Justin Lehmiller Taps into the Science of Sexual Desire 



A monumental, two-year survey of over 4,000 people, undertaken by the author of the blog Sex and Psychology, Justin J. Lhemiller, gives us important insight on the role of fantasy in sexuality. The results of the survey gave rise to a book called Tell me What You Want, which shows that many adults are surprisingly romantic and faithful to their partners when they fantasize about sex. To obtain his data, Lhemiller drafted a survey containing over 350 questions about participants’ favorite fantasies. He received 4,175 answers from participants aged 18 to 87. His conclusion was that, contrary to what one might expect, most people didn’t fantasize about outlandish or ultra-kinky scenarios. Most were happy to simply ‘spice things up’ with their partners.


Past Beliefs

In past scientific literature, experts believe that the nature of men’s and women’s fantasies differed markedly. For instance, men were touted as ‘visual’ beings who enjoyed viewing explicit imagery. They also espoused that men tended to indulge in fantasy less as they got older and that they were more likely than women to fantasize about being with more than one partner at the same time. Women, meanwhile, were assumed to fantasize about more romantic scenarios, preferring romance novels over porn.


Role-Playing Fantasies

A survey by SKYN Condoms showed that both men and women enjoy taking part in role-playing fantasies. The latter may involve wearing sexy gear, taking on a submissive or dominant role, or acting out a character or person from a specific profession. According to the survey, one of the most popular fantasies involved acting like ‘strangers’ in the bedroom. Also popular were stripper fantasies (think Magic Mike or Showgirls).


Sexual Fantasies Have a Positive Role to Play

It is interesting to think that in Freudian times, fantasizing about sex was considered an illness. It wasn’t until 1995 that the American Psychological Association released a review of findings on the subject and concluded that sexual fantasy was neither a pathology nor a mark of dissatisfaction. Rather, today, not having sexual fantasies is considered a pathology. In fact, those who exhibit the fewest sexual issues and the least dissatisfaction are likely to fantasize to the greatest extent.


Jazzing Things Up at Home

Lehmiller’s findings show that although fantasies can involve multiple partners and movie-like scenes, in fact, perhaps owing to generational or cultural and technological changes, more men are likely to fantasize about emotional fulfilment and romance than in the past. Women also had fantasies in which they felt desired, reassured, sexually competent, and appreciated. Lehmiller also found that being older and more experienced made fantasizing about non-monogamy more likely. Meanwhile, being religious made it more likely for people to fantasize about acts that may be frowned upon by major religions. Around nine out of 10 people surveyed fantasized about their own partners, with over 50% saying that they did so often. Their most common fantasies involved trying something a little out of the book with their partner rather than experiencing ‘taboo’ or ‘forbidden’ scenarios.


Research by sex expert, Justin J. Lhemiller, found that most adults fantasize about trying something new with their partners. This can include role playing or acting like strangers. Men and women alike also had romantic fantasies, with both expressing a desire to feel loved, wanted, and appreciated.




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