Most people have sexual fantasies of some sort.
You might’ve encountered the name of Dr. Justin Lehmiller throughout a couple of my articles on this blog. Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He’s also an author of the book Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life, where he explores in depth the sexual fantasies of Americans. By interviewing more than 4,000 people on their sexual fantasies, Lehmiller tried to come up with answers to the question of why people get turned on by particular scenarios and sex acts, how to understand them better and why they’re not a big deal after all.
So, by now you can imagine he’s a really smart guy and knows his line of work very well.
I don’t know if the following fact will surprise you, but 97% of Americans said that they have sexual fantasies. Most of them fantasize a couple of times a week or even a couple of times a day. And what this (perhaps or perhaps not so) surprising percentage of people fantasizing about sexual matters tells us is that, well, it’s quite a common thing to do. It’s actually a very human thing to do and that there’s nothing wrong with it per se.
What I want to do next is look at the most common sexual fantasies people have. I want to tackle the male and female ones separately, and I want to look at fantasies common for both genders. I also want to address heterosexual fantasies and fantasies of LGBTQ/queer people and find out where they differ and where they intersect.
So buckle up, because it’s going to be a very exciting ride!
Common Sexual Fantasies for Both Men and Women
Before I begin by listing the most common sex fantasies out there, I want to say that all of the data presented here are drawn from Dr. Lehmiller’s book Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life.
This is because I think that Dr. Lehmiller’s book is a reliable and comprehensive source for this topic and is one of the most recent, in-depth scientific texts on it.
What I found particularly interesting from his research was the finding that 51% said that they fantasized about their own partners and that they do that pretty often as well. Just 7% of the participants actually said they fantasize about celebrities, which means our fantasies are much more closely tied to real-life experiences and people than we’d care to think.
That being said, let’s get down to business, shall we?
1. Group Sex – Threesomes, Orgies, Gang-Bangs…
In his book, Dr. Lehmiller notes that by far the most common fantasies for people across the gender spectrum is group sex. Yep, out of the 4,000 and more people that he interviewed, 89% said that they fantasize about having a threesome, and 74% said they fantasized about having orgies, while 61% of them fantasize about gang-bangs.
As you can see, having a threesome is by far the more popular one here. An interesting finding of Lehmiller was that for people it was more important what they did during this sexual act, rather than who they did it with, or where the action took place.
What does this tell us? It tells us that threesomes, for the majority of people, serve to amp up their sexual self-confidence, but also their pleasure derived from sexual activity in general. Adding another body to the picture, a body that we can touch, look at, experience in all its might, and a body that can, in reverse, do the same to us, can really enhance our erotic sensations and augment arousal – big time.
And what about people in committed romantic relationships or marriages?
For people in committed relationships, it’s kinda similar, with the exception that they often include their partner in their threesome/group sex fantasies. And this especially goes for people in happy and fulfilling committed relationships, which serves to show that the fantasy of having a threesome doesn’t, at all, signify to the dysfunctionality of a relationship.
On the contrary, as Lehmiller reports, they’re looking for an experience that all three of them would enjoy equally.
Differences between men and women in threesome fantasies
And in terms of gender differences regarding the threesome fantasy, women’s fantasies tend to be more detailed in comparison to men’s. Also, according to the interviews, women tend to be more sexually flexible in terms of the gender they’re willing to have a threesome with. So, a lot more women tend to be okay with MWW sex (man-woman-woman), and also WWW (woman-woman-woman) sex, as opposed to men, who are still kinda more rigid when it comes to this.
2. BDSM – Power, Control, and Rough Sex
Another popular fantasy was sadomasochism, with 60% of participants reporting that they’ve had fantasies where they inflict physical pain on another person while they’re having sex.
And masochism doesn’t fall short either. In fact, Dr. Lehmiller reports that 65% of participants said they fantasized about receiving physical pain while having sex.
Now, what Lehmiller wants to stress about BDSM fantasies, and what I completely agree with and have also pointed out in my article BDSM for Beginners, is that BDSM is a vast array of practices and not strictly a hardcore form of sadomasochistic, violent sex. In fact, as Lehmiller suggests, it rarely takes this kind of form in reality, although there are of course wilder forms of BDSM sexual practices – and that is a-okay as long it’s consensual, of course.
