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Why You Fantasize About People You Can’t Stand

A recent survey found that about 30 percent of people have sexual fantasies about a person they not only don’t like, but actively loathe. Here are the reasons for the horniness behind the hate

If you’ve found yourself weirdly horny for some of the most heinous people on earth, you’re not alone. Social psychologist Justin Lehmiller surveyed 4,175 adults for his book Tell Me What You Want and 31 percent said they fantasize about having sex with someone they hate, with three percent admitting they fantasize about this often. 

Overall, he found that queer people and straight men are slightly more likely to be attracted to someone who they loathe than straight women. (Maybe straight women have to think about men they loathe enough as it is.) As for why some people tend to fantasize about their sworn enemies, like their high school bully or that person they muted on Twitter? According to Lehmiller, these feelings are linked to BDSM fantasies. “Some people may find the idea of a hated fantasy partner arousing because, in that scenario, they have some degree of power or control over the hated individual or can inflict pain on them. At the same time, however, these fantasies were also linked to more masochism fantasies, suggesting that sex with a hated person may sometimes be a way that some people inflict pain on themselves,” he wrote on Psychology Today

With that perspective, it makes sense. It’s all about power — or a desire for a lack of power. But he also found that these fantasies are tied to people’s attachment styles. If your attachment style is avoidant (meaning you’re very independent and have a hard time committing to someone), it’s likely you fall within the group of people who secretly — or not-so-secretly — think about having sex with the person you absolutely cannot stand. 

“These folks had less emotional content in their fantasies in general, which may open the door to fantasizing about a wider range of partners, including disliked persons or individuals they don’t personally feel close to,” Lehmiller explained. Basically, you’re horny as hell, so it doesn’t make much difference if a person is awful; you still want to fuck them. Lehmiller said this also applies to people with an “unrestricted sociosexual orientation” (i.e., they see sex and love as separate things), because they can “check their emotions at the door” and don’t need to like someone to want to rail them. 

Finally, it’s not surprising that Lehmiller also found that most people would rather fantasize about being with someone whom they actually love (or at least find pleasant). But if you dream about being dominated by someone who is terrible to you, you have company. So much so that your archnemesis may be thinking about fucking you, too.