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Abnormal Sexual Fantasies Identified

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Normal sexual fantasies have for the first time been identified by Canadian scientists, according to a new study.

Common or "normal" sexual fantasies include participating in threesomes and being dominated.  But, what about the less common fantasies like incest, bestiality and golden showers? Are those less common fantasies considered normal?

"Bad" or deviant sexual desires are often labeled as paraphilias or atypical fantasies. However, mental health experts have never provided specific definition for paraphilias. For example, they are only referred to as "anomalous" fantasies in the  fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and defined as "unusual" fantasies" by the World Health Organization.

"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? To find out, we asked people in the general population, as simple as that," lead author Christian Joyal said in a news release. "Our main objective was to specify norms in sexual fantasies, an essential step in defining pathologies," he noted. "And as we suspected, there are a lot more common fantasies than atypical fantasies. So there is a certain amount of value judgment in the DSM-5."

The latest study involved 1,517 Quebec adults with an average age of 30 years who were asked to describe their sexual fantasies in detail.

The findings revealed that the sexual fantasies varied greatly among the general population, and few fantasies can actually be considered rare, unusual or typical. Not surprisingly, men have more sexual fantasies than women. They also describe their fantasies in more detail.

The study also revealed extreme gender differences in sexual fantasies. For example, women are more likely to clearly distinguish between fantasy and desire. Therefore, many women who express extreme fantasies of submission clarify that they never want their fantasies to come true. Unsurprisingly, most men want their fantasies to come true.  Men were also significantly more likely to fantasize about extramarital relationships compared to women who are significantly more likely to incorporate their significant others in their sexual fantasies.

"One of the most intriguing findings has to do with the significant number of unique male fantasies, for example, regarding 'shemales', anal sex among heterosexuals, and the idea of watching their partner have sex with another man. Evolutionary biological theories cannot explain these fantasies, which, among males, are typically desires. Overall, these findings allow us to shed light on certain social phenomena, such as the popularity of the book 'Fifty Shades of Grey' with women," Joyal said in a news release.

"The subject is fascinating. We are currently conducting statistical analyses with the same data to demonstrate the existence of homogeneous subgroups of individuals based on combinations of fantasies. For example, people who have submission fantasies also often report domination fantasies. These two themes are therefore not exclusive, quite the contrary. They also seem associated with a higher level of satisfaction," Joyal concluded.

The findings were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

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Oct 31, 2014 07:05 PM EDT

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