You’re not going to want to hear this: 72% of women in long-term relationships fantasize about other men they know, finds recent Czech research.
In fact, the longer you’re with her, the more her mind wanders, according to a study from the University of Vermont. But before you freak out, know that her private lust for another man doesn’t necessarily spell doom for your relationship. There’s no scientific evidence that her thinking about cheating means she will actually stray.
Fantasies are just a way for her to indulge a primitive urge for sexual variety while staying true to you, says Wendy Walsh, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of psychology at Cal State.
“Human beings are aroused by novelty and newness,” Walsh says. “It’s part of our anthropological mission to spread our seed. Sexual fantasies let her create that newness in her head—rather than in her bed.”
It doesn’t mean she loves you any less, Walsh says. In fact, it’ll help her stay committed by scratching that novelty itch without actually crossing any lines.
“Fantasies are the number one thing that help monogamy survive long term,” Walsh says.
And besides, you do the same thing all the time. According to the Vermont study, 98% of men imagine having sex with other women. The bottom line: Don’t sweat it, says Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., an NYC-based marriage therapist. “Appreciate the fact that she gets horny and desires a full and interesting sex life,” Hokemeyer says.
Remember, though, that fantasies aren’t the only way to keep sex exciting in a long-term relationship.
“Sometimes when couples are together for a long time, they get to know each others’ bodies so well that they play the same strings over and over,” says Walsh.
To bring the spark back, suggest something daring and totally out of character, says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., professor of sociology at theUniversity of Washington and co-author of The Normal Bar. Try getting frisky in a semi-public place or asking her to go without panties for the day. Or even better, find out what’s on her mind and work that into your repertoire, Hokemeyer says.