Psychology

Sex Dreams: 20 Women Share Their Masturbation Fantasies

Last spring, we published the article “What Women Fantasize About Most While Masturbating,” which revealed that 65 percent of women masturbate regularly. Other estimates have been much higher (think low 90s), but the survey we cited also found that the most common fantasies women have during masturbation tend to be about their current partners or exes, and involve internet erotica or BDSM.

While those fantasies are completely valid, they’re also a touch reductive. In reality, the range of female desire is lightyears broader and more diverse than those topics alone, and it’s worth exploring in all its glorious specificity for a few important reasons.

Investigating and acknowledging the endless array of female fantasies helps us see that women and female-identified folks are more sexually creative than we give them credit for. Viewing them as people with their own uniquely pervy and exciting desires helps us unravel the common—though mistaken—assumption that women are the more frigid gender. This is the basis for much of journalist and researcher Daniel Bergner’s work. 

In his book What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire, Bergner argues that not only are many women far randier than men, they’re also more sexually imaginative. This discovery prompted him, and many of the scientists he interviewed for his book, to rethink the purpose of female arousal. Instead of being a simple ignition switch for reproductive sex, could it be that female fantasy often has no other function than pure, shameless pleasure for women and their partners?

Given that many women’s fantasies have nothing to do with penetrative sex or physical attraction to the opposite gender but instead involve inanimate objects, conversations, power exchanges, imagined successes and homoerotic drives unlikely to produce a screaming and bouncing human spawn, the answer is probably a resounding “Hell, yes.” The fantasies women get off to give weight to the argument that female sexuality is much more intricate and titillating than most of us thought.
Domination, submission, age play, water sports, sleep sex, group sex, public sex, married hetero sex—pause for air—sex that has nothing to do with sex, all of it.
Secondly, the more we regard female fantasy and self-pleasure as healthy, lovely ways to spend a Wednesday evening, the more we realize that when it comes to sex, there’s no such thing as “normal.” That’s a good thing. “Normal” can be dangerous. Anything that falls outside that category could easily be labeled as “weird” and therefore worthy of shame or embarrassment. 

That’s why social psychologist and sex expert Justin Lehmiller argues that classifying or ranking female fantasies as “common” isn’t the most illuminating way to look at what turns women on. It’s much better to see them as individual occurrences, he says. “As a scientist, I think that understanding what the average person does or which sexual thoughts and behaviors are more or less common is incredibly important and informative,” he says. “However, the truth of the matter is that ‘normal’ reflects a very wide range. It’s essential we keep that in mind. What we need to remember is that being different from average does not necessarily mean you’re abnormal.” If we can look at the diversity and innovation of our fantasy lives as natural and even wholesome, then fantasy becomes less about what’s normal and more about what’s good for us. 

Plus, fantasy makes sex better. “The act of imagination is critical for a healthy sex life,” sex expert and therapist Jamila Dawson explains. “Our ability to create, to imagine different possibilities and inhabit different realities is one of the defining strengths of what it means to be human. When we give ourselves and others permission to be playful and imagine what could bring us pleasure, it can lead in all sorts of wonderful directions—new positions, new sensations, new phrases or words that turn us on, new ways to experience pleasure and new depths to our relationships. Having an active fantasy life helps us ‘taste’ things in our mind and decide what is sexy for us. It’s a safe way to explore without necessarily having to make it happen in reality.”
Typically, I think about what it was like the first time I had sex with whoever my partner is at the time.
That’s particularly important for women and female-identified people. In our culture, it’s not always safe to express what we really want to our partners, especially when what we desire is considered outside the norm. For example, two thirds of women have rape fantasies. That doesn’t mean they want to be sexually assaulted in real life, but even explaining the difference to a partner isn’t easy, especially in our current social climate. There’s the possibility of shame but also of unwanted attention or even physical violence. “There is still so much socialization and policing of women’s desire,” says Dawson. “Many women don’t feel comfortable or allowed to fantasize. Unfortunately we live in a culture in which it is ‘sad’ or ‘wrong’ if someone, particularly a woman, wants to have sex with herself. There’s this cultural sense that ‘I’ll only masturbate until I’m in a “real” relationship.’ I have to push back on that and say that the relationship between you and yourself is as real as it gets. For so many reasons, it is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.” 

