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The Importance and Meaning of Sexual Fantasies in Intimate Relationships

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Abstract

What are sexual fantasies, and what roles do they play in relationships? Fantasies are sometimes (but not always!) a window into what people want to experience in their own relationships—what do fantasies tell us about relationships? Do they help us get closer to a monogamous partner, or do they drive us apart? Could they be a way to promote communication among partners? Do women and men fantasize differently? And if so how? These are some of the questions we will be addressing in this chapter. Specifically, in this chapter, we explore the role of sexual fantasies in romantic relationships and investigate the potential advantages and disadvantages of sexual fantasies within the context of romantic relationships. Additionally, we discuss women’s sexual fantasy preferences and look at findings that suggest that women, more so than men, indicate that submission is among their favorite or most frequent sexual fantasies (Arndt et al. in J Pers Soc Psychol 48:472–480, 1985; Crepault et al. in Prog Sexol 267–285, 1976; Davidson and Hoffman in J Sex Res 22:184–205, 1986; Hariton Psychol Today 1973, March; Hariton and Singer in J Consul Clin Psychol 42(3):313, 1974; Kanin in Victim Int J 7:114–121, 1982; Knafo and Jaffe in J Res Pers 18:451–467, 1984; Pelletier and Herold in J Sex Res 24(1):250–256, 1988; Talbot et al. 1980). Finally, in an attempt to better understand this gender difference, we present and investigate three potential explanations.

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... Surprisingly, research addressing the underlying functions of sexual fantasies has mainly focused on variables associated with frequency and content of sexual fantasy (see Leitenberg & Henning, 1995;Ziegler & Conley, 2016, for reviews). ...
... Regardless of whether sexual fantasies emanate from relationship difficulties, most scholars agree that fantasies are typically used to promote sexual arousal and enjoyment (Newbury et al., 2012;Ziegler & Conley, 2016). To be sure, more frequent fantasizing is associated with more frequent orgasms as well as greater sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction (Leitenberg & Henning, 1995;Purifoy, Grodsky, & Giambra, 1992). ...
... Some scholars assert that extradyadic fantasies help maintain desire within the context of current relationships by regulating tensions between autonomy and union and increasing the sense of differentiation between partners (Newbury et al., 2012;Schnarch, 1997). Others contend that such fantasies may remove the focus from shared intimacy to individual personal gratification or even be perceived as mental infidelity (Kahr, 2008;Ziegler & Conley, 2016). As such, they may arouse insecurities and have detrimental effects on the relationship (Newbury et al., 2012). ...
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Research addressing the underlying functions of sexual fantasies has mainly focused on variables associated with frequency and content of fantasies. Relatively less is known about how sexual fantasizing affects the relationship. Four studies examined the contribution of fantasizing about one's partner ("dyadic fantasies") to relationship outcomes. In Studies 1 and 2, participants fantasized either about their partner or about someone else and rated their desire to engage in sex and other non-sexual relationship-promoting activities with their partner. In Studies 3 and 4, romantic partners recorded their fantasies and relationship interactions each evening for a period of 21 and 42 days, respectively. In Study 4, partners also provided daily reports on relationship perceptions. Overall, dyadic fantasizing was associated with heightened desire and increased engagement in relationship-promoting behaviors. Relationship perceptions explained the link between dyadic fantasies and relationship-promoting behaviors, suggesting that such fantasies benefit the relationship by enhancing partner and relationship appeal.
... As such, within committed longterm relationships, they may serve as a source of novel and exciting experiences, including extradyadic ones. These imaginary experiences are likely to fuel sexual arousal without suffering the possible consequences of actual infidelity (Ziegler & Conley, 2016). To be sure, even though some people perceive extradyadic sexual fantasies as inappropriate, both men and women report fantasizing about people other than their current partners, with increasing frequency as relationships endure (Hicks & Leitenberg, 2001). ...
... Although the increase in frequency of extradyadic fantasies may reflect a normative decline in sexual desire over time (Baumeister & Bratslavsky, 1999;Klusmann, 2002;Levine, 2003;Liu, 2000), in some relationships, excluding one's partner from sexual fantasies may indicate relational deficiencies. Indeed, although previous findings indicate that unsatisfied partners are more likely than satisfied partners to have extradyadic sexual fantasies (Davidson & Hoffman, 1986;Trudel, 2002), clinicians argue that replacing current partners with alternative mates in sexual fantasies does not necessarily signify unhealthy relationship functioning (Ziegler & Conley, 2016). Sexual fantasies may function as a strategy to cope with distressing relational experiences. ...
... Notwithstanding these limitations, our research is the first to show how daily attachment-related concerns are translated into the intra-psychic world of fantasies in the form of losing interest in dyadic interactions and, at least in some cases, in an increased interest in extradyadic mates. Sexual expressions in this imaginary world are less likely than more overt expressions to be governed by social norms or by partners' responses and thus may be more revealing about what one truly desires both inside and outside the bedroom (Ziegler & Conley, 2016). Indeed, as our study suggests, a fading presence of relationship partners in this world may serve a marker of not only the desire for this partner but also the belief in this partner's responsiveness. ...
