Last week, this column discussed the academic study of sexual fantasies, focusing on sex researcher Dr. Justin Lehmiller’s study of over 4000 Americans’ sex lives. This week, The Wellesley News reached out to students to ask them about their sexual fantasies, hoping to get a sense of whether Wellesley students match national trends regarding fantasies and to give students the opportunity to speak out about their fantasies. We asked about general and specific sexual fantasies, the most adventurous thing they have tried in the bedroom and if there is a fantasy they have always wanted to try but never have. We also asked whether students feel ashamed of their fantasies. From the results, we hoped to reassure students that their fantasies are common, even within the student body.
From the survey sent to the entire school, we had a sample size of 75 people who responded. Our results were very close to what Dr. Lehmiller saw in his national study. We saw that out of the 75 respondents, about 58 percent of Wellesley students indicated having had consensual non-consensual (CNC) sex fantasies and about 55 percent indicated having had BDSM fantasies. In national studies, it was found that almost two-thirds of women fantasized about CNC and 60 percent of respondents fantasized about bringing in some aspect of pain into sex. The results between Wellesley respondents and the national survey are not too far off.
Besides the ones listed, there was an “other” option where students could fill in their own fantasies. Common answers included group sex, public sex, role playing and sex with a professor. When speaking about BDSM and CNC, many students had different variations on what they liked in these sexual encounters. Many Wellesley students spoke about dominating their partners, being dominated by their partners, using restraints (or if unavailable using household objects as replacements), being “manhandled”, orgasm control/denial, pegging, worship, suspension play and sex in public (including against a window of a high rise hotel). There was even one respondant who wanted to “f**k a vampire or demon.”
Within roleplay, the most popular fantasy were students having sex with a professor, maid, schoolgirl or even having sex with a professor and not being caught. Another mentioned was petplay, specifically kittenplay, where some people fantasize about being in a submissive/dynamic relationship where the kitten is cared for by their partner. Another respondent gave a detailed response on a fantasy that involves them as a “seductive female spy” flirting with a male interrogator which involved elements of BDSM and CNC.
One student said she often fantasized about a suburban sexual fantasy she had, where she played a housewife. Another specific fantasy from the survey was from a self-named Dom (short for dominant or dominatrix), who wanted to put her partner in a “cock-cage.” Pain and pleasure often go hand-in-hand when it comes to sex and sexual fantasies. A few respondents noted enjoying being choked, tied up or being spanked/whipped.
When it comes to fulfilling these fantasies there were a variety of responses. Some students were successfully able to have group sex or threesomes or participate in BDSM or CNC with their partner(s). While others admitted that sometimes their partners had difficulty in fulfilling that aspect of the relationship unto them or that they were too embarrassed to bring it up. Several respondents admitted that they were virgins and have not participated in any sexual acts. This is important to consider because even though some individuals do not engage in sexual acts with another person, they still fantasize. (Hint: we all do!)
When asked whether they are ashamed of their fantasies, Wellesley students had mixed responses. We were glad to see that many Wellesley students had no shame surrounding their fantasies. Many noted that “there’s nothing wrong with enjoying kinky things as long as you’re safe, sane, and consensual” and that “everyone has them.” Others were not so accepting of their own sexual fantasies. For those who indicated they had previously had consensual non-consent (CNC) fantasies or submissive BDSM fantasies, many admitted to intense shame around the subject. Some noted that “it goes against my feminism” and that “it feels disrespectful to people who have experienced sexual assault.” Another student said that “it seems like me wanting to be dominated might explain why some men think it’s ok to engage in aggressive actually nonconsensual sex” and another wrote that “I feel ashamed of my consensual non-consensual sex fantasy…I’ve used it as a way to deal with my own sexual trauma.”
At the end of the day, our fantasies tend to be mostly our imaginations running wild, but they might not be as unique as we think. There is nothing productive or helpful about shaming ourselves or others for sexual fantasies, even ones that might seem taboo. In fact, blaming ourselves for our fantasies can often lead to victim-blaming in real life. As shown, your fantasy, whether it involves BDSM, exhibitionism, or, in one student’s case, f**king Robbie Shapiro, is likely pretty normal, even if it may not seem that way.