Ever fantasize about having a threesome? Or having your wrists bound to the bedpost in an extra-steamy sex session? Well, you are far from alone: For a study published in 2014, researchersasked more than 1,000 adults about the contents of their sexual fantasies and found a few common themes. Fifty-seven percent of women, for example, said they had dreamt about having sex with two men, while 37% had fantasized about sex with two women. And 46% of men said they fantasized being tied up.
But why do we have fantasies in the first place? "They're a powerful way to increase arousal, and distract from anxiety," explains Ian Kerner, PhD, a New York City-based sex therapist. "A lot of people fantasize during sex and may be conflicted about it—but the fantasy could be doing a valuable service of helping compartmentalize stressors that normally get in the way of arousal." In other words, fantasies help you escape from everyday life, and reach that blissed-out state where nothing matters except what's happening right in the moment.
No two sexual fantasies are exactly alike, of course, but they do tend to fall into one of five categories: submission, domination, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and group sex. Scroll down to learn about the unspoken desires each type may represent.