Why Am I Thinking About Other People During Sex?

Health's resident psychiatrist weighs in.

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Fantasizing about almost anything or anyone, including the UPS delivery guy, while you're having sex is both common and normal. To put it simply, fantasy does not equal reality: The thoughts that get you in the mood are not necessarily what you would want to do or even find pleasurable in real life. So thinking about other men—celebrities, complete strangers, aliens, whatever!—by no means implies that you're unhappily married or not sexually satisfied by your mate. In fact, having a variety of sexual fantasies is actually a positive thing if it helps improve your arousal when you're with your partner.

Do I recommend confessing all your sexual thoughts to your man? Not if you suspect that it would bother him. Now, on the other hand, if you are thinking exclusively about one guy all the time, or if you're imagining flirting with this person, then that might be a different story. (No, I'm not talking about Jon Hamm or Idris Elba here—more like the guy at work you see regularly.) Watch out if you're feeling a growing attraction to someone who is a part of your real life; these sorts of crushes or sexual curiosities may tread toward emotional attachment—and that can jeopardize your relationship.

Gail Saltz, MD, is a psychiatrist and television commentator in New York City who specializes in health, sex, and relationships.

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