So how do we undo those stigmas and reframe masturbation as a liberating, empowering activity? We can start by straight-up asking women what gets them off, not by ranking their fantasies as “common” or cross-referencing them against men’s to see if they’re kinkier. People climax to all sorts of things, none more typical than the next. Sexuality and fantasy are beautifully diverse and entirely subjective, and the biggest benefits come from treating them as individual desires held by individual people. 

We took on the thoroughly illuminating task of speaking to women and female-identified folks about the one fantasy that never fails to get them off. Crowd-sourcing tried-and-true fantasies from our lady friends and co-workers, we found their responses to be as invigorating and eclectic as we’d hoped: domination, submission, age play, water sports, sleep sex, group sex, public sex, married hetero sex—pause for air—pegging, lesbian activities, sex that has nothing to do with sex, all of it. It’s all here and all part of a thoroughly entertaining snapshot of the minds of female masturbators everywhere. Please enjoy.


  1. “Something that gets me off without fail is the mental image of myself rippling with muscles, like super in shape. I picture my own sculpted biceps, my tight, round ass and flat stomach and imagine how good it would feel to look like that and be that strong. I visualize myself riding some well-endowed man. My back muscles are flexing, my ass looks like a pear, and I don’t get tired. I just keep fucking him harder. It’s not even sexual, really; it’s like I’m more interested in my musculature than what I’m doing with this guy. I don’t have any particular obsession with fitness or any more extreme bodily preoccupations than the next person, but for some reason, I come so hard thinking about this.”—Brianna, 29
  2. “My favorite fantasy is the one where I’m lying on a platform or a bed of some sort, and there is a line of men out the door waiting to fuck me. I pretend I can feel each of their cocks going in and out of me as I lose count how many men have stuck it in. I even imagine they have all different sizes and shapes of penis so it feels as realistic as possible. I like the fantasy of being gangbanged like that and being the center of attention, overwhelmed by pleasure. It’s not something I plan to do in real life, but I do it almost every day in my head.”—Lynn, 27
  3. “Sleep sex. I love getting myself off to the idea of someone sneaking into my bedroom while I’m asleep, pulling the covers down and slowly licking my pussy until I come. In my fantasy, I don’t really wake up, but I know it’s happening. I picture myself sleeping while they put different things in my vagina—toys, vegetables, whatever will fit. Then, while I’m still snoozing, they fuck me. I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman—it’s more just the fantasy of being violated in my sleep and getting to just lie there and take the pleasure without having to do anything.”—Amy, 30
  4. “When I was 26, I had the biggest crush on my best friend for the longest time but never said anything because she was straight. One night we were hanging out and drinking, and I just blurted out, ‘You know the only reason I’m here right now is because I want to make out with you, right?’ She looked at me with this cute expression of amusement, and we just went at each other. We were tearing each other’s clothes off and knocking shit over and the whole nine yards. That was forever ago, but I still get off to that explosive feeling of getting something you want so badly.”—Venessa, 34
  5. “My partner is so good at fucking me that I often fantasize about sharing him with another woman. Aren’t I nice? I love touching myself to the thought of him eating someone else’s pussy in front of me. Then I push him aside and go at it myself to see who’s better, like a little competition. The winner gets to fuck this mystery girl. We’ve actually done this several times in real life, so I have a lot of material to go off of.”—Emily, 28
  6. “I’ve never done this, but I would really love to dominate another woman. Tie her up, tease her, make her do what I say, tell her when she can come, slap her ass with a paddle until it’s juicy and red. That sort of thing.”—Karin, 33
  7. “I actually love anime. It’s animated—duh—so anything can happen, which also means it’s totally versatile given my mood. If I want to see an alien warlock double penetrate Sailor Moon with a glowing divining rod, I can, and I have! I appreciate the storylines and feeling invested in the characters, and there’s no bad acting or gross-looking dudes to take you out of it.”—Sadie, 29
