In our post-Fifty Shades era, we’re increasingly encouraged to discuss our sexual fantasies out in the open—or at least own up to them in our private lives. Taboos are eroding, sexual norms are shifting, and we’re likelier than ever to let our freak flags fly.
Here, as per two studies on sexual fantasies done over the past few years, are 25 of the most common fantasies women have. Do yours fall into these categories? Or are you more of an outlier? (Remember, either is totally fine.)
Both giving and receiving head came up as a top fantasy in one study. While oral isn’t exactly “out there,” it can be imbued with a kink dynamic that sets it apart from activities traditionally understood to be mutually pleasurable, like penis-in-vagina sex. You might sometimes view giving oral sex as a submissive service, for example, or a dominant act of taking what’s yours. Meanwhile, receiving oral might make you feel like a pampered queen in her throne or a thoroughly ravaged snack. However you frame it, it’s clear that tons of people find oral sex hot as hell.
Sex in public
The thrill of sex in a public or semi-public place has long been a popular fantasy: dark alleys, public bathrooms, and movie theaters are common choices. The thrill of getting caught is one commonly-cited reason, as is a general interest in exhibitionism. This can be a risky endeavor for your criminal record and for the wellbeing of passersby, so it’s probably one that’s better left a fantasy.
Sex in an unusual location
Even if you’re fantasizing about the same old sex acts you always fall back on, out-of-the-ordinary settings like a hotel room, a sex club, or the kitchen counter can heat up your imaginings.
You can be perfectly happy with your partner and still find something electrically exciting about the idea of cheating on them. It could be the danger of getting caught that draws you in, the freshness of a new sexual connection, or something else entirely. As with many fantasies, it’s important to keep in mind that wanting to imagine this type of sex doesn’t necessarily mean you want to have this type of sex. But if you do, maybe some form of ethical non-monogamy is an avenue you should explore?
Fifty Shades of Grey normalized this fantasy more widely than ever before; one study found 65 percent of women crave being dominated. There’s a wide palette of fantasy scenarios to draw from here. You can picture something as subtle as a trusted partner holding you down by the wrists while they kiss you, all the way up to extreme BDSM involving pain, humiliation, or whatever else your kinky little heart desires.
While not as socially-sanctioned for women as submissiveness, fantasies of being in control in the bedroom are super fun and quite common, with 47 percent of women admitting to having had this fantasy. It can be incredibly hot to call the shots during sex, especially in a culture which systematically tries to strip women of our power both in and out of the bedroom.
From impromptu tools, like neckties à la Christian Grey, to more intense bondage scenarios involving rope, cuffs, or under-the-bed restraints, the thought of being restrained (or restraining someone else) is incredibly hot to many folks. Being unable to move makes you helpless to a partner’s advances, whether those involve pleasure, pain, or a little of both! (Do your research on this one before acting it out, though. There are a lot of ways bondage can go wrong, in an actually-dangerous and not just kinky-dangerous manner.)
Blindfolds are one easy way to explore this avenue. Wearing one keeps you blissfully unaware of what your partner is about to do to you—and putting one on someone else helps you maintain your control and mystique over them. Adding noise-canceling headphones can also be fun if you really want to keep someone on their toes!
Showing off can be incredibly sexy, especially if the person watching you is as excited about your bangin’ bod as they ought to be! Maybe you fantasize about stripping for a partner, performing in a porn flick, or masturbating for an agog audience. It’s hot to feel hot.
On the flip-side, watching other people get it on can be a massive turn-on. Maybe you imagine peeking at a couple boning in a mall fitting room, sitting in as an anonymous tipper in an online cam show, or watching a boundary-pushing BDSM scene at a dungeon. There are so many possibilities for (consenting) perviness.
Sex with a celebrity
Some 52 percent of women reported having had this fantasy, and with good reason: celebrities are often hot as hell. It’s also often easier and less complicated to picture your fave celeb—say, the star of that primetime comedy you can’t get enough of, or that singer/songwriter whose crooning gets you swooning—than a stranger or someone you actually know in real life. Plus, there’s something affirming about the fantasy of a celebrity choosing you over all the other fawning fangirls available to them.
