Having grown up in the golden era of poorly written Tumblr fanfic domination, I'm well aware of the erotic power a fictional character can hold.
The old saying, "You always want what you can't have", rings truer than ever when it comes to our steamy on-screen (or on-page) desires. Maybe it's the escapism, the fact that a fictional character is so painfully out of reach, or simply that you'll never adore anyone the way you did Edward Cullen in 2008.
According to a recent study commissioned by Netflix and conducted by YouGov to celebrate the release of Sex Education season 3 (now streaming on Netflix), 29% of Gen Z in Australia has sexual fantasies about fictional characters.
When I posed the same question in our work Slack chat and to my friends, people began sounding off left, right and centre. It's a bonding moment — finding out which obscure cartoon character set someone's 10-year-old heart on fire, or which Netflix DILF they're currently crushing on.
Here's what they had to say.
Every single man in Bridgerton. Especially Simon Basset. — Niamh, 23, she/her
I know everyone is thirsty for the Duke but can I present a counterargument: Anthony (Bridgerton) his glorious sideburns - Cara, 27, she/her
There’s a very good reason the guy I’m currently dating looks like Darren from Animal Kingdom. I’d be lying if I said that this relationship wasn’t my onscreen crush coming to life, only he’s into women and slightly less of a bad boy. — Bree, 27, she/her
Stiles Stilinski from Teen Wolf! I love a dorky cute boy, and with me being socially inept as a teenager, my mind ran wild on Teen Wolf Tumblr. Specifically, something about seeing Stiles in Season 3 turn into an evil maniac did some stuff to me. Drool. — Shantelle, 24, she/her
Geralt from the Witcher played by Henry Cavill. I literally only watch the show for the faint hope that he will appear nude in the bathtub, I pay no attention to the actual plotline. — Tina, 27, she/her
Lilo's older sister from Lilo and Sitch. The mum from The Incredibles — she invented the hourglass. The sexy fish from Shark Tale was also sultry as hell. — Joss, 23, she/her
I've had way too many thirsty dreams about Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy (Charlie Hunnam) and I don't think I'm alone! Between the long shaggy hair and the bad boy vibes, we've had plenty of wild sex before riding off into the sunset on his motorbike in my dreams. — Billie, 27, she/her
Okay, there was just something about Oliver Wood from Harry Potter. The Scottish accent. The aloof persona. The fact that he was captain of the Quidditch team. That was a man to me at age 13. Unfortunately, Dwight from The Office also comes to mind. But that might only be me. — Sam, 23, she/they
Just going to say it - Steve is the ultimate heartthrob in Stranger Things. It's the hair, the character arc, the classic 80s suburban boy energy. He really rocked that ice-cream shop uniform. — B, 23, she/her
The oldest sister from The Wild Thornberrys had me questioning everything hard as a kid. Zoe Kravitz in High Fidelity has been a fixture of the last three years. — Jasmine, 25, she/they
Milo Ventimiglia's character in Gilmore Girls is all-time. — Arlo, 25, they/them
Klaus Mikaelson. That is enough. — Georgia, 28, she/her
Lords of Dogtown made my type of guy the 'surfer/skater asshole who is damaged and probably gonna gaslight me'. — Marli, 23, she/her
I binged three seasons of The Affair last lockdown and Dominic West as a tortured artist could get it. — Alex, 28, she/her
(Some names have been changed from privacy.)
So it turns out, our fictional crushes are a mixed bag of characters. And dissecting others' preferences and wildest fantasies could be a fun way to spice things up for yourself too. Considering that we're currently in lockdown with seemingly unlimited resources to binge-watch shows like Sex Education to our heart's content, it's prime time to send your imagination into overdrive.
The National Pleasure Survey was conducted by YouGov Galaxy Pty Limited between 6 August and 9 August 2021. Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates for Australia. The survey was conducted in celebration of the launch of Netflix's Sex Education Season 3