But most of them are milder in nature. I mean, even blindfolding or tying up with a tie or cuffs is considered a form of BDSM, and I bet most of you reading this piece have already done that during sex, even if it was only one time.
Also, it doesn’t mean that people fantasizing about BDSM strictly divide and position themselves into roles of submissives and dominant. On the contrary, it depends on the context, the setting, and the form of BDSM, as well as on their partners and how they feel at the moment. Lots of people actually like to switch – which is basically how they call themselves in the BDSM world and vocabulary – they’re switches.
BDSM is not about hurting people (not in that general sense, anyway)
I know it sounds counterintuitive, especially given the “inflict physical pain” sentence in the first paragraph of this section, but bear with me, please. BDSM is definitely not about intentionally hurting someone. The physical pain involved in sadomasochistic sexual acts should always be controlled, limited and within a set of pre-established boundaries between the engaged parties.
So this kind of fantasy doesn’t really have to do with pathology, but control. In fact, as Lehmiller notes, lots of dominants and dominatrixes expressed feelings of care for their submissive subjects. They recognized that their power also brought about a set of responsibilities, and that definitely is not to be taken lightly.
Why is BDSM such an alluring set of fantasies?
In large part, BDSM has to do with taking/giving up control. It’s about power-play and enhancing pleasure through sensation play in which pain and the absence of pain often take center stage. Of course, a lot of the time the pain intensity is pretty mild.
What’s the ratio between fantasies of dominance and submission?
Well, it turns out that more people fantasize about being dominated rather than being the ones in charge. Is that surprising? Lehmiller ascribes this to the desire to give up control and responsibility. We already live in a world where we’re overburdened with distractions and countless obligations on a daily basis, so giving in during sex can be a way to blow off steam.
Also, it might have to do with temporarily giving up your status of a subject and turning into an object. This basically means you don’t get to assert your personality, along with your fears, worries, and anxieties.
As Lehmiller says, this might be especially alluring to people who get easily distracted during sex. It can also be got for people battling sexual anxiety and ones that have performance issues.
3. Novelty, Variety, and Adventure
These are not sexual fantasies per se, but they describe sexual practices that are considered novelties to particular individuals or couples. So, for one couple doing oral or anal sex might not be a big deal because they’re doing it on a regular basis (a couple of times a week, once or twice a month, and so on), but for others who’ve never done it or done it only a handful of times since they’ve been together, it definitely counts as something exotic and adventurous.
So what I’m trying to say here, is that there’s no one definition or one image or scenario as to what these fantasies of novelty, variety, and adventure might be. Rather, they’re specific to different people/couples and vary in terms of their own characteristic sexual practices, habits, and preferences.
And this can mean an almost endless list of activities:
- New sexual activities such as oral sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation, sensation play, biting, various BDSM practices, sexual roleplay, using a sex toy, trying out new sex positions, and the like.
- New settings where you can have sex, like in public for example – on a beach, in an airplane, a sleazy hotel room, or a 5-star hotel – anything goes.
- Spontaneous actions such as an unexpected display of desire in public and having a quickie in a public bathroom, for example.
I mean, you get the picture. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.
What are the most common intercourse positions Americans fantasize about?
Basically, it boils down to being hot for the sex positions you don’t usually get to practice, as I mentioned earlier. Or maybe ones you’d like to do more often.
As you will be able to see in the data below, there are some sex positions that sort of show up over and over again between participants in Lehmiller’s research.
|Sex positions||Doggy style||Face-to-face with you on top||Face-to-face with your partner on top||“Spooning” position||Reverse cowboy/cowgirl||Something else||Don’t fantasize about intercourse|
Also, it turns out that experimenting with food is a favorite of many. About 40% of interviewees said they’ve had this kind of fantasy. And what were their most frequent choices? Whipped cream (yeah, bet you didn’t expect that one), ice cubes (or this one), chocolate as well as strawberries. Talking bout a sweet tooth!
And what about sex acts in general?
