We’re increasingly encouraged to discuss our sexual fantasies out in the open (or at least own up to them in our private lives) because you know what? Good sex matters. Taboos are eroding, sexual norms are shifting, and we’re likelier than ever to crow from the rooftops about what turns us on.
No matter what your jam is in fantasyland, remember that your private thoughts don’t have to define you—and that it’s okay to have sexual fantasies that conflict with who you believe yourself to be in real life. Your fantasy life is just your fantasy life, until and unless you choose to make it into more. Whether the situations you picture are tame or wild, “standard” or taboo, sexual imagination can be a deep well of joy and excitement.
You can be perfectly happy with your partner and still find something electrically exciting about the idea of cheating on them. It could be the danger of getting caught that draws you in, the freshness of a new sexual connection, or something else entirely. As with many fantasies, it’s important to keep in mind that wanting to imagine this type of sex doesn’t necessarily mean you want to have this type of sex. But if you do, maybe some form of ethical non-monogamy is an avenue you should explore.
Fantasies of being in control in the bedroom are super fun and quite common, with 47 percent of women admitting to having had this fantasy. It can be incredibly hot to call the shots during sex, especially in a culture that systematically tries to strip women of our power both in and out of the bedroom.
Fifty Shades of Grey normalized this fantasy more widely than ever before; one study found 65 percent of women crave being dominated. There’s a wide palette of fantasy scenarios to draw from here: You can picture something as subtle as a trusted partner holding you down by the wrists while they kiss you, all the way up to extreme BDSM involving pain, humiliation, or whatever else your kinky heart desires.
Sex in Public
The thrill of sex in a public or semi-public place has long been a popular fantasy: dark alleys, public bathrooms, and movie theaters are common choices. The thrill of getting caught is one commonly cited reason, as is a general interest in exhibitionism. A word of warning: Having sex out in the open can be a risky endeavor for both your criminal record and for the wellbeing of passersby, so it might be better left a fantasy.
Sex in an Unusual Location
Even if you’re fantasizing about the same old sex acts you always fall back on, out-of-the-ordinary settings like a hotel room, a sex club, or the kitchen counter can heat up your imaginings.
Both giving and receiving oral sex came up as a top fantasy in one study. While oral isn’t exactly “out there,” it can be imbued with a kinky dynamic that sets it apart from activities traditionally understood to be mutually pleasurable, like penis-in-vagina sex. You might sometimes view giving oral sex as a submissive service, for example, or a dominant act of taking what’s yours. Meanwhile, receiving oral might make you feel like a pampered queen in her throne or thoroughly ravaged. However you frame it, it’s clear that tons of people find oral sex hot as hell.
Missionary might do it for some, but for others, pegging is a big turn-on. For those who aren’t familiar, pegging is where a woman has anal sex with a partner using a strap-on, and—for those who are game—it can be a surefire way to flip the script on vanilla sex. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re intrigued, talk to your S.O. to see if he/she is down with this type of get down.
From impromptu tools, like neckties, to more intense bondage scenarios involving rope, cuffs, or under-the-bed restraints, the thought of being restrained (or restraining someone else) is incredibly hot to many folks. Being unable to move makes you helpless to a partner’s advances, whether those involve pleasure, pain, or a little of both. (Do your research on this one before acting it out, though. There are a lot of ways bondage can go wrong and can even be dangerous. Open communication with a trusted parter is key.)
Blindfolds are one easy way to explore this avenue. Wearing one keeps you blissfully unaware of what your partner is about to do to you—and putting one on someone else helps you maintain your control and mystique. Adding noise-cancelling headphones can also be fun if you really want to keep someone on their toes.
Showing off can be incredibly sexy, especially if the person watching you is as excited about your bod as they ought to be. Maybe you fantasize about stripping for a partner, performing in a porn flick, or masturbating for an agog audience. It’s hot to feel hot.
On the flip side, watching other people get it on can be a massive turn-on as well. Maybe you imagine peeking at a couple getting intimate in a fitting room at the mall, sitting in as an anonymous tipper in an online cam show, or watching a boundary-pushing BDSM scene at a dungeon. There are many possibilities for (consenting) spectating.
