband and I sometimes talk about people we fancy. We’ve been married for a long time, and it’s normal to fantasise about other people. We have a rule, however, we stick to complete strangers, like the hot guy on the train on my way to work. Friends, colleagues, anyone we both know and spend time with — that’s off limits.” Lottie, 32, married for four years.

“When I started fantasising about a co-worker during sex with my boyfriend, I knew something was wrong with my relationship. I couldn’t stop thinking about this other guy and felt so guilty. In the end, I realised that the problems were within my relationship, and nothing to do with him. I was picturing the fantasy life I didn’t have with my boyfriend.” Sam, 29, single.

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