In terms of more general sex acts that Americans fantasize about most, turns out that both men and women often fantasize about kissing (57.4% and 69.3% answering “often”, respectively), which is odd at first glance because, I mean, couples are already supposed to kiss all the time, right? But that’s actually not really the case. Turns out that lots of people stop kissing (especially the juicy, french-kissing way) when they’re together for a longer amount of time, which can (though not always) affect their intimacy and romantic relationship in a negative way.
People also like to often think of mutual masturbation, 35.5% of men and 31.8% of women answered “often”, and they’re also big fans of giving oral sex, with 69.6% of men and 57.1% of women answering “often”, which makes up more than half of the participants in the study! And roughly the same percentage goes for receiving oral sex as well.
For simultaneous oral sex, the percentage is a bit lower, but still, more than a third of men and a quarter of women wanna do it. So we can safely conclude that oral sex is an old favorite among people. And I can’t see why it should be any different!
Vaginal intercourse comes first place in terms of fantasy frequency, for both genders
For both men and women vaginal intercourse is an all-time favorite, though, with 75.4% of men fantasizing about it often, and 83.7% of women.
Almost a third of the men in the study and about a third of the women were into using sex toys in bed.
And I also can’t miss out on another common fantasy – yep, it’s anal sex. So, when it comes to giving anal sex, 36.9% of the men said they had it often as a fantasy, and only 7% of women said the same. But, when it comes to receiving anal sex, 19.5% of men answered they often had it as a fantasy, and about the same percentage goes for women, 19.2%. More than a third of women, however, answered they never had it as a fantasy.
So yeah, think a bit about that, folks. The next time you’re nagging your wife to have anal sex and she simply doesn’t want to do it. Think about something else for a change.
4. Taboo and Forbidden Sex
According to Biblical legend, the forbidden fruit even managed to tempt the first humans, Adam and Eve. So why should we be any different?
It’s true, we tend to always mysticize the other side, the one that is unknown to us, the one our society, our culture, or our religion tends to reject or condemn.
And the reasons for it are numerous: escapist fantasies from our narrow-minded environments, a desire for novelty (the one I talked about in the third section), curiosity, a desire to cross the imposed limits, and so on.
According to Justin Lehmiller, the difference between these types of fantasies and desire for novelty and adventure, in general, is the following:
- In taboo or forbidden sex, fantasies tend to consist more of what other people (or society, a group of peers, etc.) find disgusting. Lehmiller gives the example of licking someone’s feet.
- Another difference is desires that are illegal to act upon, such as voyeurism and exhibitionism.
- And, the third difference is the common classification (by the mental health community as Lehmiller says) of these types of desires as paraphilias.
What is a paraphilia? It’s basically a fancy term for “uncommon” or “unusual” desire. Which are very vague descriptions, if you ask me. And Lehmiller says something very soothing as well – that according to his survey, most of the taboo desires are actually pretty prevalent and widespread among Americans.
He even claims that people tend to fantasize more about taboo activities than about love and romance!
Of course, not all of these forbidden or taboo desires are all that common or prevalent. The more extreme and the more deviant they are, the rarer they become among people, as he says.
I can’t go into much detail, although, this is a fascinating subject on its own. But I will give you the three most common taboo fantasies that Americans like to think about often.
Voyeurism – everybody’s got a bit of that Peeping Tom in them, don’t they?
So, as Lehmiller notes, the most common taboo fantasy is actually voyeurism.
Let’s define voyeurism, shall we? Basically, voyeurism is a desire to watch other people have sex or undress without them knowing about it or without consenting to it. Like spying, you know – the main point is you don’t get to be seen doing the act of looking or observing.
And there’s a lot that falls under the category of voyeurism. If you don’t believe me, believe what the expert, Dr. Lehmiller has to say about it:
“Voyeurs imagine a wide range of scenarios. They include everything from snooping on other people’s sexual exploits through hidden video cameras (like Billy Baldwin’s character did in the 1993 erotic thriller Sliver), to watching people undress through a peephole in the wall (à la Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Psycho), to being invisible and sneaking into people’s bedrooms (as Kevin Bacon’s character did in the sci-fi flick Hollow Man).” (pages 41-2 from Lehmiller’s Tell Me What You Want).
I bet you wanna look up the movies, right this instant, don’t ya!
