Is Your Sexual Fantasy Normal? New Study Shows the Prevalence of Everything from Spanking to Threesomes

BERLIN - MAY 16: German escort girl Jaqueline awaits customers at Berlin's exclusive Night Club Bel Ami on May 16, 2006 in Berlin, Germany. Escort girls across Germany are anticipating booming business in June as soccer fans from around the world will descend upon the country for the World Cup. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
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It's not uncommon for people to have some sort of sexual fantasy they're embarrassed to share with their partner because they think it's weird or unusual. While it's hard to define what actually is an anomaly, researchers at the University of Montreal decided to find out what exactly constitutes a deviant sexual fantasy. They expected some typical results, like fantasizing about non-consensual sex or pain, but also stumbled across some new data along the way. 

1,500 or so Quebec adults interviewed by the researchers ranked 55 different sexual fantasies. According to the findings of the study, the least common sexual fantasies among men and women include having sex with a child under the age of 12, having sex with an animal, urinating on a partner during sex, or forcing someone to have sex. These fantasies were classified as either "rare" (meaning 2.3 percent or less of the sample fantasized about them) or "unusual" (meaning less than 15.9 percent of the sample fantasized about them). In the grey middle ground between "unusual" and "common" (with more than 50 percent of the sample sharing that fantasy) fantasies lie spankings, swinging, having sex with two men, being photographed or filmed during a sexual relationship, and having sex in a public place. The most common sexual fantasies included having sex in an unusual place, having sex in romantic locations, having sex with someone that is not ones spouse, and being sexually dominated. 

It's interesting to note that in most instances, the presence of the fantasy among males was higher than it was in females. For example, fantasizing about forcing someone to have sex was only present in 10.8 percent of women whereas 22 percent of men indicated that it was a fantasy of theirs, or the fantasy to have sex with someone legally much younger, which 18.1 percent of women reported to be arousing as opposed to almost 50 percent for men. The research also found that overall men had more fantasies than women and described them more vividly. 

Though these findings can definitely be taken into account when looking at sexual fantasy rates in certain sample sizes, like most statistical data, they have to be taken with a grain of salt. One of the problems with the study was that a large majority of the test subjects were heterosexual, and it appears that all of them were cisgender. While the rest of the demographic information is not available, these markers in and of themselves are a reminder that the data does not speak for entire populations or even for most people. Different people have different factors (including gender, sexuality, class, ability, genetics, etc.) that inform their fantasies, so while the chart is fun and interesting to look at, it should by no means be used as an overall determinant of what is deviant and what is normal.

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