Sexual Health Q&A

How common are various sexual fantasies?

Since sexual fantasies are often private, it’s difficult to know exactly what people fantasize about. However, in October 2014, Canadian researchers surveyed over 1,500 adults to learn more about their fantasies.

The participants were between the ages of 18 and 77. Their average age was 30 years.

In an online survey, the respondents considered 55 different sexual themes, rating how intensely they fantasized about those themes, if at all. They could also describe their favorite sexual fantasy, if they wanted to.

The researchers compiled the results to determine how common the sexual fantasy themes were in this group. Here are some examples:

Rare (occurring in 2.3% of the participants or less)

• Having sex with an animal
• Having sex with a child under the age of 12

Unusual (occurring in 15.9% of the participants or less)

• Urinating on a sexual partner
• Having sex with a prostitute or stripper
• Forcing someone to have sex
• Sexually abusing a person who is drunk, asleep, or unconscious

Common (occurring in more than half the participants)

• Having homosexual (or gay) sex
• Having sex with two men
• Spanking or whipping someone to obtain sexual pleasure
• Having sex in a public place
• Having sex with a total stranger
• Having sex with more than three people, both men and women

Typical (occurring in 84.1% of the participants or more)

• Feeling romantic emotions during a sexual relationship
• Giving or receiving oral sex
• Having sex in a romantic or an unusual location


Fantasies sometimes varied between men and women. For example, women were more likely to fantasize about their current sexual partner than men were. And men were more likely to fantasize about someone other than their partner.

Over half the women fantasized about playing a submissive role or being tied up for sexual pleasure, but such fantasies were common for men, too.

More information about the study can be found here.

Not everyone acts out their sexual fantasies, of course. But some partners decide to explore certain fantasies and try new things in the bedroom, such as bondage or role-playing. When doing this, it’s important that both partners understand and agree on what will take place. Neither partner should feel pressured or threatened. Each partner needs to feel safe and respected. And if one partner feels uncomfortable, the activity should stop.