Why your partner's celebrity hall pass makes you so mad.

“It’s the biggest fight we’ve ever had,” reveals a girlfriend over email recently, “and I don’t even fully understand why.”

She’s recounting an argument with her husband that erupted over celebrity ‘hall passes’

A common trope between couples, the idea is that, should the opportunity ever present itself, each person in the relationship would be forgiven for engaging in a night of passion with their predetermined ‘hall pass’. A famous crush they’d want to shoot their shot with, should all the stars align. The rationale being that it’s a risk-free way to explore a fantasy that is only ever going to stay in the realm of the hypothetical. 

Fantasy is a healthy part of sexuality,” explains Tanya Koens, sexologist and relationship therapist. “We all have multiple layers to our worlds - there’s the part of ourselves we show the public, the part of ourselves we reveal to our partner, and the part we keep all to ourselves.”

Fantasies are completely normal and a healthy part of the human experience. Even in very happy relationships, it's common to think about someone else and have sexual fantasies. As sexologist, C. Ryan Jones told, "Sometimes they are just nice thoughts to have." 

It’s when we reveal part of that private inner world to a partner, explains Tanya, that darker emotions can sometimes rear their heads. 

“Even though it’s our partner’s fantasy, fear and jealousy sometimes make us apply our own meaning to it,” she continues. “We immediately jump to ‘My partner wants this thing that is different to me, that means I am not good enough, it means there is something wrong with me’.”

So, who was the woman who inspired such passionate fury in my usually placid friend?


“He has two,” she explains, the argument still fresh in her mind. “Paris Hilton is one, and the other one is journalist Annabelle Crabb. I mean, what a spectrum!” 

Image: Getty.

While both undoubtedly beautiful, accomplished women, I have to agree that he hardly appears to have a type; the Venn diagram of overlap between the pair is two circles on either side of a long room. 

“I didn’t think he was into that overly done-up, Paris Hilton vibe,” she continues. “While Annabelle Crabb felt like a jab at me. I know I’ll never be as good a writer as her or know as much about politics or host TV shows so it just feels like he picked two women I’ll never live up to.” 


I ask around the coupled-up women I know to see if they’re onboard with the concept of hall passes - and to see which famous names came up. 

“My wife’s is Kate Winslet,” reveals a close girlfriend, who is completely unbothered by the crush. “What can I say,” she says with a knowing chuckle, “she’s always loved the ultra femme girls!”

“I couldn’t enjoy Charlize Theron movies for about a year after my husband told me he had a really vivid dream about her,” confides another. “In my defence, I was about two months postpartum and feeling particularly vulnerable when he told me about it, but we laugh about it now.”

Image: NBC. 


“My husband thought it was hot when I told him mine was Elaine from Seinfeld,” laughs a colleague, “Funnily enough, when I told him it was also Chris Hemsworth, he wasn’t so amused.” 

I suggest to Tanya that perhaps some of us hyper-vigilant types are programmed to scan our relationships for signs of troubled waters, constantly looking for clues on what our partners really want, all the while trying to ignore the small, irrational voice that whispers ‘not you’.

“I think that could be part of it,” she considers, “and that’s the thing about fear: it’s usually not rational.”

“It’s actually a chance to do a little bit of navel gazing and ask ourselves ‘Why it is that we’re a bit triggered by this?’”

Far from being a forbidden topic in relationships, Tanya believes broaching conversations about subjects like this can foster more intimacy when approached in the right way. 

Image: Getty.


“I think the crucial thing to remember about sharing your fantasies is that you don’t actually have to act on them. It can be really sexy to just share your fantasies with your partner, talk about people you think are hot, and know that’s as far as it’s going to go.”

“Like with everything, however, consent is always key. Asking how much they’re open to talking about, and perhaps then even co-creating a fantasy together can be a really fun exercise.”

That being said, Tanya clarifies that there’s no mandatory requirement to share your fantasies with your partner either. “Some things, you can keep just for you, and that is perfectly okay. It’s also Okay to share some fantasies and keep others private. Many people use private fantasies to get them over the line when they are with their partners, and again, there is no requirement to share that if you don’t want to.”

Feature image: Getty.

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