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A sexual fantasy, also called an erotic fantasy, is a deliberate fantasy or pattern of thoughts

with the goal of creating or enhancing sexual feelings; it is mental imagery that an individual

considers erotic. A fantasy can be a long, drawn-out story or a quick mental flash of sexual

imagery; its purpose can range from sexual motivations, such as sexual arousal and reaching

orgasm, to simply passing time or helping a person fall asleep ( Wikipedia.).

Regardless of how you view yourself - as prudish or promiscuous, whether you are old or

young, you must have had some fantasies about sex at one time or another. Sexual fantasies

are generally sexual practices in which you would not normally engage, and may even

include unnatural or illegal acts. Sexual fantasies have been given a bad rap despite their role

in sexual therapy. For years, sexual fantasies have been associated with symptoms of

emotional, sexual and psychological disturbances illness. However, sex research has

recognised sexual fantasies as positive forms of erotic expression. Sexual fantasies add

excitement to sex which can easily become mechanical, sterile and boring. In addition, it has

been suggested that because sexual fantasies are private and do not depend on the

participation of a partner, they may be more revealing than actual behavior of gender

differences in sexuality ( Eliss & Symons,1990 ).In fantasy one can imagine anything one

likes, however unrealistic, without experiencing embarrassment or rejection or societal and

legal restrictions. Sexual fantasies therefore may provide a unique insight into the different

scripts that may underlie sexual behavior in men and women ( Gagnon & Simon, 1973 )

Does the picture shows intimacy or Sexual Fantasy??? Having sex outdoors actually one

of the common sexual fantasy.

TThe Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife by Hokusai is an artistic depiction of sexual


What Theorists Says….

The misconceptions about sexual fantasies began with Freud (1908/1962) he wrote that a

happy person never fantasizes, only an unsatisfied one”." Later thinkers embroidered this

theme, developing what has become known as the deficiency theory. "People still believe

that fantasies are compensation for lack of sexual opportunity,” says Leitenberg. "That if

your sex life was adequate, you wouldn't have to fantasize. But the data show that, if

anything, frequent fantasizers are having more than their share of fun in bed. They have sex

more often, engage in a wider variety of erotic activities, have more partners, and masturbate

more often than infrequent fantasizers, Leitenberg and Henning report in Psychological

Bulletin. "Other psychoanalytic theorists says it is the result of sexual dissatisfaction,

immaturity, frustration, masochism and conscious sexual conflicts especially in women. But

other research says that infrequent sexual fantasy is one the defining criteria for the sexual

disorder / inhibited sexual desire. People who have more frequent sexual fantasies also

engaged in greater sexual activity in general. Men who are sexually active with many women

might be considered “studs” whereas women in the same situation would be more likely be

viewed as “sluts” .Most adults say they first remember fantasizing between the ages of 11

and 13. From there they quickly pick up speed. Sexual fantasies and thoughts are most

common in hormone-addled teens and young adults. In one study, researchers asked people

at random times during the day whether sex had crossed their minds during the past five

minutes. Among 14- and 15-year-olds, 57 percent of boys and 42 percent of girls said yes.

Affirmative responses were less common with increasing age: among 56-to 64-year-olds, 19

percent of men and 12 percent of women answered yes.

Once you get beyond age, though, it's hard to predict whether a given person has lots of

fantasies. Attempts to identify a "fantasy-prone" type of individual have been woefully

unsuccessful. A study conducted by Heiman (1980) woman are not reporting as frequent

sexual fantasies as man either because they do not realize that they are sexually arousing. If

sexual activity is pleasurable, an individual might be more likely to engage in sexual

fantasies because he or she might also expect that fantasies would be pleasurable Men may

also have more sexual fantasies than woman simply because they are more exposed to

external sexual images that stimulate fantasy. For examples popular media and advertising

contain many more sexual images of woman than those of man. There is a gender difference

in total frequency of sexual fantasy because men masturbate more frequently than women

and they usually have sexual fantasies when they masturbate. A hypothesis is consistent with

Jones and Barlow’s ( 1990 ) finding that men and women differed in externally trigged sexual

fantasies but not internally triggered fantasies.Many couples share their fantasies to feel

closer and gain more intimacy and trust, or simply to become more aroused or effect a more

powerful physical response

Sexual fantasies often entail mental scenarios involving persons other than one’s regular

partner and include sexual activities considered culturally inappropriate or unacceptable.

