Lust, Love and Loyalty survey results

Work with me, baby

"Take fantasies," Blow offers. "A guy worries 'Oh my wife might judge me, shame me, I have to keep this part of me inside. I must hide from her' instead of saying 'I am having this fantasy, work with me on it.'"

When we feel we have closed off part of ourselves, our need for intimacy can lead us to open it to another. A truly intimate relationship in which such sharing is accepted can move toward greater levels of intimacy, Blow says. "I think when you hide things, cannot talk about things, in relationships where lots of things are off the table, people become ripe for plucking."

Nothing is foolproof, of course, but being willing to defy the social, personal, or religious views we carry into a romantic relationship, by understanding how idealized — and therefore unrealistic — love and marriage have become in popular culture, it’s possible to let go of secrets "and create familiarity and intimacy and trust in an otherwise sex phobic society," Schwartz says.

We all have fantasy lives. But couples who create taboos around those fantasies, she says, leave "no room for your psyche, and you might get it elsewhere."

You're likely to stay monogamous, she continues, "if you have a very hot relationship, with lots of friendship, if you turn each other on, go away for weekends, watch erotic movies, call her at work and say 'If you come home for lunch, I’ll make it worth your while."

Brian Alexander, a California-based freelance writer Sexploration columnist, is working on a new book about sex for Harmony, an imprint of Crown Publishing.

© 2007 MSNBC Interactive

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