  8. “I have the stereotypical lesbian fantasy of turning a straight girl gay, and it absolutely refuses to leave my mind. I’ve had it for years, and it plays out in a variety of ways. I’m also a tattoo artist, so lately I’ve been thinking about seducing a beautiful woman as I’m giving her a tattoo. Upper thigh would be best; then I could kneel down and look up at her seductively while I show her how gentle my hands can be and slowly inch up her skirt, getting closer and closer to.…Yeah, I gotta go.”—Mel, 28
  9. “I would say I’m very sensitive in the ass area, so I love touching myself and thinking about a guy trying to fit his huge cock in my tight butt, then imagining what it would look like from his point of view to see his thing going in and out of me. I just really love anal.”—Jada, 25
  10. “Mine’s funny. I’m only 28, but I have a fantasy about teaching a younger man the ropes of sex. In my mind, I’m a hot MILF CEO woman who’s, like, 45 yet totally fuckable, and I seduce a bright young male employee by calling him into my office to reprimand him for doing something stupid. You can take it from there, but I love thinking about myself as this experienced power bitch who makes a younger guy work for me.”—Tiana, 28
  11. “My ex-boyfriend and I used to be really into public sex. We’d do this thing where I’d wear a short skirt with no underwear, then go off where I was still in public but not in direct view of innocent people, and I’d start masturbating. He’d watch me from across the room, which was insanely hot. Sometimes he’d film me and jack off to the video later. Thinking about him doing that today, even though we’ve broken up, still drives me crazy.”—Jasmine, 28
  12. “I’ve always had a thing for Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. I recently discovered this online community of people writing erotic fiction about him, so I’ll definitely dive into that and imagine I’m either his partner or watching him with someone else. There’s actually a lot of gay stories where he’s hooking up with Legolas or Frodo or something, and those turn me on even more.”—Taylor, 32
  13. “This is so weird, but I can only masturbate when I’m seeing someone. When I’m single or going through a dry spell, I don’t masturbate at all. It’s not that I’m not horny; I just need inspiration from someone I care about, I guess. Typically, I think about what it was like the first time I had sex with whoever my partner is at the time.”—Natasha, 26
  14. “I have a really hot male roommate, and the other day, he told me he can hear me masturbate. I guess I’m that loud. For some reason, that turned me on so much. Lately I’ve been insta-coming thinking about him listening to me moan in the other room or maybe even standing outside my door. I leave my door unlocked hoping he’ll come in!”—Rachel, 26
  15. “I’ve been having lots of fun, freaky sex with queer boys, the memories of which I masturbate to. Also, I’ve never been super into anal, but now, when I masturbate, I am thinking about fucking one of my male lovers in the ass with a strap-on. I also want to sit on the face of every woman I’ve ever been with, and I think about that a lot.”—Liz, 30
  16. “I’m sitting down at my computer, doing some work, and my partner comes out wearing some red, lacy lingerie, closing my computer while whispering in my ear about how much they want me. Grabs my hand and leads me to the bedroom. Slowly undresses me from the top half of my body, then gets on their knees and begins to unbuckle my pants, then takes the rest of my clothes off. Then they ask me to pee in their mouth while giving me head.”—Blue, 35
  17. “I’d love to be kept as a sex slave in a cage and have my master and his friends stuff all my holes through the bars while I’m on my hands and knees.”—Megan, 30
  18. “Mine is sort of mellow, and I can’t say I have any particularly kinky fantasies, but when I do masturbate, it’s really easy for me to orgasm thinking about my husband eating me out from behind while his thumb slowly rubs my clit.”—Tanya, 31
  19. “I watch a lot of massage porn, so I typically get off to some sort of massage fantasy that starts with some hot person (I don’t care which gender) rubbing me down with warm oil, then giving me an amazing deep-tissue rubdown before moving slowly but surely toward my pussy, where they finish me off. I just really like the idea of being oiled up and super relaxed—it makes your body look awesome.”—Heather, 25
  20. “Not sure if this is weird, but I really love the idea of getting fucked by a guy in a panda suit.”—Andie, 27