Wise Guys – How Often Do Men Think of Someone Else During Sex?

photo by bixentro

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week a straight woman asks,“How common is it for guys imagine someone else while they’re having sex with a partner? Does it depend on the guy? Does it depend on the relationship? How do you think it compares to the rate at which women do this?

Straight Single Guy (Tyler Barnett): The thought of your partner picturing someone else during the deed is nauseating. If I was told a girl I was sleeping with was imagining I was her ex I would suggest she live the dream and get the hell out of my bed. There really isn’t a reason to imagine your partner is someone else unless you actually wish they were. There are times when our minds wander and some people from the past make guest appearances, but they are usually short lived. If you yourself find that you are imagining your partner to be someone else more often than not, I say do yourself a favor and move on. Sex should be an intimate experience between two people who are both in the moment, with their heads on a bed, the floor, anywhere really except for the clouds.

Gay Single Guy (Jay Dyckman): It happens all the time.  Especially when it involves two guys.  There is a lot of pressure to ejaculate to show your partner that you have, in fact, been enjoying the experience.  No one likes to admit it, but when one person doesn’t climax it becomes the elephant in the room.  A very frustrated, sticky elephant.  So imagining a very hot past sexual encounter can often be just the ticket to blast-off.  If it happens the first few times in a relationship, that relationship will last about as long as Snookie’s fifteen minutes.  But after a year or so, totally healthy and normal.

Straight Married Guy (Matt): I honestly have no idea how often guys do this, in general. It’s not something guys exactly gush about, like, “Hey, so you should’ve seen this woman I was imagining while I was fucking my girlfriend last night–totally amazing.” But yes, I suppose it depends on the guy and the relationship, like anything. I don’t have any idea whether women do this (or talk about it) either, so it’s impossible to compare. If the question is, do I think it’s okay to do this, I’d say that depends. If it’s something you’re experiencing with your partner as a scenario/fantasy, then it can be great. If you’re off in your own fantasy and not actually present with your partner while you’re having sex, I’d say it’s fine once in a while, but would be a real bummer for both people involved if it’s happening on a consistent basis.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Gay Guy is Jay Dyckman, an LA copywriter and our Single Straight Guy is Tyler Barnett of Tyler Barnett PR in LA. To ask the guys your own question, click here. To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. I am perfectly content when being in a relationship that the man I am with will fantasize about other women during masturbation, that the point of that is to picture crazy scenarios with other women. It your alone time I am completely okay with that. That’s your business. You alone time. Sometimes it’s fun to join both alone times… But anyways off topic. It is mind boggling that said partner would also use our time to please eachother and picture another woman, ex, or past hookup. I cannot do this, in a bad relationship when a break up is near and sex is rare i can understand. But when sex is amazing, when two people are connected or maybe just having an amazing quickie, I am kind of bummed out that men can still picture someone other than the woman they are with. I thought that’s what masturbation was for. I never would’ve thought during the act the moment his eyes are closed he is picturing I am an array of different women. This is kind of heart we wrenching. I mean I won’t lie I tried it one time to picture someone else while having good sex with someone I love, I couldn’t I had to open my eyes and look at him to remain turned on, to even get off. I did that because he always would
    Close his eyes for an extended period, it Made me
    Feel like he was somewhere else. So I tried it and I couldn’t. But to know men can do that and do it often….. Idk it does mess with me, makes me more insecure, when I know when we are having sex or making love I am enjoying all of. Him
    And he’s enjoying me, his ex, the girl in his biology class with the big tits. I thought masturbation was the time and place for those thoughts. Not when I am trying to please you or make love on you. :/

  2. Those first few months with a girl are amazing. After that, sex starts to taper off. Several years in, it really tapers off. Why? Who knows? Regardless, it’s the man’s job to perform.

    We guys take our job pretty seriously. We know that we have to get it done, no matter what. And we would always prefer to have a pure experience completely focused on our lover.

    However — if things aren’t happening, and we’ve tried everything else, we have no choice but to fantasize about an ex, or the porn we surfed, or a hot chick at the office.

    Either that, or the relationship fails. We all know that when the sex goes, splitting up isn’t far behind. We have to solve the problem.

    Years in, maybe we’re fantasizing about other women all the time. What’s the alternative? Love blossoms over time; libido diminishes. That’s just the way it is. Coping mechanisms come into play.

