Hey Perv - What do people fantasize about? Do men fantasize about...? How about women?

According to a recent book by researcher Justin Lehmiller, called Tell Me What You Want, there are seven most common sexual fantasies in America: 

  • Multipartner sex

  • Power, Control and Rough Sex

  • Novelty, Adventure and Variety

  • Taboo and Forbidden Sex (think MILFS, DILFS, age play, race play, but also foot fetishes, exhibitionism, rape fantasies, etc) 

  • Swinging, Polyamory and Partner Sharing

  • Fantasizing ABOUT intimacy, romance and passion (romance novels, but also “bro bonding” in men’s masturbation groups)

  • homoeroticism and gender bending (see bro bonding in men’s masturbation groups, but also maybe your femme dom makes you wear her panties to work)


Researchers also found in his research that men more often fantasized about mutual masturbation, giving oral sex, and receiving oral sex, and giving anal sex, where women more often fantasized about kissing, vaginal intercourse and using sex toys.  Men and women, interestingly, were tied in fantasizing about receiving anal sex (by penis or strap-on), at 19.5% and 19.2% of the sample.

Science would suggest that men and women do report thinking about different fantasies and sex acts. Why, however, is tricky. Social expectations, how much an individual subscribes to expected gender role norms (lady-like women vs macho men). In my own doctoral research, I found that women who self-identified as more feminine were less sexually driven and men who identified as more masculine were more sexually driven than their counterparts.

It might follow, then, that men being more themselves in the social expectations of masculinity, allow themselves to explore their sexuality more than women, presuming the social expectation of women is to reign in their sexuality, less they be labeled a slut.  (In the bad way.) My own research also suggested that those men being more sexual, however, also scored highly on an instrument used to assess sexual compulsivity- so even those men out there fantasizing and exploring sexuality are ALSO being labeled as not sluts, but something actually as bad- "sex addicts". Either way, you’re fucked.


"Hey Perv" is a new series devoted to frank, modern takes on human sexuality curated by Michael DeMarco, PhD, LMHC, LMFT, Board Certified Clinical Sexologist and Certified Sex Therapist in New York, founder of MyTherapist New York and TherapistPracticesNYC.