Sex with an ex
The idea of going there again would be bad, but the ways in which they understand your body can be so, so good. In your fantasy life, you can revisit the excellent ex you’ll (hopefully) never hook up with again, without any of the emotional drama that would arise if you tried.
Sex with a stranger
Anonymity is probably what draws many people to one-night stands, after all. It’s potentially hot to think that someone would be attracted to you only for your body and your sex appeal since they don’t really know anything else about you. And when you’re done, you can throw your clothes back on and peace out. Easy-peasy.
Sex with a professor
Being the teacher’s pet is a sexy fantasy, even if you’re all grown up and have been for awhile. Plus, professors are so smart, distinguished, and accomplished…and don’t even get me started on tweed blazers with elbow patches. Yow.
If you struggle to let your inner sex kitten lose, sometimes imagining yourself in a specific role can help. Does a nurse-and-patient fantasy get your gears turning? How about boss and secretary? Parent and babysitter?
Costumes can help you get in the right headspace for some serious debauchery. They can also make you feel like a total vixen. Whether you go supernatural (Catwoman? Wonder Woman?) or slightly more down-to-earth (Dana Scully? Lara Croft?), you might feel foxier in a borrowed persona.
Though anal just straight-up feels good for many folks, it also comes with a whole host of cultural taboos that add to its forbidden hotness. It’s “dirty,” something only “bad girls” do. You don’t have to ascribe to these shamey judgments in your day-to-day life to be able to enjoy them in your fantasy.
Threesomes, foursomes, and “moresomes” put a novel spin on sex, which might explain why 57% of women have fantasized about these ambitious trysts. They might go better in fantasy than in reality —in fantasies, for example, no one ever has to feel left out or confused about what they’re supposed to be doing—but if a group sex fantasy piques your interest, it might be worth pursuing IRL too.
This can mean different things to different people. Maybe your idea of romance is rose petals, champagne, and staring into each other’s eyes, or maybe it’s a partner knowing exactly how to slap you around and exactly what mean names to call you in bed. Whatever the manifestation, it’s lovely to imagine having a deep emotional connection with the person you’re banging.
Interestingly, this fantasy is common even for women who identify as straight. It might be the mild frisson of taboo still attached to same-sex interactions, or it might be that lesbian sex tends to focus on the things that actually get most women off: oral sex, fingering, and other clitorally-focused activities. Craving sex with another woman could mean you’re actually attracted to women, but it also might not; either way, it can be fun to imagine!
The great thing about fantasies is that they don’t have to mesh with your real-life ethics and beliefs—you can be as perverted as you want to be inside your own head. “Daddy” has become a popular kink honorific in recent years, and “step-sister” and “step-mom” porn tend to top the charts on tube sites, suggesting that taboo dynamics have wide appeal. These archetypes and power imbalances can lend themselves to white-hot fantasies.
Sex with someone younger
They’re likelier to have more sexual energy than an older person so you can go at it like jackrabbits for days on end. They’ll also have that wide-eyed naiveté that age and heartbreak tend to beat out of us. And maybe there’s a bit of the forbidden there, too: thirty-something women aren’t “supposed” to lust after their nineteen-year-old pool boy, after all.
Sex with someone older
They could teach you exactly how to please them because they’ve been around the block a few times. They might look at you patronizingly and call you “sweetheart,” or their eyes might fill with gratitude and incredulity at their luck for getting to bang a hot young thing like you. Fun!
This is consistently one of the most common fantasies women report having, though let’s be clear that no one with a rape fantasy actually wants to be raped, as rape definitionally does not include consent. Some people are more comfortable with terminology like “ravishment,” “forced sex,” or “consensual non-consent” for this type of fantasy. There are theories it has to do with some women’s desire to avoid culpability for their sexual agency or to feel like they’re so attractive, a potential partner just can’t help themselves. Whatever the reason, this fantasy can be an interesting way to wade into more taboo territory in your sexual imagination, if you’re comfortable with it.
“Happy-ending” massages are a popular search term on porn sites, especially for women. It may be that the relaxation and slow, calming movements prep your body and mind for heights of arousal; sex researcher Emily Nagoski notes in her book Come As You Are that stress can physiologically inhibit pleasure and orgasm in women, after all. Once you’re all oily and melty and floaty, the stage is set for sinfully intense ecstasy.
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