A comparison of male heterosexual and homosexual sexual fantasies and tentative norms for the meaning of sexual experience


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A comparison of male heterosexual and homosexual sexual fantasies and tentative norms for the meaning of sexual experience
Physical Description:
viii, 143 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Rodriguez, Gabriel J ( Gabriel Joseph ), 1948-
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Sexual fantasies   ( lcsh )
Male homosexuality   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1981.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 132-142).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Gabriel J. Rodríguez.
General Note:
General Note:

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 000297458
notis - ABS3832
oclc - 08401692
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Full Text







Dedicated to my mother who always wanted a doctor
in the family and to my step-father and uncle,
both of whom believed in me.


I wish to thank Dr. Harry Grater for his mentoring and support

throughout my graduate education. To Dr. Milan Kolarik I offer my

thanks for all of his influence upon me as my therapist and friend.

Dr. Rod McDavis served to inspire me through his encouragement and

role modeling. I also wish to thank Drs. Froming, Ziller, Nevill,

Epting, Suchman and Morgan for the things that I learned from them

and the open environment that they provided in our program. We were

allowed to think, to question and to explore in the spirit of true


To Cheryl Phillips I can only say thank you again. She is the

hub around which our program revolves, and she has touched me deeply

as a warm, caring person. I am also indebted to all of the friends

who laughed and cried with me over the past five years. They are

too numerous to list, but each one holds a special place in my heart.




LIST OF TABLES . .... . v

ABSTRACT . .... . vii



An Historical Overview. . 3
Theory and Research on Fantasy. ... 13
Research on Heterosexual Sexual Fantasy .... 18
Research on Homosexuality and Homosexual
Sexual Fantasy. . ... .36
Research and Theory on the Meaning of
Heterosexual Sexual Experience. .. 52
Research and Theory on the Meaning of
Homosexual Sexual Experience. .. 69
A Brief Summary and Statement of
Theoretical Hypotheses. . .. 77

II. METHOD . . .

Subjects . .
Procedure . . .
Instruments . .

Erotic Response and Orientation Scale .
The Sexual Fantasy Questionnaire. .
The Meaning of Sexual Experience
Questionnaire-IIl .

Statistical Hypotheses . .


Analysis of the Erotic Response and
Orientation Scale (EROS) .
Analysis of the Sexual Fantasy
Questionnaire (SFQ) . .
Analysis of the Meaning of Sexual Experience
Questionnaire--III (MOSE-III) .

. 84

. 84
. 84
. 86

. 86
. 87

. 89

. 91

S. 93

S. 93

S. 94

S. 105

. iiii


IV. DISCUSSION. . . ... .... 107

Sexual Fantasy. . . ... 107
The Meaning of Sexual Experience . ... 116
Limitations, Strengths, and Applications
of the Present Study. . ... 117




REFERENCES. . . ... . 132



Table Page







FUNCTIONS . . . 100

FUNCTIONS ..... . 102

CONDITION OF SFQ. . .... 104

CONDITION OF SFQ. . .... 105

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Gabriel J. Rodriguez

December 1981

Chairman: Harry Grater
Major Department: Psychology

This study attempted to compare the sexual fantasies and the

interpersonal meaning of sexual experience between heterosexual (N=32)

and homosexual (N=32) male college students. The empirical research

on sexual fantasy is sporadic in focus with few consistent results.

The meaning of sexual experience has received scant attention especially

for homosexual individuals. A review of the history and current litera-

ture on both topics is presented with a focus on relevant theory.

Several hypotheses were generated for both topics. Sexual fantasies

were investigated using the Erotic Response and Orientation Scale, which

inquires about male and female as sex object fantasies, and the Sexual

Fantasy Questionnaire, which contains three sexual fantasy conditions

(e.g., sex with partner, masturbation, daydreaming) with 22 fantasy

subthemes under each condition. The Meaning of Sexual Experience Ques-

tionnaire-Ill was utilized to compare the two groups and contains the

following categories: affiliation, inadequate/undesirable, achievement,

moral, and erotic dominance.

A data analysis (MANOVA) of the results indicated that homosexual

students fantasized significantly more frequently about males, anal

intercourse, oral sex, sadomasochistic activities, and being forced to

have sex (submission). They also tended to masturbate more frequently.

The heterosexual males had significantly more frequent fantasies about

females, having sex in different settings, and sex with animals. Tables

of the five top-ranked sexual fantasy categories for each group were

presented. No significant differences were found between the groups on

the five meaning of sexual experience categories. The author concluded

that sexual orientation has an effect on those fantasies which relate

to the "mechanical-anatomical" aspects of sexual activity (e.g., anal

intercourse and oral sex). The similarities between the male hetero-

sexual and homosexual samples were seen as resulting from the effects

of gender.




Research on human sexuality has been a difficult prospect for those

individuals who have dared to address the challenge. Along with the

theoretical and empirical questions with which all researchers are faced,

the sex researcher must also contend with social taboos and the emotion-

laden nature of the topic at hand. Wrightsman (1977) sums up the issue

succinctly when he states:

Even if a researcher is courageous enough to study sexual
behavior while accepting the stigma of doing so, he or she
then faces the very likely outcome that the project's
findings may overturn people's assumptions about sex and
challenge deeply held values and beliefs. Such new
findings are not always popular, and society has a tendency
to punish the bearer of tidings that conflict with cherished
assumptions. (p. 179)

Several pioneers in the area of human sexuality helped to establish

the legitimacy of research on human sexual functioning as well as lay

the groundwork for the methods by which the sexual attitudes, behavior

and physiology of men and women could be investigated (Ellis, 1936, 1942;

Freud, 1962, 1963; Kinsey, Pomeroy,& Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy,

Martin,& Gebhard, 1953; Masters & Johnson, 1966). Since the 1960's

research on human sexuality has proliferated, much of it concerning

sexual attitudes (Eysenck, 1971b; Finger, 1975; Gerrard, 1980; Glassner

& Owen, 1976; McBride & Ender, 1977), sexual behaviors (Bentler, 1968;

Finger, 1975; Gross, 1978; Haynes & Oziel, 1976; Peplau, Rubin,& Hill,

1977; Schafer, 1977), and the identification and treatment of sexual


dysfunctions or sexual aberrations (Acosta, 1975; Bancroft, 1969; Masters

& Johnson, 1966, 1970; Kaplan, 1974; Kraft, 1967; LoPiccalo & Steger,


Two areas of human sexuality which have received little attention

from sex researchers concern sexual fantasies and the meaning of an

individual's sexual experiences. Sexual fantasy can be defined as "Any

mental image or imagination which contains sexual matter and/or is

sexually arousing to the person having the sexual fantasy" (Mednick, 1977,

p. 250). Much of the literature on sexual fantasy has been theoretical

in nature, using a psychodynamic interpretive scheme (Hollender, 1963;

Kronhausen & Knonhausen, 1969). Those authors who have approached sexual

fantasy from an empirical basis have relied on one or two items which

were buried within a broader study of sexual behavior (Kinsey et al.,

1948, 1953; Pietropinto & Simenauer, 1977). Women's sexual fantasies

comprise a major portion of sex fantasy research, followed by men's sex

fantasies, with homosexual sex fantasy receiving almost no attention.

The meaning of sexual experience has been approached tangentialy

from several directions, but as Bernstein (1982) states, "Although

inferences from some studies are possible, the meaning of sexual experi-

ence has rarely been directly assessed. ." (p. 18). Again, there are

few studies on the meaning of homosexual sexual experience, and those

studies that do exist must be evaluated in terms of Morin's (1977)

caution against a heterosexual bias in psychological research on homo-


The purpose of this study is to investigate the differences and

similarities between heterosexual and homosexual sexual fantasy and the

meaning of sexuality. The sexual fantasies will be studied in terms of

same-sex, opposite-sex, sexual activity, and various other subtheme

fantasies. The fantasy themes will be compared during three distinct

conditions: sex with a partner, masturbation, and daydreaming. Although

very few studies have been done on the meaning of sexual experience,

there is some basis for comparison due to the recent development of an

assessment instrument (e.g., Bernstein, 1982). The author hopes that

tentative norms will emerge for the meaning of homosexual sexual experi-

ence. Care has been taken to present the data on heterosexual and homo-

sexual subjects, both in the historical overview and in the literature

review. Pertinent information, that will provide a context in which to

view the existing data, will be presented.

A Historical Overview

The history of sexual fantasy was addressed by Taylor (1970) who

found references on the topic dating back to the 12th century. Indi-

viduals who expressed having sexual fantasies were considered to be

possessed by demons called an "incubus," if the victim was a female, or

a "succubus," if the victim was a male. The underlying assumption, to

the attribution of possession, was that "normal" individuals did not

have sexual fantasies. In the 1600's the Malleus Maleficarum was pub-

lished and endorsed by the senate at the University of Cologne, in an

effort to provide a manual by which the practitioners of witchcraft

could be identified and punished. Taylor (1970) describes the manual's

covert function in the following manner: "It is, in many respects, a

case book of sexual psychopathy, and is concerned principally with three

subjects: impotence, sexual fantasies, and conversion hysterias" (p. 111).

Once a practitioner of witchcraft was found, he or she was tortured into a

"confession" and burned at the stake. Two prime indications of witchcraft

were impotence and sexual fantasy. Consequently, to admit to having

sexual fantasies was to invite the wrath of the inquisitors.

Kronhausen and Kronhausen (1969) reviewed the early erotic literature

in search of literary expressions of sexual fantasy. The authors document

a reference on January 13, 1668, in Samuel Pepys' Diary, where Mr. Pepys

recounts his discovery of a French book that ". .. is the most bawdy,

lewd book that I ever saw. ." (p. 3). The authors go on to document

erotic tales throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, providing

psychoanalytic interpretations as to the motives and longings of the

authors and of their readers. Kronhausen and Kronhausen (1969) comment

on their review of the psychiatric and psychoanalytic literature in

preparation for their own work, as emphasizing deviant behavior rather

than fantasy. To quote the authors:

Contemporary clinicians seem to have given the subject little
attention, and what we found, even in psychoanalytically
oriented articles and monographs, mostly in the 1920's and
1930's, was not particularly enlightening, although there are
several isolated descriptions in some of Freud's own cases.
(p. xv)

Thus it appears that sexual fantasy was considered to be a reflection

of psychopathology from its earliest references up to the present day.

In Three Essays on Sexuality, Freud (1962) comments on phantasiess"

as being rooted in the infantile period of human development, where they

persist unconsciously. Nocturnal phantasies are then the unconscious

phantasies rising into consciousness. Freud stressed that the importance

of phantasies derived from their connection with the Oedipus complex and

the effect that the struggle to resolve the complex has on adult

sexuality. He states, "They phantasiess] are of great importance in the

origin of many symptoms, since they precisely constitute preliminary

stages of these symptoms and thus lay down the forms in which the

repressed libidinal components find satisfaction" (p. 92). Most of

Freud's comments on phantasies dealt with the sexually symbolic represen-

tations within the dreams of his patients and the repressed Oedipal

longings that they represented. Again there is a focus on the patho-

logical or maladaptive nature of sexual fantasies, the precursors of

neurotic symptomology.

In an attempt to systematically study the sexual attitudes, beliefs

and behaviors of the American public, Kinsey et al. (1948, 1953)

gathered large samples of male and female subjects. Unfortunately there

is little mention of sexual fantasy in the studies, and what does exist

is related to masturbation. Kinsey et al. (1953) reported that males

masturbate more often than do females and that of those subjects who did

masturbate, 72% of the males and 50% of the females almost always

fantasized during masturbation. Concerning nocturnal emissions, Kinsey

et al. (1948) report that:

The parallel between the content of the nocturnal dream and
one's overt daytime experience has been recognized by all
peoples, primitive and civilized, since the dawn of history.
The present study confirms the usual interpretations, although
it has nothing to contribute to the symbolism in dreams. The
dream is usually a reflection of the individual's overt
experience or of his desire for experience. (p. 526)

The authors further state that heterosexuals tend to have heterosexually

oriented fantasies and homosexuals tend to have homosexually oriented

fantasies. It is apparent that apart from a move away from the super-

natural influences that were purported to exist in sexual fantasies

during the Middle Ages, the reflection of psychopathology within the

content of sexual fantasies, and the verification of the occurrence of

sexual fantasy with those males and females who admitted to fantasy and

masturbation, little was really known about sexual fantasies until the


The meaning of sexual experience has undergone many historical

transitions. Tannahil (1980) traces human sexual development back to

the prehistoric world, where the major transitions of the paleolithic

era were a shift from a rear-entry coital position to the face-to-face

"missionary" position, the development of intertribal marriages and,

consequently, the taboo against incest. The major focus of this era

was sex as a means of procreation and a symbol of fertility. During

the neolithic era man emerged as master of his family and superior to

women. The second major sexual taboo developed during this era. Men

were not allowed to have sex with women during their menstrual period

due to attributions of supernatural powers and witchcraft concerning

the blood in the menstrual fluid. Bullough (1976) refers to the

Mesopotamian civilization (3000 to 300 B.C.) where sexual attitudes

derived from the assumption that women were basically the property of

the man. Adultery was not a moral transgression but rather a vio-

lation of another man's property. The purpose of marriage was still

procreation, not companionship. Bullough (1976) also delineates the

Jewish contribution in the formation of Western sexual attitudes,

through their effect on the subsequent development of Christianity.

Early Judaism (before 600 B.C.) had a relatively simple sex code. During

the Talmudic period a permissive attitude predominated in which the

rabbis legitimized the pleasures of sex to such an extent that coitus

between a married couple became a religious duty on Friday nights. Later

periods of sexual repression developed as a result of pressure upon the

Jews to assimilate with other cultures and the hostility of the new-found

Christians toward the Jews. Women's sexual drive was conceptualized as

being more constant and aggressive than that of their male counterparts.

Adultery was only applied in terms of a married woman having sex with an

unmarried man and the penalty was death. Rape was considered to be at

least instinctually consented to by the woman, since her role was an

inferior one in Jewish society.

The Greek culture was the wellspring for the concept of romantic

love according to McCary (1976). There was a schism between sexual

love (eros) and spiritual love (agape). McCrary states,

Spiritual love was an idealized love between men, and was
considered an emotion so pure that women could not attain
it. The ideal of Greek love was therefore homosexual, since
the female was regarded as too lowly and imperfect for the
emotion of love. The essence of beauty and the realization
of love were found only in the male, and therefore usually
existed between an older man and a younger boy. (1976, p. 46)

Consequently marriage was solely for the purpose of producing children

and neither concept of love applied to married couples. In Christianity

the purity of love was idealized as love of God, separate from sexuality.

Sexual expression underwent suppression and through the ideal of the

wedding of nuns to Christ in a spiritual sense, women were idealized

(e.g., the Immaculate Conception). Courtly love arose in the south of

France during the end of the 11th century, according to McCrary (1976).

The nobility adopted an adolescent-like conceptualization of love where
"sexual desire is denied satisfaction." Knights maintained spiritual

romantic relationships with ladies whose husbands were crusading, rather

than with their own spouses. Sexual intercourse was not incorporated

into those affairs but tests of the "purity" of the relationships

involved sexual foreplay in bed that would be stopped just short of

intercourse. McCary states that:

Marriage at that time was contracted for reasons of familial
benefits, property rights, personal protection, and procrea-
tion, but courtly romantic love was devoid of burdens and
responsibilities. Thus romantic love and marriage were two
separate entities that fulfilled entirely separate needs,
and so long as the lovers remained sexually "virtuous," the
husband's marital rights were safeguarded and the rules of
chivalry upheld. (1976, p. 46)

During the Baroque and Rococo periods sexual favors were granted

for gallant acts, and the fusion (or confusion) of sex and love was

established. McCary (1976) notes that during the Renaissance the

platonic doctrine, of earthly love transformed into a path toward

spiritual beauty (i.e., God-like), was adopted but quickly degenerated

until in the 16th century platonic academies were "nothing but courts

of free love" (p. 46). The concept of romantic love in marriage was

born in the 19th century, since the common man did not have the

resources to be both married and in love with a mistress. American

Puritans viewed marriage as a civil contract, where romantic love and

sex between young Puritans was acceptable unless it violated the

sanctity of the family. During the industrial revolution our society

became more mobile, familial ties were weakened and romantic themes

began to appear in the mass media. McCary (1976) states, "in the

United States, especially, an attempt was made to combine sex, love and

marriage into one unique experience between one man and one woman" (p. 47)

The Puritan view of sexuality gave way to a Victorian reinstitution

of courtly love. According to Tannahill (1980), middle class ladies were

transformed "into sweet, untouchable guardians of morality, whose dis-

taste for sex led to an explosive increase in prostitution, an epidemic

spread of venereal disease, and a morbid taste for masochism" (p. 347).

The 1800's became a period in which women were the guardians of purity

and chastity, while men had to struggle with their "base" sexual needs

and the search for sources of sexual expression. Some of the effects

of this period on human sexuality are addressed by Bullough (1976) and

include the following: (1) the portrayal of men as sexual aggressors

and women as reluctant victims; (2) the emergence of the woman's role

as one of child rearer and homemaker while simultaneously mystifying

her existence and confining her to the home; (3) the condemnation of

masturbation by medical authorities due to the draining of vital energy

and the threat of resulting insanity; and (4) the increases in prostitu-

tion, the incidence of venereal disease, the search for "clean" virgins

and medical procedures (e.g., ring insertion in the foreskin of the

penis) to limit one's sexual functioning. In effect, it was a period

of sexual repression and the propagation of sexual myths, some of which

persist to the present day. The dominance of the male and the submis-

siveness of the female were reinforced, with procreation becoming the

only justification for sexual activity.

