Fantasies, Sex Ed

Seven Fascinating Facts About Sexual Fantasies

May 15, 2015 by Justin Lehmiller


Sexual fantasy is one of the most interesting topics there is in the field of human sexuality. Below is a selection of fascinating facts that have emerged from the research compiled thus far. If you would like to contribute to our scientific knowledge of sexual fantasies, click here to participate in a new study that is designed to be the largest and most comprehensive look at sexual fantasies to date.

1.) Research has found some pretty reliable gender differences in the content of men’s and women’s sexual fantasies, such as men’s greater tendency to have fantasies featuring explicit sexual content and multiple partners. However, fantasies do not appear to differ based upon sexual orientation—aside from the sex of the person they’re fantasizing about, gays and lesbians have fantasies that are pretty similar in content to their heterosexual counterparts. Click here to learn more.

2.) Several survey studies have found that most people (upwards of 98%) report having had sexual fantasies before. This appears to be something that most of us do, even self-identified asexuals. Indeed, a recent study found that a majority of asexuals still reported having had fantasies.

3.) The frequency with which women have sexual fantasies appears to vary throughout the menstrual cycle. Specifically, women appear to have a peak in fantasies around the time of ovulation—but not only does their frequency of fantasies appear to change, so does the content. Click here to read more about this research.

4.) So-called “rape fantasies” and other fantasies about forced sex appear to be common among women and men, as well as persons of different sexual orientations. For a look into some of the psychology behind forced sex fantasies, click here.

5.) Another relatively common fantasy among women and men is watching one’s partner have sex with someone else (known as “cuckold” fantasies when men are the ones imagining it and “cuckquean” fantasies when women are the ones imagining it). Click here to learn more.

6.) Among people in romantic relationships, fantasizing about someone other than your partner is a normative behavior. Survey studies reveal that the vast majority of men and women in relationships report that they at least occasionally fantasize about someone other than their current partner.

7.) The content of our sexual fantasies appears to reflect the degree to which we currently feel insecure. Specifically, research suggests that when we feel insecure, the nature of our fantasies may change in ways designed to protect our self-esteem, such as by including more themes of independence.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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