You can also try a breathing technique to quell anxiety in the bedroom: breathe in for a count of four and then breathe out for a count of four, feeling the air move deep within your belly.
Sometimes, people have trouble focusing on the situation at hand because they’re dissociating, or disconnecting from their bodies, says Nelson. This can stem from a fear of vulnerability or past trauma that gets triggered by sexual situations. You may be dissociating to avoid the pain of the trauma or maintain emotional distance from your partner. As with n inability to turn off your mind, dissociation probably happens in more areas of your life than just sex.
Since dissociation is typically a coping mechanism, it could benefit you to explore why you’re doing it with a therapist. The same mindfulness techniques mentioned above can also help combat dissociative tendencies.
Read More: Can Mindfulness Improve Your Sex Life?
You Want to Try Something New
You may find yourself relying on fantasy to get aroused during sex because the acts taking place in real life aren’t totally doing it for you. If you can figure out what about the fantasy is turning you on and get that in your sex life, this is easily solvable, says Nelson.
For example, Nelson had a client who fantasized about the erotica she read. When they talked about it, she realized most of this erotica involved women being submissive. Once she could incorporate submission into her sex life, she no longer felt the need to fantasize. If you’re able to talk about your fantasies with your partner, they could become a reality as well.
There’s a Side of Yourself That Wants to Come Out
It’s true what they say: people often behave the opposite way in their sexual fantasies from how they do in real life. If someone’s very aggressive and take-charge at work, for example, they may fantasize about being submissive in bed, says dating and relationship expert and author April Masini.
"Women fantasize about being their alter egos during sex,” she explains. “If they’re demure in real life, they have sexual fantasies about being take-charge in bed. And women who rule the boardroom often fantasize about being the maid, or some more subservient character, during sex. Real life can create pressure, and someone who’s politically correct all day at job will be having sex fantasies where she’s the cheerleader or even the stripper or escort during sex.”
Some people will act out their alter egos in the bedroom, while others will continue being their real-life selves and keep their alter egos within their fantasies. If you’d like to have a deeper connection with your partner, you can try acting these fantasies out with them, knowing they have no bearing on who you are outside the bedroom.
In short, whether or not fantasizing in bed is a problem depends on where it comes from and what the effects are. “I have seen how fantasies can make people dissociate,” says Nelson.
On the other hand, “you can incorporate fantasies in healthy ways,” she adds. “If you incorporate fantasies to heighten your arousal and connection to your partner, it doesn’t take anything away from a partner but can add eroticism to a sexual moment.”