Sexual Fantasy - What's Your Favorite?

Last Updated 20.04.2022
14 min read

Admit it, if only to yourself. You do engage in sexual fantasy. In fact, lots of research shows that most people who are active between the sheets have sexual fantasies, even if they never reveal them to their partners or closest friends.

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How Common are Sexual Fantasies?

No matter what your sexual orientation, sexual fantasies are very common. No one should feel weird for having them, so just know that you have lots of company here.

Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., social psychologist and author of the book Tell Me What You Want, interviewed 4,175 Americans about their sexual fantasies. He got his subjects from social media, figuring that this would give him the widest range of people who also had a wide range of sexual orientations. From his interviews, Lehmiller found that sexual fantasies run the whole gamut of topics and sexual acts - all of them are described in his book. His conclusion? Sexual fantasies are common to lots of adults and should be considered normal sexual behavior.

So, now that you know you are normal, let's talk about why you have sexual fantasies, their possible meanings, and the types of sexual fantasies people may have. You will see how "normal" you are. Who knows? You may pick up some that are your future daydreams too. Remember this overriding rule: nothing you fantasize about related to a sexual act is wrong. Remember this other rule too: you are free to keep your sexual fantasies to yourself or discuss them as possible real-life scenarios with your partner.

Why Do You Have Sexual Fantasies?

Because you are human, that's why. Think about it. Sometimes, you have daydreams about getting revenge on someone who has really done you wrong; you may have daydreams about the perfect house you want to buy or even an amazing meal you once had that you want to have again. You might fantasize about a co-worker you'd like to hook up with and how that might go. Sexual fantasies are no different.

Sometimes, there are some conscious reasons for sexual fantasies. You might be conservative in your sexual relationship with someone, and you really want to be much looser and more adventurous. Or you may be someone who is tired of always being the one to initiate sex and want your partner to become the aggressive and dominant one while you are relinquishing control. As clinical sexologist and author Laura Berman, Ph.D. says in her book Loving Sex: The Book of Joy and Passion states, "it can be tiresome to always feel like the pursuer. Feeling pursued can be a very sexy change, and it can also be a huge ego boost."

Other forms of fantasies may be much edgier - rough sex or extreme bondage or sadomasochism, for example. These can be hugely erotic, and many report that they engage in such fantasies while masturbating, although they never intend to actually play them out. Some report fantasies of having sex in public, even with anonymous partners, while others watch - obviously, this will never happen without an arrest.

Psychologists also say that engaging in sexual fantasies may occur because of deeper needs - release of everyday stress or anxiety, for example, or the need to escape from the demands of work, family, or financial worries. Some call this "sexual medicine."

The point is this: sex research shows that most adults, even at a younger age, engage in sexual fantasizing. And it is completely normal, no matter how off-the-wall those fantasies may be. The research evidence suggests a lot of reasons for this fantasizing, some conscious, some not. But really does it matter? Instead of being concerned about why you have the fantasies you do, just enjoy them, whether they are "normal" or kinky.

Common Sexual Fantasies

Sexual orientation has nothing to do with sex fantasies. Heterosexual men and women fantasize; lesbians fantasize; gay men do it; bisexual men and women fantasize; transgenders and asexual people too. While gender identity or gender-bending don't factor into whether someone fantasizes or not, they will factor into the types of fantasies people engage in.

So, let's unpack some of the most common fantasies that researchers have reported, and the details of what they have found.

Romantic Sexual Fantasies

These are common when a person longs for a romantic relationship that may be non-existent right now or they are not getting from a current sexual partner in real life. Is there a sexual act involved? Of course. But romance is usually more important than the actual sex with someone. Most often, these fantasies include a romantic location and either a current partner or a range of other possible partners. Possible partners might include a co-worker you have a crush on or some famous person you idolize. These types of fantasies can help to raise your self-esteem because you are strongly desired by your partner.