Joke aside, you’re not really a voyeur if you wanna watch porn or have sex with the lights on, or heck, if you wanna visit strip clubs. A true voyeur would mean that the subjects who are viewed didn’t consent to that, which makes it pretty much illegal in reality.
So what are the numbers?
Turns out that 60% of participants reported they had fantasies about voyeurism in the past. Sixty percent! But, it’s also important to mention that most people don’t fantasize often about being voyeurs. According to research, people who often have voyeurism fantasies tend to harder establish more conventional sex relations, and it can be a sign of a lack of romantic or sexual prowess.
About 45% of the surveyed people reported they had fantasies about fetish objects.
What are they, in fact?
Well, fetish objects are precisely that – objects – that are somehow significant for an individual and induce sexual arousal in them. Typically, people more easily come or stay aroused in the presence of these kinds of objects.
Fetishes vary in intensity – for example, people with milder fetishes don’t necessarily need these objects in order to enjoy having sex. But the stronger or intense fetishes mean that people have a hard time achieving or sustaining pleasure in their absence.
And the interesting thing about fetishes is that they can be practically anything. The most common ones are pieces of clothing, of course, such as stockings, bras, panties, swimsuits, boots, high heels, other types of shoes. But people can have some pretty outrageous fetishes as well, like pacemakers, for example (don’t look at me, ask Dr. Lehmiller’s survey participant for that one).
Body parts can also be fetish objects (under special circumstances)
Now, body parts can also be considered as fetish objects, especially ones which aren’t necessarily connected with sexual desire at first glance. Think of feet, for example, as arguably the most common body part fetish objects out there. Lehmiller notes how “one in seven survey participants reported having had a fantasy before in which feet or toes played a prominent role.” (page 44)
Other body parts such as hands, armpits, belly buttons, or abs can also be fetish objects for some people. As can the usuals, such as genitals, breasts, and buttocks. But they are considered as fetish objects only when people are only turned on by these particular body parts and when these body parts have a special appearance. For some men and women, this can mean looking only for men with large penises, for example. Or people that have a thing for particularly wide butts and can’t get turned on (or find it very hard) when they’re not with such a person.
This one is for the ones who like to be looked at. Consider it the opposite of voyeurism. Basically, exhibitionism is the activity of exposing your own genitals or having sex with another person while others are looking at you.
There are two types of exhibitionist fantasies: the ones that have to do with consent from the onlookers, putting up a show that they’ll enjoy, and the other type is when you take them by surprise and extort reactions of shock and even offense.
The first one is called “consensual exhibitionism” and it’s a more prevalent form among the participants of Lehmiller’s study – 42% of people said they had these kinds of fantasies, while only 10% said they had the other type. Similar to frequent voyeuristic fantasies, this second type of exhibitionist fantasies is linked to poor skills in establishing sex relations.
What does this tell us? That most people having these fantasies don’t seek to offend or somehow violate the onlookers and the attention they’re seeking. Rather, they hope the others will like what they see.
Consider this scenario featured in Lehmiller’s book:
“My male partner and I are in a storefront of a building on a very busy street. Instead of a window, it is a one-way mirror (people can see in, we can’t see out). We’re having sex while unknown passersby stop to watch.” (page 47)
The main differences between public sex fantasies and consensual exhibitionism fantasies are that, in the first one, people get aroused by the idea of potentially being spotted or the fear of being caught. In the latter type of sex fantasy, you know you’re being observed and you get off by the very idea of it. You want to be considered hot and sexy and attractive, which is what is at the basis of this kind of sex fantasy.
The more people put restrictions on their sexuality, the more they try to break from them through their sexual fantasies
Another interesting finding was that the more conservative people are and the more taboo they’ve placed on matters regarding sexuality and sex acts, the more “immoral” fantasies they tend to have, aka fantasies that they themselves in regular circumstances would consider as such. This includes stuff like orgies and voyeurism but also cheating.
5. Swinging, Partner Sharing, and Polyamory
Okay, good, so now we’ve finally come to the 5th most common sexual fantasy. As you can see, it basically has to do with non-monogamous relationships and behaviors.
Monogamy is the dominant form of romantic partnerships and relationships all throughout the world. We all know that, more or less. So, it’s no wonder that its opposite forms are found on this list.
