Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Alessandra H. Rellini

Second Advisor

Sarah C. Alexander


Sexual fantasies of dominance and submission are commonly reported as preferred fantasies in healthy women, yet little is understood regarding whether these fantasies affect other aspects of sexuality (Leitenberg et al., 1995). Even less research exists regarding associations between dominant and submissive fantasies, dominant and submissive sexual behavior, and resulting sexual satisfaction. It is not well understood how sexual fantasy may translate into sexual behavior in non-clinical populations, and what factors might facilitate or inhibit individuals’ engagement in sexual behavior that matches their sexual fantasies.

The current study measured the relationship between dominant and submissive sexual fantasies, dominant and submissive sexual behavior, partner closeness, and sexual satisfaction in 40 sexually healthy women between the ages of 18-25 who were in committed relationships. Specifically, we investigated whether dominant or submissive sexual fantasies were correlated with higher sexual satisfaction when accompanied by dominant or submissive sexual behaviors. We also sought to examine whether emotional closeness with a partner strengthens or attenuates the relationship between sexual fantasy and sexual behaviors.

Data were collected via self-report questionnaires which asked about the frequency of submissive and dominant fantasies, as well as self-reports of sexual satisfaction in the past 4 weeks before the study began. Participants also completed event diaries at home immediately after at least 5 sexual events, reporting on submissive and dominant sexual behaviors, feelings of closeness, and sexual satisfaction. Congruency between sexual fantasy and sexual behavior did not correlate with higher event satisfaction. Significant evidence was found that individuals with dominant fantasies were likely to report dominance in their sexual behavior when they felt close to their partner.



Number of Pages

43 p.