Threesomes, Outdoor Sex, Domination, Oh My! Popular Fantasies, According to a Sexologist.

By Dr. Jess Sex Tips top three sexual fantasies she sees in her clients

In my work with couples around the world, three fantasies top the charts in terms of popularity from Albuquerque to Zurich and beyond:

  1. Threesomes
  2. Sex Outdoors (e.g., on the beach)
  3. Kinky Sex (BDSM – bondage, discipline, submission, Dominance, sadism, masochism)

Threesomes may be desirable for many reasons, but for my clients, the appeal is often rooted in power. They relish in the power of being desired by two people. For others, threesomes are really about the physical overwhelm: four hands, two tongues, and two bodies. And others might desire threesomes for the thrill of breaking taboos and making sex a hedonistic, indulgent experience.

Sex outdoors is often rooted in the sensory – the fresh air on your skin, the cooling texture of being underwater, the scent of pine in the woods, or the rock of a boat if you should be so lucky.

And the desire for kinky sex is often about subverting norms (although this is a wide-ranging fantasy) – experimenting with new roles, merging pain and pleasure, or perverting everyday objects (e.g., using a fly swatter to spank).

The Most Popular Sexual Fantasies, Revealed

Beyond these three themes, research reveals that a wide range of fantasies are common. For example, one study looked at the prevalence of fantasy scenarios and found the following:

62% fantasize about having sex in public. This fantasy combines the risk of getting caught, the potential thrill of exhibitionism, and the risk and excitement of breaking the rules. The top public locations I hear about in my work include balconies, backyards, and clothing store fitting rooms.

59% have fantasized about being dominated. While some get off on the power exchange itself, for others, the thrill of being dominated is tied to the escape from reality. Being dominated allows us to escape from life’s everyday responsibilities and relinquish the pressure to perform or be a caretaker.

41% have fantasized about having sex with a much older partner. This fantasy defies cultural norms that associate sexual desirability and prowess with youth. The desire to have sex with an older partner may be rooted in the desire to be guided or learn from a more experienced lover. Senior sex is often ignored (and mocked) in Western culture, but the desire for a learned older partner remains strong across the board.

61% fantasize about having sex with a random person and 56% fantasize about having sex with a celebrity or other well-known person.

Popular Sexual Fantasies and How to Talk About Them

 Approximately 30% have fantasized about being forced by a partner, and another study found that 52% of women share this fantasy. This reinforces that your fantasies do not always align with your real-life desires. What turns you on, in theory, may be totally at odds with what you want to do in real life. The mind is a safe and creative space to explore our edgiest and most exciting thoughts without the pressure to follow through and live them out in the flesh. And most of us can differentiate between thoughts (fantasy) and reality (behaviors). This is why we can fantasize and become aroused by the thought of our fantasy but not seek out the fulfillment of a sex act that doesn’t align with our real-life values. Oftentimes, our fantasies reflect how we’re feeling. If we’re feeling insecure, we may tap into fantasies that boost our self-esteem (e.g., scenarios in which we feel irresistible). If we’re feeling stressed out, we may cultivate fantasies that calm or quiet our minds (e.g., being taken care of by a loving partner). When we’re dealing with anxious attachment, we may tap into fantasies that create more distance between a lover or fantasy partner – we may even enjoy fantasies that include relational hostility. For sex nerds who want to further explore this theoretical framework, see Dr. Gurit Birnbaum’s “Is it my overactive imagination? The effects of contextually activated attachment insecurity on sexual fantasies,” which is published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Whatever your fantasies, you’re perfectly normal. Whether you have fleeting thought about an acquaintance from your past or intense or detailed daydreams about group sex in a forest, feel free to let your mind wander without inhibition or shame. And if you have a lover (or two), consider sharing your fantasies to intensify connection and give them a glimpse into what really turns you on.

Do you have sexual fantasies

The mere act of talking about your fantasies can be highly arousing, and there are many benefits to pushing your comfort zone and sharing your deepest, darkest desires. When you talk about your fantasies, you help your partner to understand what makes you tick – from the emotional to the practical to the sensual to the physical and beyond. To get the fantasy conversation started, consider the following strategies:

Talk about your feelings first. How do you want to feel in your fantasies? You don’t have to start with the how, what, when, where, and why — instead, start with your feelings. Do you feel, desired, sexy, powerful, submissive, challenged, playful, naughty, and/or loved in your hottest fantasies? This is likely the most important framework for exploring and opening up about your fantasies, so be sure to check out this article on the Emotional-Erotic connection here. It’s worth the read if you want to improve sexual communication about fantasies and better understand your sexual values.

Next, share your fantasy appeal. Rather than simply sharing what you want, provide additional context as to why these fantasies excite you. You don’t need to get into their underlying meanings, but it can be helpful to let your lover(s) know what excites you about a particular fantasy. For example, if you fantasize about being tied up, share what appeals to you. Do you like being physically immobilized? Do you like the loss of control? Do you like seeing your partner(s) in a controlling role? Do you like the physical tension against your ankles or wrists? Do you like that you can’t touch yourself, and it may prolong the experience or delay your orgasm? Do you relish in the vulnerability of being exposed spread eagle? The more specifics you share about why a certain fantasy is appealing, the more likely your lover will be able to tap into your desires.

Open up about your dreams. Talk about your sex dreams as an opening to delving into themes and scenarios — those that turn you off and those that turn you on. You’re likely to dream about sexual encounters that appeal to you, as well as those that you find off-putting, so talk about both sides of the coin.

Dissect scenes from TV & movies to gain new perspectives. This is one of my favorite ways to explore fantasies. Watch your regularly scheduled programming and share how you feel about erotic scenes and interactions. Did you like how she approached her lover with confidence? Did you love the way he pulled his lover by the back of their head? Did it excite you when she teased with her eyes but withheld her body? Did the threesome scene make you uncomfortable? Or did the rough, quick session in the closet leave you feeling conflicted? Using fictional interactions and characters as third-party bridges can create a safe space to share what you think, how you feel, and what might excite you without the pressure to insert yourself into the scenario right away.

Read or listen to erotica together. Going on a car ride together? Consider listening to a sexy story and sharing your reactions. Or, if you prefer to read, take turns reviewing stories from and highlight a few passages that excite you. The volume and variety of erotic content online are greater than ever before, so take full advantage and use other people’s fantasies to fuel your own. Like all sexual communication, talking about fantasies isn’t a one-shot deal. It’s an ongoing conversation that can last months, years, and hopefully a lifetime, as your fantasies change, expand, and fuel curiosity. And of course, not every conversation will be perfect. Some might be uncomfortable at times but lean into the discomfort a little and be sure to meet your lover(s) with kindness and gratitude (while reserving judgment). Opening up can feel very vulnerable, so thank them for sharing and allow curiosity to reign supreme knowing that sharing fantasies is one of the most powerful paths to sharing pleasure.