Power, desire, and pleasure in sexual fantasies

J Sex Res. 2004 Aug;41(3):288-300. doi: 10.1080/00224490409552236.


One hundred and sixty-two participants (ages 21-45) wrote open-ended sexual fantasies and completed self-report measures of rape myth acceptance, adversarial sexual beliefs, and attitudes toward women. We coded fantasies using a newly developed scoring system that includes themes of dominance, submission, sexual pleasure, and sexual desire. Men fantasized about dominance more than women did; they also tended to focus more on the desire and pleasure of their partner. Desire and pleasure were more closely linked in the fantasies of men than in the fantasies of women, for whom the two were distinct constructs. Although fantasies of submission were not associated with problematic attitudes for either gender, men's fantasies of dominance were associated with greater acceptance of rape myths. For women, greater rape myth acceptance was associated with emotional and romantic fantasy themes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Fantasy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Penile Erection / psychology
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires