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TODAY contributor
updated 12/27/2007 7:42:14 AM ET 2007-12-27T12:42:14

Q. I was reassured to read your observation that “some women find it thrilling to think about their partner having sex with someone else” ( What to do when a spouse OKs sleeping around ).

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I love my husband dearly, and our 25-year marriage is stronger than ever. Once or twice a year, my husband and his friends go to a club where he gets a lap dance. The images of him getting a lap dance and then coming home to have sex with me are very erotic.

I would be heartbroken if he were ever to cheat on me, but why does this imagery turn me on so much? Yes, I am planning to give him my own lap dance once I get the moves right. Am I OK, or is this a threat to our marriage?

A. You are perfectly OK, and this is not a threat to your marriage. Fantasy is fantasy. In fact, it is probably healthy for your marriage.

The more you can appreciate and enjoy wonderful sexual fantasies that you either think about or enact with your husband, the better your sex life will be.

The fact is that people fantasize about all kinds of things they don’t necessarily want to do, or that they would not enjoy if they did do.

For example, many women imagine being forced to have sex, or having group sex, or having sex with a stranger or celebrity. What is enjoyable in thought doesn’t always translate into what is enjoyable in action.

So there is nothing at all abnormal or wrong with thinking about such things, unless you find yourself highly disturbed by the thoughts or they make for unwelcome intrusions or obsessions.

You say you are turned on by the thought of your husband getting a lap dance from another woman, but would be heartbroken if he had sex with someone else. That, of course, is a huge distinction. So fantasizing works to the advantage of both you and your husband, especially because you are not involving other people. No harm, no foul.

Of course, there are always risks involved when men go to clubs with their male friends and not their spouses. If your husband is going out with his buddies, I hope you are having open and honest communication about this, and you are fully confident that the lap dance will not go beyond the lap. Not all lap dances are created equal.

If you are comfortable with him doing this as recreation, that’s fine. But if his club-going annoys you — and for many women, it does — then it’s a problem. But it doesn’t sound like this is the case for you.

You might, however, consider going together to the club. If you are with him and the lap dance piques your sexual interest, all the better.

Dr. Gail’s Bottom Line: Fantasies are not reality, so don’t punish yourself for having them. Instead, go ahead and enjoy them, even a fantasy about your spouse’s involvement with another woman.

Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital and a regular contributor to TODAY. Her latest book is “Anatomy of a Secret Life: The Psychology of Living a Lie.” She is also the author of “Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts,” which helps parents deal with preschoolers’ questions about sex and reproduction. Her first book, “Becoming Real: Overcoming the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back,” was published in 2004 by Riverhead Books. It is now available in a paperback version. For more information, you can visit her Web site, www.drgailsaltz.com.

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