Men have more sexual fantasies than women and like to describe them in more vivid detail, according to a new Canadian study that, for the first time, sought to define exactly what is atypical, or deviant.

Researchers affiliated with the Université de Montreal surveyed more than 1,500 Quebec adults about their sexual fantasies. The respondents were asked to fill out a questionnaire, as well as provide a detailed description of their favourite sexual fantasy.

According to the findings:

  • While the general population enjoys a vast array of sexual fantasies, a “typical” fantasy for a woman includes sex in a romantic location, while a “typical” male fantasy involves sex with two women.
  • Between 30 and 60 per cent of women have fantasies that include themes of submission, such as being tied up or spanked. However, many women who have extreme submission fantasies, such as domination by a stranger, clearly state that they don’t actually want the fantasies to come true. Most men, however, would like to live out their fantasies.
  • More women than men fantasize about their current romantic partner. Compared to women, men in relationships typically fantasize about an extra-marital relationship much more often.

"One of the most intriguing findings has to do with the significant number of unique male fantasies, for example, regarding shemales, anal sex among heterosexuals, and the idea of watching their partner have sex with another man,” lead study author Christian Joyal said in a statement.

The researchers began their project seeking to scientifically define sexual deviation. Scientific theories about deviant sexual fantasies refer to so-called atypical fantasies. However, the scientific literature does not describe what atypical fantasies are.

So the researchers set out to establish “norms in sexual fantasies” by surveying members of the general population. According to Joyal, “as we suspected, there are a lot more common fantasies than atypical fantasies.”

Some of the fantasies considered “unusual” include cross-dressing and having sex with a prostitute, the study found. Sex with an animal would be classified as a “rare” fantasy.

The findings are published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.