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Sexual desire between romantic partners tends to decrease over time. A decrease in frequency of dyadic fantasies and an increase of frequency of extradyadic fantasies are typical manifestations of this process. The present diary study adopted an attachment-theoretical perspective to better understand why some people are less likely to fantasize about their partners. Both members of 100 romantic couples completed measures of relationship-specific insecurities, partner responsiveness, and frequency of sexual fantasies every evening for 42 days. Results showed that attachment insecurities were associated with lower frequency of dyadic fantasies. Partner responsiveness mediated these associations, such that attachment insecurities were associated with perceiving partners as less responsive, which in turn, predicted lower frequency of dyadic fantasies. Men's avoidance predicted higher frequency of extradyadic fantasies. These findings demonstrate the role of responsiveness in sustaining desire, suggesting that attachment insecurities bias people to perceive their partner as less responsive, thereby hampering sexual desire.
... Back in 1950s, sexual fantasies were considered as a negative idea as one think that sexual fantasies depicts that there are lacking in the relationship which is making you have sensual dreams especially among women [6]. However, not all sexual fantasies are bad; they can be divided into two types as typical (normal) and atypical (deviant) which is further discussed below [7]. ...
... Males are usually the one who like to be dominated and expects women to completely surrender in front of them. Likewise women also like to be submissive and allows there partners to completely dominate the play [6]. This is because of societal portrayal of both the sexes where women are considered passive and should comply with whatever sexual initiation a man does. ...
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Background: A sexual fantasy is a mental thought process which blends with individual’s sexuality and causes sexual excitement. This characteristic connects sexual fantasy more with the sexual and reproductive health of a person. There are differences in the nature and frequency of sexual fantasy experienced by both males and females which are greatly influenced by gender roles and societal forces. Method: A literature review is done using databases “Google Scholar, PubMed, and Medline”. A thorough analysis of the literature was done to extract the most relevant information. Results: The sexual fantasies are divided as typical and atypical. In typical sexual fantasy, all normal imaginations are included such as dominancesubmissiveness, watching pornography, oral and anal sex, and bondage. On the other hand, atypical sexual fantasies include deviant imaginations like paraphilia. Conclusion: While sexual fantasies are of variant types, it was found that these are more commonly reported in Western countries than in the Eastern countries; therefore, there is a growing need to conduct more studies in Eastern countries to better conclude the findings.
... The goal for the current research is to better understand what Our previous review of the most popular EA stories (Pic motivates some men to elect voluntary castration, recognizing colo, Johnson, & Wassersug, 2019a, 2019b revealed some that fantasies can be a window into what people really want common and consistent plotlines and structural elements. to experience in their lives (Ziegler & Conley, 2016). Indeed, ...
... Gilbert & Daffern, 2017). Th is recognizes that sexual fantasies refl ect the sexual relations that people truly desire (Ziegler & Conley, 2016). We recognize that typically SM roles, fantasies, and activities do not necessarily correspond with behaviours in real life (Moser & Kleinplatz, 2007). ...
Article
The Eunuch Archive (EA) is a website where registered members can post for others to read and rate sexual fantasies that involve genital mutilation and ablation. The EA includes over 8,000 stories. We have previously explored common features of 100 top-rated EA stories. We reasoned that understanding such fantasies may be a step toward recognizing who is at risk of irreversible injury should they act out their fantasies. Here we explore the top-rated EA stories in the context of well-established models for human sexual response. We argue the archetypal storyline from these fantasies, which are characterized by extreme sadomasochism (SM), can be interpreted and understood within the context of these established sexual response models, but we note several ways the fantasies diverge from such models. The stories closely fit the classic Masters and Johnson model, but with a protracted plateau phase resolved with pleasure and pain heightened. Even though the central character in all the stories is a male, the stories align well with the Basson intimacy-based model more characteristic of female motivations to be sexually active. In the fantasies, the central character is willing to sacrifice everything short of his life to develop or strengthen a dyadic relationship. In all the stories, castration is depicted with a sensory intensity equivalent to orgasm. The stories reveal what is both natural and pathological in extreme SM fantasies. They also reveal similarities between female sexual desire and the desire for genital ablation which has not, to the best of our knowledge, been previously elucidated.
... However, there is also substantial evidence that fantasy during sexual activity is common (84% of all sexually active subjects in work by Cado and Leitenberg), and is only associated with reduced satisfaction or impaired sexual function if the person feels guilty about having the fantasy during sex [64,70,87]. That is, guilt may be a problem, but fantasy per se is not inherently problematic. ...
