Fantasy, Part II
In my last blog I discussed the basics about and uses of sexual fantasy. In this blog entry, I want to talk about the content of sexual fantasy.
Many people wonder if their fantasies are common or “normal.” Fantasies are as variable as the people who have them, but many researchers have found themes within certain populations. A survey conducted by the famous researchers Masters and Johnson classified participants according to their sexual orientation and gender, and then ranked the top five fantasies in each population according to commonality.
What is MOST interesting about the findings is how similar the four group are. As you’ll see, both straight (heterosexual) and gay people have several fantasy themes in common. Take a look...
The most common fantasies, based on Masters and Johnson’s research are:
Heterosexual males (Straight men)
- Replacement of established partner - This fantasy is a safe way of experimenting with something/someone new, without actually having sex with another person. (Remember, this does not necessarily mean he wants to or will cheat on his partner! )
- Forced sexual encounter with female - “Forcing” in this fantasy does not usually mean rape - the general consensus is that men are thinking of use of more subtle force such as “talking her into it”. Our society’s romantic notions include the tale of a man sweeping a woman off her feet - passion that she cannot resist! In reality, forcing someone to have sex means having sex against their will. In this case, researchers noted that “forcing” meant “taking a woman forcefully and aggressively,” with the implication of consent. While sexual assault is a very real and destructive reality, this particular fantasy does not mean you are or are with a potentially violent sex offender.
- Observation of sexual activity - Watching others in sexual activity (voyeurism) is a very common fantasy for many people
- Homosexual encounters – Similar to other categories, heterosexual men reported sexual fantasies about the gender with whom they don’t typically have sex, other men - remember, we like to think about new experiences!
- Group sex experiences - this is a fantasy that both straight and gay men have in common.
Heterosexual females (Straight women)
- Replacement of established partner - Again, this is a safe way of experimenting - straight men and women hold this fantasy in common.
- Forced sexual encounter with male - as mentioned earlier, this fantasy is not so much about a lack of consent as it is about being “swept away” or overtaken by desire... or rather, a man being overtaken by desire, and she wants him to take her. Our society often shames women for their sexual desires, so this fantasy may be a way of keeping the woman from feeling guilty about her desires.
- Observation of sexual activity - Secretly watching others engaged in private or sexual activity is another common theme among heterosexuals. Probably the earliest basis of the porn business!
- Idyllic encounters with unknown men - A picture-perfect erotic encounter is a fantasy that straight women AND gay men and women share, although straight women and gay men chose a male stranger for their fantasy partner (lesbians often choose their current partner).
- Lesbian encounters - again, fantasizing about same-sex experiences is very common for heterosexual individuals.
Homosexual males (Gay men)
- Imagery of male sexual anatomy - this fantasy is unique to gay men. You can see it reflected in gay pornographic magazines.
- Forced sexual encounters with males - the same concept as the straight men applies here; men are socialized to be conquerors, including in the bedroom, and this often comes out in their fantasies.
- Heterosexual encounters with females - gay men and lesbians, like heterosexuals, fantasize about being with novel partners - i.e. a different gender than their primary attraction
- Idyllic encounters with unknown men
- Group sex experiences
Homosexual females (Lesbian women)
- Forced sexual encounters - did you notice that everyone reported this fantasy?? It’s quite common.
- Idyllic encounter with established partner
- Heterosexual encounters
- Recall of past sexual experience - not necessarily involving the current partner. This is unique to lesbian women.
- Sadistic imagery - this was also unique to lesbians at the time of the survey; this decade, post-Fifty Shades of Gray, more people may report an interest!
Did you notice the themes? Male/female, gay/straight, all share fantasy interests in new experiences, conquest, experimentation, and observing others. Against popular belief, our sex fantasies are actually quite similar.
Another common theme, forced sex fantasies, are quite common. As we said, many people have forced sex fantasies in which consent is implied. The popularity of the recent trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey, may be as popular as it is because of the theme of sexual domination.
Next time, in Fantasy Part 3, I will discuss how to know if a fantasy is cause for concern, and what you can do to address it. I will also discuss whether or not to share your fantasies with your partner. Until then, peace and light!