Sexual Fantasy and Masturbation: Yes, It’s Normal

“Have any of you ever had a fantasy?” Dr. Jamie Winters, psychology professor at Frostburg State University, smiled when students giggled and most of them looked down at their desks.

 

When I took the Human Sexuality class in Spring 2014, sexual fantasies were undoubtedly the most awkward topic for the class to discuss.

 

I reached out to Dr. Winters again before daring to cover the still stigmatized topic. Sexual fantasies, and further, masturbation, are a part of humanity that people often try to hide away; fantasies are the dark secrets we keep tucked in the back of a bedside table drawer and stashed in the depths of our minds.

 

Winters sent information gathered over her years of teaching as a psychology professor, and in all of the studies, and all of the research, not one professor or doctor uttered the term ‘abnormal.’ Not one study performed, like a study by Linda Wolfe researched by Winters that sampled 15,000 women ages 18-34, had anything derogatory to say about fantasies.

 

In Wolfe’s study, only 3% of her sample stated that they never fantasize. While Wolfe’s study addressed only women, many other studies look at both sexes. Some indicate that men actually fantasize more than women, while others find that the numbers are too close to distinguish.

 

Dr. Laura Berman wrote about women’s most reported sexual fantasies. Women were more likely to want to be dominated by a man, and more likely to have homosexual fantasies. Women more readily fantasize about BDSM activities, as well. For many women, the thought of being controlled, taken by surprised, or even spanked and handcuffed is a typical, rather than abnormal, fantasy.

 

As reported by Men’s Fitness, most women answered similarly in a survey they gave about what they would want in their sexual relationship; what fantasies they would want to come true, in a sense. Women reported similar answers to those reported in Dr. Berman’s surveys. On average, women want to be “held hostage,” undressed, and they want it rough. Women typically fantasize about their male partners charging in and taking control.

 

Winters insisted in her research that fantasies do not indicate that women and men actually want the act they fantasize performed in real life. For some women, it is enjoyable to imagine being dominated, like Berman discovered, but they would not want to partake in a dominant/ submissive sexual relationship in their real lives.

 

Men have such a wide range of fantasies, on the other hand, that reports indicate the health benefits more than the average fantasy. For men, these benefits include improved immune system function, built resistance to prostate gland infection, and promoted overall prostate health. Researchers in Australia have even found that frequent masturbation could lower men’s risk of prostate cancer.

 

Women gain health benefits from masturbation and fantasy as well. Women who masturbate regularly increase resistance to yeast infections, alleviation of chronic back pain, and alleviation of pain associated with menstrual cramping, like cramps or backaches. Masturbation increases blood flow to the pelvic area, which assists in reducing pain in the back and pelvic region.

 

Winters expressed that no scientific evidence exists to support the misconception that fantasies are harmful. Masturbation and fantasy are so effective in assuring sexual gratification that they are used together as therapeutic techniques for individuals experiencing sexual dysfunctions.

 

Used alone or with a partner to heighten sexual excitement, enhance arousal, and provide a more pleasurable sexual experience, fantasies allow people to explore their sexuality in healthy, safe ways. No matter what the fantasy, you are not weird or abnormal.

 

 

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