Havelock Ellis (1964) began the study of human sexuality due to

his own discomfort with the ignorance and anxiety surrounding human

sexuality during his medical training and because "a man's sexual tempera-

ment is too intimate and essential a part of him to be viewed with

indifference" (p. vi). Ellis believed that sexuality should be studied

as a scientific discipline rather than leaving the topic to be defined

according to the whims of moralists and theologians. He was careful to

separate the concepts of "love" and "lust," lust being the physiological

sexual impulse and love being "that impulse in association with other

impulses" (p. 323). On the sexuality of women, Ellis (1964) pointed out

several disadvantages created by past definitions of human sexuality.

Women were not different beings than men, but of essentially the same

sexual composition. Women suffer more than men concerning sexuality due

to ignorance and prejudice on the part of society, which leads to more

dissatisfaction on the women's part in marriage. Ellis also outlined

three main channels through which human sexual impulse could be dis-


(1) We may avoid all overt manifestations, leaving the impulse
to expend its dynamic energy along whatever paths, normal or
abnormal, the organism may lend itself to; (2) We may be
content with temporary or merely casual relationships, of which
prostitution is the familiar type; (3) We may enter into
marriage, that is to say, a sexual relationship set up with the
intention of, if possible, making it permanent, and involving a
community of more than sexual interests. (1936, p. 353)

Ellis' observations of the options for sexual expression cover the range

of contemporary sexual behaviors in a nonjudgmental fashion. It is

important to note that morality has been separated from sexual function-

ing in Ellis' work, and that the problems women face in expressing their

sexuality have been addressed.

Sex as a primary human motivator was one of the results of Sigmund

Freud's (1962, 1963) development of psychoanalysis. Freud dispelled the

notion of women as nonsexual beings and challenged the notion of procrea-

tion and submission as the only sexual roles which women could fulfill.

Freud (1962) proposed a distinction between the sexual object (i.e., the

person we are sexually attracted to) and the sexual aim (i.e., the

sexual act chosen to express the sexual instinct). Concerning adult

sexual development, Freud stated that,

A person's final sexual attitude is not decided until after
puberty and is the result of a number of factors, not all
of which are yet known; some are of a constitutional nature
but others are accidental in general the multiplicity
of determining factors is reflected in the variety of mani-
fest sexual attitudes in which they find their issue in
mankind. (1962, p. 12)

The sexual instinct (e.g., libido), according to Freud, is connected

with aggression and cruelty and is opposed by pain, disgust, and shame.

Undoubtedly the Victorian repression during Freud's development of a

theory of human sexuality influenced his conceptualizations of the human

sexual instinct and the barriers to its expression.

Despite Freud's theories, the systematic study of human sexuality

did not begin until 1947 with the Kinsey studies on sexual behavior and

attitudes (Kinsey et al., 1948, 1953). Kinsey's work detailed the sexual

behaviors of males. The female orgasmic response was also studied in and

out of marriage. Although the Kinsey studies provided important norms

for sexual behavior within the American population, they failed to

address the issue of the meaning of sexual experience (Gecas & Libby,

1976). This limitation does not serve to mitigate the enormous contri-

bution that Kinsey's studies brought the area of human sexuality,

especially the bringing to light of sexuality as a topic for systematic

study and open discussion.

The study of human sexuality, or sexology, has proliferated in the

past two decades. Masters and Johnson's (1966) study of the physiology

and anatomy of sexuality helped to (1) delineate healthy sexual function-

ing, (2) identify male and female sexual dysfunctions and to establish

treatment strategies for dysfunctional individuals/couples, and

(3) dispel sexual myths (e.g., the female vaginal orgasm). Several

other sexologists have conducted research and published works on the

topic of human sexual functioning (Kaplan, 1974; LoPiccolo & Herman,

1977; LoPiccolo & Steger, 1974; Money & Tucker, 1975). One drawback to

the scientific study of sexuality has been an overconcern about sexual

performance among the general public (Masters & Johnson, 1970).

Bernstein (1982) notes that the interpersonal meaning of sexual experi-

ence must now include competence, mastery and achievement.

The limited nature of the information concerning sexual fantasies

from a historical perspective tends to reflect the taboo associated

with the expression of sexual fantasy, except in isolated literary

references. In the next section, a review of the current literature

on heterosexual and homosexual erotic fantasies will be presented. The

current literature on the meaning of sexual experience for heterosexuals

and homosexuals will follow the above. Sexual fantasies and the meaning

of sexual experience are related in that the individual's attributions

of meaning concerning his/her sexual experience are bound to be

reflected in the schemes of his/her sexual fantasies (e.g., dominance

or submission).

Theory and Research on Fantasy

The study of fantasy processes, according to Klinger (1971),

suffered from a moratorium on the study of inner experience within the

United States from 1920 until 1960. Saint Augustine is credited with

providing a major impetus for the study of inner experience when he

reasoned that man's knowledge of his inner experience could serve as a

guide to his knowledge of God. Klinger (1971) states that John of

Salisbury, the 12th century philosopher, developed "a description for

the categories of inner experience and applied the unifying associative

principle expounded earlier by Aristotle, that ideas experienced con-

tiguously come to be linked in future thought" (p. 11). The work of

Thomas Hobbes, and later, the British Associationist School of Psychology

led to the development of sophisticated techniques for the study of inner

events (i.e., introspection). Although several schools of introspective

psychology developed at the turn of the century, the American psychologi-

cal movement turned to the study of individual differences and the

behavioristic techniques that were derived from the Darwinian method of

study. As Klinger (1971) states,

The very success of the introspectionist psychologists in
formulating increasingly precise and revealing questions
placed increasing demands on the observational and judg-
mental capacities of their highly trained observer-subjects.
Eventually, the demands proved too great, and the methods
then available for the further empirical investigation of
inner experience were shown to be inadequate. (pp. 11-12)

Klinger (1971) notes that until 1966 not a single volume was pub-

lished in the United States that was totally devoted to the systematic

study of fantasy. The authors of the 1920's focused on Jungian or

psychoanalytic concepts in their theoretical work on fantasies.

Singer (1966) was one of the first modern authors to attempt to define

daydreaming. According to Singer, daydreaming "is used to mean a shift

of attention away from an ongoing physical or mental task or from a

perceptual response to external stimulation towards a response to some

internal stimulus" (1966, p. 3). Although proposed definitions of

fantasy help to conceptualize the fantasy process, Klinger (1971) notes

that there are several problems associated with providing a comprehen-

sive definition of fantasy. The problems include (1) a set of

generally accepted criteria for determining the boundaries of fantasy

does not exist; (2) fantasy is similar to related processes (i.e., plan-

ning, reminiscing, analyzing past events, etc.) which serve to obfuscate

the true boundaries of fantasy; (3) since fantasy is primarily a mental

process it is necessarily covert in nature and the researcher is com-

pelled to rely on subjects' verbal reports; and (4) the problem of

differentiating verbal reports reflecting problems in the subject's life

(i.e., task-directed ideation) from reports of actual fantasy ideation.

Despite the aforementioned problems, Klinger (1971) proposes the

following definition of fantasy:

Verbal reports of all mentation whose ideational products
are not evaluated by the subject in terms of their useful-
ness in advancing some immediate goal extrinsic to the men-
tation itself; that is, fantasy is defined as report of
mentation other than orienting responses to, or scanning
of, external stimuli, or operant activity such as problem-
solving in a task situation. (pp. 9-10)

Through a comparison of the similarities between play and fantasy,

Klinger conceptualizes a transition from an infant's undifferentiated

mastery of play and fantasy to the sharp decline of play and dramatic

increase in fantasy during puberty. Dreams and fantasy become

manifestations of an individual's diurnal cycle, where there is a shift

from one to the other depending on the sleep-waking cycle. Klinger

(1971) sees this as a continuous stream of activity which represents a

baseline of activity to which individuals return when they are not

"engaged in scanning or acting upon their environment" (p. 48). Utiliz-

ing this conceptualization, fantasy and dreaming occur when the mind is

not occupied with the necessity of monitoring the environment.

The reader may have noticed a behavioristic bent to Klinger's

(1971) theory. In elucidating the components of fantasy, Klinger pro-

poses that fantasy is a "response process" and that segments of fantasy

can be regarded as "sequences of responses." The response segments are

integrated due to the unitary, organized nature of lower-order fantasy

segments which flow smoothly, rapidly and automatically while allowing

for novelty. Klinger (1971) points out that conceptualizing fantasy as

a form of response integration enables the researcher to explain the

erratic course of fantasies where environmental feedback is "largely

irrelevant" and does not serve to modify the fantasy content. This

would help to explain the unrealistic or surrealistic nature of

fantasies and the lack of reality testing involved in an individual's

fantasy life. This is not to say that fantasies are totally unrelated

to an individual's perceptions of his environment, since "the effect of

current concerns on fantasy content is best described as a potentiating

influence, increasing the probability that ideation relevant to the

incentives that are the object of the concern will occur in fantasy"

(Klinger, 1971, p. 353). At the same time the thematic content of a

fantasy segment is only "loosely related" to the individual's learned

patterns of overt behavior and, therefore, attempts to predict overt

behavior from fantasy content are risky propositions. The thematic

content of a person's fantasies, according to Klinger (1971), seems to

be more closely associated with that individual's self-concept and the

fantasy themes may actually help to shape part of the self-concept.

Several of the functions or uses of fantasy have been outlined by

psychotherapists and counselors. Kelly (1972) lists several uses for

employing a guided fantasy technique in the counseling of adolescents.

It can be used (1) to encourage relatively freely associated, un-

censored communication, (2) to alleviate impasses, (3) to encourage

preliminary expression, (4) to focus more deeply, (5) to open new

avenues of insight, and (6) to gain insight into physiological reactions

or complaints. Kelly (1974) also advocates the counselors use of their

own fantasies during sessions with a client in order to "bring a new

dimension of creativity to the counseling relationship" (p. 113). He

also notes that imagery in counseling may help clients to manipulate

their images in creative ways, tap unrealized potentials, and mobilize

the energies of the will. Klinger (1977) mentions the fantasy-like

process in psychoanalytic free association and the use of fantasy in

diagnostic work where a patient's "cognitive maps, semantics, expec-

tancies, coping repertories and incentive commitments" (p. 228) can be

gleaned from imagery that a patient reports. Klinger goes on to list

the following functions of fantasy for clients: (1) to steer them away

from overtly threatening content, (2) to allow for the rehearsal of

themes which can eventually become a part of the client's inner reality

(e.g., self-worth), (3) to improve mental health by reducing dependency

on outside sources of stimulation, fostering patience and improving

coping capabilities, and (4) to prevent a build-up of hostility and

anxiety, strengthen or undermine resistance to temptation and improve

a client's self-communication by increasing awareness of the meaning

of his/her inner life.

A complete therapy system based on the use of fantasy, guided

affective imagery (GAI), was developed by Leuner (1969). The basic

procedure of GAI is for the therapist to induce relaxation in the

client and then to guide the client through 10 standard imaginary situ-

ations. There is an emphasis on the symbolism of the imagery situations

and on enhancement of the client's emotions. Leuner (1969) goes on to

list five general methods for evoking and interpreting the client's

imagery. GAI is primarily grounded in psychoanalytic theory and can be

viewed as a structured extension of the basic techniques of free associ-

ation and/or dream interpretation.

Guided fantasy has also been used in career counseling and sex

therapy. Skovholt and Hoenninger (1974) state that guided fantasy can

be used to address sex role conflicts as they relate to career develop-

ment, and the indirect expression of a client's emotions, goals and

beliefs, which are useful in helping the client to make career decisions.

An extension of this work was developed by Morgan and Skovholt (1977),

who cite research which demonstrated that occupational daydreams are

important in predicting future occupational choice and that "an individ-

ual's top occupational daydream tends to be more predictive [of future

occupational choice] than that individual's self-directed search summary

code" (p. 392). Sex therapists have outlined the use of fantasy in the

treatment of sexual dysfunctions either through systematic desensitiza-

tion or the enhancement of sexual arousal (e.g., Kaplan, 1974; Masters &

Johnson, 1970).

The above summary of the theory and functions of general fantasy

provides a frame of reference for the following review of the literature

on heterosexual sexual fantasy. Similar problems exist in formulating

a comprehensive definition of sexual fantasy, devising methods with which

to study an inner experience such as fantasy, and determining the moti-

vations, beliefs and values embedded within an individual's sex fantasy


Research on Heterosexual Sexual Fantasy

The area of heterosexual erotic or sexual fantasy is still in its

infancy in terms of systematic, empirical study. The same limitations

that apply to the study of the more general fantasies also pertain to

the study of erotic fantasy. The first obstacle that a sex fantasy

researcher must contend with is to define the phenomenon of erotic

fantasy in a comprehensive manner. Klinger (1971) addressed the issue

of defining fantasy and stated that "such a definition should encompass

the phenomenon of fantasy not only conceptually but also operationally,

or at least provide means for employing operations to distinguish it

from other forms of activity" (p. 7). At the same time, Klinger also

concedes that the lack of theoretical development concerning the concept

of fantasy is necessary at this juncture in time because of the paucity

of research on the topic. He stated,

Lack of theoretical commitment is desirable at this early
stage, since it avoids too greatly constraining the

theoretical development which the definition is intended to
foster. In any case scientific taxonomies depend upon the
state of relevant knowledge, and the relevant behavioral
domain has simply been insufficiently mapped to support the
setting or rigorous positive boundaries on the concept of
fantasy. (Klinger, 1971, p. 9)

Current definitions of sexual fantasy range from the simplistic to

the more complex, depending on the experimental sophistication of the

author in question. Faraday (1974) utilizes the term "sex dreams to

denote dreams depicting overt sexual activity or explicit sexual

feelings" (p. 84). A more specific definition with psychoanalytic

leanings is provided by Friday (1980). She states, "a fantasy is a map

of desire, mastery, escape, and obscurations; the navigational path we

invent to steer ourselves between the reefs and shoals of anxiety,

guilt, and inhibition. It is a work of consciousness, but in reaction

to unconscious pressures" (Friday, 1980, p. 1). Inherent in Friday's

definition are some of the possible functions of sex fantasy (e.g.,

escape). Masters and Johnson (1979) define sexual fantasy by developing

two categories within which to classify them. Free-floating fantasies

are "fantasies spontaneously evolved by men and women in response to

sexual feelings or needs without restraints of time or place" (p. 176).

"Short-term fantasies are stimulant mechanisms frequently in response to

imminent sexual opportunity" (p. 176). These fantasies tend to serve an

arousal function.

The most comprehensive definition of sexual fantasy is provided by

Mednick (1977). He defines fantasy in the following manner:

General--"Sexual fantasy": any mental image or imagination
which contains sexual matter and/or is sexually arousing to
the person having the fantasy.

I. "Daydream" sexual fantasy: any sexual fantasy which is
experienced at any time, day or night (except in
nocturnal dreaming), other than during masturbation or
sexual relations.

II. "Masturbatory" sexual fantasy: any sexual fantasy
experienced during masturbation which is sexually

III. Sexual fantasy "during sexual relations": any sexual
fantasy experienced during sexual relations with another
person, usually leading up to and/or occurring during
sexual intercourse. (p. 250)

Mednick's definition allows for the classification of sexual fantasies

into three activity categories (e.g., sex with a partner, masturbation,


Several authors have commented on the functions or uses of sexual

fantasy. These functions can be categorized according to the positive

or negative connotations that they imply concerning an individual's sex

fantasies. The positive functions of sex fantasy include (1) fantasies

as initial rehearsals and vicarious organizations of sociosexual dramas

which incorporate symbolic representations from a particular maturational

stage in which the fantasies occur (Gagnon & Simon, 1973); (2) fantasies

as tools for eliciting or enhancing sexual arousal (Campagna, 1976;

Hariton, 1976; Hariton & Singer, 1974; Masters & Johnson, 1979; Sullivan,

1976); (3) fantasies as safety valves for sexual strivings that could be

harmful to the individual or the intended sex partner (Kronhausen &

Kronhausen, 1969); (4) to recall previous sexual experiences which were

pleasurable (Masters & Johnson, 1979; Slattery, 1976); and (5) fantasy

as a way to introduce variety and playlike stimulation into the sex life

of the individual (Carlson & Coleman, 1977).

The negative functions of sexual fantasy include the need (1) to

avoid acknowledgment of wanting sexual intercourse (e.g., rape fantasy)

among women (Hawkins, 1974; Hollender, 1963); (2) to avoid anxiety or

panic during sexual relations (Friday, 1980; Hollender, 1963); (3) to

cope with feelings of guilt (Friday, 1980; Hollender, 1963); (4) to

express women's masochistic nature and their need for submission in

order to suppress their strivings for dominance (Hollender, 1963); and

(5) to serve as a stimulus for conflict (Freud, 1962). It is important

to note that the majority of the negative functions of sexual fantasy

have been attributed to the fantasy life of women.

