Do Men and Women Have Different Sexual Fantasies?

GoodTherapy | Do Men and Women Have Different Sexual Fantasies?

According to a recent article, men spend a bit more time fantasizing about sex than women do. However, contrary to what some people believe, based on the results of a study conducted by Juan Carlos Sierra Freire and Nieves Moyano Munoz, both of the Department of Personality, Psychological Evaluation and Treatment at the University of Granada in Spain, men and women don’t usually fantasize about sexual encounters with strangers, but with their partners. Sources of entertainment that are focused on fulfilling sexual fantasies, like steamy books, racy movies, and even websites, all sensationalize the stranger fantasy. Whether it is with a hot construction worker or a sexy swimsuit model, some of the most sexually stimulating scenarios involve strangers colliding for a thrilling and fulfilling sexual encounter. But this is not what the majority of people actually fantasize about.

For their study, Freire and Munoz surveyed 2,500 men and women ranging in age from 18 to 73. All of the participants questioned had been in some form of heterosexual partnership in the last year. They were asked whether they had ever had a sexual fantasy and if so, to describe the type of fantasy. The researchers assessed whether the fantasies resulted in negative or positive feelings and explored what characters were most prevalent in the fantasies. They found that almost all of the respondents had fantasized about sex at one time or another. Surprisingly, the majority of them, nearly 80%, reported that they had had at least one negative sexual fantasy. For women, negative fantasies involved forced sexual encounters and for men it involved homosexuality.

The team also found that although men did fantasize more often than the women, both men and women usually fantasized about sex with their partners. Other findings revealed that women had more positive sexual fantasies than the men, and men had more experimental sexual fantasies, including fantasies about threesomes and other group sexual encounters. Overall, the researchers believe that having fantasies about sex “favors some aspects as sexual desire and arousal” and is an area of exploration for therapists working with individuals who have sexual concerns.

University of Granada (2012, July 18). A study shows that men and women have the same sexual fantasies. Retrieved from

Related articles:
What Do Your Sexual Fantasies Mean?
Fanning the Spark of Sexual Passion
Exploring Alternative Lifestyles in Your Relationship

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  • Julia

    July 23rd, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    So different things turn men and women on, I think that we already knew that. But the positive thing is that at least we are having fantasies about sex with each other instead of depending on fantasies about sex with a stranger. Of course there will always be those exceptions to the rule, but for the most part I think that as long as men and women have a healthy attitude about sex, then they will be able to meet in the middle and have that type of sexual relationship that each seeks, even if the fantasies about it are a little different.

  • marci j

    July 24th, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    The big problem is when husband and wives are having these sexual fantasies but either they are about someone else or they are unwilling to talk to each other about them!
    For many women I know that talking about these fantasies out loud can be hard, because a lot of us were brought up to be seen and not heard, just do what the hubby wants us to do. That’s also the message that some of us got from society as a whole.
    But this is not healthy. If you want your marriage to be the best that it can be then you have to be willing to tal about things that could in some way make you feel uncomfortable.But if you want your needs to be met then you have to speak up and be willing to tall him what you want.
    And you never know- you may find out that your husband likes the exact same thing.

  • Rochelle

    July 24th, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Sharing sexual fantasies can increase intimacy between couples. True?

  • Phillip

    July 24th, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Sorry- do women even have sexual fantasies? Not in my experience.

  • Marlo

    July 25th, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Um Phillip, yes, we do have sexual fantasies. I hate to break this to you but maybe they just don’t have any sexual fantasies about YOU! Perhaps you should view this as a down fall on your part, not ours.

  • Celeste

    August 1st, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    my husband and I have sexual fantasies during sex, it does increase the sexual tensions and we seem to want more of it. But his fantasy is always about the same person, someone he met during his work travels. The more he fantasizes about her, her and me, and then her again, I am beginning to wonder if maybe they had a fling or almost went too far…

    It is too consistent each time, his stories. How far is too far when it comes to fantasy and foreplay…

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