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Purpose of Review Sexual fantasy has been the subject of scientific scrutiny for nearly a century. This review outlines how, despite that scrutiny, methodological and definitional limitations make it difficult to speak with authority to the clinical, relational, and behavioral implications of sexual fantasy. Recent Findings Estimates of the frequency and content of sexual fantasy for women are limited by volunteer and social desirability biases and thus difficult to interpret. For the same reasons, the role that fantasy plays in individual and partnered sexual satisfaction and function is challenging to assess. The most reliable and recent evidence suggests that the effects of sexual fantasy on satisfaction and function are, overall, neutral to positive. Summary Given the complexity and limitations in research investigating sexual fantasy in women, we conclude with a call for new approaches in this field and humility in interpreting the existing evidence.
... La importancia de tener en cuenta la naturaleza del deseo y de variables situacionales y relacionales que puedan estar interviniendo se reflejaría sin duda, en las implicaciones clínicas. En la actualidad, el abordaje de dificultades en el deseo erótico, y concretamente en casos de deseo sexual hipoactivo, se basarían principalmente en el aumento de fantasías eróticas (Cabello, 2010) que como demuestran algunos estudios estarían muy relacionadas con los niveles de deseo erótico (Zubeidat et al., 2003;Ziegler & Conley, 2016) y aumento del atractivo en la pareja como ya se puso de manifiesto en el modelo de intervención de McCarthy (1995). Así, uno de los aspectos que creemos fundamental a la hora de intervenir en el deseo erótico desde la clínica, sería entender que el bajo deseo erótico que en ocasiones verbalizan los sujetos y /o parejas no tiene por qué ser siempre motivo o consecuencia de una baja actividad sexual. ...
... No certain evidence is available on these aspects though. Various researchers [42,43] suggest that fantasies play a significant role in sexuality: studies involving pornography or virtual reality, as an experimental setting to explore sexuality, have shown that realistic potentially gratifying responses could be evoked both in sexually deviant and non-deviant men, and that in many cases the sexual fantasy was gratifying in itself [44]. ...
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This is the first Italian study to examine views on sexbots of adult male sex offenders and non-offenders, and their perceptions of sexbots as sexual partners, and sexbots as a means to prevent sexual violence. In order to explore these aspects 344 adult males were involved in the study. The study carried out two types of comparisons. 100 male sex offenders were compared with 244 male non-offenders. Also, sex offenders were divided into child molesters and rapists. Preliminary findings suggest that sex offenders were less open than non-offenders to sexbots, showed a lower acceptance of them, and were more likely to dismiss the possibility of having an intimate and sexual relationship with a sexbot. Sex offenders were also less likely than non-offenders to believe that the risk of sexual violence against people could be reduced if a sexbot was used in the treatment of sex offenders. No differences were found between child molesters and rapists. Though no definitive conclusion can be drawn about what role sexbots might play in the prevention and treatment of sex offending, this study emphasizes the importance of both exploring how sexbots are both perceived and understood. Sex offenders in this study showed a high dynamic sexual risk and, paradoxically, despite, or because of, their sexual deviance (e.g. deficits in sexual self-regulation), they were more inclined to see sexbots as just machines and were reluctant to imagine them as social agents, i.e. as intimate or sexual arousal partners. How sex offenders differ in their dynamic risk and criminal careers can inform experts about the mechanisms that take place and can challenge their engagement in treatment and intervention.
... People who were practicing Mindfulness reached higher scores on the Hurlbert Index of Sexual Fantasy (HISF) scale, meaning they had more positive attitudes towards sexual fantasies. Consistent with other authors, this is an indicator of good sexual health [55], higher levels of sexual desire [56] and constitutes a good indicator of sexual functioning in older women [57]. The initial research made by Sánchez-Sánchez, Luciano and Barnes-Holmes (2009) showed that the effort to suppress an exciting thought brings this more strongly by a rebound effect [58]. ...
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The goal of this study is to better understand the relation between the practice of Mindfulness and the sexual activity, sexual satisfaction and erotic fantasies of Spanish-speaking participants. This research focuses on the comparison between people who practice Mindfulness versus naïve people, and explores the practice of Mindfulness and its relation with the following variables about sexuality: body awareness and bodily dissociation, personal sexual satisfaction, partner and relationship-related satisfaction, desire, subjective sexual arousal, genital arousal, orgasm, pain, attitudes towards sexual fantasies and types of sexual fantasies. The sample consisted of 106 selected adults, 32 men and 74 women, who completed six measures on an online survey platform: (a) Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), (b) Scale of Body Connection (SBC), (c) New Sexual Satisfaction Scale (NSSS), (d) Scale of Sexual Activity in Women (SSA-W) and Men (SSA-M), (e) Hurlbert Index of Sexual Fantasy (HISF), (f) Wilson’s Sex Fantasy Questionnaire. In the MAAS, Body Awareness subscale (SBC), NSSS, SSA-W and SSA-M, HISF and intimate fantasies subscale (Wilson’s questionnaire), people in the Mindfulness condition showed higher scores and these differences were statistically significant. These results may have relevant implications in the sexuality of clinical and non-clinical samples.
