Sexual fantasies, interests, and experiences are three important aspects of human sexual expression that likely are related yet distinct. Updated and comprehensive information on patterns in these three areas of sexual expression is important for developing knowledge on the extent to which fantasies are distinct from interests and experiences as well as whether social sexual norms are changing. Thus, the overall goal of this study was to explore patterns in university students' sexual expression. Participants (N = 236; 65 men, 171 women) completed a background questionnaire and a measure of 43 specific sexual fantasies, interests, and experiences. We used Joyal, Cossette, and Lapierre's (2015) categories to determine which specific fantasies, interests, and experiences were typical, common, uncommon, unusual, and rare. The results suggested that typical and common fantasies, interests, and experiences are those that fit with sexual norms and evolutionary pressures. However, some activities that fall outside of social norms, or evolutionary benefits, may be common or uncommon, rather than unusual or rare. For the most part, the prevalence and diversity of sexual fantasies aligned closely with sexual interests. We found more gender similarities than differences; when men and women differed, it was in specific sexual fantasies and interests rather than sexual experiences. Our findings suggest that young men and women fantasize about, are interested in, and engage in diverse sexual activities that are somewhat guided by social norms and evolutionary pressures. These findings provide novel, contemporary information on social norms, gender similarities, and diversity in young adults' sexual expression.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 143-158
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.