Here's Why We Fantasize About Celebrities

by Rachel Sanoff

Whether it is spurred by an actor's racy scene from a blockbuster movie, a pop star's suggestive dance moves in a music video, or a TV personality's revealing selfie on Instagram, people commonly fantasize about celebrities during masturbation. In their second annual research report on masturbation in the U.S., the 2016 Global Passion Report, We-Vibe, the producers of vibrators for couples, asked 1,032 men and women across the nation about their self-pleasuring habits and their opinions on masturbation. The study provided some insight into Americans' celeb fantasies and why we masturbate to the stars.

Twenty-seven percent of the survey participants reported thinking about specific celebrities while they masturbated and the statistics from We-Vibe showed that it is more common for males to imagine famous folks while they take care of business than it is for females to imagine celebrities while they masturbate — 33 percent of men versus 19 percent of women.

So who are the stars we are masturbating to? According to the Global Passion Report, the celebrity most commonly appearing in people's fantasies during self-love time is Jenny from the block herself, Ms. Jennifer Lopez. Some of the other famous names that show up in We-Vibe's top 20 list of celeb fantasies are singers and musicians like Beyoncé, Carrie Underwood, Justin Timberlake, and Adam Levine, and film stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Megan Fox, Ryan Gosling, and Channing Tatum (y'all saw Magic Mike).

I spoke to Tristan Weedmark, the Global Passion Ambassador for We-Vibe, to get some more insight into why it's normal to include the rich and famous in our masturbation fantasies.

1. Celebrities Help Us Access Our Fantasies

"Celebrities are accessible and they have public personalities that are made to represent the pinnacle of beauty and sex appeal," Weedmark tells Bustle. Not only are we surrounded by media all of the time, but the public figures that get the most attention in the media often meet impossible standards of beauty that we typically don't find in "real life" (thanks to airbrushing, professional makeup artists, trainers, stylists, etc.). This makes celebrities unattainable, thus exciting to fantasize over.

Additionally, the dawn of cinema in the 1920s — and the birth of film stars, as a result — represented a change in the sexual openness and fantasies of young Americans. In fact, many doctors, psychologists, and sociologists nervously wrote about the dangerous sexual desires that the stars of the silver screen were inspiring in teenagers, especially in young women. Film stars of this time period were some of our first celebrities, and the development of Hollywood meant that young moviegoers now had easy access to sensual images of the most beautiful people, even if they were fictionalized activities, and this helped them explore their own sexuality.

Sociologist Edward Alsworth Ross even wrote an article at that time entitled "What the Films Are Doing to Young America," in which he frantically stated that the movie-going generation was more "sex-wise" and sex-obsessed than any generation before them. Lloyd Lewis, another culture writer of the era, claimed that the darkness, or "the blue dusk" of the movie theater "gave free reign to a woman's sexual fantasies." Heavens, no! The celebrities may have changed, but they still influence people's fantasies.

2. It Is Healthy And Normal, Whether You Are In A Relationship Or Single

According to the survey results, single people are more likely to say the masturbate to celebrities than those who are married or in a relationship. "It’s hard to say why the results show that single people are more likely to fantasize about celebs," says Weedmark. "I suspect it might be that singles were more comfortable being honest about it or it could be that they don’t have current sexual experiences to draw from."

Regardless of relationship status, there is nothing wrong or strange about using these kinds of fantasies to help you express your sexuality and achieve pleasure. If you are in a relationship, then allowing yourself to explore these fantasies mentally may help you to better communicate desires to your partner, which can actually improve your sex life. "There is no place for judgment when it comes to sexual desires, preferences, or fantasies," Weedmark says. "What works for some people may be a turnoff for others. As long as it’s not negatively affecting the relationship, it’s completely healthy to fantasize about celebrities or otherwise. If you’re open and honest with your partner about your fantasies, it can help to build intimacy between you. "

3. You Shouldn't Feel Jealous Of Celebrities, Or Feel Bad For Fantasizing About Them

No matter which celebrity helps you or your partner get off, there should be no jealous or guilty feelings. Celeb fantasies, as well as fantasies of any kind, allow you and your partner to express desires without crossing any boundaries (assuming you are monogamous). This mental exercise helps you and your partner realize these desires privately, without feeling embarrassed or insecure about a vulnerable wish. This provides an opportunity to communicate these sexual curiosities with each other and try new things. So what should you do if either you or your partner is feeling envious of Beyoncé, et al.?

"It is one of our responsibilities as a good partner not to feed our partner's insecurities. It may be helpful to remind your partner that a fantasy is just that… a fantasy. It’s something that’s fun to just think about but not act on," Weedmark says. "While we asked specifically about celebrities in the Passion Report, in other research we’ve done, men tend to fantasize most about an attractive person or a previous sexual encounter — which very well may be their current partner. Tell your partner that he or she turns you on and that your fantasies don’t come from a place of dissatisfaction. Open up the conversation for your partner to share their own celebrity crushes and show that you’re comfortable with it."

Images: Andrew Zae for Bustle; Giphy (3)