sexual fantasy

What Do Our Most Common Sexual Fantasies Really Mean?

We all have sexual fantasies.

Some last more than others, some change with time, while new ones evolve along the way. They are exciting, thrilling, and oh-so-stimulating. While this activates Erotic Intelligence (EI), what do they really mean? Why are some common while others are unique?

Regardless of what and how they play out, all fantasies come down to a certain desired and longed feeling. What is that feeling you want to feel when you imagine this fantasy? Different desired feelings lead to different fantasies.

Fantasies and fetishes can also be erotic solutions to daily anxieties or problems. We sketch real problems or situations the way we want it to happen instead of what actually happened.

Note: Last week I put a Q&A out there asking what questions YOU had about sexuality. I got asked about the meaning behind sexual fantasies, here it is - you asked and we answered. Do have other questions? Send me an email at and we'll try to get to it soon. Also, not all fantasies are mentioned here. There are many more but for the sake of this article, I am focusing on the most common ones asked about in therapy.


Submission can play out in different forms. The most common forms are in role-playing fantasies, outfits, bondage, ropes, and rape fantasy.

Our culture encourages very goal oriented lifestyles. While this can be effective in our daily lives, being in constant control can take a toll on our intimate lives when we need to connect, trust, and bond with one another. Not many have mastered the paradox of managing this balance. So for a lot of people, the choice is one of two extremities. If you are always taking charge in your daily life and feel in total power and control, the balance will come in a form of a fantasy and you may sometimes fantasize about totally letting go and being submissive in bed. Submission is not about being weak. It’s about letting go of all responsibilities and pressure in your stressful daily lives. Surrendering and allowing a partner to do anything and everything to you can be a nice break.

Remember, you are not just surrendering to any person. You are surrendering to someone who is interested in your pleasure and well-being.

Rape Fantasy: A lot of people have the rape fantasy, it's totally normal for both men and women. It’s more about the fact that because they are in control and power all the time (which is totally cool), and sometimes they would like to let go and balance that out. In this case, they have no choice but to surrender. And that’s not a bad thing and it doesn’t defy who they are. An example can be a socially defined “good girl” who might be aroused by a rape fantasy because it removes the guilty/sinful feeling out of sex.

On another note, I get a lot of clients who are female empowerment activists but who also fantasize about rape. And this freaks them out because every single cell in their bodies are against rape. I always tell them to relax because it’s not about the rape per say. And no, it does NOT mean they like rape one bit. In fact, it has nothing to do with the act itself. So go ahead and continue saving the world against rape.


Constantly caring about what others want? Sometimes you will fantasize about being a dominatrix. Being kind and humane are essential in our daily lives. But our will to dominate can spring out in the bedroom. A chance to force obedience and feel in total power and control over someone special, in a scene or situation that is so private and safe to open up and explore, can be thrilling. After all, there will be no consequences and that is a sexy relief. Safe in the knowledge that the other person is going to be just fine, this can feel wonderful.

Role Play

Doctor-Patient Fantasy or Doctor-Nurse Fantasy: Depending on which role you are taking in that fantasy, it also goes back to submission and domination. It can also play out when you dislike authority. But here, authority wants your own spicy wellbeing. You and you alone. Although you dislike authority, you may be aroused by the idea about being “examined” by a sexy doctor.

Cop Fantasy: Another fun way of playing out authority, power, gender norms, and control depending on which part you are playing. The cop represents someone who is righteous but he or she is also the law. That mix can be arousing because defying authority is too dangerous in daily.

Labor Jobs (Drivers, Gardeners, etc.): A fantasy is the original theatre of the mind. Playing out different stories builds up anticipation, imagination, fun and playfulness. Story telling by twisting reality, gender norms, and scenes can be realistic porn that arouses our sexual identities.

Teacher-Student Fantasy: Ever had a crush on your teacher? Watching that person in total control, authority, and care over a bunch of people can be exciting. Except this time around, the total attention is on you. Again, this plays a part in being submissive and surrendering to this person who wants your pleasure.

Gym Instructor Fantasy: While many are aroused by mind games or people with strong professions, the gym instructor is someone who, like the rest, is in total power and control but over their own physical wellbeing. Feeling unsexy and ugly? You can totally fantasize about having one rocking body. Or quite the opposite, fantasize about someone so fit and strong desire and want you.