... People who were practicing Mindfulness reached higher scores on the Hurlbert Index of Sexual Fantasy (HISF) scale, meaning they had more positive attitudes towards sexual fantasies. Consistent with other authors, this is an indicator of good sexual health [55], higher levels of sexual desire [56] and constitutes a good indicator of sexual functioning in older women [57]. The initial research made by Sánchez-Sánchez, Luciano and Barnes-Holmes (2009) showed that the effort to suppress an exciting thought brings this more strongly by a rebound effect [58]. ...
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The goal of this study is to better understand the relation between the practice of Mindfulness and the sexual activity, sexual satisfaction and erotic fantasies of Spanish-speaking participants. This research focuses on the comparison between people who practice Mindfulness versus naïve people, and explores the practice of Mindfulness and its relation with the following variables about sexuality: body awareness and bodily dissociation, personal sexual satisfaction, partner and relationship-related satisfaction, desire, subjective sexual arousal, genital arousal, orgasm, pain, attitudes towards sexual fantasies and types of sexual fantasies. The sample consisted of 106 selected adults, 32 men and 72 women, who completed six measures on an online survey platform: a) Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), b) Scale of Body Connection (SBC), c) New Sexual Satisfaction Scale (NSSS), d) Scale of Sexual Activity in Women (SSA-W) and Men (SSA-M), e) Hurlbert Index of Sexual Fantasy (HISF), f) Wilson's Sex Fantasy Questionnaire. In the MAAS, Body Awareness subscale (SBC), NSSS, SSA-W and SSA-M, HISF and intimate fantasies subscale (Wilson’s questionnaire), people in the Mindfulness condition showed higher scores and these differences were statistically significant. These results may have relevant implications in the sexuality of clinical and non-clinical samples.
... There is therefore a plethora of studies reporting the relationship between fantasies and erotic desire [43,44]. Other studies on the matter address the relationship between desire and sexual pleasure and their influence on fantasies, even referring to the importance that prior sexual experiences have in the real world when explaining the desire and sexual pleasure expressed in fantasies [36]. ...
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(1) Background: the relationship between erotic desire and personality factors is still relatively understudied. (2) Objective: to study the influence of the experience of desire, as well as impulsivity in the choice of videos, as the behavioral variable in the experimental trial. (2) Method: the sample consisted of 48 adult subjects, who took part in an experimental study that involved watching videos. (3) Results: the linear regression analysis revealed that the behavior involved in choosing videos is predicted by the sexual desire felt at the time of the trial, and not by stable personality factors, such as impulsivity or general self-report levels of sexual desire. (4) Conclusion: it is observed that the specific moment or situation and the behavior have a bigger impact on the erotic desire experienced at the time of the test than certain personality traits, as well as the previous and habitual levels of erotic desire of which an individual reports.
... Moreover, sex and sexuality are also the domain of fantasies (e.g. Ziegler and Conley 2016), including shared fantasies ( Noorishad et al. 2019). Hence, fantasies may be used as a tool with which to examine people's beliefs about sex and sexuality in narrative studies. ...
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Especially when practiced by women, sexual promiscuity is interpreted as a stigmatized phenomenon and as a major causal factor for various negative behaviors. This paper offers an insight into narratives and interactional fantasizing that challenge, or can be seen as an alternative to, these common conceptions about sexual promiscuity. The data come from several interviews and group discussions conducted in a netnographic context, altogether involving 23 women who show a deep interest in sexual promiscuity and report positive and enriching aspects of sexual promiscuity. The women’s narratives and interactional fantasizing about sexual promiscuity can exert positive effects, such as improving emotionality and self-esteem and promoting female emancipation. Narratives and interactional fantasizing can play an important role in examining how sexual promiscuity can impact the society and the women’s perception of sexuality.
... Within the context of established relationships, in contrast, this effect might be (partly or wholly) counteracted by the higher levels of dependence and trust. Hence, revealing such fantasies potentially holds the promise of infusing sexual novelty and excitement into the relationship (Newbury, Hayter, Wylie, & Riddell, 2012;Ziegler & Conley, 2016). ...
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Common cultural stereotypes promote women’s submission to men, especially within intimate heterosexual relationships. Mirroring these stereotypes, women possess nonconscious associations between sex and submission (Sanchez, Kiefer & Ybarra, 2006). Moreover, women’s sex-submission associations predict greater reports of engagement in submissive sexual behavior (Sanchez et al., 2006). In the present research, we again found that women associate sex with submission at a nonconscious level. Study 1 showed that women’s nonconscious sex-submission associations predict reduced subjective arousability. Study 2 further demonstrated that these associations predict impaired ability to reach orgasm among women. These findings suggest that sex-submission associations may adversely affect women’s sexual functioning.
Chapter
Sexuality may appear to be an entity among those most deeply rooted in the notion of the REAL. Sexuality refers to the physical forms which precisely characterize the differences between the sexes; it is based on elaborate physiological mechanisms and it must feed upon a relational reality outlining its own sociological dimension. Yet, it is the world of sexuality that the imaginary finds one of its most consistent sources and wherein it plays an indispensable supporting role.
