A new paper indicates that people with psychopathic traits have a preference for non-romantic sexual fantasies with anonymous and uncommitted partners.

The authors did two studies to examine relationships between psychopathic traits and sexual fantasy content. In the first study, they rated content themes in the fantasy narratives of 195 Canadian students. In the second, they administered a sexual fantasy questionnaire to 355 Canadian students. In the first study, they found that psychopathic traits predicted themes of anonymous, uncommitted, and non-romantic sexual activity after controlling for participant sex. In the second study, they concluded 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. 

The psychologists noted that psychopathic sexual behavior is likely due to a preference for sexual activity outside a loving, committed relationship rather than only an inability to form such relationships.

Individuals with deviant sexual preferences and normal levels of empathy, kindness, and self-control have many strategies for satisfying their needs, including negotiation, compromise, and restraint; however, individuals with high levels of psychopathic traits might turn to sexually aggressive strategies to attain gratification.

"Most people have sexual fantasies, and that's quite healthy and normal. People with higher levels of psychopathic traits, however, are more likely to report having actually engaged in those fantasized behaviors, especially when the behaviors weren't within the context of established romantic relationships," said Dr. Beth Visser, lead author of the Journal of Personality study.

Citation: Visser, B. A., DeBow, V., Pozzebon, J. A., Bogaert, A. F. and Book, A. (2014), Psychopathic Sexuality: The Thin Line Between Fantasy and Reality. Journal of Personality. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12110