But let’s set the definition first – what are non-monogamous relationships? Well, these are relationships in which people can be with multiple sexual and/or romantic partners all at the same time.
Some of these fantasies may conflate with group sex and multi-partner fantasies, sure. However, most of the time they have to do with having more than one sex partner. And they don’t necessarily mean having sex with multiple people at the same time. They’re more about relationships in which both partners agree that some forms and types of sexual activity outside the committed relationship are allowed.
So, it’s kinda obvious to say by now that most of the people with these kinds of fantasies are actually in monogamous relationships. But don’t equate non-monogamy fantasies with infidelity. Most people that have them actually want their partner to know and to be okay with it. And another interesting thing about it is that people often also fantasize about their partners doing the same thing. Sometimes they get even more turned on by their partner’s (oftentimes consensual), non-monogamous behavior.
People would rather have a mutually non-monogamous relationship than cheat
And while we’re still on the topic of infidelity, it’s worth noting Lehmiller’s findings of non-monogamous fantasies. What he found out was that infidelity and cheating were actually pretty rare as fantasies among his participants. “[L]ess than one-half of 1 percent specifically described their favorite fantasy of all time as “cheating,” “infidelity,” or “adultery.” By contrast, it was almost ten times more common for people to say their favorite fantasy reflected some form of consensual non-monogamy (CNM).” (page 48-9)
What does this tell us? Some pretty good news, I think. It tells us that people, in general, are much more prone to the thought of being in a consensual non-monogamous relationship. It definitely beats being secretive, deceitful, and failing their partner’s trust.
But what about infidelity fantasies?
The infidelity fantasies Lehmiller encountered in his survey actually had various motivations behind them. And they were actually pretty different than what we usually think when cheating comes up. It mostly had to do with the excitement of sneaking around, and of the possibility of being caught. Also, it had to do with breaking social taboos and doing something that’s considered immoral or forbidden by social norms.
Consider these fantasies reported by two of his participants:
“I’m cheating on my boyfriend with my coworker while waiting for my boyfriend to come home so we have to be quick and it has to be dirty and fast.”
“Having an affair with an often older, married, influential man. I just like the idea of doing something wrong and immoral—perhaps even a little ‘gross’ because they have many more years on me. I don’t really fantasize about living with or being in the life of this man—I basically just want him around for me to tease and have sex with whenever I want. Plus the allure of sneaking around is attractive to me.”
As you can see, these fantasies have a lot in common with the variety, novelty, and adventure fantasies from the third section, and the taboo and forbidden ones from the fourth one, elaborated earlier in my article.
How common are non-monogamous sexual fantasies such as an open relationship, polyamory, swinging?
Having an open relationship was the most common of this fantasy-group. All in all, 79% of men and 62% of women had had fantasies about it. 70% of men and 51% of women fantasize about polyamory, which puts it in second place. Swinging finishes third here, with 66% of men and 45% of women having fantasies about it.
Now the difference between the three is that an open relationship usually doesn’t mean the committed partners keep long-term, deeper connections with their sexual partners outside the relationship. And polyamory means precisely this – that you can have and keep up more than one sexual and romantic, intimate relationship with a person. Swinging basically means swapping partners with another couple. This can also entail a full swap in which everybody has sex with everybody, regardless of gender.
And have you ever heard of cuckolding?
There’s also a fourth kind of non-monogamous sex fantasy called cuckolding or cuckqueaning. The psychological term is troilism, and according to Lehmiller, this has been put in the category of paraphilia, the one I mentioned earlier in the taboo and forbidden sex section, meaning “unusual desires”. This is a fantasy in which a couple agrees one or both of the partners have sex with other people, but they should also get to watch the act or hear their partner narrating it later on.
As it turns out, this kind of fantasy is more common in men, with 58% of male participants in Lehmiller’s survey reporting having it at one point. More than a quarter of these participants reported having this fantasy often. Women were a bit less interested in it, with only a little more than a third of female participants saying they’ve had it. Still, that’s not a small number altogether and it seems that the cuckolding fantasy is more common than one thinks.
6. Intimacy, Romance, and Passion
By now you may already think: what’s this doing here? Romance, intimacy? But yeah, you read it right. This next section may seem quite different from what I’ve written so far, in large part because it primarily has to do with, as Lehmiller says, emotional fulfillment.