Some of the literature on sexual fantasy is of a non-empirical

nature and belongs in the category of "pop" psychology. Slattery (1976)

conducted interviews with men of different socioeconomic status over a

five-year period. He divided fantasies into five categories including

(1) heterosexual fantasies, (2) homosexual fantasies, (3) bisexual

fantasies, (4) sadomasochistic fantasies, and (5) assorted fantasies.

Due to the nonsystematic nature of the interviewing and the lack of

insightful commentary, Slattery's work is best considered an addition

to erotic literature. Kronhausen and Kronhausen (1966) completed

"a systematic review of erotic underground literature, both ancient

and modern, and from all parts of the world" (p. xv). Although

they provide some psychoanalytic interpretations for the fantasies that

they found in the literature, the authors do not provide a coherent,

concise scheme for the evaluation or explication of sexual fantasy

content. In a study of men's sexual fantasies, Friday (1980) collected

3,000 letters from the readers of a national men's magazine. Friday's

sample is self-admittedly nonrepresentative and the comments that she

makes concerning the contents of the fantasies are speculative and

general in nature.

Several articles on sexual fantasy have been written by clinicians,

drawing on their experiences with patient populations. Hollender (1963)

discussed women's coital fantasies and the implications of fantasizing

on the interpersonal dynamics of sexual intercourse. He hypothesizes

that women have fantasies more often than men do and that the function of

the fantasy is to remove the woman psychologically from both the sexual

act and the person with whom she is engaged. There are two basic themes

inherent in the contentof women's fantasies during intercourse, accord-

ing to Hollender (1963): "(1) anxiety concerning a sadomasochistic

orientation to sexuality and (2) guilt stemming from forbidden feelings,

mainly Oedipal" (p. 87). In 1970 Hollender interviewed eight "normal"

(i.e., nonpatient) women and modified his views by stating that fantasies

during sex may not be signs of neurosis but attempts to resolve broader

conflicts. In a similar view, Hawkins (1974) addressed the issue of

disturbing erotic fantasies. His main thesis is that sexually deprived

individuals may engage in erotic fantasies during masturbation to the

point of having vivid hallucinations. In his scheme, Hawkins views

women's rape fantasies as their way of seeking absolution from the

responsibility of engaging in coitus willingly. Men's fantasies of

physically and sexually overpowering women are representative of re-

pressed sadistic impulses. Ego-alien fantasies are indications of

shame, disgust, and guilt concerning the individual's sexual longings

(e.g., homosexual fantasies).

Erotic fantasies during masturbation can be viewed as indicators of

an individual's deepest sexual desires. Sullivan (1976) views fantasy

as a technique which allows for the expression of "desires unlimited by

reality" (p. 155). He explores several determinants of specific mastur-

bation fantasies, including (1) an individual's personal experience;

(2) deep stirring of a nonsexual nature (e.g., women's societal status);

(3) a lack of sexual knowledge; and (4) an individual's own internal

disapproval (e.g., Oedipal fantasies). The task of the psychotherapist

is to help the client by being an understanding listener and to reassure

him/her that the sexual fantasy occurs commonly among "normal" individ-

uals. A study of the sexual fantasies of men and women was conducted by

Barclay (1973), although no mention is made of the demographic character-

istics of the subject population or the method of data collection. Sex

differences were predicted due to hormonal differences and the differ-

ences in socialization between males and females in our culture. Barclay

(1973) states, "in short, our male fantasies were stereotyped in that

they all resembled stories of sex without interpersonal involvement. .

women are always seductive and forward [in men's fantasies], ready to

have intercourse at any time men's fantasies have in common a

major emphasis on highly visual imagery" (p. 205). Concerning women's

fantasies, Barclay (1973) states, "even though the fantasy was vivid,

the female subjects appeared to be more involved with their own emo-

tional responses than with the characteristics of their partners" (p. 210).

The implications of the study are that men and women have different moti-

vations for, and goals in, their sexuality.

Although the issues raised in these articles are provocative, the

lack of a systematic approach (e.g., the specification of subject char-

acteristics, experimental methods and a comprehensive bibliography)

relegates the hypotheses to the realm of "educated guesses." Studies of

this type have come under criticism because they represent negative

interpretations of sexual fantasy and have assumed a "deficiency state

or conflictual model of the nature of daydreams" (Hariton & Singer,

1974, p. 314).

Fortunately, not all of the studies on sexual fantasy have been of

a nonempirical nature. Klinger (1971) reviews some early studies on

sexual fantasy and proposes different ways to interpret the results.

In 1952, Clark (in Klinger, 1971, pp. 283-285) studied the effects of

sexual arousal on fantasy. Male students were presented with slides on

nude females in three conditions: in a classroom, in the presence of a

male or female representative from the dean's office, and during a

fraternity beer party. Clark's interpretation of the results involved

stating that sexual arousal induces sexual fantasy but that in guilt-

producing situations (e.g., dean's office), the subjects surpress their

sexual fantasies. Klinger (1971) disagreed and pointed out that the

experiment failed to control for several variables (e.g., incentive,

drive stimuli) so that the results are confounded. Leiman and Epstein

conducted a study in 1961 (in Klinger, 1971, pp. 285-287) on male sub-

jects' attitudes and personal reactions to sexual activity. They con-

cluded that high sex drive serves to produce sexual fantasy but that

guilt about the high sex drive caused subjects to suppress their sexual

fantasies. Klinger (1971) noted differences in the sexual incentives

among the subjects and that this could account for the increases in the

sexual fantasizing of some subjects. The gist of Klinger's comments

reflects the lack of adequate controls within the experimental design.

The more recent studies on the erotic fantasies of heterosexual

males vary from the results of one item embedded within a questionnaire

to longitudinal studies covering a lifetime. Pietropinto and Simenauer

(1977) sampled 4,066 males across the country with a two-part question-

naire concerning their sexual behaviors and attitudes. One item asked,

"What sort of thoughts do you having during intercourse or masturbation?"

(p. 335). The majority of the responses (86%) fell into three categories:

(1) thoughts about the current sex partner (64%); (2) thoughts about a

person other than the current partner (11%); and (3) recalling a past

sexual experience (11%). In a two-part study of male college students,

Campagna (1976) found that erotic masturbatory fantasies appear to be

related to self-reports of sexual activity. He also found that a higher

incidence of masturbation lead to more sexual fantasies during masturba-

tion. Campagna also found that sexual arousal increased as the fantasy

stimulus progressed from nonerotic stories to sexually vivid stories to

the subjects' self-generated fantasies.

Male fantasy life was measured across a life span by Giambra (1977)

using 218 subjects whose ages ranged from 17 to 91 years of age. He

found that "daydreams about sexual activity and love are most dominant

for the 17-23 year olds then most rapidly drop-off with increasing age

groups so that they largely disappear after the 75th year" (p. 225). In

another study of 277 men who ranged in age from 24 to 91 years, Giambra

and Martin (1977) analyzed the subjects' retrospective reports of sexual

daydreaming and their relationship to three behavioral aspects of their

sexual history (i.e., number of coital partners, early marital coitus,

quantity of sexual activity between ages 20 and 40). They found that

the three behavioral aspects of sexual life history were directly related

to current levels of sexual daydreaming. The authors state,

Thus on a comparative basis men aged 24-64 years with more
coital partners and/or greater customary coital frequency
in the first two years of marriage were found to currently
have higher levels of sexual daydreaming. Also, on a
comparative basis, men 45-65 years of age who had greater
overall levels of sexual activity from age 20 to 40 years
were found to have more sexual daydreaming at time of report.
(Giambra & Martin, 1977, p. 504)

Giambra and Martin (1977) state that high or low frequencies of

sexual activity among males tend to persist over a good deal of their

lifetime. The results are seen as supportive of the points of view that

sexual fantasies vary in relation to sexual drive and that sexual day-

dreams reflect the current concerns of the individual (e.g., Klinger,

1971). Thus the general conclusion can be made that men between the

ages of 17 to 23 years with a high sexual drive and frequent sexual

activity have the highest frequency of erotic daydreams.

There have also been studies focusing exclusively on women's sexual

fantasies. Some of the articles based on clinical impressions (Hawkins,

1974; Hollender, 1963; Sullivan, 1976) or studies with no report of the

experimental method (Barclay, 1973) have already been presented. In a

study of 102 university women students, Brown and Hart (1977) looked at

incidence of sexual fantasy and they related age, sexual experience,

anxiety, independence,and liberal attitudes toward women to the frequency

of sexual fantasy. The results indicated that 99% of the subjects

reported having one or more erotic fantasies during the prior 12-month

period. Women in the 22 to 35-year-old age group reported the highest

quantity of sexual fantasy, as did women who were sexually experienced

(i.e., vs. virgins). Brown and Hart (1977) also found that women who

were more anxious, independent, and held more liberal views reported

more sexual fantasies when compared to their counterparts who scored

low on these attributes. Marital status, religious affiliation (authori-

tarian, nonauthoritarian),introversion and emotionality did not corre-

late with the quantity of sexual fantasy reported by the subjects.

DeMartino (1974) studied 327 women who were members of Mensa and who

had a mean age of 32 and a mean IQ of 151. He found that 39% of the

respondents reported fantasizing once or more during intercourse and

70% reported fantasizing at some point during masturbation.

The effects of response cues (i.e., erotic, romantic, or neutral)

and the level of sex guilt on the erotic fantasies of women were studied

by Moreault and Follingstad (1978). Their findings indicate that

(1) 98% of the sample reported at least one sexual fantasy and all sub-

jects indicated having had at least two fantasy themes in their past

sexual fantasies; (2) "low sex guilt (LSG) subjects demonstrated less

sexual inhibition than high sex guilt (HSG) subjects in terms of sexual

explicitness, expressiveness, and responsiveness to stimuli; for total

number of fantasies; for variety of sex acts; for variety of content;

and for number of fantasy themes checked" (p. 1390); (3) HSG subjects

reported more embarrassment and less vivid fantasies than did the LSG

subjects; (4) in the response cue condition subjects exposed to erotic

response cues reported longer fantasies, more explicit fantasies (i.e.,

number of sex acts and sex organs), a greater degree of physiological

arousal. However LSG and HSG subjects did not differ on levels of

physiological arousal and the number of fantasies and number of themes

checked were not affected by the experimental response cues. Those

results were seen as supportive of Mosher's (1973) data that sex guilt

subjects do not differ significantly in self-reported sexual arousal

and that sexual arousal during fantasy production seems to be a function

of the sexual explictness of the stimuli versus the sex guilt of the

subject. The authors conclude that "sexual fantasy may be more

accurately viewed as being under stimulus control rather than as a

stable trait" (Moreault & Follingstad, 1978, p. 1392).

Hariton and Singer (1974) studied 141 suburban housewives (age

range 25-54 years) by using a questionnaire that elicited information

on "general daydreaming tendencies, fantasies, and other ideation

during coitus, sexual patterns, marital adjustment" (p. 313). Measures

of intelligence, personality, and personal adjustment were also included

in the study. The results indicated that (1) 65% of the subjects

reported having sexual fantasies at "least some of the time" during

coitus and 37% had fantasies "very often" during sexual intercourse;

(2) 65% of the sample reported moderate to high levels of fantasy; and

(3) the three most common sex fantasy themes in terms of frequency and

recurrence were (a) thoughts of an imaginary lover (56%), (b) being over-

powered or forced to surrender by someone (48.9%), and (c) pretending to

do something wicked and forbidden (49.6%). A factor analysis of the

items in the questionnaire was performed in order to test three models

of sexual fantasy. The models include fantasy as a drive-reduction

mechanism, fantasy as an adaptive mechanism, and fantasy as a personality-

cognitive process which is an extension of the individual's overall per-

sonality. The results were seen as supporting the adaptive and person-

ality-cognitive models, but not the drive-reduction model.

The sexual fantasies of males and females have been studied in order

to determine if any differences exist and, if so, in what directions and

on what variables? In a study of sex differences in daydreaming, Wagman

(1967) distributed a fantasy questionnaire to 105 male and 101 female

college students. Of the 24 daydream categories, only one category

pertained to sexual fantasies, with one other category for sexually

"perverse" fantasies. He found that men exceeded women in the proportion

of daydreaming about sexual and aggressive themes. No sex difference was

found for the sexually "perverse" theme. Gelles (1975) looked at the

relationship of sex and violence in the fantasy production of 40 male and

40 female college students, interpreting TAT responses collected from

students in 1959 by Lindzey and Silverman (in Gelles, 1975). Men and

women did not differ in the production of sexual imagery, but men with

higher levels of sexual imagery also tended to produce more violent

imagery than did the women.

Carlson and Coleman (1977) investigated the possible influences of

past fantasy and sexual experience on the induced sexual fantasies of 73

male and 123 female subjects. They found that (1) males had signifi-

cantly higher scores on sexual media experience and current sexual

interest scale when compared to women; (2) women had significantly higher

scores on sexual fantasy complexity and sexual arousal in fantasy scales;

(3) measures of general daydreaming experience, sexual fantasy experience,

and sexual interest produced greater richness in the induced fantasies of

subjects who had high scores on these variables; and (4) men with high sex

guilt experienced less richness in their induced fantasies, but there was

no such effect on the richness of the women's fantasies.

The masturbation fantasies of married couples and the sexual

fantasies of each group of men and women (i.e., 38 Danish couples) were

examined by Hesselland (1976) utilizing an interview technique. He found

that men reported a higher occurrence of erotic fantasies than did the

women. Men also seem to have more fantasies involving several persons

(37.5%) than did women (7.1%). Women (42.8%) had fantasies exclusively

about coitus with a spouse more often when compared to men (25%).

Husselland interprets the results as indicating that masturbation and

sexual fantasies are coital supplements for men but are coital substitutes

for women because women were more satisfied with the intercourse frequency

in the relationship and because they masturbated less often than the men.

Another study on masturbatory fantasies required the subjects (i.e., 96

males, 102 females) to view an explicitly sexual film of either a man or

a woman masturbating to orgasm and then to write fantasies concerning the

protagonist in the film. Abramson and Mosher (1979) found that women

could positively identify with a same-sex protagonist while the men could

not. This finding was related to a Mosher and Abramson (1977) finding

that both males and females can be sexually aroused by a female protagon-

ist, whereas only women were aroused by a film of a male protagonist.

The authors state that sex guilt and negative attitudes toward masturba-

tion can account for the variability in the subject's attributions of

the protagonist's affective tone, motive for masturbation, predicted

future masturbation, feelings about orgasm, and mood as reflected in

their written fantasies, as well as the amount of erotic elaboration

in the content of the subject's written fantasies.

Mednick (1977) proposed a definition of sexual fantasy and divided

the study of erotic fantasies into three conditions under which the

fantasies occur: daydream,masturbatory, and during sexual relations.

In a study of 48 male and 45 female college students, narrative descrip-

tions of sexual fantasies were elicited through the administration of a

sexual fantasy questionnaire. Mednick (1977) completed an inductive

content analysis of the subjects' written sexual fantasies and derived

the following categories: "(1) respondent as recipient; (2) sexual

objects) as recipient; (3) respondent as both recipient and object of

sexual activity; (4) no sexual fantasy reported; (5) insufficient data;

(6) sexual fantasies referencing the past" (p. 250). He found that

significantly more females imagined themselves to be the recipients of

sexual activity from a sexual object (category 1), whereas, significantly

more males fantasized the sexual object as the recipient of their sexual

activity (category 2), within the "daydream" and "sexual relations"

fantasy conditions. For the masturbatoryy" sexual fantasy condition,

marginal tendencies toward reversal of the above gender pattern were

obtained (i.e., category 2 for females, category 1 for males).

A few studies have investigated the effects of psychological

androgyny and gender on the sexual fantasies of males and females. Bem

(1974) hypothesized that strongly sex-typed individuals, as determined

by a high score on the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI) dimensions of

masculinity or feminity, may be limited in the range of behaviors that

they would exhibit in varying situations. According to Bem (1974),

Thus, whereas a narrowly masculine self-concept might inhibit
behaviors that are stereotyped as feminine, and a narrowly
feminine self-concept might inhibit behaviors that are
stereotyped as masculine, a mixed, or androgynous, self-
concept might allow an individual to freely engage in both
"masculine" and "feminine" behaviors. (p. 155)

The question arises as to whether the effects of sex-role affect sexual

fantasy and, if so, whether they override the effects of gender on sexual


Bernardi (1977) investigated the effects of psychological androgyny

and gender on the sexual fantasies and experiences of 36 male and 36 female

college students. The subjects were given the BSRI, viewed slides of a

partially-clad man and woman, and wrote an imaginative story about the

individuals portrayed. The results supported the stereotyped notion that

men were perceived as more masculine and less feminine than women, within

the heterosexual behavior portrayed in the subject's sexual fantasies.

No support was found for the androgynous conception of sex-role and no

significant relationship was found between sex-role orientation and

gender for the subject's reported sexual experiences.

