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Sexual fantasy refers to sexual thoughts or images that alter the person’s emotions or physiological state. Most men and women report having sexual fantasies; men are more likely to fantasize about sexual activity, whereas women fantasize about playing a role in sexual interaction (Leitenberg & Henning, 1995). Fantasies of gays and lesbians are similar to fantasies of heterosexual men and women. Sexual fantasy may enhance one’s sense of attractiveness, provide opportunities for rehearsing sexual scripts, increase sexual arousal, and facilitate orgasm.
Dyadic Sexual Relationships
Adolescents and adults in developed countries and urban areas in many parts of the world have choices regarding sexual expression. These choices may include being single, celibate (unmarried) or chaste (abstaining from sexual intercourse) for some or all of one’s life. The most common forms of adult sexuality, however, are those that occur within dyadic relationships.
Casual relationships There are two kinds of casual relationships that are most common and easily identifiable. The first are casual dating relationships, while the second are casual sexual relationships. Casual dating most commonly begins in adolescence. The precursor to dating is generally the mixed-gender group friendships that form in preadolescence. These are followed developmentally by group dating, then by dyadic (or couple) dating of increasing levels of intimacy and commitment, and finally by cohabitation and/or marriage. As teens move from mixed-gender friendship to group dating to couple dating, their levels of intimacy, commitment, emotional maturity, and sexual experience tend to increase (Connolly et al., 2004; Gallmeier et al., 2002). Friendship networks often play important and varied roles in the dating process (Harper et al., 2004; Connolly et al., 2004; Kuttler and La Greca, 2004). In general, adolescent dating relationships do not lead to long-term committed relationships, but rather serve as contexts for adolescents to develop and practice the intimacy and communication skills that their