Psychologist Jesse Bering has written an absolutely remarkable article about the psychology of masturbation for his latest Scientific American ‘Bering in Mind’ column.
I realise it’s now impossible to write anything about the piece without dropping innuendos like a nurse in a Carry On film but it’s worth checking out for the fact it’s both full of surprising findings and is very funny.
The article covers everything from monkey sex to wet dreams (it has ick and wow in equal measure) but this section on the psychology of sexual fantasy particularly caught my eye:
In their excellent 1995 Psychological Bulletin article [pdf] on sexual fantasy, University of Vermont psychologists Harold Leitenberg and Kris Henning summarize a number of interesting differences between the sexes in this area…
One of the more intriguing things that Leitenberg and Henning conclude is that, contrary to common (and Freudian) belief, sexual fantasies are not simply the result of unsatisfied wishes or erotic deprivation:
“Because people who are deprived of food tend to have more frequent daydreams about food, it might be expected that sexual deprivation would have the same effect on sexual thoughts. The little evidence that exists, however, suggests otherwise. Those with the most active sex lives seem to have the most sexual fantasies, and not vice versa. Several studies have shown that frequency of fantasy is positively correlated with masturbation frequency, intercourse frequency, number of lifetime sexual partners, and self-rated sex drive.”