Sex fantasies revisited: An expansion and further clarification of variables affecting sex fantasy production

Diane R. Follingstad, C. Dawne Kimbrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Findings of prior research which indicated both external factors (experimental response cues and internal factors (sex guilt) influencing subjects' writing of their sexual fantasies were expanded. University males (N = 88) and females (N = 122) were studied. They read sex fantasy examples varying in conventionality of the sexual activity and the relationship context before reporting their own fantasies. Sex guilt level of all subjects was measured as well as their subjective responses to writing the fantasies. The data were analyzed to determine whether varying response cues along certain dimensions could influence subjects to write parallel fantasies. Sex guilt levels and sex of the subject were the best predictors of the length, explicitness, and variety of content of subjects' reported fantasies. Males wrote longer, more explicit and varied fantasies but were affected similarly by sex guilt levels as females. High sex guilt subjects in general produced more restricted content and shorter fantasies. They also experienced more embarrassment and less arousal. Females were more likely to have high levels of guilt about sex than males. The varying dimensions of the fantasy examples had little effect on the types of fantasy material revealed and therefore the erotic/explicit aspect of the examples found in the prior research seems to be the factor that produces effects on fantasy production. Comparing the two studies, females may respond with longer, more explicit fantasies when given erotic but more traditional sexual examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-486
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1986


  • erotica
  • pornography
  • sex differences
  • sex fantasy
  • sexual arousal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)


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