Article
A candid and provocative critique of women's sexual liberation in America. Although conventional wisdom holds that women in the United States today are more sexually liberated than ever before, a number of startling statistics call into question this perceived victory: over half of all women report having faked orgasms; 45 percent of women find rape fantasies erotic; a growing number of women perform same-sex eroticism for the viewing benefit of men; and recent clinical studies label 40 percent of women as "sexually dysfunctional." Caught between postsexual revolution celebrations of progress and alarmingly regressive new modes of disempowerment, the forty women interviewed in Performing Sex offer a candid and provocative portrait of "liberated" sex in America. Through this nuanced and complex study, Breanne Fahs demonstrates that despite the constant cooptation of the terms of sexual freedom, women's sexual subjectivities-and the ways they continually grapple with shifting definitions of liberation-represent provocative spaces for critical inquiry and personal discovery, ultimately generating novel ways of imagining and reimagining power, pleasure, and resistance.
Article
Preface Background: Sexual Desire and Fantasy Background: Sex and Values Common Charges Against Sexual Explicitness Pornography and Women Portrayals of Violence Degrading Content Alleged Ill Effects from Use Sex and Psychological Health Elicitation of Violence: The Theories Elicitation of Violence: The Evidence Portrayed Violence and Real Aggression Sexual Repressiveness and Violence Pornography and the Law Bibliography Index
Article
Harsher judgments toward women (relative to men) for engaging in similar heterosexual sexual activity have been termed the sexual double standard. Within heterosexual casual sex scenarios, we examined whether the sexual double standard can be explained by desire to avoid counterstereotypical behaviors for fear of social repercussions (i.e., backlash effects). Study 1a showed that female casual sex accepters received more opprobrium than male accepters. Study 1b demonstrated that women were less likely to accept casual sex offers than men and that the gender difference was partially mediated by the more negative judgments women anticipated for accepting the casual sex offer. In Study 2a, participants recalled real-life sexual proposals; women expected to be perceived more negatively than men for accepting an offer of casual sex. Finally, in Study 2b, we demonstrated that fear of stigma mediates gender differences in acceptance of actual recalled casual sex offers. Across the four studies and nearly 3,000 participants, ranging in age from 18 to 74, we examined the role of stigma in men and women’s reactions to casual sex and successfully integrated two relatively independent research domains: that of sexuality on one hand, and research on the backlash effects on the other. We were also able to extend the concept of backlash to help us understand a wider range of social choices.
Article
The subject of girls’ sexual empowerment is a fertile area for feminist debate. While most feminists are committed to the promotion of diverse and egalitarian sexual possibilities for girls (and women), we differ in our views on how to hold an aspirational vision alongside paying attention to real world constraints on its unfolding. A specific instance of this tension is posed in considering how relevant claims to individual empowerment are within a broader context that remains broadly sexist and limiting as well as saturated with racist and other forms of discrimination and inequality. In this paper, I join the dialogue opened by Lamb and Peterson (2011) to explore some of these questions. I argue that the concept of sexual empowerment, as taken up in these debates, might be too flexible to do the work we require of it. In particular, I suggest that it is unhelpful to fix our lens on claims of individual empowerment, if and where this involves eliding the broader sociocultural conditions of possibility for “intimate justice” (McClelland 2010) for girls and women; and, where it leads us to over-ride the psychosocial complexity of all individuals in ways that distract us from attending to ambivalence and understanding the “cruel attachments” that can bind us to injustice. Rather than seeking to offer an “‘expert’ view of empowerment,” I argue for the value of reflexive, empathic, and respectful feminist critique of the cultural conditions of possibility for such a thing.
Article
Menarche—or a woman's first menstrual period—is a central aspect of body politics. Through explorations of oral and written narratives, I suggest that girls' subjective sense of themselves as maturing women at menarche develops simultaneously with a process of sexualization whereby young women experience themselves as sexualized, and their bodies are produced as sexual objects. While women internalize negative scripts associated with the bleeding female body, they also respond with consciousness and resistance.