Another study on the effects of sex-role identity on the sexual

fantasies of male (N=83) and female (N=139) college students was con-

ducted by Pape (1980). The BSRI was utilized to categorize the subjects

into three sex-role categories: sex-typed, androgynous and undifferenti-

ated. A sexual fantasy questionnaire (SFQ) was designed (see Methods

section and Appendix B) employing Mednick's (1977) three conditions of

sexual fantasy (i.e., daydream, masturbatory, sex with partner), with

22 sexual fantasy themes within each condition. Measures of social

desirability and sexual experience were also elicited from the subjects

(Ss). Statistical analyses of the male/female differences yielded the

following results: (1) males reported a significantly higher incidence

and a greater variety of fantasies, when compared to women, in the sex

with a partner and daydreaming conditions; (2) males reported higher

frequencies of sexual fantasy when compared to women on almost all of

the 22 sexual fantasy themes when sex differences occurred; and (3)

males engaged more in sex with a partner and masturbation when compared

to females (e.g., 84% and 82% for males, 72% and 63% for females,

respectively). No significant differences were found for (1) sex dif-

ferences on the masturbation scale, (2) overall incidence of erotic

fantasies for any of the three conditions, and (3) the main effect of

sex-role in the prediction of sexual fantasy behavior. Pape (1980)

also ranked the sexual fantasy themes during the three fantasy condi-

tions for males (see Table 1) and for females (see Table 2).

The studies on sex differences indicate that gender, but not sex-

role identity, has an effect on the sex fantasy behavior of individuals.

If this hypothesis holds true, then one wonders about the effects of

sexual orientation on the sexual fantasy behavior of individuals within

each gender category (i.e., heterosexual vs. homosexual males, hetero-

sexual vs. homosexual females). A review of the research on homosexuality

and homosexual erotic fantasy will be presented in the next section.



Sex with a Partner Masturbation Daydreaming

(n=52) (n=62) (n=67)

Thinking about Person other than Person other than
current partner current partner current partner

Receiving oral- Receiving oral- Receiving oral-
genital contact genital contact genital contact

Giving oral- Thinking about Thinking about
genital contact current partner current partner

Being in a differ- Reliving a previous Giving oral-genital
ent setting experience contact

Sex with an irre- Giving oral-genital Reliving a previous
sistably sexy contact experience

NOTE: From "Sex Role Identity and Sexual Fantasy," by N. Pape,
Master's Thesis, University of South Florida, 1980.



Sex with a Partner Masturbation Daydreaming

(n=63) (n=58) (n=99)

Thinking about Thinking about Thinking about
current partner current partner current partner

Receiving oral- Receiving oral- Reliving a previous
genital contact genital contact experience

Being in a differ- Being in a differ- Being in a differ-
ent setting ent setting ent setting

Giving oral-genital Reliving a previous Person other than
contact experience current partner

Person other than Giving oral-genital Receiving oral-
current partner contact genital contact

NOTE: From "Sex Role Identity and Sexual Fantasy," by N. Pape,
Master'sThesis, University of South Florida, 1980.

Research on Homosexuality and
Homosexual Sexual Fantasy

A review of the theory and general research on the topic of homo-

sexuality is necessary in order to provide a context in which to view

the current research on homosexual fantasy, or the lack of it. Research

on homosexual individuals up until the 1960's focused mainly on clinical

populations and the psychopathological nature of the homosexual person-

ality (e.g., Bergler, 1956; Fenichel, 1945). These studies reflect

Morin's (1977) criticism of a heterosexual bias in psychological research

on homosexuality. This bias is defined as a belief system that hetero-

sexuality is superior to and/or more "natural" than homosexuality. He

argues that if homosexuality were to be reconceptualized as a valid

option for an adult lifestyle, changes in the questions formulated, the

data collected, and the interpretations offered would be forthcoming

with respect to research on homosexuality.

Generally the etiological explanations for homosexuality fit into

one of the three following categories: biological, psychoanalytic, or

social learning. Acosta (1975) reviewed the literature on the etiology

and treatment of homosexuality. The biological basis for homosexuality

postulates that there are genetic, hormonal, or chromosomal factors

that contribute to the development of a homosexual individual. Accord-

ing to Acosta (1975), "no substantial evidence" has been found to sup-

port the biological basis for the etiology of homosexuality. The

psychoanalytic school focuses on faulty parent-child interactions as

the basis for homosexuality. The basic tenet to this theory is that

the child fails to resolve the Oedipal complex successfully and does

not undergo "anaclitic" and "defensive" identification (Fenichel, 1945).

A neurotic fear of heterosexuality occurs in the individual, who then

turns to homosexuality for need gratification. The disturbed relation-

ship is between mother and child with mother-fixation for the males and

mother-hatred for females. Acosta (1975) sums up the current status of

the psychoanalytic theory with the statement, "Unfortunately, there are

few comprehensive empirical studies on homosexuals which test psycho-

analytic hypotheses, and in general these suffer from methodological

deficiencies" (p. 15).

Social learning theory postulates that both heterosexual and homo-

sexual individuals learn their sexual preferences through social

reinforcements and conditioning patterns (Bandura, 1969). The child

develops the appropriate sex-typed behaviors and gender identity through

observational learning and/or modeling processes, either from their

parents or other adult and peer models. Bandura (1969) also points out

that direct reinforcement is not always necessary in order for a child

to learn appropriate sex-typed behaviors, the attractiveness of a model

may be enough. Although Acosta (1975) indicates that social learning

theory presents the most consistent evidence, he cites the failure of

empirical evidence which demonstrates a direct link between the child-

hood learning of gender identity and sex-typed behaviors and the later

development of homosexuality.

Societal attitudes toward homosexuality have been negative as a

perusal of pertinent attitudinal research will indicate (e.g., Glassner

& Owen, 1976; Nyberg & Alston, 1976-77; Turnbull & Brown, 1977).

G. Wienberg (1973) attributes the negativity to homophobia, which he

defines as "the dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals" (p. 4).

MacDonald (1976) argues that anxiety, and not fear, is a more valid term

for the effects of homophobia. He lists some of the beliefs underpinning

homophobia, such as sex is only for procreation; only heterosexual

activity is "natural"; homosexuals are child abusers; promiscuity is

characteristic of homosexual relationships; and the need to maintain

behavioral differences between the sexes. Several authors have stated

that therapists and counselors may share society's negative attitudes

toward homosexuality and homosexual clients (e.g., Davidson, 1976;

Kramer, Wiggers,& Zimpfer, 1975; Money, 1977; G. Wienberg, 1973; M. Wien-

berg, 1970). Studies on the attitudes of therapists toward homosexuals

(e.g., Davidson & Wilson, 1973; Fort, Steiner,& Conrad, 1971; Morris,

1973) tend to reflect both positive and negative attitudes, but social

desirability effects were not controlled for in these studies. Conse-

quently, therapists may hold public attitudes which are positive and

private attitudes which are negative.

The treatment strategies employed in attempts to "reorient" or

change the sexual preference of homosexual individuals also tend to

reflect the negative conceptualizations the psychoanalytic and behav-

ioristic practitioners hold concerning homosexuality (i.e., as a

pathological condition). In their efforts to change a homosexual

client's sexual orientation several behavior therapists have employed

techniques such as systematic desensitization, aversive conditioning,

classical conditioning, and covert sensitization (e.g., Bancroft, 1969;

Feldman & MacCulloch, 1971; Kraft, 1967; McConageny, 1971; Stevenson &

Wolpe, 1960). Severe aversive agents, including electric shock and

emetics, have been included in the reorientation of homosexuals (Acosta,

1975; G. Wienberg, 1973). Psychoanalytic efforts to reorient homo-

sexuals through the use of insights and catharsis, while not severe in

nature, tend to connote that the patient is neurotic. In his review of

the studies attempting to reorient homosexuals, Acosta (1975) points to

poor success rates (e.g., Conrad & Wincze, 1973; Feldman & MacCulloch,

1971) and the diversity of individuals within the homosexual community,

and cautions against believing claims of high success rates without

longitudinal evidence.

Several authors have viewed homosexuality as a viable lifestyle

and/or refuted the claim that homosexuality is automatically indicative

of psychopathology (e.g., Bell, 1976; Churchill, 1967; Hoffman, 1968;

Hooker, 1965; Money, 1977; G. Weinberg, 1973; M. Weinberg, 1970; Wein-

berg & Williams, 1974). Several current studies tend to support this

view and to refute some of the stereotypes about homosexuals. Haynes

and Oziel (1976) found that individuals with homosexual experiences

(among college students) had a similar amount of heterosexual contacts

and did manifest more anxiety or guilt about their sexual behavior than

did their nonexperienced counterparts. In a study of gay males, Harry

(1976-77) found that, contrary to the stereotype, both the "active" and

"passive" (i.e., inserter-insertee) sexual roles were preferred by a

majority of their homosexual subjects. The sexual behavior of lesbians

was found to be influenced more by being a woman (i.e., gender) than by

being a homosexual (i.e., sexual orientation) in a study by Schafer (1977).

Homosexual family relationships have also been investigated with

some positive results. Weeks, Derdeyn, and Langman (1975) found that the

sexual conflicts of homosexual parents, as expressed in attitudes and

behavior toward their children, did not differ from those of hetero-

sexual parents who are conflicted sexually. Townes, Ferguson, and

Gillam (1976) suggest that variations in sexual lifestyle are attribut-

able to different facets of psychological sex, rather than to familial

influences in particular. Studies that report the traditional view of

negative familial influences in the etiology of homosexuality (e.g.,

Gundlach & Bernard, 1967; Snortum, Gillespie, Marshall, McLaughlin,&

Mosberg, 1969) have been criticized for poor methodology and overlook-

ing important variables (e.g., Acosta, 1975; G. Wienberg, 1973;

Wrightsman, 1977). Sex-role disturbances, as a result of faulty

familial modeling (e.g., Rekers & Lovaas, 1974; Rekers, Hortensia,&

Benson, 1977; Rekers, Lovaas,& Benson, 1974), are thought to be at the

root of a homosexual orientation. Ross (1975) found conflicting

results which suggest that sex-role has no necessary correlation to

sexual orientation.

The ultimate vindication of homosexuality may be reflected in its

exclusion, as a diagnostic category, from the Diagnostic and Statistical

Manual of Mental Disorders (DMS III) of the American Psychiatric Associ-

tion. The above literature tends to reflect that homosexuals may not be

that different from their heterosexual counterparts, except for sexual

preference and the possible effects of societal disapproval and discrim-


Although actual sexual behavior may not directly influence the

content of sexual fantasy (Klinger, 1971), there are studies indicating

that individuals with high levels of sexual activity fantasize more

often than individuals who report lower levels of sexual activity (i.e.,

Brown & Hart, 1977; Campagna, 1976; Carlson & Coleman, 1977; Giambra &

Martin, 1977; Hessellund, 1976). Therefore a comparison of heterosexual

and homosexual sexual activity frequency will be presented below:
1. Masturbation. The incidence of at least one masturbatory epi-

sode ranges from 89% (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) to 95.4% (Finger, 1975) for
heterosexual males (HM). The incidence for heterosexual females (HF)

ranged from 40% (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) to 63% (Hunt, 1976). The fre-

quency of masturbation episodes ranged from 52 per year (Hunt, 1976) to

49 per year (Kinsey et al., 1948) for HMs and from 37 per year (Hunt,

1976) to 21 per year (Kinsey et al., 1953) for HFs. The incidence of at

least one masturbatory episode is 99% (Jay & Young, 1979) for homosexual

males (GM) and 94% (Jay & Young, 1979) for homosexual females (GF). The

frequency of masturbatory episodes is at least once per month for 93%

and once per week for 80% of the GMs, and at least once per month for

80% and once per week for 49% of the GFs (Jay & Young, 1979).
2. Oral sex (mouth-genital contact). From 45% (Kinsey et al.,

1948) to 66% (Hunt, 1976) of the HMs had engaged in oral sex at least

once, compared to from 58% (Kinsey et al., 1953) to 72% (Hunt, 1976) of
the HFs. Comparatively, 99.5% of the GMs had engaged in oral sex at

least once, as had 94.5% of the GFs (Jay & Young, 1979).
3. Anal sex. Kinsey et al. (1948) found the incidence so low

that no figures were provided. Hunt (1976) found that 16% of the HMs

and 16% of the HFs had tried anal intercourse at least once, and that

9% of the HMs and 6% of the HFs had used the technique occasionally in

the past year. For the GMs, 91% had engaged in anal intercourse at

least once and 65% use the technique somewhat frequently (Jay & Young,

1979). There are no figures available for GFs, since they would need

to use an artificial device to engage in this activity and frequencies

are low.

4. Homosexual experiences. The incidence of at least one homo-

sexual experience ranges from 13.7% (Finger, 1975) to 37% (Kinsey et al.,

1948) for HMs, and from 20% (Hunt, 1976) to 28% (Kinsey et al., 1953) for

HFs. The incidence of "at least one" heterosexual experience is 66% for

GMs and 84% for GFs (Jay & Young, 1979).

The above figures show that (1) homosexual and heterosexual men

and women masturbate with approximately the same frequency; (2) almost

all of the GMs and GFs had engaged in oral sex versus a little over one-

half of the HMs and three-quarters of the HFs; (3) a majority of the gay

men had engaged in and use anal intercourse "somewhat frequently" versus

less than 20% of the HMs and HFs, in either category. Pietropinto and

Simenauer (1977) report that only 4.2% of their samples of HMs wanted

to engage in anal intercourse more often; and (4) GMs were almost twice

as likely to have experienced a heterosexual sex act as were the HMs to

have experienced a homosexual encounter. For the women, GFs were

almost three times as likely to have had a heterosexual encounter as

were the HFs to have had a homosexual sexual experience.

The literature on homosexual erotic fantasy is sparse and much of

it is of a nonempirical nature. Both Friday (1980) and Slattery (1976)

include a chapter on male homosexual fantasies, but neither one provides

any insight into the function, frequency, or themes of the fantasy

material. Kronhausen and Kronhausen (1969) provided psychoanalytic

interpretations for the homosexual fantasies that they discovered in

their review of erotic literature. Freud's (1962) basic position of

phantasies as the precursors of neurosis is reflected in his statement


The unconscious mental life of all neurotics (without exception)
shows inverted impulses, fixation of their libido upon persons
of their own sex. It would be impossible without deep discus-
sion to give any adequate appreciation of the importance of
this factor in determining the form taken by the symptoms of
the illness. I can only insist that an unconscious tendency
to inversion [homosexuality] is never absent and is of particu-
lar value in throwing light upon the hysteria of men. (p. 32)

He claimed that inverts repressed their heterosexual desires and "trans-

posed" those sexual desires onto men.

Homosexual fantasies may make the homosexual alternative more

viable for young boys according to Tripp (1975). The excitement gener-

ated by the fantasies, coupled with masturbation and the self-observa-

tion of his genitals, may serve to build an association between

"maleness, male genitalia, and all that is sexually valuable and

exciting" (Tripp, 1975, p. 77). According to Tripp,

These associations amount to an eroticism which is "ready" to
extend itself to other male attributes, particularly to those
of a later same-sex partner. This associative pattern some-
times manages to preempt heterosexual interests, not only by
coming first, but by vitalizing a nearby thought-chain most
boys entertain to some extent: that since girls have no
penis, they are sexless and thus sexually uninteresting.
(1975, p. 77)

Part of his theory seems to be the complement to "penis envy" in girls,

that is, that boys devalue girls due to their lack of a penis.

In a different view, Gagnon and Simon (1973) note that homosexual

experiences in early adolescence result from curiosity, mutual instruc-

tion between friends, and the influence of slightly older males, but

these experiences are not "integrated into the mainstream" of the

individual's development. They conceptualize sexual fantasies as

reflections of an individual's sexual scripts. One possible example

of the above is an adult homosexual's fantasies representing "the man-

agement of dominance or aggression in nonsexual spheres of life, or the

management of ideologies and moralities of social mobility [and that

these], may be the underlying and organizing sources of fantasies whose

sexual content provides an accessible and powerful imagery through

which these other social tensions may be vicariously acted upon" (Gagnon

& Simon, 1973, p. 272). This point of view reflects the concept of

fantasies as symbolic representations of the individual's current con-


As stated previously, Masters and Johnson (1979) categorized sexual

fantasies into either "free-floating" (i.e., those in response to sexual

feelings or needs) or "short-term" (i.e., those employed as short-term,

stimulative mechanisms) variations. They studied the sexual fantasy

patterns of male heterosexuals (HM), homosexuals (GM), and ambisexuals,

as well as female heterosexuals (HF), homosexuals (GF), and ambisexuals

(e.g., N = 30 for each group except ambisexuals). The study was con-

ducted from 1957 to 1970 using volunteers from a pool of sexually func-

tional volunteers representing each category, at the Masters and Johnson

Institute in St. Louis, Missouri. Only the data from the HM, GM, HF and

GF groups will be reported here in the interest of brevity.

The sexual fantasy themes of HMs, listed by incidence, were

"(1) replacement of established partner; (2) forced sexual encounter;

(3) observation of sexual activity; (4) cross-preference [homosexual]

encounters; (5) group sex-experiences" (Masters & Johnson, 1979, p.178).

The replacement partners were usually well known to the fantasizing HM

and were always willing to comply. The forced sexual encounters involved

forcing a woman who was known to the individual or being forced to have

sex by a group of unidentified women. Fantasies involving the observa-

tion of the individual's sexual behavior by a group of people was tied

to the research team's actual observations of the HM subject's sexual

activity, and may not obtain for nonclinical populations in more

"natural" settings. These fantasies were of the short-term variety and

as they lost their stimulation value over time, the HMs reverted to rape

fantasies for stimulation effects. The homosexual activity fantasies

were generally confined to physical attributes (e.g., facial attrac-

tiveness, muscular development, penile erection, shape of buttocks);

free-floating in nature, and involved with fellatio as the preferred

activity. The group sex fantasies of HMs were free-floating and involved

mixed groups of faceless individuals, with women's breasts and buttocks

as focal points and women as the receptors of sexual activity. The final

category involved the current partner, although these were free-floating

and never of the short-term stimulative variety. The familiarity of

current partners may serve to undermine their stimulative value in HMs

sexual fantasies.

