The 7 Most Common Sexual Fantasies

Sexual fantasies are recreations we make in our minds about sex. In this article, learn about the most common sexual fantasies.
The 7 Most Common Sexual Fantasies
Elena Sanz

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 18 May, 2023

A sexual fantasy is a mental representation that we generate regarding sex. Men and women develop them equally, and they’re more common than you might think. In fact, we all fantasize about a sexual experience at some point; whether it’s a conventional experience or not. There are many types of sexual fantasies, but today, we’ve gathered a list of 7 of the most common.

There are many misunderstandings about what a sexual fantasy really is. It’s often associated with infidelity, amoral thoughts, or practices that are considered “dirty” or “kinky.” However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Sexual fantasies begin at puberty and extend throughout adulthood. You can have them when you’re in a formal relationship or when you are single. We’ll tell you more about them below.

What are the most common sexual fantasies?

It’s not easy to determine what exactly is an “unusual” fantasy. According to researchers, the discussion should focus not so much on its content as on the effect it has on the individual. This is why cataloging the most common sexual fantasies isn’t easy, especially when we take into account that men and women tend to develop different categories of fantasies.

Experts have found that men’s fantasies are more active, while women’s are more receptive or passive. They have divided them into four main groups:

  • Exploratory: such as group sex, experiences with sexes other than sexual orientation, promiscuity, and so on.
  • Intimate: such as kissing, oral sex, outdoor sex, and the like.
  • Impersonal: such as the use of objects to achieve pleasure or observing others in a sexual act.
  • Sadomasochistic: spanking or being spanked and other similar experiences in the same order.

All of these sexual fantasies are considered normal. Evidence indicates that cultural aspects, such as religion, can condition the type of fantasy that people in a given society may have. So, bearing this in mind, we’ll present the 7 most common sexual fantasies.

1. Group sex

Group sex is one of the most common sexual fantasies. By this, we allude to both orgies (i.e., encounters of more than four people) and threesomes. In fact, when one thinks of a “common” sexual fantasy, if such a thing exists, one usually thinks of a threesome or orgy.

This is a fantasy commonly shared by both men and women and one that rarely materializes in reality. Fear of societal judgment, partner rejection, and other variables are an obstacle to the consequence of the fantasy. However, keep in mind that this is common to all types of sexual fantasy: they are mostly meant to exist solely in the mind.

2. Having sex in public

Las fantasías sexuales incluyen el sexo en público
Due to the possibility of being caught, having sex in public brings a certain level of adrenaline to the experience.

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Having sex in public encompasses any sexual or group activity that’s done somewhere where people could be caught, so the factor of being seen and judged is added to the adrenaline of the experience.

In fact, it’s this danger of being caught that fuels the fantasy. The adrenaline rush that occurs in the body is translated by many as pleasure. An airplane cubicle, a secluded area of a beach, a car parked in the center of a city, and so on are ideal spaces for those who have this fantasy.

3. To dominate or be dominated

Sadomasochism is among the most popular sexual fantasies, one that comes from the sources of sadism and masochism. Sadomasochistic sex, more or less, consists of the pleasure of being dominated or being dominated.

Many think that fantasies of this type imply a certain degree of extremism, but this isn’t always the case. Sadomasochistic sex has many different degrees, so there are also less intense versions of the practice. Everything that has to do with a certain type of submission or domination, and that involves a bit of pain, can be considered sadomasochistic.

Thus, isn’t not a good idea to associate this practice with situations of violence, aggression, or non-consensual sex. There are those who find pleasure in them, but most people enjoy milder degrees of this practice. For example, scratching and spanking are a mild type of a sadomasochistic experience (and are very common).

4. Having sex with a stranger

Having sex with a stranger in a casual way is another sexual fantasy that we can’t fail to mention. This encompasses friends with benefits and one-night stands. This fantasy may even arise when the person has a stable partner, and not always in the context of sexual dissatisfaction.

According to researchers, those who materialize these fantasies usually report higher levels of pleasure, and do so without the ties of an intimate relationship. That is, the pleasure arises because they don’t know everything about that person (unlike the case when they’re with a well-known partner, for instance).

5. Having sex with an ex-partner

Experts have found that almost half of couples who end a relationship have one or more sexual encounters in the future. Therefore, having sex with an ex-partner is a fantasy that many people materialize in reality.

Of course, we refer to these encounters in the context of years after the relationship has ended- perhaps even when you’re in the middle of beginning a stable relationship. In this case, not only does pleasure comes into play, but also the emotional bond between the two former partners. This can make the encounter more attractive, so this is one of the most common sexual fantasies.

6. Homosexual experiences

Las fantasías sexuales incluyen la homosexualidad o heterosexualidad
Exploring sexuality with people of the same sex (or the opposite, for those who consider themselves homosexual) can be very rewarding.

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Homosexual fantasies are relatively common. Men and women have them equally, which in some cases can raise questions about sexual identity or sexual orientation. We’ve already alluded to a threesome and an orgy in previous sections, but these do not always involve 100% explicit homosexual experiences.

As with the sexual fantasies above, this one revolves around pleasure. This is also because of the curiosity involved. This fantasy is much more prevalent than people realize and, as we noted in the beginning, isn’t considered unusual, bizarre, or strange fantasy.

7. Sex with a theatrical component

Finally, sex with some sort of theatrical component closes our list. Also known as role-playing, it consists of developing a fictitious role in a consensual way. For example, patient-doctor or teacher-student. This is a very broad experience that may or may not allow a person to explore their sexual fetishes. 

In turn, this fantasy can imitate scenes or ideas collected from movies, series, or any type of fictional component. These fantasies are very common and allow for a spice of variety in many couples’ routines. However, since this fantasy requires the participation of both partners, many people often don’t share it out of fear of being judged.

Overall, the sexual fantasies we’ve listed here are the most common, but there are dozens and dozens of them. They are interesting to the extent that they generate pleasure, and there’s often no clear intention to make them come true. Sometimes the fantasy feels ideal in a person’s head, but is avoided out of fear of complications or judgement.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Halpern-Meekin, S., Manning, W. D., Giordano, P. C., & Longmore, M. A. Relationship churning in emerging adulthood: On/off relationships and sex with an ex. Journal of Adolescent Research. 2013; 28(2): 166-188.
  • Joyal, C. C., Cossette, A., & Lapierre, V. What exactly is an unusual sexual fantasy?. The journal of sexual medicine. 2015; 12(2): 328-340.
  • Segovia, A. N., Maxwell, J. A., DiLorenzo, M. G., & MacDonald, G. No strings attached? How attachment orientation relates to the varieties of casual sexual relationships. Personality and Individual Differences. 2019; 151: 109455.
  • Wilson, G. D., & Lang, R. J. Sex differences in sexual fantasy patterns. Personality and Individual Differences. 1981; 2(4): 343-346.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.