Public Sex

Exhibitionism and voyeurism can exciting, thrilling because you are breaking all those social rules. The amount of rules in our daily lives can make many feel guarded. There’s something liberating about defying those social “rules” because in reality, many don’t let go quite easily in public. Feeling suffocated and constraint? Public sex might be your way out. We sometimes act out in fantasies what we can’t act out in our daily life in the “civilized” world (whether you do decide to indulge in this fantasy and act it out is after all, your choice).

Randoms, Multiple Partners, & Same-Sex Fantasies

Sex with a Complete Stranger: This goes back to basics. Sometimes, opening up a blank new slate and meeting someone in your mind, who completely fulfills what you want in a partner or what you might find sexy, is a mental escape from reality. Single? Frustrated from your partner? Want something new? This sexy stranger does not need to linger for more than that fantasy, and that’s perfect, because you don’t need to see his/her “imperfections” or experience the “emotional toll” that come with time. It all goes back to what you want as a lover. And this is unique to every person.

Note: this sexy stranger might actually be your partner in your fantasy, but you like to fantasize about him/her in different settings to remove the mundane.

Threesomes and Multiple Partners: Whether one man with two women, one woman with two men, three women, three men, four, or five (hello orgies). Do you want to feel more pleasure? Is it plain curiosity? Want to experience the pleasure of both genders? Go back to what is the emotion you want to feel behind this fantasy. Furthermore, this sort of ménage à trois fantasy is flattering to your erotic ego and quite exciting.

Note: whether you decide to act on them or not is up to you. However if you do, all individuals should be on the same page regarding every single aspect of this whole experience. For example, if partners in a relationship decide to reach out to others for a harmless night of experimentation, mutual consent is essential.

Same-Sex Fantasy: If you are straight and you are fantasizing about the same sex, it does not mean you have changed your sexual orientation. In most cases, it’s more of a curiosity and an appreciation to your same sex. It’s the familiar. It goes back to Dr. Kinsey’s scientific results that for many people, what arouses them lies in the grey zone between the two extremities of heterosexuality and homosexuality. If you are gay, then this is what arouses you.

Note: If you are still confused about what arouses you and what your sexual orientation is in your daily life, then this is a whole different topic to be discussed regarding self-acceptance and self-discovery.

Watching Someone Else Take Your Significant Other, and Liking it: This can be very confusing and exciting at the same time. However, watching someone else give pleasure to your partner can be a visual and physical stimulation. Being the third eye watching can give you a different perspective and visual eye on making love to your woman/man.


There is nothing to be alarmed about this in fantasy life. Paraphilia is anything that sexually stimulates you outside of the norm. This can include random small fetishes, BDSM, or exhibitionism (see above). Again all these are acts of breaking the rules and defying “authority” (in this case, authority is played out as society, norms, and laws). These roles may sometimes be total opposite to your beliefs in your daily lives outside the bedroom. However, in your private life, you can safely explore whatever you want.

However, again, number 1 rule if you do decide to act these fantasies out is mutual consent, responsibility, and caution. Otherwise it should be terminated immediately as this is no joke. With anything else, moderation is key. If you feel like things are getting out of hand and it has crossed the borders of what “safe” means, speak up.

Animal Fantasy: While this may seem unconventional, many fantasize about having sex with animals. It usually connects you to your animalistic side. Hold your horses - literally. It doesn’t mean you like to have sex with animals. But animal sex fantasies connect you to your animalistic nature, often freeing your mind from the all-too-human sexual oppression that lurks within you.

Final Note

Fantasies don’t have to be extreme scenarios. Anything that stimulates and arouses you is a fantasy. This can be a simple memory of a fragrance or type of clothing material to a hardcore scene that can be made into a blockbuster movie. It’s your imagination, your arousal, and your turn-ons. You are entitled to that.

In fact, research has proven that an active fantasy life is essential to maintaining desire in long-term relationships. So don’t suppress your fantasies or feel guilty about them. It’s a sign of a curious and healthy EI and can add spark and desire to your sex life.


The idea for this article came about last week when I put out a Q&A asking you what you'd like me to write about. You asked, we answered. What other questions do you have about sexuality? Send me at email at

Dana Sarhan
Article written by

Dana is a couple and sex therapist. An awkward yogi, her sarcastic humor can take you off guard. She can talk endlessly and listen to you for hours. And by endlessly, we mean it.