For the GMS, the incidence of sexual fantasy themes were as follows:

"(1) imagery of sexual anatomy; (2) forced sexual encounters; (3) cross-

preference encounters; (4) idyllic encounters with unknown men; (5) group

sex experiences" (Masters & Johnson, 1979, p. 178). The GMs reported a

higher incidence of free-floating fantasy than did the HMs. The

fantasies involving sexual anatomy imagery concentrated on the penis and

buttocks of males and, to a lesser extent, on their shoulders and facial

characteristics. The GMs fantasies also contained more violence than

those of the HMs. The forced sex fantasies were free-floating and

involved almost as many male victims as there were female victims. The

GMs almost always took the role of rapist and imagined the rape to be

noxious to the "rapee," who was usually restrained and forced into

sexual submission by whippings or beatings. This finding appears to

reflect some repressed hostility and/or sadism within the GM subject

pool and can be taken as support for the higher incidence of violence

in male sexual fantasy (e.g., Gelles, 1975). The high incidence of

cross-preference (heterosexual) relationships among the GMs involved

forced sexual participation of a psychosocial versus physical origin

(e.g., pressure from a dominant older woman or the seduction of a

resisting younger woman). These fantasies were free-floating in nature

and when they involved a woman known to the subject, forced sexual

participation was replaced by sexual curiosity or anticipated pleasure.

Some theorists might interpret the above as an indication of GMs

hostility toward and fear of women. An equally tenable hypothesis would

involve rebellion and anger against the pressures that society imposes

on GMs to conform and engage in "normal" heterosexual activity, expressed

through forced sexuality in fantasy (e.g., G. Wienberg, 1973), especially

since GFs had similar cross-sex fantasies.

Fantasies of idealized sexual encounters were in the free-floating

category and involved one-time chance encounters, on a specific occasion,

with entertainers or men seen in public places. The group sex fantasies

were of the short-term variety and involved observing rather than par-

ticipating in a mixed group sexual encounter. The idealized sexual

encounters parallel HM fantasies of unknown women who grant them sexual

favors. The difference in group sex fantasies between GMs and HMs

involves observation versus participation and short-term stimulation

versus free-floating indicators of a desired experience, respectively.

These differences may be a reflection of the varying incidence rates of

group sex among the HMs and the GMs. Hunt (1976) reports that 40% of

his HM subjects had experienced some sort of group sex at least once,

while 14% of Pietropinto and Simenauers (1977) HM subjects indicated

that they would like to have sex with more than one woman. In contrast,

Jay and Young (1979) found that 58% of their GM sample had engaged in

group sex and that 27% engage in group sex on a "somewhat infrequent"

basis. In terms of "threesomes," 76% of the GMs had participated at

least once and 36% engage in this activity somewhat infrequently. There

appear to be more opportunities for group sex in the homosexual community

and this may lead to less free-floating, desire-based fantasies and more

short-term, curiosity-based fantasies of mixed (heterosexual and homo-

sexual) sexual activity.

Since this study involves a comparison of HM and GM sexual fantasy,

only a summary of the HF and GF fantasy categories will be presented.

Interested readers should consult Masters and Johnson (1979) for greater

detail. The top-ranked sexual fantasies of HFs were as follows:

"(1) replacement of established partner; (2) forced sexual encounter;

(3) observation of sexual activity; (4) idyllic encounters with unknown

men; (5) cross-preference encounters" (p. 178). The GFs fantasized

about "(1) forced sexual encounters; (2) idyllic encounter with estab-

lished partner; (3) cross-preference encounters; (4) recall of past

sexual experience; (5) sadistic imagery" (p. 178). In general, HF and

GF subjects reported more active sexual patterning than did their HM

and GM counterparts. The homosexual subjects described more active and

diverse sexual fantasy patterns in comparison to the heterosexual group.

The limitations of the Masters and Johnson (1979) study include

(1) the use of nonrandomly selected subject population; (2) the lack

of statistical analysis of the data; and (3) the lack of controls for

experimentor bias. The data are of value in that they provide some

indicators of heterosexual and homosexual fantasy incidence and areas of


Storms (1980) investigated the relationship of sex-role orientation

and erotic orientation to the sexual orientation of 86 male and 99 female

subjects. Demographic data were collected (e.g., sex, age) and a self-

rating of the subjects' sexual orientation was elicited on Kinsey's et

al. (1948) 7-point scale. The subjects were also asked to assign them-

selves to a common sexual category, either "straight" (heterosexual),

"gay" (homosexual) or "bisexual." Sex role orientation refers to an

individual's masculinity or feminity, as measured by Spence and Helmreich's

(1978) Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ), in this study. Erotic

orientation is defined as the erotic responses of an individual within

a particular sexual orientation. Storms (1980) developed the Erotic

Response and Orientation Scale (EROS) in order to measure the subject's

erotic fantasy experiences. EROS contains two subscales: (1) a

gynoerotic scale eliciting fantasies with women as the sexual object; and

(2) an androerotic scale eliciting fantasies with men as the sexual

object (see Methods section and Appendix A).

The results of Storms' (1980) study did not support the hypotheses

"that homosexual men are less masculine and/or more feminine and that

homosexual women are more masculine and/or less feminine than their

heterosexual counterparts" (p. 786). These were hypotheses based on

Freudian theory which postulated that sex-role identity had a direct

effect on sexual orientation (e.g., sexual attraction toward women was

associated with a masculine sex role orientation). In terms of sexual

fantasy several findings were significant: "(1) homosexuals have more

fantasies about their own sex and fewer fantasies about the opposite sex

than heterosexuals; (2) homosexual men reported significantly more

androerotic fantasy and less gynoerotic fantasy than heterosexual men;

(3) homosexual women reported significantly more gynoerotic fantasy and

less androerotic fantasy than heterosexual women did; (4) homosexual men

and women reported higher levels of fantasy about the opposite sex than

heterosexuals reported about the same sex" (Storms, 1980, p. 788).

Storms (1980) also proposed reconceptualizing Kinsey's (1948) uni-

dimensional model of sexual orientation into a two-dimensional model

where an individual's homoerotic (homosexual) and heteroerotic (hetero-

sexual) are "separate, orthogonal erotic dimensions rather than opposite

extremes of a single, bipolar dimension." Along with the above results,

the two-dimensional model predicts that "bisexuals will report as much

heteroerotic fantasy as heterosexuals and as much homoerotic fantasy as

homosexuals" (p. 786). The hypothesis was supported in that for same-sex

fantasies, bisexuals scored higher than heterosexuals and were

indistinguishable from homosexuals. For opposite-sex fantasies, bisexuals

were identical to heterosexuals and higher than homosexuals. In summation

bisexuals scored high on both the gynoerotic (female object) and andro-

erotic (male object) scales. The implications of this study are that sex-

role identity is not a good predictor of sexual preference or of sex

fantasy patterns, which tend to confirm the results of Bernardi (1977) and

Pape (1980). Erotic orientation, on the other hand, appears to be a good

predictor of the level of sex fantasy involving homoerotic and hetero-

erotic content within the homosexual and heterosexual populations. In

conjunction with the above conclusions, several studies reflect the strong

influence of gender in the fantasy content of individuals (i.e., Abramson

& Mosher, 1979; Bernardi, 1977; Carlson & Coleman, 1977; Gelles, 1975;

Mednick, 1977; Pape, 1980). This leads to the possibility that gender

may override sexual preference in influencing some of the content of an

individual's sexual fantasies.

In a massive study of male and female homosexual lifestyles, Jay and

Young (1979) collected data through questionnaires sent out by mail and

also recruited subjects through gay organizations, periodicals, and indi-

viduals. The demographic data on the subjects are as follows: (1) the

age of the respondents ranged from 14 to 81 years; (2) the subjects were

from all 50 of the United States and Canada; (3) all of the major ethnic

or racial groups were represented (e.g., Black, Oriental, Spanish Ameri-

can, American Indian, Caucasian); (4) all religious affiliations were

represented; (5) all educational levels were represented (e.g., grade

school through graduate degree). A total of 4,329 homosexual males (GM)

and 962 homosexual females (GF) participated in the survey.

In response to items concerning the sexual fantasies of the GMs,

the following results were obtained: (1) 82% of the respondents had

fantasized during sex with a partner at "least once" and 47% did so

"somewhat frequently"; (2) the GMs were divided about their feelings

toward fantasy with a sex partner, with 56% expressing positive feelings

and 17% expressing negative feelings; (3) fantasy during masturbation

was utilized "at least once" by 98% of the GMs and 92% reported fanta-

sizing "somewhat frequently" during masturbation; and (4) an overwhelm-

ing majority of the GM respondents (91%) felt positive about fantasizing

while masturbating. The fantasy categories of the respondents included

recalling past experiences, extending a nonsexual real experience into a

sexual one, imagining sex with celebrities and pornography stars,

memories of boyhood loves, special settings, body parts, group sex,

incest, dominance and submission (including rape and sadomasochistic

activities) and various uncatalogued themes. Unfortunately Jay and

Young (1979) do not provide any indication of the frequency with which

each fantasy theme is used by the GMs in the sample.

The GF respondents reported the following incidence rates of, and

attitudes toward, erotic fantasy: (1) fantasy was used during sex with a

partner "at least once" by 84% of the GFs and 41% fantasized"somewhat

frequently" during sexual activity; (2) the GFs were also divided about

their attitudes toward fantasy during sex with 56% feeling positive and

21% feeling negative about it; (3) concerning the use of fantasy during

masturbation, 92% of the GFs had used it "at least once" and 77% used it

"somewhat frequently"; and (4) a large proportion of the respondents

(86%) felt positive about fantasy during masturbation. Fantasy theme

categories for the GFs included: celebrities; current, past and "future"

lovers; observation of others having sex, sadomasochistic and rape

fantasies; exhibitionistic fantasies, fantasies about sex with men and

other miscellaneous fantasies.

It appears from the above data that a high percentage of gay indi-

viduals fantasize during masturbation and feel positive about it. A

little less than half of the gay respondents fantasize during sex with a

partner and feel positive about it. The individuals who do not report

fantasies or feel negative about their use remain a mystery, since there

is no way to determine why they abstain or feel the way that they do.

Sexual fantasies can be considered one type of indicator of the

meaning of sexual experience. The content of the various themes can be

related to sexual scripts (Gagnon & Simon, 1973), reflections of

repressed desires (Hawkins, 1974), self-concept (Klinger, 1971), dominance-

submission (Hollender, 1963), sex guilt (Moreault & Follingstad, 1978),

adaptation (Hariton & Singer, 1974), violence (Gelles, 1975), and sexual

activity preferences (Giambra & Martin, 1977; Jay & Young, 1979). How-

ever, this is an indirect method that is subject to misinterpretation.

A review of the literature pertaining to the meaning of sexual experi-

ence is presented in the next section.

Research and Theory on the Meaning of
Heterosexual Sexual Experience

The interpersonal meaning of sexual experience for heterosexual

individuals can often be inferred from research on the different aspects

of human sexuality. One source of information is the research on atti-

tudes toward sexuality. Farley, Nelson, Knight,and Garcia-Colberg (1977)

investigated the influence of politics and personality on the sexual atti-

tudes and behavior of 100 male and 100 female college students. A factor

analysis of the data was performed and resulted in emergence of three

sexuality factors for the female subjects: (1) "a 'sick' factor, 'con-

sisting of sexual maladjustment and frustration, neurotic conflict over

sex, loss of sex controls, and sexual psychopathy'; (2) a 'Victorian'

factor, consisting of sexual repression, sexual frigidity, and low sex

drive and interest; (3) a homosexuality factor" (p. 115). The male data

also resulted in three factors related to sexuality: (1) "a 'sick' fac-

tor, consisting of sexual maladjustment and frustration, neurotic con-

flict over sex, loss of sex controls and lack of sex role confidence;

(2) an unrepressedd heterosexual experience seeking factor', consisting

of high sex drive and interest, freedom from repressive attitudes, and

experience seeking, disinhibition, and boredom susceptibility; (3) an

'ambivalent homosexual extravert factor', consisting of homosexual

tendency, lack of sex-role confidence; sexual maladjustment and frustra-

tion, and extraversion" (p. 116). Both males and females had a "stimu-

lation-seeking" factor which includes sensation seeking, thrill and

adventure seeking and experience seeking, achievement motivation, extra-

version-introversion, and political orientation had little or no effect

on sexuality. The attitudes toward sexuality, of these subjects, ranged

from maladjusted (e.g., sick factor) to heterosexual experience seeking.

Other studies on sexual attitudes include Kelly's (1978) proposed

theory of human sexuality, based on sexual attitudes and behaviors.

Unfortunately the author does not address the meaning of sexual experi-

ence, only the issue of whether sex is enjoyable to the participants. A

complex model of premarital sexual attitudes and behaviors is presented

by Hornick (1978), which includes demographic, family, peer group,

psychological, attitudinal, and behavioral variables. This study, how-

ever, also omits the meaning of sexual experience. Intervention strate-

gies have also been investigated to determine whether they produce

changes in sexual attitudes (e.g., Clement & Pfafflen, 1980; Dearth &

Cassell, 1976; Story, 1979; Zuckerman, Tushup,& Finner, 1976). An

attempt to reverse the interpersonal processes that contribute to the

existence of sexual dysfunctions is presented by Kaufman and Krupka

(1973). These processes include (1) the early deprivation of the need

for affection, which results in the sexualization of the need for inti-

macy and confusion between sexual and affectional needs. Thus an indi-

vidual may engage in sex when the real need is for closeness and warmth;

(2) permission and guilt are interrelated in that parents do not usually

give clear permission for their children to seek out sexual gratifica-

tion. This is especially important in terms of guilt due to the "for-

bidden" nature of sexuality and sexual repression; (3) power struggles

involve the battle over "being right" or "winning" and can override

closeness in the sexuality of a relationship; (4) hostility can be

translated into "impotence, avoidance of sex, or lack of orgasmic

response as a way of punishing or getting even" (p. 461) with one's

partner; (5) individuals' expectations of themselves, or the perceived

expectations of their partners, can lead to debilitative anxiety. This

parallels performance anxiety (e.g., Masters & Johnson, 1970); (6) a

related phenomenon is the individual's need to feel adequate and his/her

fear of potency. Inorgasmic responses in females can lead to male

conflicts in this area. Kaufman and Krupka (1973) believe that group

therapy can help individuals to "integrate their sexuality into the

remainder of their personal experience" (p. 463).

Walfish and Myerson (1980) studied the relationship between sex-

role identity and attitudes toward sexuality. The authors found that

males were more comfortable than females in their attitudes toward

sexuality; and individuals who adopted an androgynous sex role identity

were more comfortable with their sexuality than were individuals with

more traditional (e.g., masculine, feminine) sex roles. Thus it appears

that androgyny can affect an individual's comfort with his/her sexuality

but not the sex fantasy behaviors of an individual (e.g., Bernardi, 1977;

Pape, 1980).

In a study of sexual intimacy in dating relationships, Peplau,

Rubin,and Hill (1977) found that "sex role playing in which the man

encourages intercourse and the woman limits the couples sexual intimacy

was common" (p. 86). This coincides with the findings of other authors

(e.g., McCormick, 1979; LaPlante, McCormick,& Brannigan, 1980) and

implies that males are the aggressive sexual strategists while females

are the defensive sexual strategists. Love was not found to be more

closely associated with sexual satisfaction for females versus males as

had been hypothesized. Peplau et al. (1977) sum up the function of sex

role playing by stating,

In essence, our argument is that sexual role playing provides
dating partners with a common standard to use in interpreting
behavior and making inferences about a person'smotives and
dispositions. While some aspects of sexual role playing can
be modified-how quickly the game is played, with how many
different partners it is repeated, at what age the game first

began-the basic form remains unchanged. A consequence is
that male-female sex differences in sexual behavior are
perpetuated despite changing attitudes about the value of
traditional roles. (p. 107)

The sex practices and beliefs of male college students were viewed

in terms of the changes occurring over 30 years by Finger (1975). He

found that (1) the prevalence estimates of a particular type of behavior

tend to reflect the respondent's own sexual history; (2) the justifica-

tions for premarital sexual activity changed from the acquisition of

knowledge and skill (1943-44 sample) to insuring future marital com-

patability and questioning the postponement of an enjoyable activity

(1969-73 sample); (3) the justifications for abstinence involvingmoral

or religious grounds (1943-44 sample) declined dramatically with only a

few subjects citing a weakened commitment and emotional damage as reasons

for self restraint (1969-73 sample). Finger (1975) sums up his study by

stating that, "the basis and personal meaning of patterns of sexual

behavior might be clarified if future investigators were to request not

only expression of the subject's own attitude toward a given practice and

his estimate of its prevalence in the reference group, but also his per-

ception of the degree of approval by members of that group" (p. 315).

Apparently the author perceives approval as directly influencing the

meaning of an individual's sexuality.

