from the I-have-a-dream dept.
Antonia Molloy reports at The Independent that scientists at the University of Montreal wanted to find out what exactly constitutes an atypical sexual fantasy or paraphilia and set out to define sexual deviation by grouping sexual fantasies according to how widespread they are. For example, dreaming about sleeping with two women is common, while fantasizing about having sex with an animal is not. “Clinically, we know what pathological sexual fantasies are: they involve non-consenting partners, they induce pain, or they are absolutely necessary in deriving satisfaction. But apart from that, what exactly are abnormal or atypical fantasies?” The scientists asked 1,517 Quebec adults (799 men and 718 women) to rank 55 different sexual fantasies, as well as to describe their own favorite fantasy in detail. Of this sample, 85.1 per cent were heterosexual, 3.6 per cent were homosexual and the remainder identified as neither of these. Overall, it was found that men had more fantasies than women and they also described these more vividly.
The number and taxonomy of paraphilias is under debate; one source lists as many as 549 types of paraphilias. The study found that thirty sexual fantasies were common for one or both genders. A significant proportion of women (30 per cent to 60 per cent) had fantasies involving elements of submission – but many also specified that they never wanted these to come true. By contrast, the majority of men did want their fantasies to become reality. One theory of sexual fantasies is that our fantasies are psychological mechanisms for coping with anxiety. "Our main objective was to specify norms in sexual fantasies, an essential step in defining pathologies," says Christian Joyal, lead author of the study. "And as we suspected, there are a lot more common fantasies than atypical fantasies."