Any psychiatrist worth her salt knows that female fantasies aren't all about candlelight and bare-chested pirates. But even Wendy Maltz, a sex therapist in Eugene, Oregon, and coauthor of Private Thoughts: Exploring the Power of Women's Sexual Fantasies
, was surprised when she and her colleague Suzie Boss asked women ages 19 to 66 what got them going. They reported everything from fleeting images (bursting storm clouds, blossoming flowers, a train cresting a hill, Denzel Washington's lips) and soft-focus romantic vignettes to explicit scenes in the style of hard-core porn. Vignettes and scenes are what Maltz and Boss call scripted fantasies—with characters and plot—and tend to revolve around six common roles: the pretty maiden (an object of desire), the wild woman (the initiator), the voyeur (likes to watch), the dominatrix (self-explanatory), the victim (likes to be dominated) and the beloved (intimately connected to her lover). "I was amazed by the wide range and level of creativity," Maltz says. "You can never tell by the way a woman looks how rich and wild her fantasies are."
In Your Dreams
: Readers share their sexual fantasies...
"Being on a table where I'm the main dish and everyone is pleasuring me or watching me be pleasured."
"I have a masculine-looking lesbian housekeeper whose life revolves around caring for me. She's always giving me oral sex."
"Sex in every position depicted on the temples of Khajuraho."
"Once I had a dream lover who changed from a centaur to a man. It was fun galloping around."
"Being dominated. I spend all day planning my family's lives, and I'd love to just show up and not have to make a gosh-darned decision."
"Two gay men together."
"I'm draped over a fallen tree trunk, bottom up."
"I'm blindfolded in a hotel room in Italy."
"My gentleman friend pins me up against the wall of a cave, and I hear his primal cries of ecstasy echoing."
"Five women at once."