Sexual Fantasy: How Much is Normal?

women sexual fantasies normal

Trivia Question: What is the largest sexual organ?
(The answer is at the end of the article.)

Erotic or sexual fantasy is taboo in our society (just like many other sexual-related topics). However, fantasies during lovemaking and masturbation are completely normal. Yet, many people feel ashamed and guilty of having them or admitting that they have them. A survey conducted by The New York Times revealed that 48% versus 46% of respondents believed that fantasizing about someone else during sex was equivalent of being unfaithful. However, other studies have found that the Number One fantasy people have during sex is fantasizing about someone else. These fantasies often leave individuals feeling as though they have committed mental or moral infidelity. Nonetheless, fantasizing about sex, including fantasizing about someone else while having sex with a partner is not only normal, it is also common.

WHAT IS SEXUAL FANTASY?
According to psychotherapist Brett Kahr , a sexual fantasy can be defined as “an image, thought, or a fully elaborated drama which passes our mind principally during sex activity, either coital or masturbatory, often resulting in orgasm.” According to Kahr, sexual fantasies ought not to be confused with sexual day-dreams or fleeting sexual thoughts. Sexual fantasies can range from simple to complex and may cause psychological pleasure or pain. Kahr, who conducted a study on sexual fantasies among 19,000 people in England, says that most keep their sexual fantasies hidden from partners, confidants, and even psychotherapists.

Read Related: The Risks of Acting Out Your Sexual Fantasies

WHY DO WE FANTASIZE DURING SEX?
First, as previously stated, having sexual fantasies is totally normal. Actually, not having them is abnormal. Sexual fantasies are a way to spice up our sex lives without committing any transgressions. Sexual fantasies are not pathologic; moreover, they are as normal and healthy as masturbation. According to Freudian psychoanalysts, sexual fantasies happen as a means to gratify our wishes or conquer intrusive memories of traumatic experiences that happened early in our lives. Kahr asserts that sexual fantasies can lead to the equilibration of the self; in other words, mastering what hunts us through subconscious self-psychotherapy. Moreover, fantasizing increases our arousal and libido during sex as the outcomes are always successful. Additionally, fantasizing allows us to do things we would not do in real life.

DOES EVERYBODY HAVE SEXUAL FANTASIES?
Psychoanalytical clinicians agree that everyone, EVERYONE, has unconscious fantasy structures that lead us to represent them in our conscious sexual fantasies. Those unconscious fantasy structures can be manifested in sadistic, masochistic, and depressive tendencies, among others. Conscious sexual fantasies represent these unconscious fantasy structures that occur during masturbation or sexual intercourse. A study conducted among 20,153 British and American adults by the British Sexual Fantasy Research Project revealed that 96% of adult males fantasize and 90% of females do as well. According to Kahr, these figures are conservative.

WHY WE DON’T ADMIT WE HAVE SEXUAL FANTASIES
Again, sexual fantasies are considered taboo. People will not admit they have them or not fully disclose the nature of their fantasies because it is considered too weird, wrong, or perverse. Many people fear that fantasizing can mean that there is something wrong with them or their relationships.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON SEXUAL FANTASIES?
Sexual fantasies do not respond to sexual orientation in real life, necessarily. Sexual fantasies include heterosexual lovemaking as well as sadomasochism, homosexuality, group sex, and other practices that may not be usual for the person. Even incest and rape are common sexual fantasies. Dr. Mark Schwartz and Dr. William Masters conducted a survey among 120 men and women, half of them heterosexual and half homosexual. The results, published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, showed that sexual fantasies can be opposite to a person’s sexual orientation.

Our unscientific survey:
In an anecdotal survey, I asked some women if they fantasize during masturbation and lovemaking and what they fantasize about. These were their answers:

I do fantasize during masturbation and intercourse. My main fantasies are about other men, like celebrities and ex-boyfriends. —Leila C., New York, NY

I fantasize about having group sex. It turns me on! —Rae R., Jersey City, NJ

I fantasize during masturbation. It is the only way to masturbate and be successful at it. I also fantasize during sex with my husband. I fantasize about having threesomes, but the desire to fulfill that fantasy vanishes as soon as we are done. —Carla M., Miami, FL

The next time you have sexual fantasies and think you are not normal, think again. Fantasies are not only normal, they are necessary and they mean that our brains are working at their normal capacity. Do not forget that the brain is our biggest sexual organ. And by the way, I just provided you with the answer to the trivia question at the beginning of the article. ☺

I want to know your opinion. To comment on this topic, leave your comment here. To send private comments, questions, or suggestions, email dr.tanginika@gmail.com.