    1. “We guys take our job pretty seriously.” Excuse me – “our job” ? It’s your thinking that’s disordered, sonny! If you honestly see sex as a ‘job’ then you haven’t had a single sexual experience in your whole life – and I don’t care how many people you’ve inserted your little chap into. Sex is something you do when you both want to – yes, difficult to synchronise that sometimes but worth the effort. And sometimes you just have to go without. Sex is TOTALLY about the other person and being totally into them. If you’re not into them – if they’re not turning you on – the relationship is over.

      “We all know that when the sex goes, splitting up isn’t far behind. We have to solve the problem.” But the sex is gone , my little friend, the moment you have to start thinking about other people. Sex is in the head. You are your thoughts. By continuing to use her body – but like a blow-up doll to get off on and ejaculate into – you dehumanise both yourself and her. I’m sure she would not be thrilled to know that the guy she thought was so great that she allowed him not her bed and her body, is actually using her as a sex toy while his real self (his mind, his thoughts) are off with someone else.

      Trying to portray yourself as someone who is somehow doing good, being reasonable, about a “problem” – when you merely want to hold on to a body to use till you get something better – is truly despicable. It is also a bit rapey – not in a way that the law would ever recognise, of course – because she has not given her consent for this. At the very, very least, you need to inform a woman – at the point you feel you need to fantasise to ‘perform’ – about your feelings. This at least would allow her to either a) choose to fantasise along with you or b) kick you out the door.

        1. It’s an interesting question, the idea of consent and fantasy. Because where do you draw the line? Certainly most reasonable people would say that the occasional fantasy about someone else isn’t “rapey” and doesn’t require a consent form. And, on the other end of the spectrum, most people would be devastated if they found out that their partner fantasized about someone else every single time. So at what point do the fantasies become problematic? Is it a matter of frequency? Or does it depend on the quality of the relationship?

          And what if the woman is enjoying the sex fully and climaxing every time and the man seems, to her at least, to be fully engaged… could that be seen as just two people making long-term monogamy work for them?

        1. Ha, good point, Johnny. Two people screwing each other like sex toys, each of them thinking of someone else: A monogamous horror story, or just a couple who really likes each other’s company, figuring out a way to keep the fires burning? You decide. 🙂

  3. It would really hurt me. Honestly. When i make love to my boyfriend it is so amazing. We both get so high off the sex. We are young…he says that he doesnt think of anyone else. Nor do i. But if he did? I wouldnt know about it. Sex is an intimate and great experience between two people. Mind body and soul. Its corny. But i just dont want anyone else in the room imaginary or otherwise. Not to mention im a little firecracker in bed and pretty damn good looking to…lol.

  4. i have only onces had a vision of someone else wile i was having sex with now my ex fiance.. we had a lot of problems and pretty much breaking up…sex was horrible at that point..soon after we broke it off, then found out he cheated on me. but now im with a great man that i think about 24/7. sex is great and i would never think about anyone else but him 🙂

  5. The world is not ideal so If you have a long term partner this scenario is more or less inevitable. In case my partner is fantasizing about someone else during sex on occasion, so be it. I don’t have to know. And if we are going through a rough time/ one of us has a crush on someone else/struggling with temptation, which also happens even to the most loved up couples, I’d rather he daydreamed about some escape while on top of me than took off to actually feed on the greener grass. Hard to say how much is too much and how long is too long, though.

  6. How common? For me, the answer is never. I’m totally into the one I’m with and the experience. As for women, never had one say, “you were terrific, I almost felt I was with Tom, Dick, or Harry”.

  7. I like Tyler, Jay, and Matt’s answers exactly because they’re all over the map. Because I think that’s the correct answer to the question.

    Back when the first big round of post-sex-revolution sex manuals came out in the 1970s (Joy of Sex, Everything You Wanted to Know, The Sensuous Woman, etc) the notion of fantasizing about someone else came up fairly commonly. Usually with a rejoinder that it was perfectly ok, and occasionally with the claim that everybody does it sooner or later.

    I don’t know about that. Even with all that sex-manual coaching and easy acknowledgment from friends it’s never really happened to me — sex is sex and I pretty much enjoy being there. But then most of my fantasies are about having sex anyway — sights, sounds, movements, feelings. If they were about people, places, or situations it might be very different.

    As with all things fantasy, the real trick, I think, isn’t about who you fantasize about, it’s who you want to be with. Most of the time I’m guessing your partner wouldn’t be there with you if he or she didn’t want to be. If their fantasies about others inspire them to carnivorous lust for you then… hard to complain.


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