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Are Your Sexual Fantasies Normal?

Are Your Sexual Fantasies Normal?

Having sex with two women is a common fantasy, but fantasizing about “golden showers” or sex with a prostitute is not, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and Institut Philippe-Pinel de Montréal, affiliated with the University of Montreal, state their new study scientifically defines sexual deviation for the first time.

Although many theories about deviant sexual fantasies incorporate the concept of atypical fantasies, the scientific literature does not describe what these types of fantasies actually are, the scientists said.

“Clinically, we know what pathological sexual fantasies are: They involve non-consenting partners, they induce pain, or they are absolutely necessary in deriving satisfaction,” said Christian Joyal, lead author of the study.

“But apart from that, what exactly are abnormal or atypical fantasies? To find out, we asked people in the general population, as simple as that. Our main objective was to specify norms in sexual fantasies, an essential step in defining pathologies.”

The researchers noted that the study required finding adults willing to describe their sexual fantasies. They eventually recruited 1,517 Quebec adults — 799 men and 718 women with a mean age of 30 — who filled out a questionnaire describing their sexual fantasies, as well as describing their favorite fantasy in detail.

According to the researchers, the results are “more than interesting.”

For example, the study found that sexual fantasies are varied among the general population. However, few fantasies can be considered statistically rare, such as sex with a child or animal.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study confirms that men have more fantasies and they describe them more vividly than women.

The study also discovered that a significant proportion of women — 30 percent to 60 percent — have fantasies associated with submission, such as being tied up, spanked, or forced to have sex.

The researchers also found that women — unlike men — clearly distinguish between fantasy and desire.

Many women who express more extreme fantasies of submission, such as domination by a stranger, specify that they never want these fantasies to come true. The majority of men, however, would love their fantasies — for example, a threesome — to come true, the researchers report.

As expected, the presence of one’s significant other is considerably stronger in female fantasies than in male fantasies. In general, men in couples fantasize more about extramarital relationships compared to women, according to the study’s findings.

“One of the most intriguing findings has to do with the significant number of unique male fantasies, for example, regarding shemales, anal sex among heterosexuals, and the idea of watching their partner have sex with another man,” Joyal said.

“Evolutionary biological theories cannot explain these fantasies, which, among males, are typically desires.”

He added that the study’s findings help shed light on certain social phenomena, such as the popularity of the book “Fifty Shades of Grey” with women.

“The subject is fascinating,” he said. “ We are currently conducting statistical analyses with the same data to demonstrate the existence of homogeneous subgroups of individuals based on combinations of fantasies.

“For example, people who have submission fantasies also often report domination fantasies. These two themes are therefore not exclusive — quite the contrary. They also seem associated with a higher level of satisfaction.”

The study was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Source: University of Montreal

Intimate couple photo by shutterstock.

Are Your Sexual Fantasies Normal?

Janice Wood

Janice Wood is a long-time writer and editor who began working at a daily newspaper before graduating from college. She has worked at a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, covering everything from aviation to finance to healthcare.

APA Reference
Wood, J. (2018). Are Your Sexual Fantasies Normal?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 1 Nov 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.