Therapists have found that fantasy can be useful in helping patients overcome sexual

problems. With the help of a therapist, the individual may, through fantasy, confront the

fearful stages of intimacy and lovemaking and reduce or eliminate those fears and

apprehensions. As pointed out by G.D Wilson (1978) a sexual fantasy can be a elaborate

story, or it can be a fleeting thought of some romantic or sexual activity. It can involve

bizarre imagery, or can be quite realistic. It can involve memories in the past events, or it be a

completely imaginary experience. It can occur spontaneously or be intentionally imagined or

it can be provoked by other thoughts, feelings, or sensory cues. Sexual fantasies can take

place outside of sexual activity, or they can occur during solitary masturbation or during

sexual activity with a partner. In short , the term sexual fantasy refers to almost any mental

imagery that is sexually arousing or erotic to the individual. The essential element of a

deliberate sexual fantasy is the ability to control in imagination exactly takes place. Even

reminiscences of past events can be altered so that only particularly exciting aspects are

recalled or enhanced. The review that follows is concerned only with conscious sexual

fantasy when a person is awake. Sexual dreams that occur when a person is asleep are not



There are many functions of sexual fantasies. These include:

1. Bringing about orgasms.

2. Letting out sexual feelings for pleasure and release pent-up sexual pressures and tensions in a

private and safe way.

3. Having several sex partners of all types without being personally accountable.

In a study of college students in the United States, 30 per cent of men admitted that they had

engaged in a lifetime of erotic fantasizing and had sexual encounters with over a thousand persons.

4. Allowing exploration of the body's erogenous zones and sexual unusual activities, such as


5. Defusing fears to troubleshoot and preview sexual problems that may arise in future real


6. Releasing fears or your curiosity about certain unusual sexual encounters like homosexual liaisons,

having sex with animals or being held in bondage during sex. Fantasizing about certain sexual

practices does not mean that you would actually want to do it, even if you could.

Most Popular Sexual Fantasies

Researchers also have tried to convey the content of sexual fantasies by listing the top 2, top

5, or top 10 fantasies ranked in order of frequency of occurrence. Sometimes these data are

obtained from studies in which checklists of different fantasies are provided to participants.

(unfortunately ,the list are not the same across studies).Some of the common fantasies are :

(a) Having sex in the workplace (such as the office).

(b) Having sex in a lift

(c) Having sex with a person visiting the home, such as a person repairing the television

or a sales person.

(d) Sex between student and teacher

(c) Sex between a patient with a doctor or nurse.

(d) Sex in public or in a public place

(e) Sex with a multitude of partners

(f) Sex in a place where a person might be caught in the act

(g) Having sex outdoors

(h) Being taken against your will, being submissive or dominated

(i) Being dominant

(j) sexually in control

(k) Sex with a prostitute

(l) Sex, pretending you are a prostitute

(m) Sex with a virgin

(n) Acting as if inexperienced sexually or acting as if a virgin

(o) Having sex with someone considered inappropriate such as a nun or a priest

(p) Pretending to be a famous person or a fictional character

(q) Having sex with a famous person or fictional character

(r) Trying sexual positions or approaches a person may not be practicing in real life

(s) Wearing the clothing of the opposite sex or being forced to wear this clothing

(v) Being videotaped either knowingly or unknowingly.

In one of the pioneer studies in this are , Hariton and Singer (1974) provided 41 married

woman with 15-item fantasy list, that they had derived on the basis of pilot research .The

most commonly experience fantasy was “of an imaginary romantic lover”, follow closely by

“ I imagine that I am being overpowered or forced to surrender” ;”reliving a sexual

experience”, and “ pretending I am doing something wicked and forbidden”. Hunt 1974

found the following 5 fantasies in order frequency, to be the most common for both men and

woman ; intercourse with a loved one, intercourse with stranger , multiple partners of the

opposite sex at the same time, doing things sexually that you would never do in reality, and

being forced or forcing someone to have sex. Crepault (1976) and Crepault and Couture

(1980) found that the 2 most popular fantasies for both men and woman ere being with

another partner and reliving a previous sexual experience. In addition, the 5 themes most

often chosen by women were among the top 7 chosen by men, namely being with another

partner, and cunnilingus. When Sue (1979) had participants rate the frequency of 13

different fantasies, the 2 most frequent for both men and women involved oral-genital sexual

activity and others finding one sexually irresistible .When G.D. Wilson and Lang (1981) had

male and female participants indicate which 40 fantasy items they found most exciting, both

men and woman reported “intercourse with a loved partner”,. Shanor (1977) found that the 5

most frequently occuring fantasies in the 303 women she interviewed were sex with a new

male partner, replay of a prior sexual experience sex with a celebrity, seducing a younger

man or boy, and sex with an older man. In subsequent survey study with 4,062 men

( Shanor,1978) she found that their 5 most frequently occurring fantasies were image of a

nude a semi nude female, sex with a new female partner partner , replay of a prior sexual

experience, sex with two or more women, and power to drive a woman wild. Davidson