Sex With a Celebrity
Some 52 percent of women reported having had this fantasy. It’s also often easier and less complicated to picture your fave celeb—say, Lizzo twerking or Jason Derulo in his Cats costume—than a stranger or someone you actually know in real life. Plus, there’s something affirming about the fantasy of a celebrity choosing you over all the other beautiful people on the red carpet.
Sex With an Ex
The idea of going there again would be bad, but the ways in which they understand your body can be so, so good. In your fantasy life, you can revisit the excellent ex you’ll (hopefully) never hook up with again, without any of the emotional drama that would arise if you tried.
Sex With a Stranger
Anonymity is probably what draws many people to one-night stands. It’s potentially hot to think that someone would be attracted to you only for your body and your sex appeal, since they don’t really know anything else about you. And when you’re done, you can throw your clothes back on and peace out. Easy-peasy.
Sex With a Professor
It might be problematic in real life, but being the teacher’s pet is a common fantasy, even if you’ve been done with your college days for a while. Professors are typically people we respect—smart, distinguished, and accomplished. And don’t even get me started on those tweed blazers with the elbow patches.
If you struggle to let your inner sex kitten loose, sometimes imagining yourself in a specific role can help. It’s kind of along the same lines as getting it on with your hot professor: Does a nurse-and-patient fantasy get your gears turning? How about boss and secretary? Parent and babysitter? The possibilities are almost endless.
Costumes can help make you feel like a total vixen. Whether you go supernatural (Catwoman? Wonder Woman?) or slightly more down-to-earth (Dana Scully? Lara Croft?), you might feel foxier in a borrowed persona.
Though anal just straight-up feels good for many folks, it also comes with a whole host of cultural taboos that add to its forbidden hotness. It’s “dirty,” something only “bad girls” do. You don’t have to ascribe to these shame-y outdated judgments in your day-to-day life to be able to enjoy some of that element in your fantasy life.
Threesomes, foursomes, and “moresomes” put a novel spin on sex, which might explain why 57 percent of women have fantasized about these ambitious trysts. They might go better in fantasy than in reality—in fantasies, for example, no one ever has to feel left out or confused about what they’re supposed to be doing—but if a group-sex fantasy piques your interest, it might be worth pursuing IRL too.
This can mean different things to different people. Maybe your idea of romance is rose petals, champagne, and staring into each other’s eyes—or maybe it’s a partner knowing exactly how to dominate you and exactly what names to call you in bed. Whatever the manifestation, it’s lovely to imagine having a deep emotional connection with the person you’re having sex with.
Interestingly, this fantasy is common even for women who identify as straight. It might be the mild frisson of taboo still attached to same-sex interactions, or it might be that lesbian sex tends to focus on the things that actually get most women off: oral sex, fingering, and other clit-focused activities. Craving sex with another woman could mean you’re actually attracted to women, but it also might not; either way, it can be fun to imagine.
The great thing about fantasies is that they don’t have to mesh with your real-life ethics and beliefs—you can be as perverted as you want to be inside your own head. “Daddy” has become a popular kink honorific in recent years, and “step-sister” and “step-mom” porn tends to top the charts on those sites, suggesting that taboo dynamics have wide appeal. These archetypes and power imbalances can lend themselves to white-hot fantasies.
Sex With Someone Younger
They’re more likely to have more sexual energy than an older person, so you can go at it like jackrabbits for days on end. They’ll also have that wide-eyed naiveté that age and heartbreak tend to beat out of us. And maybe there’s a bit of the forbidden there too: Thirty-something women aren’t “supposed” to lust after their 19-year-old pool boy, after all.
Sex With Someone Older
They could teach you exactly how to please them, because they’ve been around the block a few times. They might look at you patronizingly and call you “sweetheart,” or their eyes might fill with gratitude and incredulity at their luck for getting to bang a hot young thing like you.
“Happy ending” massages are a popular search term on porn sites, especially for women. It may be that the relaxation and slow, calming movements prep your body and mind for heights of arousal; sex researcher Emily Nagoski notes in her book Come As You Are that stress can physiologically inhibit pleasure and orgasm in women, after all. Once you’re all oily and melty and floaty, the stage is set for sinfully intense ecstasy.