Article
Safer sex campaigns directed at heterosexuals have increasingly targeted women to encourage them to take responsibility for condom use. It appears, however, that many women are unable or unwilling to accept this role. In this article we report on one particular kind of obstacle that some women face in initiating condom use. We draw on data from interviews with 14 women, aged 22 to 43 years, about their experiences with, and views of, condoms. There was considerable variability, as well as commonalities, among the women interviewed in the way they regarded condoms. Using a feminist poststructuralist form of discourse analysis, we explored two women's accounts of being unable to initiate condom use despite their stated intentions not to have intercourse without a condom and having condoms in their possession. We suggest that this particular dynamic results from the passivity women can experience through being positioned in a discourse of heterosexual feminine sexuality in general and a discourse of heterosexual romance in particular. We discuss how this passivity can be experienced by women who are
Article
This study examined dating individuals' self‐disclosure about their sexual likes and dislikes to their partner. Forty‐seven college men and 52 college women in a dating relationship of 3 to 36 months completed a questionnaire measuring sexual exchange variables, sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, sexual communication satisfaction, and sexual and non‐sexual self‐disclosure with their partner. Both sexual and nonsexual self‐disclosure were at the level of revealing some detail but not fully disclosing personal attitudes and feelings. Participants reported self‐disclosing significantly more about non‐sexual than about sexual topics. Sexual and nonsexual self‐disclosure were related to sexual satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and sexual communication satisfaction. Sexual self‐disclosure was uniquely related to sexual communication satisfaction when nonsexual self‐disclosure was controlled, but was not uniquely associated with relationship satisfaction or sexual satisfaction. The study provided evidence that both sexual exchanges and relationship satisfaction mediate the relationship between sexual self‐disclosure and sexual satisfaction as proposed by Cupach and Metts (1991). The results of a series of analyses suggest that self‐disclosure affects sexual satisfaction through two routes. First, sexual self‐disclosure may increase sexual rewards in the relationship. Second, it may increase overall relationship satisfaction. Both increased sexual rewards and increased relationship satisfaction, in turn, enhance sexual satisfaction.
Article
Gender differences in the proportion of sexual fantasies involving someone other than a current partner (extradyadic fantasies) were explored using an anonymous questionnaire administered to 349 university students and employees (ages 18 to 70) who reported that they were currently in heterosexual relationships. Eighty‐seven percent of the sample (98% of men and 80% of women) reported having extradyadic fantasies in the past 2 months. A hierarchical regression analysis revealed that, compared to women, a larger percentage of men's sexual fantasies were extradyadic even after controlling for the effects of relationship length, number of prior sex partners, any prior incidents of actual extradyadic sexual behavior or “cheating” on the current partner, and socioeconomic status. In addition, it was found that the proportion of extradyadic fantasies increased as a function of relationship length for both genders, while prior incidents of extradyadic sexual behavior and a larger number of prior partners were associated with a higher proportion of extradyadic fantasies for women only.
Article
In this study we explored the role of coercive sexual fantasies among men as predictors of hypothetical willingness to rape and self‐reports of past sexual aggression. Men (N = 114) enrolled in undergraduate psychology courses were given questionnaires assessing sexual fantasies, acceptance of rape myths, and aggressive tendencies as well as measures of likelihood to commit rape and past history of coercive sexual behavior. Likelihood to rape was found to be correlated with reports of coercive sexual fantasies (r = .51, p < .001), rape myth acceptance (r = .21, p < .05), and aggressive tendencies (r = .21, p < .05), yielding a multiple R of .44 (p < .001). Past coercive sexual behavior was correlated with coercive sexual fantasies (r = .26, p < .05), aggressive tendencies (r = .22, p < .05), and with their interaction (r = .39, p < .01), yielding a multiple R of .41 (p < .05). The two target variables, likelihood to rape and coercive sexual behavior, were not significantly associated with one another. These findings are discussed in terms of the role of sexual fantasy content as an hypothesized consequent of the content of external imagery to which the individual is exposed and as an hypothesized determinant of subsequent behavior.
Article
This empirical investigation explored the meaning and/or function of sexual fantasizing for married women and whether any differences exist between married women who are: satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, or dissatisfied with their current sex life. From a structural‐functionalism perspective, a questionnaire was developed and pretested for this exploratory study of sexual fantasies. The questionnaire was subsequently administered to 212 married undergraduate and graduate female volunteers at a midwestern commuter university. Although many professionals have argued that engaging in sexual fantasies may be undesirable, our findings do not support that view. No statistically significant relationships were found between ever having experienced a sexual fantasy and satisfaction with current sex life nor between frequency of sexual fantasizing and satisfaction with current sex life. These results also strongly indicate that sexual fantasies help many married women to achieve sexual arousal and/or orgasm during sexual intercourse, irrespective of their current sex life status.
Article
Since little is known about the erotic fantasies during coitus of younger women and men, data were collected from a sample of college students to determine the frequency and type of fantasy in this population. Fantasizing during sexual intercourse was reported by the majority of the respondents of both sexes. Males reported fantasizing early in their coital experience and reported more fantasies involving an imaginary lover than did the females. Women reported more fantasies of being forced into sexual relationships and themes involving a member of the same sex than did men. Both sexes reported the primary purpose of the fantasies was to enhance sexual arousal. The results are interpreted as indicating that fantasizing during coitus is a normal component of sexual behavior.
Article
This study explored the relationships among sexual communication satisfaction, sexual satisfaction and dyadic adjustment in marital relationships. A total of 402 married individuals responded to a mail survey. Results indicated that satisfaction with sexual communication was significantly and positively associated with sexual satisfaction, dyadic adjustment, dyadic satisfaction, dyadic cohesion, affectional expression and dyadic consensus. Based upon an examination of partial correlations it is proposed that sexual satisfaction mediates the relationship between sexual communication satisfaction and marital adjustment.
Article
Argues that the application of the scripting paradigm to sex research suggests that all social behavior is scripted, including encounters between researchers and Ss in sex research and between therapists and patients in sex therapy and authors writing about sexuality. It is also suggested that sexuality is more than individual behavior, and what happens in the sexual arena in any society is a consequence of culture and the structure of sexual and nonsexual opportunities that exist prior to any individual. Sexual scripts exist at the levels of the individual, the interactional, and the cultural. The performance of sexual acts draws upon scripts at all 3 levels, and potential changes in sexual conduct can emerge from changes at any level of scripting. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
203 college women anonymously completed a questionnaire to determine whether women entertain conscious rape fantasies. Data show that 57% reported experiencing conscious rape fantasies. However, upon analysis, approximately one-half of these were found to be seduction fantasies. It is concluded that 28.6% of the Ss engaged in rape fantasies, and these were essentially unpleasant nonerotic experiences. Evidence did not support the hypotheses regarding the masochistic nature of female sexuality as embodied in the idea of a rape-wish. (9 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This chapter is reprinted from Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, by Susan Brownmiller (1975). Krafft-Ebing, Freud, Adler, Jung, Deutsch, Horney, Marx, and Engels were mostly silent on the topic of rape as a social reality. So it remained for the latter-day feminists, free at last from the strictures that forbade us to look at male sexuality, to discover the truth and meaning in our own victimization. Critical to our study is the recognition that rape has a history, and that through the tools of historical analysis we may learn what we need to know about our current condition. The subject of rape has not been, for zoologists, an important scientific question. No zoologist has ever observed that animals rape in their natural habitat, the wild. But we do know that human beings are different. Man's structural capacity to rape and woman's corresponding structural vulnerability are as basic to the physiology of both our sexes as the primal act of sex itself. Man's discovery that his genitalia could serve as a weapon to generate fear must rank as one of the most important discoveries of prehistoric times, along with the use of fire and the first crude stone axe. Rape's critical function is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear. A reflective comment, by Claire M. Renzetti, on this chapter appears at the end of the chapter. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Four groups of 50 undergraduates based on race (Black vs White) and sex were administered the Sexual Attitude and Behavior Survey (SABS). A reliability estimate for the SABS was obtained indicating adequacy for the scale. Results indicate significant differences between the racial groups for the male behavior, female fantasy, and personal fantasy attitudinal measures. Low church attenders were shown to be more sexually permissive than high church attenders. Also, some measures indicated significant sex differences, but no significant effect was found for SES in the ANOVAs. The only significant interactions (disordinal) revealed by the ANOVAs were race × religiosity. For all groups except the Black female group, attitudes were moderately correlated with behavior. Inconsistent with previous findings, White males were generally the most permissive group. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The book was designed as a introduction into human sexuality. There were 3 major objectives: (1) to provide practical information needed for everyday living (information about sexual anatomy, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases) and to deal with problems in sexual functioning (such as erection problems or inability to have an orgasm); (2) to help students feel more comfortable with thinking and talking about sex, both to minimize their own personal anguish about a tension-causing topic and to help them become responsible decision-makers in an important aspect of their lives; and (3) to familiarize students with methods used in research on sexuality, and particularly with problems inherent in some of these methods, so that they can read research reports critically and intelligently. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This book is the first of a two-volume study of feminine psychology from a psychoanalytic point of view. It is based upon the author's extensive psycho-analytic and psychiatric experience with all types and degrees of maladjustments and with psychoneurotic and psychotic reactions in girls and women of all ages. The material is organized about three themes, the first of which is the girl's psychological development into womanhood, covered by the chapters on prepuberty, early puberty, puberty and adolescence, and menstruation. The second theme, the organization and types of the feminine personality, is dealt with in chapters on eroticism in the feminine woman, feminine passivity, and feminine masochism. The third theme deals with variations from what is considered feminine, such as the masculinity complex, homosexuality, and the influence of environment. Throughout, illustrative clinical material is cited in detail, and extensive references are made to the literature with footnote references. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Sixty-seven women completed a questionnaire investigating sexual behaviour. The results were found to be comparable to those reported in American samples. Over 60 per cent reported erotic fantasies, most commonly involving reliving a previous experience or of being overpowered or raped. The fantasies were most likely to occur during masturbation and the initial stages of intercourse and were used to create or increase sexual excitement.
Article
This study measured the effects of adult attachment styles on sexual behavior using Hatfield and Rapson's unified love schema theory. According to this theory, there are six love schemas, or adult attachment types. Four types parallel other four-category adult attachment schemas, and two types not measured in previous research are uninterested in romantic relationships. Clear differences were found in sexual desires and behaviors of people possessing five of the love schemas. The results suggest the importance of pursuing the effects of attachment style on sexual behavior, as well as the utility of an attachment schema that allows individuals to classify themselves as disinterested in romantic relationships.