A concept in direct opposition to approval of sexual conduct is

sex guilt. The ability to break guilt down into subcomponents such as

sex guilt was addressed by Mosher (1968). The relationships among moral

reasoning, sex guilt,and premarital sex were studied by D'Augelli and

Cross (1975) as well as other authors (Gerrard, 1980; Mercer & Kohn,

1979). In a study of sex guilt and the sexual behavior sequence, Kutner

(1971) found that sex guilt is negatively correlated with sexual desire,

responsiveness, orgasm frequency, orgasm ease, and arousal for female

subjects. He hypothesizes that different phases of the sexual behavior

sequence (e.g., motivation, instrumental act, goal response) may be

susceptible to sex guilt for any particular individual and can lead to

different effects (e.g., frustration) upon his/her sexual activity. Sex

guilt is related to morality and therefore to the meaning of sexual


A final study related to sexual attitudes involves Pietropinto and

Simenauer's (1977) survey of male sexuality. The results indicate that

(1) When asked how they felt about sex, 68% of the males indicated that

sex was important, but not the most important pleasure, while 19.8% said

it was the most important pleasure and 11.4% indicated it was only

important as a means of expressing love. Apparently only about one-fifth

of the males rate sex as the top pleasure, contradicting the stereotype

that "sex is all men are after." (2) When asked how they thought women

felt about sex, most men expressed the belief that women are as inter-

ested in sex as men (i.e., for the inherent pleasure of it), while a

minority thought women enjoyed sex only if love was involved. This find-

ing reflects Peplau etal.'s (1977) finding that women do not tie sex to

sexual satisfaction any more than men do. (3) Asked when they felt most

manly, most men answered in terms of having intercourse with women and

feeling that they have satisfied their partners. This finding supports

Peplau etal.'s (1977) finding of sex role playing. (4) An overwhelming

majority of the men (98%) felt that it was important for the woman to

have an orgasm during sexual intercourse and over half would become self-

critical if this were not to occur. This finding has implications for

performance anxiety within men concerning sexuality (e.g., Masters &

Johnson, 1970). (5) A related finding involved situations in which the

man was so "turned-off" that he could not complete the sex act. A

majority of the men (45.6%) listed a woman that seems unresponsive,

followed by recent quarreling (18.2%) and a physically unattractive

woman (12.5%). Unresponsiveness in the woman also accounted for what

irritated men most during sex (60.1%) and what was the most unpleasant

aspect of sex (58.5%). Female responsiveness has a lot of "meaning" for

men in terms of sexual adequacy, satisfaction and arousal. (6) When

asked how they felt after a climax, 45.2% indicated "contentment," 23.9%

stated "very loving," and 15.9% expressed being "exhilarated/high."

This finding indicates a high proportion of positive feeling among a

high proportion of the men after orgasm, connoting a pleasurable meaning

to orgasm.

The above studies highlight the effect of sexual attitudes on

sexual behavior and, indirectly, on the meaning of sexual experience.

Negative attitudes serve to inhibit sexuality and/or leave the individual

with negative feelings about any sexual experience. Positive attitudes

seem to lead to expression of sexual behavior and positive feelings about

sexual experiences. An individual may thus have a loving, intimate mean-

ing to his/her sexuality or a guilt-ridden, immoral meaning for sexual


A study on positive sexual experiences was conducted by Schildmyer

(1977) using the reports of college students and community organization

members (N=257). The author identified variables related to a positive

sexual experience. The majority of the subjects listed more psychologi-

cal versus physical variables, with the quality of the relationship

between the partners emerging as the primary factor. Meaning is a

cognitive-psychological concept which can, and often does, involve

affective/emotional correlates. Meaning is more reflective of psycho-

logical processes and seems to be more of a determinant of the expres-

sion of sexual behaviors rather than a result of physical sensations.

The sex differences of psychosexual stimulation were investigated

by Sigusch, Schmidt, Reinfeld,and Widemann-Sutor (1970). Slide presen-

tations of sexual content were used as stimuli in order to elicit

ratings of sexual arousal and favorableness-unfavorableness from the

50 male and 50 female subjects. The results indicate that women tend

to react less favorably and report less arousal when viewing sexually

explicit slides than men do, but judged slides of romantic content more

favorably and equally arousing, when compared to the men. The authors


Contrary to the sex-specific differences evident in emotional
reactions, there do not seem to be significant differences
with regard to the sexual-physiological reactions and the
sexual behavior after the experiment. Women reported, almost
as often as men, physiological reactions in the genital area
and activation of sexual behavior after the experiment.
(p. 22)

These findings imply that women report less arousal while evidencing

physiological arousal indices, as if they were not "supposed" to get

excited over erotic pictures, while men were open to their arousal.

Hessellund (1971) looked at how young men and woman felt about

their first coital experience. He found that (1) a majority of the

females (81.2%) had a negative reaction to their first coition compared

to less than a third (27.8%) of the men; (2) permissive attitudes (and

parents) do not have an obvious connection with an individual's reaction

to, and evaluation of, a first sexual experience. This finding contra-

dicts the importance of parental permission in sexual adjustment as

proposed by Kaufman and Krupka (1973); (3) men tended to emphasize the

technical aspects of the coital experience when compared to women and

were the only subjects to mention that the sexual relationship affected

their self-image. The author concluded that "there is a great differ-

ence in the meaning of sex for young men and women" (p. 272). Travis

and Offir (1977) attribute the sex differences between men and women to

the different meanings that they attribute to the sexual act. To quote

the authors, "Women, more often than men, use sex to get love; men use

love to get sex" (p. 68). In a similar fashion, Morris (1978) postulates

that women have a stronger commitment to the relational aspects of sex,

while males focus on its recreational aspects.

Personality variables also impact the meaning of sexual experience.

Eysenck (1971b) found that males were "more impersonal, aggressive, more

easily aroused, more excitable, more hedonistic, and less influenced by

traditional concepts of love and faithfulness" (p. 87) than are women.

He also found that extroverts had earlier and more varied sexual experi-

ences than did introverts (Eysenck, 1971a). Barclay (1971) found that

increases in sex motivation and aggression motivation were related to

sexual arousal. The failure to consider the subjective meaning of

sexual acts, according to Libby and Straus (1980), has resulted in

conflicting results about the relationship of sex and aggression. They

proposed two meanings for sexual activity: "(1) dominant sex, where one

(traditionally man) competes for the sexual favors of a given person,

and (2) affectionate sex, which is loving, caring sex, usually associated

with women" (p. 137). A questionnaire survey of 190 college students

provided the following results: (1) subjects high in interpersonally

warm sex were low in aggression and violence of an interpersonal nature,

but not on large-scale, impersonal acts of aggression and violence (e.g.,

war, riot control); (2) that this relationship applies primarily to

males; and (3) interpersonally warm sex is available only to those males

who "break out of stereotypes of sexuality and for whom the meaning of

sex is an act of warmth and human bonding" (Libby & Straus, 1980, p. 145).

The reasons for having sexual relations were investigated by Nelson

(1978), through the use of an instrument listing 56 reasons for sexual

activity, with a 4-point rating scale (e.g., "not important at all" to

"very important"). The results of a factor analysis were five factors,

including (1) pleasurable stimulation, (2) conformity-acceptance,

(3) personal love and affection, (4) power, and (5) recognition-

competition. Apperson (1974) had derived four similar categories, which

are, respectively (from [2] through [5] above): deference, affiliation,

aggression, and dominance.

Grater and Downing (currently under review) selected five dimensions

of the meaning of sexual experience (i.e., morality, affiliation,

pleasure, achievement, dominance). They also selected 476 adjectives and

asked 302 single college students to rate them according to how well the

adjectives described the subject's personal meaning of sexual experience,

with "yes," "no," or "maybe" as response categories. Trained judges were

used to assign adjectives to the dimension that they represented, with a

requirement that two of the three judges agree on each assignment. The

authors hypothesized that males would describe the meaning of their

sexuality in terms of pleasure, dominance,and achievement, while the

females were expected to use words clustering around morality and affili-

ation. Measures of sexual experience and sex role (Bem, 1974) were also

collected. The results were supportive of the hypothesis that males

would use more achievement adjectives and that females would use more

affiliation adjectives. The other differences were not supported.

Sexually experienced subjects used more achievement adjectives, whereas

inexperienced subjects had more attributions of morality. Grater and

Downing concluded that further empirical confirmation is needed concern-

ing whether the adjectives are indicative of the dimensions of meaning.

The Meaning of Sexual Experience Questionnaire-II (MOSE-II) with 16

adjectives for each of the five dimensions was developed as a result of

this study.

An extension of the above study was conducted by Bernstein (1982).

In an effort to develop an instrument to assess the interpersonal mean-

ings of sexual experience, the author administered the 84 adjectives

identified by Grater and Downing (currently under review) to 256 stu-

dents. A 7-point rating scale, from "never or almost never" to "always

or almost always", was used for each item, with the subjects indicating

whether each adjective was descriptive of the meaning of their sexual

experience. Several factor analyses were conducted on the data from

the MOSE-II and a new list of adjectives was prepared by the author,

using the retained items from the old form and some new ones that were

judged as fitting the emerging factors. A new questionnaire, the Meaning

of Sexual Experience Questionnaire-IIl (MOSE--III), including 70 adjec-

tives (see Appendix C) with a 7-point rating scale from "not at all

descriptive" to "completely descriptive," was developed by the author.

The MOSE--III was then administered to 326 students and several fac-

tor analyses were run, resulting in the emergence of five factors, with

54 descriptive adjectives out of the original 70. The five factors

include (1) affiliation which includes these 11 adjectives, "caring,"

"fond," "loving," and "affectionate" (i.e., emotional tone), "gentle,"

"warm," and "kind" (i.e., physical interaction), "intimate," "trusting,"

and "mature" (i.e., safety and respect for the other person);

(2) inadequate/undesirable contains 16 adjectives including "distant,"

"resentful," "flat," "disagreeable" (i.e., emotional tone), "futile,"

"inhibited," "awkward," "timid," "frigid," "inadequate," and "inept"

(i.e., physical interaction), "infantile," "distrustful," "remote,"

"evasive," and "undesirable" (i.e., anxiety and mistrust of self or

other person); (3) achievement with 11 adjectives including "successful,"

"capable" (i.e., achievement), "victorious," "mighty," "winning" (i.e.,

dominance), "daring," "imaginative," "inventive," "determined," "out-

going," "assertive" (i.e., creative and persevering strategy); (4) moral

including nine adjectives connoting a reserved meaning of sexual experi-

ence (e.g.,"proper," "moral," "clean," "pure," "dignified," "virtuous,"

"correct," "righteous," "honorable"); (5) erotic dominance contains

seven adjectives including "hot," "titillating," "erotic," "ecstatic"

(i.e., highly sensual, emotional tone), "forceful," "demanding,"

"aggressive" (i.e., physical interaction and dominance).

Bernstein (1982) compared the sex differences on the MOSE-III (see

Table 3) using 124 male and 202 female subjects and found that (1) the males'

average factor scores were significantly higher than the females'on

achievement and erotic dominance; (2) females scored significantly higher

on the affiliation and moral categories; and (3) no significant differ-

ences were found on the inadequate/undesirable dimension. The signifi-

cant male and female differences tend to support the findings of several

previous studies (e.g., McCormick, 1979; LePlante et al., 1980; Peplau et

al., 1977). The MOSE-III will be used in this study to compare the mean-

ing of sexuality for heterosexual and homosexual males.

A brief review of the theories concerning the interpersonal meaning

of sexual experience will help to provide a context in which to inter-

pret the results of this study. The functions of sexual behavior present

one option in theorizing about the meaning of sexual experience. Wrights-

man (1977) states that sexual behavior is "fundamentally social in that

it has a symbolic value, making it capable of fulfilling many other

desires and needs" (p. 178). He lists the following aspects of sexuality

(1) it helps to form our overall impressions of others (e.g., "healthy,"

"deviant"); (2) it can lead to crippling feelings such as guilt or shame

or positive feelings such as fulfillment, increased self-confidence and

some of the deepest human emotions; (3) it can be used in an aggressive

(e.g., rape), pathological (e.g., sexual psychopath), or utilitarian

(e.g., for material or social gains) fashion; (4) it is a way of prov-

ing one's masculinity or feminity (e.g., ego); and (5) it can be used

for recreation or reproduction.



t- Standard
Factor Sex Mean Statistic Deviation Minimum Maximum

Male 64.6 8.8 27 77
Affiliation -4.09
Female 68.4 7.8 37 77

Inadequate/ Male 38.3 10.0 16 70
Undesirable 0.21
Female 38.0 12.7 16 78

Male 53.9 9.7 31 76
Achievement 2.39*
Female 51.0 10.9 19 72

Male 40.8 9.5 10 57
Moral -1.75
Female 42.8 10.4 11 63

Male 34.0 5.7 21 48
Erotic **
Dominance 3
Female 31.7 6.3 14 48

< .05
p < .001

NOTE: From "The Formulation of an Instrument to Assess Interpersonal
Meaning of Sexual Experience" by D. Bernstein, Doctoral Disser-
tation, University of Florida, 1982.

A similar approach was taken by Wilson, Strong, Robbins, and Johns

(1980) in listing the uses of sexual intercourse. The authors state


Sexual intercourse can be used to: show love, have children,
give pleasure, receive pleasure, show tenderness, gain
acceptance, show rejection, prove masculinity/feminity, degrade
someone, gain revenge, make a commitment, end an argument,
degrade yourself, touch or be touched. Sex can be used to

keep a person interested in you, to relieve loneliness, to
dominate another, to make yourself or another feel guilty,
to relieve physical tension, to express liking or love.
(pp. 333-334)

Marriage, according to the authors, changes sexual motivation from ego

gratification to mutual gratification.

The male sex role, according to Pleck (1976), has two fundamental

themes, a stress on achievement and suppression of affect. He sees the

male role in transition from the traditional dominant male, who "expects

women to acknowledge and defer to his authority," to the modern male,

who "expects companionship and intimacy in his relationships with women"

(p. 157). The changes are not all positive and have led to performance

anxiety and the concept of frigidity in order to blame the woman for any

lack of sexual satisfaction. Gross (1978) states that "compared to

women, men tend not only to focus more on sexuality with cross-sex

partners, but also to isolate sex from other aspects of heterosexual

relating" (p. 92). Men are socialized to be goal oriented, controlling,

aggressive, violent,and power seeking. A similar hypothesis is put forth

by Reik (1960), who states that the meaning of sexual experience for men

involves a stronger sexual desire, while women have a stronger need for

affection in their meaning of sexuality. The author states that "The

sexual urge of the male has an aggressive and even sadistic character,

and the wish to intrude the female body amounts to a kind of forceful

incursion. ." (p. 118). The above theories all involve some psycho-

analytic leanings, especially when it comes to sex being paired with

aggression. The psychoanalytic viewpoint is represented in the work of

several other authors who state that (1) too much emphasis is being

placed on "achieving physiological-mechanical success" and that healthy

sexuality is an indicator of mental health (Gersham, 1978); (2) female

"emotionalism" is a mask for "economic dependency" and the male person-

ality is founded in repression of affect and denial of relational needs"

(Chodorow, 1976); and (3) healthy sexuality is necessary for psychologi-

cal health (Reich, 1973).

The concept of sexual scripts has been advanced by Gagnon and Simon

(1973). The authors explain:

Our use of the term script with reference to the sexual has two
major dimensions. One deals with the external, the inter-
personal--the script as the organization of mutually shared
conventions that allows two or more actors to participate in a
complex act involving mutual dependence. The second deals with
the internal, the intrapsychic, the motivational elements that
produce arousal or at least a commitment to the activity.
(p. 20)

Young males, according to Gagnon (1974), are socialized to a male script

of male initiation and dominance. A more explicit elucidation of the

components of a sexual script is provided by Gagnon (1977), which

includes the who, what, when, where,and why of sexual behavior. A list

of the reasons for having sex includes having kids, pleasure, lust,

fun, passion, love, variety, intimacy, rebellion, degradation, instinct/

needs, exploitation, relaxation, achievement,and service. Further work

on sexual scripting has been done by several authors (e.g., Mosher, 1980;

Schwartz, 1979; Steiner, 1974).

Gecas and Libby (1976) conceptualize sexual experiences through the

constructs of symbolic interactionism and hypothesize that sexual

symbolism creates sexual experience. The authors ascribe four codes,

regarding sexual behavior, in contemporary American society. The codes

include (1) the romantic code which "emphasizes the value of love,"

(2) "the traditional-religious philosophy views sexual activity outside

of marriage as sinful, particularly for women" (p. 37); (3) "the recrea-

tional philosophy is concerned with sex primarily as a pleasurable

activity" (p. 38); and (4) the utilitarian-preditory code "views sex as

a means to some other end, it can be used to gain money (as in prostitu-

tion), or power(as in certain types of heterosexual bargaining) or pres-

tige (status in one's peer group)" (p. 38). Slater (1976) comments on

the task-oriented nature of American society, with terms like "adequacy"

applied to a pleasurable act, and infers that men's value of physical

beauty is really a dislike for women. Sex is used for procreation,

intimacy, and physical play. According to Comfort (1976), a division

between the functions has been created by the inception of contracep-

tion. Sex as play "generates its own morality and values" (p. 89),

according to Foote (1976). He further states, "exploration of the

morals and values which might emerge from a forthright public acceptance

of sex as play is obviously a task for extended research" (p. 89).

