The World of Sexual Fantasy


We all think about sex… In a recent survey, 97% of Americans reported having sexual fantasies. When we fantasize, what do we think about and why? Is what we fantasize about “normal”? How does fantasizing impact our real world sex lives? How does porn and the internet impact how we fantasize about sex?

Until recently, not much information existed on these topics, but after the last few informative decades there may be a whole section in your local bookstore dedicated to the world of sexual fantasy. Below is short list of my favorites:

Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies

Based on Dr. Bader’s twenty-five years of experience as a psychotherapist, this book covers all the basics on why we have sexual fantasies, how they impact our lives, and what types of sexual fantasies people tend to report having. Including plenty of case studies, Dr. Bader honors the ultimately enigmatic nature of the fantasies we have and explores their hidden logic without reductionism.

Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life

A new book out this year by Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist at the famed Kinsey Institute and creator of the largest and most comprehensive survey of sexual fantasies in America to date with over four thousand participants. Dr. Lehmiller explains the results of his survey and explores what these results mean for our collective and individual psyches. You might be surprised to know that 89% of respondents reported fantasizing about threesomes and 65% of respondents reported fantasizing about receiving physical pain, which makes those fantasies very much within the “norm.”

A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the Internet Tells Us about Sexual Relationships

The advent of the internet and the subsequent proliferation of pornography affords researchers a broad look at sexual proclivities like never before. Not reliant on study subjects or survey respondents, who tend to skew towards predictable demographics, authors Ogas and Gaddam are able to cull decades of digital information to offer a clear picture of the sexual fantasies that people all over the world gravitate toward. This book could have been a boring and incoherent collection of data, yet the authors instead present a fascinating and clear exposition on evolutionary psychology, including a discussion of the erotic cues that different genders and sexual orientations tend to respond to across cultures. Fun fact: that mushroom shape on the end of your penis? Quite possibly it evolved that way to scoop out previous partner’s semen.

The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Passion and Fulfillment

A dense classic on the topic of sexual fantasy by the late great Dr. Jack Morin, I recommend this book for anyone who wants to go deeper than the laymen’s perspective. Dr. Morin goes further than anyone on this list in exploring when fantasy troubles us and what we can do to move towards a healthy, integrated self.  In addition to normalizing all sexual fantasies (which every book on this list does) Dr. Morin offers a detailed look at how we arrive at our unique, individual erotic blueprints.

Add one of these fascinating books to your holiday wish list to enhance your sex life, strengthen your relationships, or just to be that guy who knows lots of random sex trivia!

PostsJo Magliocco