(1985) found that the 5 most frequently experienced fantasies for men were different sexual

positions during intercourse, women aggressor, oral sex, sex with a new female partner ,and

sex on the beach. For women, the top 5 were sexual activity with current partner, reliving a

pat sexual experience, different sexual positions during intercourse, having intercourse in

rooms other than the bedroom, and having sex on a carpeted floor.

While the most common fantasies involve routine sex with a past, present, or imaginary

partner, that's not to say that we don't occasionally give our fantasy muscles a more strenuous

workout. In addition to those decidedly "vanilla" scenarios, Leitenberg and Henning describe

three other primary flavors of fantasy: Novel or "forbidden" imagery. This includes

unconventional settings, questionable partners like strangers or relatives, and ligament-

straining positions worthy of the Kama Sutra. Or as Dr. Seuss once asked (albeit in a

somewhat different context): "Would you, could you, in a boat? Could you, would you, with

a goat?". Scenes of sexual irresistibility. Here the emphasis is on seductive power:

overcoming the reluctance of an initially indifferent man or woman through sheer animal

magnetism. Or the irresistibility may take numerical form in fantasies involving multiple

partners. Dominance and submission fantasies. In these, sexual power is expressed either

ritualistically--in sadomasochistic activities--or through physical force, as in rape fantasies.

Such fantasies are surprisingly common. Person reports that 44 percent of men have had

fantasies of dominating a partner. Other studies found that 51 percent of women fantasized

about being forced to have sex, while a third imagined: "I'm a slave who must obey a man's

every wish." .None of this means, of course, that real-world rape victims "really want it."

"Women who find submission fantasies sexually arousing are very clear that they have no

wish to be raped in reality," say Leitenberg and Henning. In their fantasies, women control

every aspect of what occurs. And their scenarios are far less brutal than real-life attacks.

Typically the fantasy involves an attractive man whose restraint is simply overwhelmed by

the woman's attractiveness. These fantasies serve the same psychological purpose as scenes

of irresistibility. "It's different means to the same end" says Leitenberg. "We want to be

desired." Incidentally, researchers find little difference in the fantasies of hetero- and

homosexuals--except in the gender of participants. The most popular fantasies reported by

respondents in other studies could be enumerated, but they convey very little new


One of the Unfulfilled fantasy for Ning Baizura.

I know it'll never happen but it involves five guys and me, all at the same time. But this time

the men will be the masters and I will be the slaves-the only slave.(Interview session with

Ning Baizura in FMH magazine in July 2000 from page 68 -76)

Gender Differences in the content of Sexual Fantasies

There appear to be some notable differences in the content of sexual fantasies of men and

women. Men’s fantasies are more active about focus more on the woman’s body and on what

he wants to do it, whereas woman’s fantasies are more passive and focus more on men’s

interest in their bodies. Men’s sexual fantasies also focus more on explicit sexual acts, nude

bodies, and physical gratification, whereas woman use more emotional context and romance

in their sexual fantasies. Men are more likely to fantasize about multiple partners and group

sex than are women .In review of all of the evidence presented from the previous studies

Ellis and Symons have reduced the sex differences of males to the following:

a) Men tend to lust and have an ‘appetitive' desire. This can be seen in male

sexual fantasies as well as pornography.

b) Because men lust, their fantasies often de-personalize the women to a sex

object and therefore usually focus more on the sex organs, sexual acts, and the

physical attributes of the woman.

c) Men tend to become more sexually aroused by visual stimulation therefore

making the fantasy more likely to focus on the visual images of the imagined


d) Men also tend to view women as the sexual object and often see themselves

performing the act to the woman.

Male fantasies also reflect physical attraction in that they are more likely to have

more than one partner in the fantasy. The male fantasy world relies heavily upon novel

experiences filled with culturally-defined beautiful women who are always sexually available

and free. Pornographic magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse, as well as a wide array of

so-called harder publications (because they depict explicit sex acts), attempt to capitalize

upon such fantasies. The romance/genitalia dichotomy isn't the only major differences in

male and female fantasies, report Leitenberg and Henning. Here are some others:

1) Men are more likely to imagine themselves doing something to a woman, and their

fantasies focus on her body. Women, on the other hand, tend to envision something being

done to them and to concentrate more on their partner's interest in her.