A Threesome

While this is a most common fantasy among men, no matter what their gender identities, women reported having these as well. These may involve three men, three women, or any combination of these genders. And there are many forms that this fantasy may take - oral or anal sex in combinations, or even voyeurism, where you simply observe two other individuals having all sorts of sex, perhaps while masturbating. The possibilities are endless, depending on individual differences.

Sex With Multiple People

This is the stuff of which orgies are made or at least swingers clubs. There are lots of variations on this theme, but all involve some type of group sex. You may fantasize about having sex with a bunch of same-sex partners or combinations. You may fantasize about you or your partner having sex with multiple partners while others watch on - a form of exhibitionism. It's all good and pretty normal. A multi-partner sexual encounter can be erotic and more pleasing than a fantasy involving only one partner. In fact, multi-partner sex is one of the most common fantasies.


This fantasy involves others watching while you have sex, no matter what type of sex that may be. It's the idea of having an audience that becomes erotic. You become a center of attention, which may be a psychological need you have, but who cares? You enjoy the notoriety, if only in your daydreams. The sex could occur in a public place or in the backseat of a car, but you just get off on others watching. Is this a common sexual desire? research says yes. Closely related to this is a fantasy in which your sex is filmed or videoed by others who are watching from afar. It's all about you being on display.

Sex With Former Partners

You may be in a long-term relationship with a partner you love, respect, and admire. But there is something about that former lover that keeps haunting you. Maybe they were just better in bed; maybe you never totally got over them. But you don't want to tell your current partner about this, so you just fantasize about that history you had. This can even happen when you are having sex with your current partner. You don't need to feel guilty about this. In this day of more freedom and fluidity, you have the right to your feelings and fantasies, and you have the right not to share them with a single soul.

The Domination/Submissive Fantasy

When you have sex, are you usually the aggressor or are you usually the opposite? Straight, gay, or bisexual men or women, even transgenders and aromantics, tend to be one or the other. When they are, their fantasies may relate to playing the opposite role. For women, these kinds of fantasies often include being raped or in some way to be forced to have sex. For men, it may involve tying up on the part of their partner or other types of bondage, mild or more severe.

Inflicting or Receiving Pain

BDSM is another common fantasy of both women and men, whether straight or members of the LGBTQ+ community. While they may not experience such sexual activity in real life, these fantasies can be erotic and stimulate arousal and even orgasm. Many use these fantasies as they masturbate. It may be mild whipping, spanking, or biting all the way up to more severe forms of pain infliction. Some couples watch videos of such activities and reach high levels of arousal.

Sex in a Public Place

Public sex may seem rather ridiculous to some, but it is one of the most common sexual fantasies that people have. Imagine having sex in the restroom of a high-end restaurant or a darkened theatre. Or how about a park during an intimate picnic? All of this seems ridiculous, of course, because there are laws against such behaviors, and anyone caught will certainly be arrested. But you can't get arrested for your fantasies, so have at it! A sexual act in a public place can be hugely erotic for those, who, in their subconsciousness, like the idea of being exhibitionists and performing sex in front of other onlookers.

Sex With a Famous Person

One sex fantasy that is totally "safe" and that will never be acted upon is that with some famous person. No matter what our gender identity may be, and no matter what other sexual fantasies we may have, there is that one idol from the world of celebrities that we think would be amazing in bed. While researchers report that this is more common among women's fantasies, straight, gay, and bisexual men report having them as well. These fantasies are certainly harmless, but they do satisfy a need to be desired. And let's face it - it's just fun!

Sex With an Acquaintance

You may have met someone at work to whom you immediately felt an attraction. And you may even be in a stable, long-term partnership that is all that you have ever wanted. Still, you wonder what sex with that person might be like, and so you have that fantasy. Is it highly significant? Probably not. Is it a bit of fun seeing that person undressed and wanting you? Yes.

