The Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the Sexual Fantasy Experience Scale

Rachel Hasson*, Karni Ginzburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinicians and researchers consider sexual fantasies to be a central aspect of human sexuality. Although these are subjective experiences, most studies have assessed only their frequency and content. A measure that assesses individuals’ subjective experience of sexual fantasies is therefore needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of a new measure, the Sexual Fantasy Experience Scale (SFES). In Study 1, the SFES was administered to 391 participants (240 defined themselves as women, 149 as men, and 2 as other). In Study 2, the SFES was administered to 426 participants (255 defined themselves as women, 167 as men, and 4 as other), along with a battery of questionnaires including the New Sexual Satisfaction Scale Short Form and the Global Measure of Sexual Satisfaction, both of which measure sexual satisfaction, as well as the Sexual Fantasy Checklist, which evaluates the content of sexual fantasies and their frequency. Five reliable SFES subscales emerged from Study 1: playfulness, limitlessness, functionality, intrusiveness, and shame. In Study 2, a confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the scale’s underlying factor structure, which was obtained in Study 1. The subscales of the SFES contributed to the explained variance of the assessments of sexual satisfaction, beyond the contribution of the fantasies’ content and frequency, demonstrating the incremental validity of the subscales. The results of the present analyses suggest that the SFES has good psychometric properties, making it useful as an assessment tool for future research, clinical practice, and sex education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1030
Number of pages16
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Sexual Fantasy Experience Scale (SFES)
  • Sexual fantasy
  • Sexual satisfaction
  • Sexuality


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