The hottest of relationship

images-36Since the dawn of civilization (or at least the modern era), non-normative sexualities have been pathologized, shamed, and stigmatized by society. With all of this shaming going on, one would think that sexualities that don’t fit into society’s neatly packaged box would be as rare as hen’s teeth. Well, two recent studies show that not only are these “rare” sexualities quite common, they are in fact actually the norm. Turns out everyone’s been shaming everyone else for the same things that they’ve been keeping secret. Projection anyone?

For the purposes of our discussion here, let’s first create some definitions. The dictionary definition of “nonnormative” is “not adhering to a standard.” In other words, something that is not typical. In this article, I further identify nonnormative sex as anything that would not be described as “vanilla.” What is “vanilla”? Well, that’s a little more complex and subjective, but to keep things simple, let’s say vanilla sex describes typical penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse, with three or four base positions. That excludes right off the bat anything heteronormative in nature. I don’t want to get into a more nuanced discussion of what is or isn’t “vanilla” since I am merely trying to establish a baseline, and the focus of this article isn’t about debates on flavor, but rather on the research I am about to share.

Speaking of which, let us begin with astudy published in 2014 in the prestigious Journal of Sexual Medicine, which surveyed over 1,500 respondents about their sexual fantasies, and determined that almost none of them were really that unusual. Let’s take a closer look at the nuts and bolts of this survey. It breaks down the sexual fantasies into very specific details and separates participants by gender. Most interestingly, only two of the fantasies were found to be rare and men and women were found to differ significantly in the amount and content of their fantasies. The two more rare fantasies were having sex with a child younger than 12 (pedophilia), coming in at roughly 1.5% (0.8% women and 1.8% men) and having sex with animals (zoophilia) (3% women and 2.2% men). Remember, these numbers reflect the people who were willing to disclose these kinds of fantasies– self reports like these are notorious for underreporting.

Other fantasies that were unusual included fantasies around urination (a.k.a. “watersports”)—for both women (7%) and men (9%)—and, for women: wearing clothes of the opposite gender (6.9%), forcing someone to have sex (10.8%), abusing a person who is drunk, asleep, or unconscious (10.8%), having sex with a prostitute (12.5%), and having sex with a woman who has very small breasts (10.8%). None of these were found to be unusual at all for men. In general, men had way more fantasies than women and indicated a higher desire to experience them in real life.

Of the 55 sexual fantasies studied, which included a wide gamut of scenarios, 36 were found to be common (more than 50% frequency), including all themes of domination and submission, and five were typical (more than 84.1% of the sample).