We’d all probably cop to having a daydream (or two) about jumping into bed with Ryan Gosling or carefree vacation sex with a hot stranger. But then there are other sexual fantasies we might feel hesitant to share. Maybe the nature of these imaginary romps makes us wonder (or worry)… am I normal? Will they think I’m slutty?


Lucky for us, scientists decided do some digging on the matter and interviewed over 1,500 adults about their carnal desires. The results? Turns out our sexual fantasies – even the taboo ones – are way more common than we think. (Whew.)


The survey results published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine show that most sexual fantasies are shared by a majority of men and women, including group sex, anal sex, bondage, as well as dominance and submission fantasies.


Still curious to know what your erotic musings might reveal about you? So where we, so we went to the experts to find out what it all means.


Why we do it

“Humans have non-sexual fantasies about all sorts of things in life. Why not sex?” says Dr. Ruth Neustifter, Ph.D., associate professor of couple and family therapy in Ontario, Canada, who runs the Sexual and Gender Diversity Research Lab. “We’re a playful, imaginative species and it gives us the opportunity to explore new ideas, experience arousal that can make us feel more energized in our lives and relationships.” In fact, a study from the University of Michigan found that fantasizing about sex is more effective at sparking desire and sexual arousal in women than other stimuli.


What’s “normal”

Research suggests most common fantasies are new partners, multiple partners and power and sex (thinks dominant and submissive role play). Still, there’s nothing wrong with thinking outside the box. “I teach at fetish events and you’d think I would have heard it all, but I still am amazed at some of the things I learn at each new event—and that’s great.,” says Neustifter. “Diversity is great. Just enjoy whatever your mind creates for you and engage in the process.”


What they mean

Does fantasizing about hooking up with a girl make you gay? Do BDSM fantasies mean you want to be raped or rape someone else? Is fantasizing about a stranger a sign you want to cheat on your spouse? No, no and no. “It’s possible you might be working through something, but in most cases, sexual fantasies are just an opportunity to explore things that are new or things you’re curious about in a safe mental space without having to actual do anything in real life,” says Neustifter. “The taboo nature can also make things more fun, so it’s common for fantasies to involve things that are forbidden.”


Why there’s no reason to worry

There is too much guilt, shame and fear over being “normal.” “Everyone should know it’s ok to be imaginative—it doesn’t have to mean anything big or groundbreaking,” says Neustifter. “Just relax and enjoy having more pleasure in your life.”