When I wrote my piece for Victoria Janssen's blog, it originally contained this paragraph:
While I would assume most romance readers are straight women, f/f sex and three-way sex are two of the most common sexual fantasies for women, regardless of their orientation. I’d extrapolate that straight women fantasize about f/f sex as much as lesbians fantasize about m/m—which is rather a lot more than logic might predict. Which has made me wonder why f/f and f/f/m erotic content has been less than enthusiastically embraced by romance readers.
After sending it to a couple of buddies to vet it for me, one of them replied with this:
I'm not sure about. There are a lot of assumptions, and a lot of arguable points. Lesbians fantasize about m/m? f/f and three ways female fantasy? I think you need to add more to support these claims. Or give a reason why you think this.
Now, this is a case of "I know what I know". I know some lesbians fantasize about m/m sex, because many of the best m/m writers and most avid (and exclusive) m/m fans are lesbians. I personally know a fair number of women (who identify as straight) who not only fantasize about f/f sex, but have experimented with it in real life, or engaged in f/f/m threesomes at their own behest, not their boyfriends'. And I absolutely know women of any orientation get physically turned on by it, because this study proves it. But that doesn't mean any of them go out of their way to think about it, just that they respond to it when it's put in front of them.
In a climate predisposed to sneer at the mere mention of two girls kissing, and in a community prone to blanket denials of f/f's appeal or claims that only straight guys would ever want to read/fantasize/think about women together, anecdotal and tangential evidence are not evidence at all.
So off I went on a quest to find some hard numbers to back up my claims. After two days of combing the internet, I ended up feeling like Frodo Baggins would have felt had he crossed Middle Earth and climbed Mount Doom only to find a pile of cold cinders and an "out of order" sign.
My path was strewn with pitfalls, baited traps and mirages. I mean, how serious can you take the claim that getting it on with another girl and three-way sex are two of the top ten things women fantasize about when the list is posted at askmen.com alongside articles on how to pick up hot chicks? And every time I found a promising lead on a sexual health or women's health website, it turned out to be merely sun-shimmer on sand--advice columns where straight women wonder if it's normal to fantasize about f/f, the expert reply always being that it's "normal" or "common" or that "many" or even "most" straight women have these feelings.
But numbers? Links to research papers? Nary a one.
At last, I found this:
Masters and Johnson (1978), for example, found that what they term "cross-preference encounters" were the third most frequent category of sexual fantasy for both homosexual males and homosexual females, the fourth most frequent fantasy for heterosexual males and the fifth most frequent fantasy for heterosexual females.
At last! Hard numbers! Except, they're not. Fifth most frequent? What the eff does THAT mean? I mean, say they studied a hundred straight women. Fifth most frequent could mean that all hundred women fantasized about f/f, but they did so less frequently than, say, non-con, stranger sex, boyfriend sex and double penetration. Or it could mean 80 of the women NEVER thought about it, and the other 20 thought about it to the exclusion of anything else. Or pretty much anything in between.
And Masters & Johnson, 1978? Seriously? Dudes, this is absolutely sad. Nobody's bothered studying this or writing any articles about said studies since 19fucking78??!! No wonder so many women were writing into those advice columns asking whether they could think about chicks doing each other and still be straight. It's not like they can actually, you know, google it and find out. Unless they have academic privileges, I guess.
So where the eff are the men in lab coats? What are they doing? Apparently, they're studying the effectiveness of condoms fitted to order, or how many women fantasize about rape (lots of hard numbers there) and its impact on the perceptions of violence against women. There are tons of recent studies on how diligently teenagers apply safe sexual practices. Just none, apparently, on what percentage of women fantasize about f/f sex.
I am, to put it mildly, disgruntled.