The Link Between Aggressive Sexual Fantasy Frequency and Sexual Aggression

The Link Between Aggressive Sexual Fantasy Frequency and Sexual Aggression

Sexual fantasies are thoughts that arouse sexual feelings in an individual. Aggressive sexual fantasies (ASFs) are thoughts that involve causing harm to others for sexual arousal. ASFs are common, even in the general population.

There is a link between ASFs and sexual aggression, which is defined as nonconsensual sexual behavior, but the factors influencing this link, such as context and consent, are unclear. Therefore, a recent study explored how several different ASF factors might influence sexual aggression based on four samples of people.

Aggressive Sexual Fantasy Factors:

  1. ASF Frequency: Measures how often aggression-related sexual fantasies occur in everyday life. Higher ASF frequency is theorized to strengthen associations with sexual arousal, eroding a person’s inhibitions, and potentially leading to acting on these fantasies.
  2. ASF Elaboration: Refers to the detailedness, realism, and vividness of aggression-related sexual fantasies. Elaboration may play a crucial role in predicting behavior beyond frequency, as prolonged fantasizing may enhance aggressive scripts.
  3. ASF Intrusion and Preoccupation: Intrusion involves undesired repetitive thoughts about aggression-related sexual acts, while preoccupation reflects the proportion of ASFs relative to all sexual fantasies, indicating a strong interest or preference for such acts.
  4. ASF Context: Examines where ASFs occur, distinguishing between everyday life, masturbation, and sexual intercourse.
  5. ASF Consent: Reflects the extent to which aggression-related acts in ASF align with or contradict the sexual partner’s will. This characteristic focuses on whether individuals distinguish between consensual and nonconsensual acts in their fantasies.

This study looked at the importance of ASF characteristics in understanding sexual aggression, exploring elaboration, intrusion, and preoccupation in studies 1 and 2; context in study 3; and consent in study 4.

In study 1, frequency, elaboration, intrusion, and preoccupation were examined in a sample of 664 participants, with ASF frequency emerging as the most consistent predictor of sexual aggression. Elaboration added to predicting outcomes, and the interaction of frequency and elaboration indicated a strong urge for people to act on these fantasies. Intrusion was not associated with sexual aggression, but it could possibly be linked to internalizing problems. Preoccupation’s relevance was limited, emphasizing the significance of ASF frequency.

Study 2 replicated and extended the findings from study 1 by considering BDSM identity. In a sample of 143 participants (50% female, mean age 37.78), ASF characteristics, including frequency, elaboration, intrusion, and preoccupation, were examined. Results indicated positive correlations among ASF characteristics, with frequency as the strongest predictor of sexual aggression.

Study 3 investigated the association of ASFs in various contexts (daily life, masturbation, sexual intercourse) with sexual aggression, beyond their frequency. A sample of 758 participants reported their sexual fantasies, contexts, and self-perpetrated sexual harassment and coercive strategies. Results indicated that ASF frequency was still the strongest predictor of sexual aggression. Contrary to expectations, specific contexts of ASFs showed inconsistent associations with sexual aggression.

Lastly, study 4 explored the impact of ASFs based on the degree of imagined consent. Once again, results revealed that ASF frequency was the dominant factor in predicting sexual aggression, overshadowing any significant influence of the consent context.

Across the board, ASF frequency emerged as the most significant factor in predicting sexual aggression. This is useful information for experts and researchers in the field to have, so that they can conduct further research that may help curb sexual aggression.


  • Bondü, R. (2023). Aggressive sexual fantasy frequency outperforms other characteristics in cross-sectionally predicting self-reported sexual aggression in 4 samples. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 20(12), 1414–1430.

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