Upside down, hanging off chains, strapped up, whips. Sounds like the deleted scenes from Fifty Shades Of Grey, right? Turns it out these farfetched fantasies are a lot more common than you think.
In line with the release of the book Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life by Justin Lehmiller, the findings of his research have surfaced, exploring why we have the sexual fantasies we have and how age, gender and personality affects them.
According to the Wall Street Journal, 97 per cent of people confessed to having sexual fantasies — which Lehmiller defines as a mental picture that arouses you while awake.
In one of the largest studies of it's kind, social psychologist Doctor Lehmiller along with the Kinsey institute from Indiana University, conducted a survey consisting of 369 questions covering personalities, sexual histories, how often they fantasise, about who, places and ultimately, what they're biggest fantasy was.
Featuring more than 4000 Americans, aged between 18 and 87, across 50 states and hailing from all economic and religious background, sexual orientations and relationship types.
Interestingly, fantasies were transient, influenced by background, personality and sexual history, also changing as we age.
“We don’t need to act on all, or even any, of the fantasies we have,” says Dr. Lehmiller. “But they can be a road map, pointing to which of our psychological needs are being met and which aren’t.”
Results seem obvious yet intriguing. Nearly all of us have sexual fantasies - 97 per cent in fact. Some visualised their deepest darkest wishes several times a week, others plenty of times a day.
According to the WSJ, the most popular fantasies included are: "multi-partner sex (including threesomes and group sex); power, control or rough sex (this includes bondage and runs the gamut from being tied up to full-on sadomasochism); and novelty, adventure and variety (encompassing new activities and new settings)."
Interestingly, men were more likely to desire an emotional element while women were more likely to enjoy scenes out of 50 Shades - bondage, domination and sadomasochism (BDSM). Group sex, however, is a fantasy common among both genders. Men were also more interested in taboo fantasies.
Meanwhile, there was a correlation between your sexual fantasies and your first time - If you lost your virginity in a less traditional manner, you were more likely to want kinkier sexual experiences.
At the same time, your personality plays a big part: extroverts are more interested in group sex and non-monogamy, while introverts fancied more taboo encounters. Lehmiller puts this down to different social skills: “They might have a harder time meeting people and establishing the kind of relationship they want, and this seems to lead some to find alternative sexual expression,”
And yes, as you age, things change: older people fantasies about group sex while the younger generations are after satisfying their emotional wishes.