Psychopathic Sexuality: The Thin Line Between Fantasy and Reality


  • The authors would like to thank Farah Sultani for her conscientious research assistance on this project.


In two studies, we explored the relations between psychopathic traits and sexual fantasy content. In Study 1, we rated content themes in the fantasy narratives of 195 men and women recruited at a Canadian university. In Study 2, we administered a sexual fantasy questionnaire to a sample of 355 Canadian undergraduate students. In Study 1, we found that psychopathic traits predicted themes of anonymous, uncommitted, and nonromantic sexual activity after controlling for participant sex. In Study 2, we found that psychopathy added to the prediction of self-reported engagement in unrestricted, dominant, submissive, deviant, and adventurous sexual activity, even after controlling for participant sex and level of fantasizing about that activity. Furthermore, an interaction between psychopathy and level of fantasizing was observed for unrestricted and deviant sexual behavior, such that participants who reported high levels of fantasizing about these sexual themes were more likely to engage in that behavior if they also reported high levels of psychopathic traits. These findings suggest that psychopathy is related not only to interest in particular sexual behaviors, but also to whether individuals will translate these fantasized behaviors into reality.