A list of the psychological dimensions of sexuality for adolescents

was proposed by Mitchell (1972). The list includes (1) the need for

intimacy, (2) the need to belong (e.g., affiliation), (3) the desire for

dominance, (4) the desire for submissiveness, (5) curiosity and compe-

tence needs (e.g., achievement), (6) the desire for passion and inten-

sity (e.g., erotic), (7) identification and imitation, and (8) rebel-

liousness and negative identity (e.g., promiscuity). Schoof-Tams,

Schlaegal, and Walczak (1976) developed a cognitive-developmental model

of adolescent sexual morality (e.g., 11-16 years of age). They postulate

that the adolescent progresses from a traditional view of sexuality (e.g.,

sex for procreation) toward a more permissive view (e.g., sex as love and


The meaning of sexual experience has been approached from several

different theoretical and empirical perspectives. A few theories provide

some unification of the various aspects concerning sexual meaning, but a

comprehensive model that can effectively predict behavior in a consistent

manner has not been developed. The meaning of sexuality also appears to

change over time, which necessitates a developmental theory in order to

account for an individual's progression through sexual maturation. The

above literature primarily applies to heterosexuals and a question arises

as to what the meaning of sexuality is for homosexuals or, a more accept-

able term, gays.

Research and Theory on the Meaning of
Homosexual Sexual Experience

There is a paucity of research when it comes to the gay meaning of

sexuality. Most of the concepts will have to be inferred from the

available data and theories concerning gay sexuality.

The plight of the homosexual in history has been documented by

Bullough (1979), who states that,

Terms such as "queer," "fag," "fairy," and "pervert" have been
applied to them as individuals, and at various times in history
they have been put in asylums, imprisoned, executed, medicated,
psychoanalyzed, and ostracized; yet they have continued to exist.
Most survived by remaining in the closet-that is, they never
publicly proclaimed themselves but sought to mask their sexual
preference by living and acting as did their neighbors. (p. 1)

The negative view of homosexuality implies that gay individuals are sick,

perverted, unnatural, and a threat to societal values (G. Wienberg, 1973).

Consequently negative meanings involving guilt, shame, fear, anxiety,and

inadequacy are possible consequences of same-sex sexual activity.

Kaufman and Krupka (1973) view homosexuality from a deprivation per-

spective. They state that "typically, males with homosexual concerns

have experienced deprivation from their fathers. Many of these individ-

uals never received expressions of tenderness or closeness from their

fathers" (p. 459). The authors assert that homosexual behavior is a

quest for affection in compensation for lost paternal tenderness. Sexual

activity here is seen as misdirected and a surrogate for the need for

fatherly affection. In a previously reviewed study, Farley et al. (1977)

derived sexuality factors for males and females. A male "ambivalent

homosexual extravert" factor consisted of "homosexual tendency, lack of

sex role confidence, sexual maladjustment and frustration, and extra-

version" (p. 116). This implies inadequacy, frustration, and maladjust-

ment as meanings of gay male sexuality. Finger (1975) noted a decline

among males in homosexual experiences over the past 30 years and reports

that "the vast majority of students still rate homosexual outlet as the

'most harmful' and the 'most wrong'" (p. 315) sexual activity.

Sex role preference can provide one explanation for homosexual

behavior according to Carrier (1977). He used Hookers (1965) definitions

so that "the term 'sex roles', when homosexual practices are described,

will refer to 'typical sexual performance' only. 'The gender connota-

tions (M-F) of these performances need not then be implicitly assumed.'

The term 'gender role' will refer to the 'expected attitudes and behavior

that distinguish males from females'" (p. 54). Carrier (1977) investi-

gated the cross-cultural differences among homosexual males and found

that (1) the "inserter-insertee" dichotomy of homosexual behavior is

active in the Mexican, Brazilian, Turkish, Greek, and Chicano (Mexican-

American) cultures, with the inserter as masculine and the insertee as

feminine; (2) lower class homosexual behavior in U.S. prisons involves

the aggressor as masculine and nonhomosexual, while the passive partner

is viewed as homosexual; (3) female prisoners structure their relation-

ships in terms of marriage and kinship. Thus, male sexuality is based

on dominance-submission whereas female sexuality is based on affiliation

and commitment.

Tripp (1975) implies that homosexuality can result from male admir-

ation of another male, high aspirations, "idealism," envy or early sexual

maturation. He purports that homosexual men are attracted to the sex

role characteristics of their own sex, identifying with the masculinity

in others. Tripp (1975) states, "In all of their essentials, the sought

after rewards of homosexual and heterosexual complementations are identi-

cal: the symbolic possession of those attributes of a partner, which,

when added to one's own, fill out the illusion of completeness" (p. 93).

The meaning of sexuality here involves the search for the fulfillment of

missing attributes through one's sex partner. Like many of the works

concerning homosexuality, the focus is on males.

Several authors have taken a sociological perspective in their

investigation of homosexuality. Sonenschein (1976) looked at male homo-

sexual relationships in terms of permanence and nonpermanence. He des-

cribes relationships where a younger "boy" is kept by an older male,

transient sexual contacts such as "one night stands," and brief affairs.

Sonenschein (1976) identified two major systems in the homosexual

community which have a direct effect on interpersonal relationships

(1) the cultural system which was comprised of a series of institutions

(e.g., bars, steam baths, parties) where gays can meet temporary or

permanent partners; and (2) a social system "which directly involved the

structure and behavior of groups and the individuals in them" (p. 150).

Both of these systems can be conceptualized as affecting the meaning of

sexuality, either directly or indirectly, through their effects on inter-

personal relationships.

A cross-cultural study on male homosexuality was conducted by

Weinberg and Williams (1974) in an effort to determine the effects of

locale on the social and psychological dimensions of homosexuality. The

comparisons involved American, Dutch, and Danish gays, and lower versus

upper class American homosexuals. The results reflect that (1) greater

societal rejection did not lead to greater psychological difficulties

among gay men; (2) sexual orientation is not necessarily highly corre-

lated with psychological problems; (3) those gay men who have high

involvement in the gay community (vs. those who do not) seem to be less

intimidated by the heterosexual world; and (4) there was no general rela-

tionship between religious background and lifestyle or psychological

problems for homosexual men, except for greater guilt or shame after the

first homoerotic experience. The above results tend to refute the

deficit models of homosexuality (e.g., Farley et al., 1977; Finger, 1975;

Kaufman & Krupka, 1973). It appears that gays may be more similar to

heterosexuals than past theories have implied and that the meaning of

their sexuality may also be more similar than different.

In addressing the issue of homosexuals as patients, Bell (1976)

notes the diversity in the variety of social, psychological, and sexual

correlates of homosexual experience. He states, "there are as many dif-

ferent kinds of homosexuals as heterosexuals, and thus it is impossible

to predict the nature of any patient's personality, social adjustment,

or sexual functioning on the basis of his or her sexual orientation"

(p. 202). Humphreys (1976) comments on emerging styles of homosexual

manliness. He states that there is a decline in "cruising" (i.e.,

picking up men for brief sexual contacts) within the gay community due

to several factors, such as (1) a trend away from impersonalization;

(2) a "virilization" or an increasing emphasis on virility; (3) subcul-

tural diversity; and (4) radicalizationn" in terms of the gay rights

movement. The meaning of sexuality appears to be shifting from an

impersonal, guilt-ridden, effeminate definition to a more virile,

masculine and militant identity.

In their study on homosexuals, Masters and Johnson (1979) note that

gay couples had a freer flow of verbal and nonverbal communication,

between "stimulator and stimulatee" when compared to heterosexual

couples. "Information relative to sexual needs, levels of sexual

involvement, what pleased or what displeased was usually exchanged

openly during sexual activity or discussed without reservation after

any specific sexual episode in anticipation of future sexual

opportunity" (p. 213). The authors theorize that this openness

results from necessity, since there are only two widely popular

stimulative approaches in gay sexual activity (e.g., partner manipu-

lation, fellatio/cunnilingus) and those must be refined constantly to

preserve their stimulative value. An equally viable hypothesis might

be that societal pressures force gay individuals to keep their sexuality

hidden except among themselves, where discussion of their sexuality

elicits mutual support and acceptance.

Another study on homosexual relationships, by Peplau (1981), investi-

gates what gays are searching for in interpersonal relationships. A

questionnaire was administered to gay men and women (e.g., N=128, N=127)

and heterosexual men and women (e.g., N=65 for both) eliciting responses

on love, satisfaction in relationships, living arrangements, sexual

activities,and commitment to the relationship. The results were as

follows: (1) a majority of the lesbians and gay men were not religious

(e.g., 63% and 54%, respectively), had a heterosexual relationship in the

past (e.g., 80% and 66%, respectively), and had median numbers of past

opposite-sex partners which ranged from three to five, respectively;

(2) most of the gay sample exposed the equal sharing of responsibilities

and power in their relationships, although when role playing existed it

was most common among older homosexuals of both sexes, individuals at

lower socioeconomic levels, and in men; (3) relationship values clustered

around two factors, "dynamic attachment" which "reflects the value placed

on having emotionally close and secure relationships" and "desire for

personal autonomy" which values major interests outside of the relation-

ship and a supportive group of friends; (4) the heterosexuals evidenced

more role playing in their relationships; (5) all four groups had similar

priorities for their relationships (e.g., "being able to talk about my

most intimate feelings"); (5) sexual exclusivity was more important to

heterosexuals than it was to homosexuals; (6) gender differences were

greater than sexual orientation differences, with women viewing emo-

tional expressiveness, egalitarian relationships and similarity in

attitudes and political beliefs as more important than did the men;

(7) about 61% of the lesbians and 41% of the gay men were involved in

permanent relationships; (8) there were no differences between gays and

straights in their conceptions of "love"; (9) almost half of the gays

were committed to their relationships and expected them to last for at

least six months (e.g., 50% of the males and 44% of the lesbians);

(10) both gay men and women were satisfied with their sexual relation-

ships; (11) gay men were more likely than heterosexuals or lesbians to

have sex with someone other than their partner. The results of

Peplau's (1981) study indicate that the meaning of sexuality is similar

for heterosexuals and homosexuals. Both value affiliation and closeness

in their relationships, but at the same time also emphasize autonomy.

The stereotype that gay individuals have short-term, unsatisfactory

relationships appears to be in error. An important finding is that

gender seems to affect a relationship more than sexual orientation.

Freedman (1975) argues that homosexuals may be healthier than

heterosexuals. He states that gay individuals have developed their own

values, become more expressive and egalitarian in their relationships,

broken out of the standard male-female sex roles, and are more open to

variations in their sexual behavior (e.g., group sex for gay males).

Peplau's (1981) study appears to confirm some of Freedman's assertions.

Some of the results of Jay and Young's (1979) results have pre-

viously been reviewed, but other components of their survey are relevant

to the meaning of sexuality. The results indicate that: (1) a little

less than half of the gay men (46%) and women (42%) thought sex was

"very important" and most of the rest (e.g., 49% lesbians, 47% gay men)

thought it was "somewhat important"; (2) when asked if they put too much

importance on sex, 73% of the lesbians and 62% of the gay men said their

emphasis was "just right"; (3) concerning others' emphasis on sex, 48%

of the gay men and 37% of the GF indicated "too much"; (4) in terms of

the importance of emotional involvement with their partner, a majority

of the lesbians (86%) and less than half the gay men (47%) responded

that it was "very important"; while a majority of both thought it was

"somewhat important" (e.g., 97% and 83%, respectively); (5) 56% of the

lesbians and 13% of the gay males reported that emotional involvement

was always present when they had sex with a partner; (6) to "have you

ever been in love?" over 93% of male and female gays indicated "yes";

(7) an overwhelming majority of gays (e.g., over 88%) felt "very posi-

tive" about showing affection to "lovers" and "sex partners"; (8) a

majority of the lesbians and gay men felt "negative" about the use of

masculine/feminine sex-role labels (e.g., 78% and 61%, respectively),

and "never" played masculine/feminine sex roles in their relationships

(e.g., 59% and 42%, respectively); and (9) in terms of having sex with

someone that they just met, 85% of the lesbians indicated that they

did so at the most "very infrequently," while only 31% of the gay men

responded in a similar fashion. These results tend to approximate the

previous findings concerning heterosexuals and the gender differences

between males and females.

A Brief Summary and Statement of
Theoretical Hypotheses

Since the purpose of this study is to investigate male heterosexual

and homosexual differences, only the data on male sexual fantasy and the

meaning of sexuality will be briefly summarized.

As previously noted, Storms (1980) hypothesized that gay males (GM)

would have more androerotic (i.e., male as sex object) and less gyno-

erotic (i.e., female as sex object) sexual fantasies when compared to

heterosexual males (HM). The reverse was also predicted, HMs would have

more gynoerotic and less androerotic fantasies than GMs. Since the

object of sexual activity is usually a male for gay individuals, and a

female for heterosexual individuals, these hypotheses make common sense.

Previous data on sexual activity and sexual fantasy would also lend sup-

port to Storms' (1980) assertions (e.g., Jay & Young, 1979; Masters &

Johnson, 1979; Pietropinto & Simenauer, 1977). Although they have less

gynoerotic fantasies than HMs, gay individuals tend to have had more

heterosexual activity than HMs have had homosexual activity (e.g.,

Kinsey, et al., 1948; Hunt, 1976; Jay & Young, 1979). Gay individuals

also have less negative attitudes toward heterosexual sexual activity

(Jay & Young, 1979) than HMs have concerning homosexual sexual activity

(Finger, 1975) and should be more likely to report cross-sex fantasies

than HMs are to report same-sex fantasies.

In the area of sexual activity, several findings have been reported.

Both GMs and HMs report a high incidence of at least one episode of

masturbation, but GMs report a slightly higher frequency of masturbation

(e.g., Hunt, 1976; Jay & Young, 1979). No major differences were found

for the two groups involving fantasy during masturbation (e.g., Jay &

Young, 1979; Pape, 1980). In Pape's (1980) study, 84% of the HMs reported

having sex with a partner at least once in the past three months. In

contrast, 90% of the GMs in Jay and Young's (1979) sample had sex at

least once a month. Given the heightened opportunity for sexual activity

in the male gay community, it is predictable that the incidence of sex

with a partner will be greater for the GMs. Fantasy during sex with a

partner was reported in approximately equal frequencies by both GMs

(82%) and HMs (79%). There were no data on the frequency or incidence

of GM sexual daydreaming and, therefore, a hypothesis concerning any

differences in GM and HM erotic daydreaming cannot be formulated at this


The data on the incidence and frequency of specific sexual techniques

do show differences between the two groups. A majority of the GMs

(99.5%) had engaged in oral sex in comparison to two-thirds of the HMs

(66%) (e.g., Hunt, 1976; Jay & Young, 1979), and since fellatio is a

primary sexual activity in the gay male community (Masters & Johnson),

one would expect them to fantasize about this activity more often. In

terms of anal intercourse, the two groups also vary widely for incidence,

with 91% of the GMs and only 16% of the HMs having engaged in it at least

once (Hunt, 1976; Jay & Young, 1979). Since anal intercourse is the only

approximation of coitus in the gay male community, there should be a

higher rate of fantasizing about it among GMs when compared to HMs.

The above categories involve the "mechanical-anatomical" aspects of

sexual activity, that is, the limitations of sexual activity due to

physical make-up (e.g., the lack of a vagina in males). Coitus is not

available to GMs and, although anal intercourse is an approximation,

they must engage in other varieties of sexual activity (e.g., fellatio,

mutual masturbation). Other categories exist for sexual activity and

erotic fantasy including choice of partnerss, dominance-submission,

choice of setting, various situations (e.g., paying for sex, observing

others having sex) and various thought patterns (e.g., recalling past

experiences, imaginary lovers). Depending on the theoretical system

under consideration, the prediction of the differences or similarities

between the sexual fantasies of GMs and HMs will vary.

Masters and Johnson (1979) reported that the most prevalent sexual

fantasy for HMs was the replacement of the current sex partner. In

Pape's (1980) study, HMs reported thinking about their current partner

most often during sex (with that partner), and thinking about sex with

a person other than their partner during masturbation and daydreaming.

For GMs, idyllic encounters with unknown men was ranked as the fourth

most prevalent fantasy since GMs have more opportunities for sex with

different partners (Humphreys, 1976), and if fantasy is construed as an

indication of longing for unfulfilled sexual desires, then HMs should

have more fantasies about different sex partners.

Sex-role disturbances have been postulated as contributing to the

development of homosexuality (e.g., Rekers & Lovaas, 1974). The gay

male is considered more effeminate, passive,and submissive than the

heterosexual male. This line of reasoning would predict that GMs would

have fewer fantasies concerning aggressive sexual acts (i.e., forcing

someone to have sex) and more passive fantasies (i.e., being forced to

have sex with someone) when compared to HMs. Several studies, however,

refute the passive sexual nature of homosexuals (e.g., Harry, 1976-77),

and other studies reflect that gender has more of an influence on sex

fantasies than does sex-role (e.g., Bernardi, 1977; Pape, 1980; Storms,

1980). Masters and Johnson (1979) report that GMs have aggressive

sexual fantasies and that these fantasies contained more violent content

than the HM forced-sex fantasies. Since gays reject sex-role stereo-

types (Peplau, 1981), they should be more inclined to accept the passive

role than HMs who are more concerned with masculinity. Therefore, GMs

should have more passive fantasies than HMs, but not fewer aggressive


Group sex was the fifth most prevalent sex fantasy reported by both

GMs and HMs in Masters and Johnson's (1979) study. Other reports on

group sex fantasies for HMs range from 4.5% (Pietropinto & Simenauer) to

37.5% (Hesselland, 1976). Although sex with more than one person was a

fantasy category for the GMs in Jay and Young's (1979) study, they gave

no indication as to the frequency or incidence of these fantasies. More

than one-fourth of the GMs (27%), however, did report engaging in group

sex at least "somewhat frequently". Group sex provides the opportunity

to observe others having sex. Therefore, if fantasy is conceptualized

as a reflection of current concerns (Klinger, 1971), then GMs should

fantasize about sex with more than one person more often than HMs, as

well as fantasize about observing others during sexual activity.