2) Male fantasies more often involve sex with two or more partners at one time. In one study,

a third of men had fantasies about sex with multiple partners--twice the number of women.

Guys are also more likely to switch partners in mid-fantasy.

3) Both sexes imagine overpowering a partner or being forced to submit to another's wishes.

But men are more likely to have domination fantasies, while women tend to see themselves

submitting to a partner's sexual wishes. One researcher reports that 13 percent of women but

only 4 percent of men said that their favorite fantasy was being forced to have sex.

4) Men have a greater variety of fantasies. Asked to check off all those they had experienced

in the past three months (on a list of 55), male collegians indicated 26 of them. Women listed

only 14.

According to Money and Ehrhardt (1972), this basic active passive difference is also

reflected in men”s and woman responses to pornographic films. even though both may be

equally aroused by a particular film, the man tends to imagine having sex with the woman in

the film, whereas the woman watching imagines herself as the object of the man’s passion. In

other words, the main focuses on the woman’s body, whereas the woman focuses on the

man” interest in her body. Women often base their fantasies upon previous sexual

experiences and tend to emphasize romance and intimacy. The onset of the women's

liberation movement has created a renaissance in erotic fiction aimed at women by women

writers and film makers. "Sexual fantasizing is a natural, universal psychological

phenomenon similar to dreaming," says Wendy Maltz M.S.W. coauthor with Suzie Boss of

the newly released book, Private Thoughts: Exploring the Power of Women's Sexual

Fantasies (New World Library, 2001). "And, like with dreams, some sexual fantasies are fun

and satisfying, while others may trouble us a lot .Finally, women are more likely to have

submission fantasies whereas men are more likely to have dominance fantasies although both

types of force fantasies may indirectly be serving the same purpose: affirming sexual power

and irresistibility. Although women can be as physically aroused as men by typical X-rated

videos (Griffitt,1987;Schmidt,1975) and can masturbate to orgasm as rapidly as men when

viewing these films (T.D Fisher, Pollack, & Makatesta,1986) they have much more negative

attitudes toward this material than do men. "In Women On Top", Nancy Friday maintains that

women have started a sexual revolution for equality and should implement it with a rich

fantasy life. In her study of over 10,000 women, Friday noted that in recent years women's

fantasies have relied more on active, assertive women giving pleasure, as compared to the

fantasies containing more passive women receiving pleasure indicated by prior research.

These findings suggest the importance of social environment (e.g., the impact of feminism)

on the structuring of fantasy.

People generally fantasize when engaging in autoerotic sex or masturbation. In his research

findings, the prominent sexologist Alfred C. Kinsey reported that fantasy accompanied

masturbation for the majority (sixty-four percent) of females and virtually all males. About

two percent of the women in his study sample reported achieving orgasm by fantasy alone.

Older females were more prone to fantasize than younger females. Some people, particularly

but not solely those from rural areas, have fantasies about sexual contact with animals.

Instead, men are primary consumers of what is usually thought of as pornography, whereas

woman are the primary consumers of romance novels. Thus, pornography appears to be

commercially successful because it closely corresponds to men’s sexual fantasies, whereas

romance fiction appears to be commercially successful because it corresponds more closely

to women’s fantasies.

Out Of Control

At times, sexual fantasies can get out of control. Research at the Masters and Johnson's

Institute showed that two-thirds of men who engage in far-out sexual fantasies say they

would try their fantasies if given the chance. Rape fantasies, for instance, are far more

common than rapes themselves. And as an extreme example, consider that only 22 percent of

child molesters say they had sexual fantasies about kids before their first molestation. So

unusual fantasies are a concern only when they become compulsive or exclusive, or for

individuals "in whom the barrier between thought and behavior has been broken," say

Leitenberg and Henning,Persons may be so compelled to act out strange fantasies or become

so obsessed with them to the extent that their flesh and blood partner becomes unimportant.

This obsession can turn to a paraphilia (perversion) and the person eventually engages in

deviant behavior, such as rape or sexual abuse, just to live out the passion. Even if sexual

fantasies have an impact on sex offenders behavior, however, no studies have assessed the

relative importance of fantasy in comparison with all other contributing factors in rapist,

child molesters, or exhibitionists. Moreover, and most important, there is no evidence that

sexual fantasies, by themselves are either a sufficient or a necessary condition for committing

a sexual offense.

