Links between Aggressive Sexual Fantasies and Presumably Non-Consensual Aggressive Sexual Behavior when Controlling for BDSM Identity


  • Rebecca Bondü Department of Psychology, Psychologische Hochschule Berlin, Germany; University of Potsdam, Germany
  • Joseph Birke Department of Psychology, Psychologische Hochschule Berlin, Germany; University of Potsdam, Germany



aggressive sexual fantasies, BDSM, sexual aggression, psychopathy


Recent research provides evidence that aggressive sexual fantasies predict aggressive sexual behavior in the general population. However, sexual fantasies including fantasies about the infliction of pain and humiliation, should be frequent and often consensually acted upon among individuals with sadomasochistic likings. The question arises whether sexual fantasies with aggressive content still predict presumably non-consensual aggressive sexual behavior in individuals with sadomasochistic likings, given that BDSM encounters are generally considered consensual. To investigate this question, we conducted a questionnaire survey of sexual fantasies, assessing the frequency of seventy sexual fantasies involving non-aggressive, masochistic, and aggressive acts. Our sample (N = 182) contained 99 respondents who self-identified as sadist, masochist, or switcher; 44 reported no such identification. For respondents reporting BDSM identification, we replicated a factor structure for sexual fantasies similar to that previously found in the general population, including three factors reflecting fantasies about increasingly severe aggressive sexual acts. Fantasies about injuring a partner and/or using weapons and fantasies about sexual coercion predicted presumably non-consensual sexual behavior independently of other risk factors for aggressive sexual behavior and irrespective of BDSM identification. Hence, severely aggressive sexual fantasies may predispose to presumably non-consensual sexual behavior in both individuals with and without BDSM identification.






Focus (1): Political and Religious Extremism and Sexual Aggression