Masters and Johnson (1979) found that GMs reported more sadomaso-

chistic fantasies (i.e., hurting someone or being hurt by them) with a

higher incidence of violence, when compared to HMs. Jay and Young

(1979) also cited a high incidence of sadomasochistic fantasies among

their GM sample, but did not give any figures on incidence or frequency.

HMs reported very low incidences (2.2%) of sadomasochistic fantasy.

Therefore, GMs should have a higher rate of sadomasochistic fantasy when

compared to HMs.

Bernstein's (1982) development of five categories for the meaning

of sexual experience will allow for a comparison of GM and HM sexual

meanings. The factors include (1) affiliation; (2) inadequate/

undesirable; (3) achievement; (4) moral; and (5) erotic dominance.

Although there has been little direct study of the meaning of sexual

experience for gays, some hypotheses can be generated from the available


Given the psychoanalytic interpretation of homosexuality (Bergler,

1956; Fenichel, 1945; Freud, 1962), GMs should reflect more maladjust-

ment in their sexuality and, consequently, they should feel more nega-

tively about their sexual experience. Several authors refute this

hypothesis (e.g., Bell, 1976; Churchill, 1967; Hoffman, 1968; G. Wein-

berg, 1973) and claim that gays are not more maladjusted than hetero-

sexuals. According to the former authors, GMs should view their

sexuality as more inadequate/undesirable when compared to HMs, whereas

the latter theorists would predict no differences. A reversed predic-

tion should hold for affiliation-GMs should be less affiliative than

HMs according to psychoanalytic theory. Peplau's (1981) findings on

gay relationships would lead to a prediction of no differences.

In the moral category, differences would be predicted by tradi-

tional versus modern views of sexuality. In order to adopt a gay

lifestyle an individual must reject the traditional moral values and

develop his own (Freedman, 1975; Peplau, 1981). Therefore, HMs should

score higher on morality than the GMs. Since GMs also reject sex-role

stereotypes (Freedman, 1975; Peplau, 1981), they should score lower on

achievement in the meaning of sexuality when compared to HMs. The

erotic dominance category is confusing and contains both erotic and

conquest-related variables, therefore no predictions will be made about

this category.

The following hypotheses were tested for sexual fantasy:

1. GMs will report androerotic fantasies more often and
gynoerotic fantasies less often than HMs.

2. GMs will report gynoerotic fantasies more often than
HMs will report androerotic fantasies.

3. GMs will report having sex with a partner more often
than HMs.

4. GMs will report having oral sex fantasies more often
than HMs.

5. GMs will report having anal intercourse fantasies
more often than HMs.

6. HMs will have fantasies about having sex with someone
other than their current partner more often than GMs.

7. GMs will have fantasies of being forced to have sex
with someone more often than HMs.

8. GMs will have fantasies about having sex with more
than one person at a time and observing others having
sex more often than HMs.

9. GMs will have fantasies about hurting someone or
being hurt by someone more often than HMs.

The following hypotheses were tested for the meaning of sexuality:

1. GMs will report the meaning of their sexuality as
inadequate/undesirable more often than HMs.

2. HMs will report the meaning of their sexuality as
affiliation oriented more often than GMs.


3. HMs will report the meaning of their sexuality as
moral more often than will GMs.

4. HMs will report the meaning of their sexuality as
achievement oriented more often than GMs.

A .05 level of significance will be adopted as the criterion of rejection

for the null hypothesis (e.g., H = no differences).




The subjects in this study were 32 heterosexual and 32 homosexual

male college students. All of the subjects were Caucasian with age

ranges of 17 to 26 years (X = 19.3 years) for the heterosexuals and 19

to 29 years (X = 20.5 years) for the homosexuals. Religious affiliation

varied between the heterosexual (HM) and homosexual (GM) subjects as

follows: Protestant (28.1% HMs, 18.8% GMs); Catholic (25.0% HMs, 18.8%

GMs); Jewish (15.6% HMs, 3.1% GMs); "other" (6.3% HMs, 15.6% GMs); and

"none" (25.0% HMs, 43.8% GMs). A majority of the HM subjects (56.3%)

reported having a steady sexual partner, whereas a majority of the GM

subjects reported not having a steady sexual partner (65.6%). Both

groups described their current sexual activity in approximately equal

proportions, as follows: "very satisfactory" (HMs 25.0%, GMs 25.0%);

"moderately satisfactory" (HMs 43.8%, GMs 40.6%); "mildly satisfactory"

(HMs 15.6%, GMs 15.6%); and "unsatisfactory" (15.6% HMs, 18.8% GMs).


The HM subjects were recruited from general psychology classes at

the University of Florida and the Illinois State University as well as

from cooperative housing associations at the University of Texas at

Austin. The GM subjects were recruited through campus gay organizations

at the Universities of Florida, Texas at Austin, and Illinois State


University. The HM subjects at the University of Florida were adminis-

tered the EROS, SFQ, and MOSE-III (see Appendices A, B, and C) in a

large group. The Illinois State HMs were administered the instruments

in small groups of five and some subjects took the instruments home

for friends to return via mail. The instruments were delivered to

the cooperative housing establishments in Austin, Texas, and picked

up, in sealed envelopes, at a later date. A total of 123 instruments

were disseminated to HM subjects, with 74 administered to psychology

students (who received one hour of research credit) and 49 to be

returned via mail or picked up at the cooperative houses (with a

return rate of 53.6%).

The instruments were disseminated at campus gay organization

meetings in all geographic locations and were returned in self-

addressed, stamped envelopes. A total of 125 instruments were given

out to the organization members, for themsevles and their friends,

with a 39.2% return rate.

In order to control for sexual and fantasy activity, only those

subjects who indicated that they had engaged in sex with a partner

(with fantasy), masturbation with fantasy and sexual daydreaming in

the past three months (see Appendix B, SFQ items 7, 8, 32, 33, & 57)

were included in this study. Subjects who only partially completed

the instruments, were ethnic minorities (3 GMs, 2 HMs), or were older

than average (3 GMs, 2 HMs) were also excluded from the study.


Erotic Response and Orientation Scale (EROS)

The EROS was developed by Storms (1980) to measure the erotic fanta-

sies of heterosexual and homosexual individuals. The questionnaire

contains 16 items, with two subscales of eight basic types of erotic

fantasies in each scale (see Appendix A). The "androerotic" scale des-

cribes fantasies with men as the sexual object, and the "gynoerotic"

scale describes the same fantasies with a female sexual object. Subjects

were asked to indicate how often they have had the erotic fantasy in each

item during the past year. A Guttman 7-point scale, ranging from "never"

(0) to "almost daily" (7), was available for the subject's responses to

each item. The scale items for each scale range from "low intensity

fantasies (thinking someone is sexually attractive) through moderate

intensity fantasies (daydreaming about having sex with someone) to high

intensity fantasies (masturbating while fantasizing sex with someone)"

(p. 786).

Utilizing a Guttman scalogram, Storms (1980) determined the internal

reliability of the scales; coefficients of reproduceabilitywere .93 for the

androerotic scale and .92 for the gynoerotic scale. He also determined

that the internal validity of the scales, in the sense of coherence and

cumulativity, was good (coefficients of scalability were .74 for the

androerotic scale and .77 for the gynoerotic scale). A comparison of

scalogram values between the total subject sample (N = 185) and the

heterosexual subjects (N = 70) proved to be almost identical, demonstrat-

ing consistent reliability across sexual orientation groups.

The Sexual Fantasy Questionnaire (SFQ)

The SFQ was developed by Pape (1980) in order to study the incidence,

frequency, variety, and content of sexual fantasies under three conditions

(1) sex with a partner, (2) masturbation, and (3) daydreaming (Mednick,

1977). Part I (see Appendix B) elicits the following demographic data:

(1) age; (2) ethnic background; (3) religious affiliation; (4) sexual

orientation (e.g., Kinsey-type scale ranging from "exclusively hetero-

sexual" to "exclusively homosexual"); (5) availability of current sex

partner (e.g., "yes" or "no"); and (6) description of current sexual

activity (e.g., 4-point scale ranging from "very satisfactory" to "very


Part II is comprised of three sections, which reflect the afore-

mentioned three conditions, with the same 22 sexual fantasy subthemes

under each condition. An "other" subtheme was also provided under each

condition to allow the subjects to write in and rate any fantasy theme

not included within the 22 subthemes. The first two sections (e.g.,

sex with a partner and masturbation) begin with two filter questions

instructing the subject to complete the section only if they have engaged

in the required activity and have had sexual fantasies at least "rarely"

during that activity. Subjects who have not engaged in the activity, or

who have not fantasized during the activity, are instructed to go on to

the next section. In the daydreaming section only one filter question

inquires about sexual fantasy, since it is presumed that all individuals

engage in daydreaming of some sort. Each section inquired about the

activities and fantasies over the past three months, with a 6-point scale

ranging from "never" (1) to "always" (6) for each subtheme within the

condition under consideration. Both sexual activity questions (e.g.,

sex with a partner and masturbation) asked how often the subject engaged

in the activity, over the past three months, with 10 response categories

ranging from "0" (1) to "over 40" (10) times. The three fantasy filter

questions asked how often the subject had fantasized, during the activity

under consideration (over the past three months), with a 6-point rating

scale ranging from "never" (1) to "always" (6).

Two final questions were included at the end of Part II. One ques-

tion asked about the subject's level of comfort in filling out the SFQ,

with a 4-point rating scale ranging from "very comfortable" (1) to "very

uncomfortable" (4). Pape (1980) considered this item a "rough" indica-

tor of "willingness to disclose." A final question was open-ended and

inquired about the subject's comments concerning the study.

Pape (1980) determined the reliability of the SFQ by computing test-

retest correlations (for the 91 initial subjects), after a two-week

period, "for the three situational fantasy subscale scores and for the

individual theme responses in each of the three situational conditions"

(p. 34). In the "sex with a partner" condition, the situational sub-

scale score (i.e., sum of 22 subtheme responses) showed a test-retest

correlation which was significant (p < .001). The 22 subtheme ratings

had test-retest correlations ranging from .50 to .88 and all were sig-

nificant (p < .001) except for the "imagining that you are a prostitute"

theme. This item was changed, for this study, to read "imagining that

you are being paid to have sex with someone," in order to remove any

stigma concerning the word "prostitute." For the masturbation and day-

dreaming conditions, the subscale test-retest correlations were .76 and

.78, respectively (both significant at the p < .001 level). The individ-

ual theme test-retest correlation coefficients ranged from .48 to .95 for

the masturbation condition and from .44 to .86 for the daydreaming condi-

tion (p < .001, for all correlations). Cronbach's (1951) alpha was used

to measure the internal consistency scores of the situational subscales

and the results were .84 for the "sex with a partner" condition, .84 for

the "masturbation" condition, and .85 for the "daydreaming" condition.

The Meaning of Sexual Experience
Questionnaire--III (MOSE--II)

The MOSE-III was developed by Bernstein (1982) in order to attempt

an assessment of the interpersonal meanings of sexual experience. As

previously mentioned, he administered the 84 adjectives (MOSE-II),

identified by Grater and Downing (currently under review), which were

purported to pertain to the meaning dimensions of morality, affiliation,

pleasure, achievement, and dominance, to 255 college students. A 7-

point rating scale was used to rate each adjective, in terms of the

subject's meaning of sexual experience, ranging from "never or almost

never" (1) to "always or almost always" (7). Several factor analyses

were performed on the data in order to determine

the most meaningful factors both statistically and
conceptually. The criteria levels for maintaining items
were factor ratings of at least .40 on one factor and less
than .30 on every other factor. In addition, oblique
factor rotation was permitted as long as the correlation
between factors was not substantially greater than .30 for
any two factors. (Bernstein, 1982, p. 34)

A new list of adjectives was then constructed by Bernstein (1982),

retaining items from the MOSE-II and generating items that the author

judged to be reflective of the emerging factors. The MOSE-III (see

Appendix C) includes 70 adjectives, with a 7-point rating scale ranging

from "not at all descriptive" (1) to "completely descriptive" (7) (i.e.,

of the meaning of the subject's sexual experience). The MOSE-III was

administered to 326 college students and several factor analyses were

run, utilizing the same criteria levels that were mentioned above for

the MOSE-II analysis. A total of five factors emerged from the final

analysis, with a total of 54 adjectives, and these factors include:

(1) affiliation; (2) inadequate/undesirable; (3) achievement; (4) moral;

and (5) erotic dominance. In this case, an orthogonal analysis was run,

utilizing the criteria levels mentioned for the MOSE-II, to determine

if the factors would obtain with no intercorrelations. None of the

adjectives loaded on a different factor from the factor on which they

originally loaded in the oblique analysis.

Bernstein (1982) assessed the reliability of the MOSE-III by

using Cronbach's (1951) coefficient alpha (e.g., the average of all

possible split-half reliability coefficients). A criterion level of

.70 was adopted, as per Nunnally's (1978) suggestion. The alpha coef-

ficients for the five factors were as follows: (1) .91 for affiliation;

(2) .86 for inadequate/undesirable; (3) .84 for achievement; (4) .85 for

moral; and (5) .69 for erotic dominance. Several different approaches

were taken in order to assess the validity of the MOSE-III. The 70

adjectives were administered to 67 students, who were asked to categorize

the items in terms of "don't understand at all," "have some idea," and

"know what it means." Of the 70 words, only two were categorized as

"don't understand at all" by more than two students (e.g., "amorous,"

"titillating"). This precluded definition problems as possible threats

to the validity of the MOSE-III. Content validity, according to

Bernstein (1982) was demonstrated by the selection of adjectives along

conceptual guidelines and by the successful prediction of three out of

the five hypothesized dimensions (e.g., affiliation, morality, and

achievement). The other two emergent factors (e.g., inadequate/

undesirable and erotic dominance) were seen as "conceptually cohesive"

and, therefore, also supportive of content and, partially, construct

validity. Nelson's (1978) previously reviewed Sexual Functions Measure

(SFM) was utilized to assess the convergent validity of the MOSE-III.

A sample of 70 students (i.e., 33 females and 37 males) were administered

the SFM and the MOSE-III, with predicted correlations between the fol-

lowing factors on the instruments: (1) "affiliation (MOSE) with per-

sonal love and affection" (SFM); (2) "achievement (MOSE) with power,

recognition, and competition (SFM)"; and (3) "erotic dominance (MOSE)

with pleasurable stimulation (SFM)" (Bernstein, 1982, p. 53). The

correlations were significant for gender in some cases, but overall,

only weak support for the convergent validity of the MOSE-III was


Statistical Hypotheses

The statistical hypotheses for sexual fantasy are as follows:

1. The GMs will have a significantly higher group mean score
on the EROS androerotic scale than the HMs and the HMs
will have a significantly higher mean score on the EROS
gynoerotic scale than the GMs.

2. The GMs will have a significantly higher group mean score
on fantasies about the opposite sex (e.g., items 26, 51,
& 75 on the SFQ) than the HMs will have about the same sex.

3. The GMs will have a significantly higher group mean score
on sex with a partner (e.g., item 7 on the SFQ) than will
the HMs.

4. The GMs will have significantly higher group mean scores
on fantasies about oral sex (e.g., items 22, 23, 47, 48,
71, & 72 on the SFQ) than will the HMs.

5. The GMs will have significantly higher group mean scores
on fantasies about anal intercourse (e.g., items 29, 54,
& 78 on the SFQ) than will the HMs.

6. The GMs will have significantly higher group mean scores
on fantasies about replacing their current partner (e.g.,
items 10, 12, 35, 37, 59, & 62 on the SFQ) than will the

7. The GMs will have significantly higher group mean scores
on fantasies about being overpowered or forced to sur-
render to someone (e.g., items 13, 38, & 62 on the SFQ)
than will the HMs.

8. The GMs will have significantly higher group mean scores
on fantasies about having sex with more than one person
at a time and observing others having sex (e.g., items
16, 19, 41, 44, 65, & 68 on the SFQ) than will the HMs.

9. The GMs will have significantly higher group mean scores
on fantasies about enjoyment of being hurt and of hurting
another during a sexual encounter (e.g., items 24, 25,
49, 50, 73, & 74 on the SFQ) than will the HMs.

The statistical hypotheses for the meaning of sexual experience are as


1. The GMs will have significantly higher group mean scores
on the inadequate/undesirable factor (e.g., 16 adjectives)
of the MOSE-III than will the HMs.

2. The HMs will have significantly higher group mean scores
on the affiliation factor (e.g., 11 adjectives) of the
MOSE-III than will the GMs.

3. The HMs will have significantly higher group mean scores
on the morality factor (e.g., 9 adjectives) of the MOSE-
III than will the GMs.

4. The HMs will have significantly higher group mean scores
on the achievement factor (e.g., 11 adjectives) of the
MOSE--III than will the GMs.