These fantasies have at their core “the need to belong”. They’re describing the requirement of satisfying very deep and intense emotional needs, which means they don’t really get stuck at the level of fulfilling a strong sexual impulse or urge. They have to do more with connection and intimacy, rather than strictly sex.
And it’s no wonder that these are among the most common sexual fantasies out there. We’re living in times where we’re increasingly more and more alienated from each other, even though we have an unprecedented number of devices and ways to be and stay connected.
It’s probably a well-known fact by now that we’re social beings and that we have a profound need to form and maintain social connections throughout our lifetimes. Lehmiller notes how “[T]his need is second only to basic survival needs—things like thirst, hunger, and safety.” Yes, it’s that meaningful to us, and if these needs for deep and strong connections aren’t met, our whole physical and mental health will most likely suffer as a consequence.
Romantic and sexual connections are a special kind of social connections most of us can’t live without
Romantic relationships, coupled with the sexual part of it, are one of the most important social connections we’ll ever make in our lives. Sure, friends and family, as well as colleagues are incrementally important as well, but romantic/sexual partnerships offer a whole new nuance to our Self – our Self in society and our Self as we are in private.
Falling in love, being with someone intimately is a fundamental lesson in togetherness and it literally shakes the roots of our singular being, turning it upside down and transforming it into something new and often wonderful.
So, it’s no wonder that people suffer immensely when something happens to their partner (whether it’s death, illness, or divorce). Their partner is often the first and ultimate place where they can find emotional and sexual nourishment, as well as space and willingness to fulfill their needs. It can also mean a collapse of the Self when they’re gone or the relationship went through some sort of change.
Hence, it’s also no wonder that fantasies around intimacy and romance exist. And these fantasies are usually connected with specific people – they don’t include strangers or just a particular body type. Often, a particular person is at the center of these fantasies, rather than the sexual act with them. And, what I like most about these types of fantasies is that they’re equally present in both men and women. The fantasy of being loved, desired, acknowledged, and close to a particular someone are common to both genders. The need for belonging has roots in all of us.
Don’t forget about passion!
However, passion still plays a prominent, if not central role here.
The most used words with which the participants of Lehmiller’s survey described this sexual fantasy connected with intimacy, romance, and passion were the following:
Bear in mind that they’re also listed in order of frequency.
So even though these people were thinking about deep emotional connections, passion was almost never out of the picture.
In fact, what’s common to these fantasies is an intensity of feeling. And so, Lehmiller makes a two-fold distinction:
- The first one has to do with people focusing on a deep and intense sexual attraction, one in which they can’t keep their hands off their partner and/or one in which they’re completely irresistible and desired by others.
- The other one has to do with strong sexual attraction indelible from a strong intimate bond as well. If you need an example, just imagine the relationships in The Notebook or Titanic, as Lehmiller points out.
As you can see, the second one has more to do with the give and take of sexual passion in strengthening an emotional and intimate bond between partners.
7. Homoeroticism and Gender-Bending
And the last on our list is fantasies that have to do with homosexual or homoerotic desires, as well as gender flexibility, or gender-bending.
Non-normative sexualities and genders are still taboo in many societies around the world, and lots of more developed countries still struggle with bigotry and conservativism.
So, again, it’s no wonder that fantasies of gender and sexual fluidity will be rather or somewhat common among people.
What are these fantasies in the first place? Well, fantasies of gender and sexual fluidity encompass the rejection of the common, binary conceptions of gender, aka the two biological sexes of male and female. The same goes for the rejection of sexual orientation norms. The norm, as well all already know, is heterosexuality, and in terms of general social expectations, heterosexual people are to be attracted only to other heterosexual people of the opposite sex.
Well, in these fantasies all of that is turned upside down. That can mean fantasies with a partner from the same gender, fantasies with a transsexual partner, and also fantasies where the person who’s fantasizing is turning into a different gender.
As Lehmiller notes, these kinds of fantasies somewhat overlap with the taboo and forbidden sex fantasies, as well as with the sexual novelty and adventure categories. This is because in large part they have to do with the breaking of cultural and social rules and norms, as well as with trying out something completely new from what they’ve been doing before.
