If your mind sometimes wanders into NSFW territory, you’re definitely not alone. Just ask our internet history. No matter how wild your daydreams get, there’s a pretty good chance they’re not as wild as you think. In fact, your raunchiest thoughts probably fall into one of most common sexual fantasies for women.
Want the neighbors to see you? Want a roll in the hay with after your partner brings you breakfast in bed? Can’t stop thinking about your former boss? All of these fantasies are totally normal. Unlike your predilection for stuffing your mattress with hay.
What Do Women Fantasize About?
“Desire is expansive, complex, and creative,” says Rachel E. Simon, LCSW MEd, a psychotherapist who specializes in sexuality and gender. But, “people can feel conflicted by negative messaging about sexuality outside the ‘norm. We live in a sexually repressed society that involves a lot of shaming, a lot of withholding of information, and a lot of purity culture.”
For a long time, modern society want to assume women didn’t fantasize about sex. That all changed in 1973 during the second wave of feminism, when Nancy Friday collected hundreds of women’s sexual fantasies and published them in a compilation called My Secret Garden. Which, although it sounds just like The Secret Garden, is not that book at all.
Then, a 2014 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed that most “unusual sexual fantasies” aren’t actually that unusual (with a few extremely illegal exceptions).
In 2018, Kinsey Institute researcher Justin Lehmiller, PhD surveyed 4,175 Americans about their favorite sexual fantasies and compiled the results in his book Tell Me What You Want. The follow-up, Tell Me Where You Want to Go For Dinner, is coming later this year. He found that while 98% of people admit to having fantasies, only 23.4% have acted on their favorite.
According to Lehmiller’s research, here’s what women want. (In addition to equal rights, equal pay, and champagne at the press of a button.)
The 7 Most Common Sexual Fantasies for Women
1. Passion, Romance, and Intimacy
In Lehmiller’s survey, 99% of women reported fantasies that involved emotionally connecting with a sexual partner to feel loved, appreciated, and desired. If you too share this common sexual fantasy, try telling your partner what makes you feel more loved and desired. And, ask them what makes them feel the same way. If that doesn’t work, “accidentally” leave this post open on your phone.
“Romantic” is also one of the top Pornhub searches among women. “Women are more interested in written or audio erotica than men, and a lot of the content focuses on how the person feels emotionally, not just the physical actions happening to their bodies,” says Dr. Timaree Schmit, sexuality educator and host of the podcast Sex with Timaree.
2. Novelty and Variety
When you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s easy to fall into a routine: same person, same place, same positions, same… everything. The study found that 97% of women have fantasized about having sex in a new place or way.
“We tend to be really goal-oriented about sex and focus on getting each other off to consider it a ‘successful’ sexual encounter,” Schmit says. “But that leads to using tried-and-true methods, and eventually that becomes boring. Our brains require novelty.”
Having sex in an unusual place, mutual masturbation, and oral sex are some of the most popular fantasies (and, by extension, popular porn search terms) for women. Need more ideas? We love this book of 365 sex positions that you can put to use in any room in the house!
3. Power and Control Play
When you’re a #bossbitch all day long, your fantasies may be the only time you let go of control. 96% of women in the study fantasized about power and control exchange. This concept includes bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism (BDSM).
No, this doesn’t mean you’ll lose your feminism card. Schmitt explains, “People with progressive values who are deeply invested in social equality are more likely to be drawn towards sexual fantasies that play with power dynamics.”
Or, as modern philosopher Ali Wong once said, “I’m the boss all the time, so in the bedroom, you be the boss. Because I’m the real boss, and I told you so.”
4. More Than Two In the Bedroom
Teamwork makes the dream work. Especially if the dream is multiple orgasms from multiple people. Not so much if it’s trying to get the team to align on a new logo.
In the survey, 87% of participants said they fantasized about scenarios like threesomes, group sex, and gangbangs. (Women most commonly fantasize about having sex with two men.) “It can be super exciting to think of oneself as simultaneously desirable to multiple partners at once,” says Simon. In these scenarios, you’re the sexiest one in the room and all eyes, hands, and lips are on you. What’s not to like about that?
This fantasy “allows us to experience novelty, simultaneous giving and receiving of pleasure, exhibition, voyeurism, and experimentation with new partners,” Schmit says. Inviting a guest star into your sexual fantasies works the same in the bedroom as it does on a sitcom: It makes everything more interesting, and it’s best if it’s some hot celebrity.
5. Non-Monogamous Relationships
80% percent of women in the study reported non-monogamy fantasies like swinging, polyamory, cuckolding, or having an open relationship. Quick vocab lesson:
- Swinging is when a couple explores sexual activities with people outside of the relationship. This is often as a couple with other couples.
- Polyamory is when there are more than two people involved in an intimate relationship.
- Cuckolding is letting your partner have sex with someone else for your own sexual gratification.
- An open relationship is when a couple agrees it’s ok to be emotionally or sexually intimate with people outside of the relationship. Every couple creates their own open relationship’s “house rules.”
You can enjoy these fantasies and still be happily monogamous. Some women take the next step by exploring non-monogamous relationship structures in real life. “Women are actually more likely than men to express interest in non-monogamous relationships and to be able to handle the logistics of making it work,” Schmit says.
Finally, we can put those bullet journals to good use!
6. “Taboo” Activities
72% of women in the study fantasized about cultural taboos or sexual fetishes. These are things society says you’re not “supposed” to be into. Like pineapple on pizza.
“Often our most powerful fantasies are entirely counter to our actual values. Taboo activities are appealing because they’re considered bad or naughty,” Schmit says.
Kinks and fetishes — associating a particular object, body part, or sex act with arousal — fall under this umbrella. Exhibitionism is also a popular sexual fantasy for women.
7. Gender and Sexual Orientation
59% of straight women in the survey fantasized about hooking up with another woman. And, 49% of women fantasized about being a different gender. We want to see research that offers insights into the fantasies of women who don’t identify as straight or are cisgender. When we do, we’ll update our coverage.