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Jul 28, 2008

Fantasies: The safest sex, part four

2) Male fantasies more often involve sex with two or more partners at one time. In one study, a third of men had fantasies about sex with multiple partners--twice the number of women. Guys are also more likely to switch partners in mid-fantasy.

3) Both sexes imagine overpowering a partner or being forced to submit to another's wishes. But men are more likely to have domination fantasies, while women tend to see themselves submitting to a partner's sexual wishes. One researcher reports that 13 percent of women but only 4 percent of men said that their favorite fantasy was being forced to have sex.

4) Men have a greater variety of fantasies. Asked to check off all those they had experienced in the past three months (on a list of 55), male collegians indicated 26 of them. Women listed only 14.

Dream on
There's still a lot no one knows about sexual fantasies. Is the frequency and range of fantasies similar in other cultures? How does the content of fantasies change over one's lifetime? And what happens when we act on our fantasies? Does it spoil them--or make them more vivid? "We have no idea," admits Leitenberg.

But what we do know is proof enough that fantasies are an essential part of our sexual repertoire. Far from being a sign of sexual inadequacy or deprivation, fantasies are associated with a healthy, happy sex life. "The people who have the most sexual problems fantasize least," Leitenberg notes.

Indeed, fantasy's power to arouse us--some folks say they can achieve orgasm solely from sexual thoughts, or "thinking off" -- proves that the brain is as potent a sexual organ as one's genitalia. And though most erotic thoughts are relatively ordinary, our more imaginative flights allow us to explore our sexuality without risk of physical harm or social rejection. Consider this finding: Imagining having sex with your current lover is a popular fantasy when you're not engaged in sexual activity--while imagining sex with a new partner is a popular fantasy during intercourse.

Most of us need no further justification for fantasy beyond the fun factor. "Sexual fantasy is a natural part of being human" says Leitenberg. "It's pleasurable. So why not fantasize?"

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