Sexual Daydreaming Scale of the Imaginal Processes Inventory

Sexual Daydreaming Scale of the Imaginal Processes Inventory‌

LEONARD M. GIAMBRA,National Institute on Aging

JEROME L. SINGERYale University

The Imaginal Processes Inventory (IPI) was developed to measure the various aspects of daydreaming and related mental processes, such as attention, distractibility, and curiosity. The IPI is intended to be taken by normally functioning persons and is meant to measure the range of nor- mal functioning. The Sexual Daydreaming Scale (SDS) was constructed to reveal the extent to which a person has daydreams of a sexual or erotic nature.


The SDS consists of 12 items selected initially by requesting a large sample of “normal” adults to record their recurrent fantasies. An additional sample of respondents reviewed these fantasies and checked off those they had experienced by indicating the degree of frequency on a Likert-type scale. Those items bearing specifically on sexuality and showing reasonable intercorrelations as well as relatively normal distributions on the 5-point scale were employed for further refinement in the procedure used for generating the 12-item scales of the IPI (Singer & Antrobus, 1963, 1972). In general, this scale has not been used to any degree independently of the other 27 scales that make up the IPI because it loads on at least two of the three second-order factors that consistently emerge from the larger questionnaire.

Response Mode and Scoring

Each of the 12 items has the same five optional responses: Definitely Not True For Me, Usually Not True For Me, Usually True For Me, True For Me, and Very True For Me. These options, in the order given, are assigned increasing larger integer values, either 0 to 4 or 1 to 5, depending upon the study cited. All items are scored directly, and a scale score consists of the sum of the values of the responses to the 12 items. Using this scoring method, the SDS can range from a minimum of zero to a maximum of 48 (or from 12 to 60). Higher scale scores indicate a greater likelihood of sexual daydreaming. An alternate method of scoring based upon a factor analysis of the IPI items is available in Giambra (1980).


The internal consistency of the SDS as measured by Cronbach’s alpha has been reported to be quite high: .87 (Singer & Antrobus, 1972), .93 (Giambra, 1977-1978), .93 ( Giambra, 1979-1980). Test-retest reliability over a 1- to 3-year period based upon 45 men was .58, and no significant difference was observed between the first and second testing, < 1.


In a sample of 565 men and 745 women from 17 to 92 years of age, it was found that the SDS correlated -.56 for men and -.52 for women with age; the partial correlation holding daydreaming frequency constant was -.41 for men and -.40 for women (Giambra, 1979-1980). For a life-span sample of men, Giambra and Martin (1977) determined that men who reported having a greater number of coital partners, who had a greater frequency of coitus during the first year or two of marriage, or who had a higher number of sexual events per week between ages 20 and 40 had significantly higher SDS values. For a sample of 477 women aged 40 to 60 years, the SDS was found to be significantly related to menopausal state, a menopausal symptom index, frequency of masturbation, interest in sexual relations relative to partner, and level of moodiness prior to menstrual period (Giambra, 1983a, 1983b); however, age did interact with these variables.

An extensive study of masturbatory fantasy in college students conducted by Campagna (1975) included a factor analysis of self-reports of sexual behavior as well as the scales of two factors of the IPI. One factor, reflecting a generally positive and constructive acceptance and use of daydreaming, included positive loadings for the SDS. Higher frequency and variability of sexual behavior of a relatively conventional heterosexual type was associated with higher scale scores for sexual fantasy. Those subjects who reported more elaborate “story-like” masturbation fantasies were also more likely to report more general fantasies and more sexual daydreams on the IPI.

Other Information

A revised, restandardized short form of the Imaginal Processes Inventory (SIPI) has been developed by Huba, Aneshensel, and Singer (1981). This 45-item inventory taps the three second-order factors emerging from the longer IPI. The three scales are: Poor Attentional Control (mindwandering and distractibility), Positive-Constructive Daydreaming, and Guilty-Dysphoric Daydreaming. In a study conducted by Rosenberg (1983) examining sexual fantasy and overt behavior in young male adults, there were indications that the Poor Attentional Control pattern char- acterized men who had more homosexual and less hetero- sexual fantasies or less masturbatory fantasies involving past sexual experiences. The Guilty Daydreaming Scale was more associated with masturbatory fantasies of beating or domination in masturbatory imagination (= .34). The data suggested positive general daydreaming is associated with a more accepting attitude toward sexual behavior and sexual fantasies.

The longer form of the IPI is copyrighted by Singer and Antrobus and is available online at The Measurement Group ( evaluationtools/ipi.htm). Persons using the instrument should acknowledge its origin. A copy of any resulting publication would be appreciated by the authors. The SIPI is also available at that site, though at the time of the original publication, the SIPI had not been studied for clinical application.

Address correspondence to Leonard M. Giambra, United States Coast Guard Academy, 15 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT 06320; e-mail: Leonard. [email protected]

Sexual Daydreaming Scale

  1. My daydreams about love are so vivid, I actually feel they are occurring.

  2. I imagine myself to be physically attractive to people of the opposite sex.

  3. While working intently at a job, my mind will wander to thoughts about sex.

  4. Sometimes on my way to work, I imagine myself making love to an attractive person of the opposite sex.

  5. My sexual daydreams are very vivid and clear in my mind.

  6. While reading, I often slip into daydreams about sex or making love to someone.

  7. While traveling on a train or bus [or airplane], my idle thoughts turn to love.

  8. Whenever I am bored, I daydream about the opposite sex.

  9. Sometimes in the middle of the day, I will daydream of having sexual relations with someone I am fond of.

  10. In my fantasies, I arouse great desire in someone I admire.

  11. Before going to sleep, my idle thoughts turn to love-making.

  12. My daydreams tend to arouse me physically.

Note. Item 7 has been modified from the original by addition of the material in brackets.


Campagna, A. F. (1975). The function of men’s erotic fantasies during masturbation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

Giambra, L. M. (1977-1978). Adult male daydreaming across the lifespan: A replication, further analyses, and tentative norms based upon retrospective reports. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 8, 197-228.

Giambra, L. M. (1979-1980). Sex differences in daydreaming and related mental activity from the late teens to the early nineties. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 10, 1-34.

Giambra, L. M. (1980). A factor analysis of the items for the Imaginal Processes Inventory. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 36, 383-409.

Giambra, L. M. (1983a). Daydreaming in 40- to 60-year-old women: Menopause, health, values, and sexuality. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 39, 11-21.

Giambra, L. M. (1983b). Sexual daydreams in 40- to 60-year old women: The influence of menopause, sexual activity, and health. In J. E. Shorr, G. Gobel-Whittington, P. Robin, & J. Connella (Eds.), Imagery: Theoretical and clinical applications (Vol. 3, pp. 297-302). New York: Plenum.

Giambra, L. M., & Martin, C. E. (1977). Sexual daydreams and quantita- tive aspects of sexual activity: Some relations for males across adult- hood. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 6, 497-505.

Huba, G. J., Aneshensel, C. S., & Singer, J. L. (1981). Development of scales for three second-order factors of inner experience. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 16, 181-206.

Rosenberg, L. G. (1983). Sex-role identification, erotic fantasy and sexual behavior: A study of heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual males. Unpublished predissertation research, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

Singer, J. L., & Antrobus, J. S. (1963). A factor analytic study of day- dreaming and conceptually related cognitive and personality vari- ables [Monograph]. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 17 (Suppl. 3-V17), 187-209.

Singer, J. L., & Antrobus, J. S. (1972). Daydreaming, imaginal processes, and personality: A normative study. In P. Sheehan (Ed.), The function and nature of imagery (pp. 175-202). New York: Academic Press.