Sweetest taboos: this is what really whips up our sex fantasies
Mum and dad themes as well as dirty talk give our erotic stories the most fizz, say researchers
Taboos are what make erotic stories popular, a big study on sexual fantasy conducted in the US has shown.
Until online sexual content – including erotic stories and images, and pornographic videos – became anonymously and freely available on the internet, it was difficult for researchers to analyse which sexual fantasies were the most common.
Prof Martin Seehuus, lead author of the research published recently in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, explains why: “Participants may report fantasies that are consistent with general societal expectations of fantasy content, as opposed to themes characterised by their actual fantasies.”
But the availability of erotic online content these days allowed his team to review a quarter of a million “text-based erotic fantasies”. They assessed which themes were typical of these stories and how they influenced popularity – based on story views per day.
Family themes and dirty talk themes were revealed as boosting popularity, with clothing and setting themes next.
“The family theme was by far the strongest predictor of story popularity,” Seehuis said.
The research identified 20 themes that occurred frequently across the 250,000 viewed fantasies.
“In particular ... themes reflecting familial words (such as mother, father) and colloquial sexual words (such as cock, fuck) were predictive of story popularity.
“Other themes identified included those not obviously erotic, such as those consisting of words reflecting domesticity (such as towel, shower) and colours (such as brown, blue).”
The average story in the study was viewed 56,682.69 times in total, or 23,17 times per day since publication. The average story was 4,835 words long.
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, a sexual and reproductive health professional, said: “In the era of smartphones, virtual sex has become a big part of some fantasies, and the ability to connect means that more and more people are having a virtual history of sexual expression and experience online, and that becomes another dimension where their fantasies reside.”
She pointed out that some sexual fantasies are never acceptable to play out in real life, including children or violence.
Mofokeng said: “It is not always easy to share with one’s partner the content and focus of your fantasies. The reaction to the re-enactment of fantasies in real life can never be guaranteed, especially when the fantasy involves other people or performing sexual acts one’s partner is not comfortable with.”
Sexual fantasy, the researchers noted, could give greater insight into “actual sexual interest than behaviour, which can be subject to observation and therefore judgment”.
But when it comes to forbidden sex, the judgment of the masses doesn’t really matter if you’re Cersei Lannister ruling from the Iron Throne.