My Made-Up Lover: Marshall, the Hydro-Geologist

What Women Really Think
Sept. 23 2009 6:08 PM

My Made-Up Lover: Marshall, the Hydro-Geologist

Welcome to the "Desire Lab." The blog is designed to be one part personal confession, one part scientific research. It will be moderated by Daniel Bergner, who wrote this fabulous New York Times Magazine story, "What Do Women Want ?," which he is now turning into a book.

Daniel, the author of three award-winning books of journalism, will regularly ask a question inspired by the current explorations of sex researchers and by your contributions. We invite you to send him candid, thorough answers to desirelab@slate.com . The identities of everyone who writes in will be kept secret. Consider the blog a place to safely explore passions and lusts, longings, and ideas.

Advertisement

This is one of many responses to his initial question: What role does sexual fantasy play in your life? Some researchers say that erotic fantasy does not play a major part in women’s lives. Little is truly known. How often-and when-do you fantasize about sex? What are the fantasies? How long do they last? We at DoubleX hope you will get deeply into the details. Understanding lies in such depth.

To see his follow-up question click here .

Sexual fantasy plays a central role in my life, since I'm not sexually active. Much to my chagrin and frustration, my husband of six years, who was never all that horny to begin with, has lost all his desire for intimate physical relations. I therefore have to satisfy myself, but since I share a bed every night with someone who is not available as a partner, and I work all day either at the office or caring for my young kids, there is no opportunity for me to act on my desires-not even by myself. So I think about them instead.

I fantasize about sex daily. If sexual desire builds up long enough, I will have dreams at night that at least allow me to achieve orgasm, even if I'm not fully conscious for it.

I sometimes think about sex when I'm sitting alone in my cubicle with not enough to do. Sometimes in the car during my commute. But usually it's when I'm lying in bed, just before falling asleep or just as I'm waking up.

My fantasies are sometimes fleeting sexual thoughts: masturbatory devices I've seen and am curious about; pornographic scenes I wish I could watch. But sometimes they're more intense and long-lived. Once I had a three-month affair where I experienced all the sensations of giddy infatuation with a completely made-up character. He had the face of an actor I saw in an in-flight movie while on a business trip ... I imagined him to be another guest at my Vietnamese four-star hotel. It sounds so pedestrian when I describe it, but at the time it was wildly romantic and engrossing: His name was Marshall, and he was a divorced hydro-geologist for Bechtel, bidding on infrastructure development for HCMC ports. Boring, right? But I fell in love with him! We ate together, stayed up late talking and drinking Hennessey from the business lounge bar, then accidentally-on-purpose falling into bed together, after which we got up the nerve to take a weekend trip to Hue which was pure heaven. After we both returned to the States, he surprised me by showing up for a visit and we-illicitly, guiltily-continued our affair in my home town for another couple of weeks. After which we broke up and moved on. Hey, it gave me something to think about, something to look forward to, someone (even a make-believe friend) to dress well for when I left the house each day.

I can generalize and say that my sexual fantasies most often involve a man who desires me. That's the single biggest, most irresistibly sexy turn-on I can imagine ... that hot, lingering stare from a man who thinks I am magnificent, and who can't wait to get his hands on my naked body. If it's not a months-long affair with Marshall, it's a weeklong storyline starring a TV show character, or Mr. Darcy, or a casual acquaintance from a rec league sports team. The unifying theme among the objects of my sexual fantasies is that I am THEIR object of desire.

Daniel Bergner is the author of the new book What Do Women Want? Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Doublex

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

Politico Wonders Why Gabby Giffords Is So “Ruthless” on Gun Control

Behold
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:38 PM “No One in This World” Is One of Kutiman’s Best, Most Impressive Songs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?
War Stories
Sept. 23 2014 4:04 PMThe Right TargetWhy Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 22 2014 11:42 AMIn Defense of HRStartups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AMI Stand With Emma Watson