People are much more fluid when it comes to gender and sexuality than we like to think
What is fascinating in these fantasies, something that Lehmiller also points out is that they’re signs of an “underlying sense of flexibility and fluidity” when it comes to gender and sexual orientation. It means that many more people have the urge and need to experiment with their sexuality and reconceive their fixed gender identity than we dare to think or give credit for.
Lehmiller makes a distinction between two larger categories of sexual fantasies:
- The first is gender-bending fantasies, as he calls them. These are fantasies where a person imagines themselves in a different gender or as cross-dressers. They may also include them having sex with a transgender partner or another cross-dresser.
- The second type of fantasy is the one connected with sexual flexibility. In this one, people imagine themselves having sex with partners from the same gender. Basically, they are fantasies in which “sexual desires […] are seemingly inconsistent with one’s own sexual orientation.”
Some of the LGBT participants in Lehmiller’s survey also reported having heteroerotic fantasies, meaning fantasies with their opposite genders. So yeah, all people from all orientations seem to like sexual flexibility!
Sexual flexibility in men and women
Another thing I’d like to mention before I conclude with this section is the prevalence of sexual flexibility among men and women, especially heterosexual men and women.
So, according to Lehmiller’s findings, 59% of straight women reported they’d had fantasies about other women, as opposed to only 26% of straight men reporting having had fantasies about other men.
Another interesting thing is that lesbian women and gay men tended to have less heterosexual fantasies than straight men and women having gay fantasies. This is probably in large part due to gay men and women having previously already been in heterosexual relationships, as opposed to straight people who’ve stuck with the heterosexual norm.
And the last point I’d like to make is that, according to Lehmiller, while women tend to have more fantasies about other women than men about other men, it turns out that men had more gender-bending fantasies about women.
Think about that one for a while, folks.
Final Thoughts on Sexual Fantasies
Well, first I wanna say sorry if you were expecting something less elaborate. However, I think that the topics around the most common sexual fantasies deserve more talk. And definitely more online (and physical!) space.
As we saw in this article, the three most common sexual fantasies have to do with group sex, BDSM, and sexual novelty and variety. It’s safe to say that each one of these fantasies takes many forms. And, some people prefer certain forms more than others. Think of threesomes, for example, as still having the head start over orgies and gangbangs.
And when it comes to BDSM, more people like to be dominated and succumb to masochistic pleasures, rather than take control and be the dominant ones. For sexual novelty, people tend to prefer more new sex acts and positions, rather than new settings in which they get to have sex. I expected that one, I have to say.
Granted, the other four fantasies I’ve listed here were not as common as the first three. But, their prominence still wasn’t negligible. They’re actually pretty frequent too.
However, this doesn’t mean that all people will act on their fantasies, nor that they would want to. The relationship between fantasies and fulfilling them is not always straightforward. It’s actually more complex than it seems.
How many of the people have actually acted out their fantasies?
This is a very good question. In fact, I asked myself the same question while I was reading the book.
Turns out that less than a third of people have actually acted out their most common and biggest sexual fantasies. The other thirds said they held back for a variety of reasons. A lot of these reasons had to do with the reality of the fantasy, and the fact that people just didn’t know how to act on it. However, a lot of other people were simply afraid of their partner’s reaction and potential unwillingness to participate in its enactment.
As we can see, some people can’t do them simply because of their circumstances and partner relations. But some people wouldn’t do them because they found the fantasy more alluring and more attractive than the reality of it. And then there were others who already enacted them and guess what? They found out it’s not what they thought. So, they decided to rather stick with their fantasy, or cross over to something else.
You and the people around you probably share some of the same fantasies – more than you would dare to think, in fact!
So if you or your partner find yourselves having some or a number of these fantasies, you’re certainly not alone. As you can see, loads of other people have them too. They may be your neighbors, your best friends, your boss or your colleagues, your kid’s high school teacher…
Yeah, sexual fantasies are everywhere. And I urge you to go through Lehmiller’s book. Trust me, it’s a fascinating piece of writing that really goes in-depth about the background of sexual fantasies. Have you ever wondered why is it that a particular image always comes up when your mind wanders over to the sex realm? Well, Dr. Lehmiller’s book is here to give you some of the answers.