Article
This investigation explored the role of sexual attitude similarity in sexually involved romantic couples. Findings indicate that sexual attitudes of partners are positively correlated, and that partners exhibit significantly greater levels of similarity than randomly generated couples. Similarity in sexual attitudes did not vary as a function of length of relationship or length of sexual involvement. Gender differences were evident in the correlations between certain types of sexual attitudes and the four indicators of relationship quality: sexual satisfaction, relational satisfaction, commitment, and sexual communication satisfaction. In addition, sexual communication satisfaction mediated the effect of sexual attitude similarity on both males' and females' sexual satisfaction.
Article
Several studies have shown that many college women engage in unwanted sexual activity with a dating partner. However, little research has examined the differences between women who comply with requests for unwanted sexual activity and women who do not. This study utilized an attachment theory framework to investigate individual differences in women’s compliant sexual behavior. An ethnically diverse sample of 125 college women who had consented to unwanted sex with a current dating partner completed measures of their attachment style, commitment to their current relationship, perceptions of their partner’s commitment, and willingness to consent to unwanted sex in a hypothetical scenario. Results showed that attachment style and commitment perceptions were associated with women’s willingness to consent to unwanted sex with a dating partner in the hypothetical scenario and their reasons for this decision. As predicted, anxiously attached women were the most willing to consent to unwanted sex, and they often cited fears that their partner would lose interest in them as reasons for their compliance. Contrary to hypotheses, avoidantly attached women were not the least willing to consent to unwanted sex. They often reported passively complying with a partner’s sexual request in order to fulfill relationship obligations. The importance of sexuality to attachment formation in dating relationships and the potential consequences of consenting to unwanted sex are discussed.
Article
This study was designed to examine the extent to which men have a greater preference for cognitions of sexual dominance than do women, as has often been assumed. We also studied the link between sexual violence and these types of cognitions. Participants were 292 heterosexual undergraduate students who completed a 56-item checklist that assessed positive and negative sexual cognitions along with measures of use of sexual coercion, experiences of child sexual abuse, and experiences of adult sexual victimization. Two 6-item sexual dominance subscales were developed from the checklist to determine how often respondents had experienced the sexual dominance items as positive or as negative. Compared to the women, the men reported a significantly greater frequency of negative cognitions of sexual dominance but a lower frequency of positive cognitions of sexual dominance. Both men and women who had used sexual coercion reported more positive sexual dominance cognitions than did participants who had not used sexual coercion. Sexual violence was not uniquely associated with negative sexual dominance cognitions when the frequency of positive sexual dominance cognitions was controlled. Implications for the link between traditional sexual script and preferences for sexual dominance cognitions are discussed.
Article
The Wilson Sex Fantasy Questionnaire was given in Japanese translation to 60 male and 71 female student teachers aged 18–20. Principal-components analysis with Promax rotation, conducted separately for men and women, revealed a structure similar, though not identical, to that found with British subjects. Japanese subjects reported a much lower frequency of sex fantasy all round than British subjects, but the pattern of male-female differences was identical between the two cultures. Males report more active fantasies than passive, whereas female fantasies are predominantly passive. Similarly, males report more impersonal fantasies than sadomasochistic, but with females the reverse is true. This cross-cultural consistency lends support to a biological interpretation of gender differences in sexuality.
Article
The sociobiological analysis of male and female mating strategies leads to the prediction that men would be more inclined to fantasize sex with anonymous and multiple partners than women, whose fantasies would suggest a desire for close-bonded and famous partners. These expectations were confirmed with reference to a nationwide quota poll of 788 British people, representative of four age groups. The most striking difference appeared in the ‘group sex’ item (a ratio of 4.2). As a proportion of total fantasy output, women were more likely than men to fantasize same-sex and famous partners. There were indications of a convergence of male and female fantasies towards middle-age, which might be interpreted as resulting from a liberation from the effects of testosterone and oestrogen respectively.
Article
A detailed sexual fantasy questionnaire was completed anonymously and returned by post by a sample of 90 Londoners stratified by sex and social class and representing a 30% return rate. Men and women were equally likely to accept and return the questionnaires. Information was also collected concerning sexual behaviour, libido and satisfaction. Factor analysis revealed four main types of fantasy: (1) Exploratory (e.g., group sex, promiscuity, homosexuality); (2) Intimate (e.g., kissing, oral sex, outdoor love); (3) Impersonal (e.g., watching others, fetishism, using objects for stimulation); and (4) Sadomasochistic (e.g., whipping or spanking, being forced). These four types of fantasy were positively correlated and were all more commonly reported by men, although women were almost as high on the Intimate factor. Women were also more likely to be passive or receptive in their fantasies, and men active. All fantasies were associated with high libido as indicated by self-rated sex drive and orgasm frequency, especially for women. In general, reports of many fantasies went with satisfaction in women but with dissatisfaction (frustration?) in men. This finding is explained in terms of the higher average level of libido in men than women, with the consequent difficulty experienced by men in acting out their desires.