An Oral and/or Anal Sexual Act

Business Insider recently reported on a survey completed by the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Men and women in Canada were surveyed about their sexual fantasies. Both heterosexual and lesbian women responded that they had fantasies about oral sex and many about anal sex too. What's more, heterosexual men and their gay and bisexual men counterparts all reported having such fantasies, either with other women or men. And oral sex is one fantasy that you can make happen if you have a willing partner.

Watching Others Have Sex

It's called voyeurism, and it is a common sexual desire in plenty of people's minds. it can even involve multi-partner sex or sex between couples you know. If you want to do this outside of your daydreams, though, don't, unless you have their consent. Watch some porn or set up a threesome, then all of you will have the chance to watch!

Having Sex with a Stranger

If you've ever met someone at a club or party and hooked up for a single night, you've already lived it. But for those who haven't, these are common sexual fantasies. For some, the fantasy involves prostituting themselves - nice to see that $ comin' in - sort of like getting paid commissions for each sex act.


In the BDSM category, mild forms of bondage - being handcuffed or tied to the bed - was one of the most common sexual fantasies reported by researchers. If this is a big turn-on for you, how about suggesting it to your partner and making that dream come true. According to some psychologists, there are also power dynamics at play here. Either you want the power or want to be overpowered. Just be sure you have decided on a safe word, in case things get a bit too rough.

Ejaculating on Your Sexmate

Obviously, this is a fantasy for someone with a penis, and, again, it is one of the most common sexual fantasies reported by men of all gender identities. But women have reported wanting this experience too, as receivers of course. Here is another fantasy that could transfer to a real situation if both of you are willing. And it can be a pretty erotic scene. for a man or a woman.

Sex with Somone Younger or Older

Both a woman and men tend to have these fantasies, either with same-sex or other gender partners. It might be an older man you were attracted to at a club or party or a much younger age chick or stud who you find totally sexy. It could even be a celebrity. If you move into the child porn area, though, it may be time to see a psychotherapist specializing in these types of issues.

Watching Two Women or Two Men Have Sex

Heteros tend to want to see two people of the opposite gender engaged in sex. For gays, lesbians, or bisexuals, though, it may be different. Lesbians and bi's, for example, might fantasize about two other women. And you can always enhance those fantasies with porn videos or a real live threesome.

Getting Masturbated by a Sex Partner

Among sexual fantasies, this is one that is most likely to come true, if you both agree to it. It's a simple act and one that is common among partners who have been together for a while and want to try something a bit different from their normal sex. And, for some added pleasure, toys can be used too. Equally erotic can be just watching a partner masturbate.

Watching Someone Undress

These fantasies usually involve someone with whom you will never have an actual hook-up or relationship. It could be a sexy bartender at a club, a stripper at a club, or a co-worker you find attractive. Heterosexual men fantasize and tend to report this quite often, but that doesn't leave anyone else out. As long as you are not a peeping Tom doing it for real and keep it only in your head, it's all good.

Is that All She Wrote?

Not in your life. Think about these things:

  1. We all have sexual fantasies, most of which we never intend to act out; some we do if we can find the right partner. But if you have them, color yourself normal. They can actually improve your sex life.

  2. Having a sexual fantasy does not mean that there is something wrong with your current relationship. But if those fantasies are interfering with your current relations, and you want that relationship to last, you may need to consider getting some professional help.

  3. Some fantasies are best kept to yourself, especially if revealing them would be hurtful to your partner. But if you and your partner have a solid union, then you should both be comfortable talking about them - it may open up doors to new activities that you both will enjoy.

  4. Why you have certain fantasies is not all that important unless they become obsessive. Most are just a reflection of your desire to be a bit looser and to explore uncharted waters. Even if they are always of the same content, so what? your mind has the freedom to go wherever it wants, just as long as you don't act out those that will get you into trouble.

  5. You very likely have sexual fantasies that are not on this list of the most common. They may be far more extreme scenarios with another woman or man. So what? You own your mind, and that mind should have absolute freedom of thought.

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