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Does getting off on the thought of sex with your friend’s husband make you a bad person? What about S&M? Rebecca Reid does some digging…
Sexual fantasies are, in short, a series of mental images or make-believe scenes that turn you on. It’s thought approximately 95% of you have sexual fantasies about everything from super orgasms (that’s coming over and over again, FYI), to the more niche end of our best sex toys round-up (think jiggle balls and bondage.)
As long as you’re not hurting anyone, you shouldn’t feel guilty about something that makes you feel good, right?
Sadly, wrong. According to a study by Psychology Today, 25% of women feel ashamed about what turns them on in comparison to 8% of men.
Keen to read about what people are loving specifically? 60% of women have fantasised about being dominated and a third of heterosexuals women have fantasised about other women.
Fun fact: according to research by Ann Summers, women are more likely to have graphic, hard-core fantasies than men. In fact, while men often replay previous sexual encounters to get themselves off, women tend to use their imagination – often creating something more risqué in the process. The divide has been attributed to the fact that men are (generally) more visual – and find nudity an adequate trigger alone.
While we all have fantasies, we never seem to discuss them. One-night stands, STD’s, penises, the best sex toys for couples – with girl talk, it’s all on the table. However, when it comes to what turns you on, I’m willing to bet you’ve kept your innermost desires a secret.
I write about sex full-time, but I’ve never revealed what turns me on (a threesome with two men, by the way). Maybe that’s the real reason we feel so bad about the good stuff. After all, experts believe that shame stems from feeling like we’re flawed in some way. If you open up about your sexual fantasies and find common ground with those you care about, those perceived ‘flaws’ should lose all of their negativity.
Ever wondered what people think about in bed? Pegging, girl-on-girl or being tied up? Keep reading…
9 common sexual fantasies, revealed…
1. Gang bangs
‘I know this might seem gross, but I have this fantasy about having a gang bang in a lay-by with a whole load of bikers. It’s kind of dirty and wrong, but that’s why I like it.’
2. Romantic love making
‘I’ve always fantasised about having really romantic sex, like with silk sheets and candles and flowers. I feel a bit pathetic and really vanilla for wanting it but just think it would be so luxurious.’
3. Sex with a woman
‘I’m straight, but I have this long-term fantasy about having sex with a woman. Not even in a threesome, just the two of us. I don’t really know why – I don’t actually fancy women. Maybe it’s just about experimenting.’
4. Sex in a school uniform
‘Yes it’s a cliché but I’ve always wanted to wear a school uniform and get spanked by my partner. Not that I’ve ever admitted it to him. I just love it when he’s strict and firm!’
5. Messy sex
‘I always fantasise about getting all dressed up and then getting really messy, like ice cream in my hair, cupcakes pushed in my face… I like the sense of destruction about it.’
6. Calling my boyfriend ‘Daddy’
‘I like calling my boyfriend Daddy during sex. It started out as playful, but it really turned us on. I’ve always had a thing about it in bed, but when I’m not turned on, it makes me feel weird and guilty, like I’m fantasising about being abused. I’ve never told anyone other than my boyfriend and I probably didn’t introduce it in the best way – I just randomly said it. It was a bit of an accident, and I was scared that he’d judge me, but I think introducing it during sex itself rather than out of context probably made him more open to it. Thankfully he just smiled and went along with it, and things developed from there. I reckon my friends would think it’s weird though, so I don’t talk about it.’
7. Getting kinky
‘I’ve always known that I was submissive. As a kid, I was even asking to be tied up with skipping ropes in the playground. And I’ve always felt bad about it. I’m a feminist, so why do I want to be made to crawl on the floor and call my boyfriend sir? It doesn’t just make me feel like a bad feminist, it makes me feel like a bad person.’
8. Cheating on your partner
‘When I masturbate, I never think about my boyfriend. Usually it’s not about anyone specific, but sometimes I think about the sex I’ve had with exes, which makes me feel terrible, as I love my boyfriend.’
9. Being submissive
‘I can’t help it – submissive fantasies do get me off. When I’m having sex it just pops in to my head – and it really works for me.’
So what do my sexual fantasies mean?
As sexual wellbeing expert Sarah Berry explains, every fantasy will have a slightly different takeaway. Sometimes they won’t be anything at all, and no, they don’t make you a bad person.
Take the paternal predilections, for example: she doesn’t reckon its cause for concern. “This sort of fantasy can often be misinterpreted, but it’s just two consenting adults enjoying a role play,” she explains. In short, using the word ‘Daddy’ with your boyfriend doesn’t mean you actually want to sleep with your dad.
Next up: craving being submissive. The combination of craving control and being independent can be confusing, but what you think about when you’re touching yourself has no bearing on who you are as a person, explains Berry. “I’ve worked with people who are dominant in their life and submissive at play, and also those who are introverted but enjoy a more domineering role. It doesn’t reflect your beliefs,” she says.
Of course any kind of dependency can be detrimental to your sex life, whether it’s a fantasy, a sex toy or a favourite sex position. Berry is keen to iterate that what turns you on shouldn’t be a worry, unless it’s causing you personal grief.
I don’t like what I’m fantasising about – help!
“If you find yourself wishing to act out something that could be dangerous or illegal, then of course I would be concerned,” says Berry. “But as long as your sexual fantasy isn’t taking over your life – and doesn’t involve another, non-consensual person – then there’s nothing to feel bad about.”
That’s not to say that you’re stuck with them for good. If you want to wean yourself off what’s turning you on, reading erotica or watching a new kind of porn can be great ways to expand your horizons. Similarly, talking to a sex therapist can help you analyse the root of your preferences, and talking to your partner about your internal sexual monologue could open you up to new experiences, she explains.
In essence, sexual fantasies are no different from any other kind of make-believe: they’re fun to think about, but not worth taking seriously, the sexpert concludes. “Just like your sexuality, your fantasies have little bearing on your personality,” says Berry. “If anything, the fact that they’re so alien from your real, external self might be what makes them so exciting in the first place.”