Social Views of Sexual Fantasy

Taboo status of sexual fantasies in many places around the world, open discussion is

forbidden. Sexual fantasies were seen as evil or sinful and were seen as horrid thoughts

planted into the minds of people by “agents of the devils” (Rathus, 2005). Even psychologists

went so far as to diagnose sexual fantasies in females as a sign of hysteria (Scott,

1994).Many experts view sexual fantasies as abnormal prior to the early 20th century. Many

people still feel shame and guilt about their fantasies. This type of shame regularly leads to a

decline in the quality of a couple’s sex life and an unhappy relationship ( Scott, 1994) Social

views on sexual fantasy (and sex in general) differ throughout the world. The privacy of a

person's fantasy is influenced greatly by social conditions. Because of the taboo status of

sexual fantasies in many places around the world, open discussion — or even

acknowledgment — is forbidden, forcing fantasies to stay private. In more lax conditions, a

person may share their fantasies with close friends, significant others, or a group of people

with whom the person is comfortable. Historically, the moral acceptance and formal study of

sexual fantasy in Western culture is relatively new. Prior to their acceptance, sexual fantasies

were seen as evil or sinful, and they were commonly seen as horrid thoughts planted into the

minds of people by "agents of the devil." Even when psychologists were willing to accept

and study fantasies, they showed little understanding and went so far as to diagnose sexual

fantasies in females as a sign of hysteria.Prior to the early twentieth century, many experts

viewed sexual fantasy (particularly in females) as abnormalOver several decades, sexual

fantasies became more acceptable as notable works and compilations, such as Alfred

Kinsey's Kinsey Reports, Erotic Fantasies: A Study of the Sexual Imagination by Drs. Phyllis

and Eberhard Kronhausen, and Nancy Friday's My Secret Garden, were published.Despite

the Western World's relatively lax attitudes towards sexual fantasy, many people still feel

shame and guilt about their fantasies. This type of shame regularly leads to a decline in the

quality of a couple's sex life, and an unhappy relationship.Sexual fantasies about people other

than one's spouse are prohibited by Christian religion in Matthew 5:28. Also masturbation is

prohibited. Beside that it is also mention in Islamic religion and other religion as well.

Importance Of Sexual Fantasy

Thought to play a significant role in the commission of sexual offences such as

exhibitionism, rape and sexual abuse (Abel & Blanchard, 1974). Provide a unique insight

into the different scripts that may underlie sexual behavior in men and women eg. anything

one likes and however unrealistic (Gagnon & Simon, 1973).Therapists have found that

fantasy can be useful in helping patients overcome sexual problems. With the help of a

therapist, the individual may, through fantasy, confront the fearful stages and apprehensions.

The more you know about sexual fantasies, the more options you have about what types of

sexual fantasies you entertain," says Wendy Maltz M.S.W coauthor with Suzie Boss of the

newly released book, Private Thoughts: Exploring the Power of Women's Sexual Fantasies

(New World Library, 2001). "Fantasies that improve self-esteem and intimacy with a partner

are usually the most desirable. Partners are often concerned about sharing their sexual

fantasies with each other. In some cases when it is done, it lacks the spark that is expected,

especially if the setting is not right or your partner is not fully sold on it. Some jealous

partner may insist on knowing who was the object of your fantasy, and could lead to

problems. You have to know what your partner can tolerate. Sex therapists suggest that both

partners should commit to trying out a fantasy together and see what effect it has on their

sexual relations. In addition, it has been suggested that because sexual fantasy are private and

do not depend on the participants of a partner they may be more revealing than actual

behaviour of gender differences in sexuality ( Ellis & Symons,1990).In fantasy one can

imagine anything one likes, however unrealistic without experiencing embarresment or

rejection or societal and legal restrictions. sexual fantasies, therefore may provide a unique

insight into the different scripts that may underlie sexual behaviour in men and women.

( Gagnon & Simon,1973 ).Sexual fantasies are also considered important because they are

thought to play a significant role in the commission of sexual offenses such as exhibitionism,

rape and child sexual abuse (eg.., Abel & Blanchard,1974 ).In addition, lack of sexual

fantasies may contribute to sexual dysfunction (e.g. Cado & Leitenberg,1990:Zimmer,

Borchardt,& Fischle,1983).


Sexual fantasy is an integral part of everyday human existence and it can have clinical and

social significance. As such, sexual fantasy needs to be afforded the same careful research

attention as any other important aspect of human behavior.


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