Sexual fantasies are gender agnostic and most people, men women alike, have a great deal of similarity in what they fantasise. The reasons behind having fantasies include experiencing sex drive and arousal, meeting unfulfilled sexual pleasure and desires, escaping reality, exploring sexually taboo desires, envisioning a potential sexual encounter, reducing stress, feeling sexually confident, battle boredom et al. In long-term relationships, this becomes all the more inevitable as partners are more likely to stray. However, the chief disparity lies in the rate of occurrence, content and subject of fantasies in men, women, gay/bi and straight folks.
Men fantasise much more about multiple partners or couples in bed and taboo fantasies. Women, on the other hand, are known to have fantasies which are romantic in nature. In many cases, such fantasies revolve around certain activities like orgies and do not focus on who the partner is. Additionally, women tend to envisage them more as an object of desire in their fantasies, thus relegating the partner’s role to irrelevance.
The most common characters in fantasies continue to be heroes and heroines, porn stars, sportsmen/women and politicians. However, both men and women also tend to fantasise about those they know in person, for instance, their exes.
In a survey conducted on 4,175 Americans aged between 18 and 87 years, Dr Justin Lehmiller, a researcher associated with the Kinsey Institute, asked his subjects about their sexual fantasies focusing primarily on the people they fantasise about. He has then compiled the findings in his book named, Tell Me What You Want. It was found in Lehmiller’s study that most people, nearly 90 per cent, fantasise about their existing partners before. Interestingly, most straight men (91 per cent) were seen to have done so more often. When it came to fantasising about a vague/faceless person, the following data was revealed -
· 62% per cent of Gay/bi men were found to fantasise about this
· 53% per cent of straight men were found to fantasise about this
· 57 per cent of gay/bi women were found to fantasise about this
· 55 per cent of straight women were found to fantasise about this
The next phase of the research dealt with fantasising about ex-partners, and contrary to what many think, 88 per cent of straight men reported to have fantasised their exes while only 61 per cent of straight women said to have done so. Again, 77 per cent of gay/bi men have indulged in such fantasy which is 9 per cent more than that of gay/bi women.
According to researcher Lehmiller, the revelation that men fantasise more about their exes than women perfectly synchronises with another research finding which shows men regard their exes more positively than women. The fact that men harbour favourable thoughts about their exes makes them have more fantasies about their erstwhile partners.
Research results on fantasising porn starts were quite predictable, as more men irrespective of their sexual orientation (62 per cent gay/bi & 60 per cent straight), were found to have fantasised porn stars than women (19 per cent straight & 31 per cent gay/bi). This is quite likely, given that men watch more porn than women. Also, when asked, men could come up with names of porn stars they fantasise quite readily, while women, particularly heterosexual ones who watch the least porn, seemed to struggle to answer this and often said that they do not know names.
While indulging in fantasy is not unethical, acting on it is, as it can open the door to uncontrollable desire which often ends in misery and harms personal relationships. The greatest learning experience that we acquire as we age is exercising control on impulses. So keep your fantasies at what they are – fun to think but dangerous to act on!
Go catch more dreams!