Fantasy: is it sin?

No, I’m not talking about fantasy in a sci-fi/fantasy sense- I’m talking sex.

Is it wrong to fantasize?  Many women will admit to fantasies of being held, talked to, emotionally stimulated in some way.  They will admit that sometimes they dream about people they’ve met in passing.  Not necessarily always in a strictly sexual sense, sometimes it’s just about companionship.

But if we are Christian a question remains: is it sin?

Psychologically speaking fantasy is a “safe” way in which to engage in behaviors deemed “unsafe” in reality.  One knows one would pay a price for arguing with one’s mother, so one fantasizes.  One knows one isn’t ever going to date Edward Norton, so one fantasizes.  Fantasy can also be an exercise for certain things one is unsure of- and in this sense women have much more active fantasy lives then men.  Women tend to fantasize about the course of the day, how to interact with a boss, what to make for dinner.  Women tend to think about these things to a much greater extent than men.  It’s not a wonder we’re often seen as a “mystery” seeing as we spend such a large amount of time in our heads.  (And yes- I realize this is a gross generalization.  Some men operate this way and some women simply don’t.)

Yet, the question remains:  when it comes to sex, is it a sin?

Ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Do you ever replace real interaction, necessary interaction, with fantasy? Are there times where you know you need to discuss something, and yet you don’t?  Where the anger/disatisfaction/desire you are feeling causes a rift in your relationship, and yet you continue to exorcise it with fantasy instead of interaction?
  2. Do you find yourself unattracted to your mate and only stimulated by fantasy?  This is a major problem- and in this way fantasy can be as dangerous as pornography.
  3. Does your fantasy life take you out of your daily life to the point that it’s an obstruction? You know the kids staring out of the window instead of listening in class?  Is this you in your job?  Your marriage?

Do you throw yourself into romance novels?  Soap operas?  Do you find yourself hurting and longing for something that you only achieve in fantasy?  While in small doses an argument can be made for the safeness and even health of fantasy, there’s a time when you need to embrace and appreciate reality.

Not to mention communication, communication, communication- perhaps if you tell your spouse that you fantasize about being spoken to in a certain way, held in a certain way, approached in a certain way, you’ll find that his eager to behave this way himself and fulfill you.

But- is it sin?  In Matthew 5:28 Jesus says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Where is your heart?  Is it with your spouse, your life?  Or have you given it to something unattainable, something that is only in your head?

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14 thoughts on “Fantasy: is it sin?

  1. well, like anything that is not specifically identified as “sin” in the bible, the answer would have to be: fantasizing is only a sin for you if it is a sin for you. But I don’t like that sin word anyway, I use “unhealthy” more often. So, yes, fantasy can become unhealthy, but so can a lot of things. What is unhealthy for one person may not be so for another. And this is just one of those “log in your own eye” kind of things we have to work out for ourselves instead of worrying about what others are doing. But inherently sinful-nope.

  2. If the question is about ‘sin’ then I agree with Burning Prairie’s response. If it’s about what’s unhealthy, then I’d have to say if the answer someone has to any of your three questions is “yes” then, they should consider that their fantasy life is unhealthy. I’ve never been a subscriber to the “you only live twice” song lyrics. The life you want to lead, the one that you are fantasizing about in your head,should be the life you have in reality,or at least should be the life you are attemptig to have. Generally speaking, that is. In other words, if you want to wear red crotchless panties to bed, don’t fantasize about doing it- do it. if you want to wear them to work or whilst bludgeoing your mother-in-law to death with your six-year-old’s baseball bat, best keep that a fanstasy. If the desire to bludgeon your m-i-l becomes too overwhelming (wearing red panties or otherwise) therapy, or at least divorce, might be in order.

  3. Burning Prairie and Patricia: I would tend to agree with both of you. If it is inherently sinful, why would such a large amount of women naturally have such a tendency for it? But as so many natural tendencies (like sexual drive and physical appetite) when abused it becomes dangerous, or even sinful.

    Thank you both for your comments!

  4. I think that verse from Matthew is taken out of context. The point Jesus was trying to make is that people shouldn’t feel all high-and-mighty about never having physically slept with another person if they’ve basically meant to do it but never followed through with the act.

    If you don’t take it in context, you might as well stab to death with a knife every person you’re angry with, since Jesus says hating your brother is basically the same as murdering.

    Read it in context.

  5. Holy Scripture is not vague or situational.

    The marriage bed is undefiled. Anything outside of that is selfish, self serving and just plain ole sin.

    Period.

    But rationalize all you want if it makes you feel better. Just watch out for all of those personal pronouns. I, me, my… those usually give a hint about who is the priority.

  6. I’ve decided to wholesale reject the unnecessary emotional baggage that is associated with “sin”, “damnation”, et al. If it floats your boat to continue with such definitions, well… but bear with me here.

    I was taught that sin, within the context of damnation, is simply that which holds me back from spiritual well-being and holding a meaningful relationship with my Eternal Father. My personal experience (that’s MINE, get it?) is that He has always remained patient, loving, and desirous of my attention; but that sometimes I push myself away from that.

    I was also taught that thoughts, words, and deeds influence each other, and that virtue “should garnish [my] thoughts unceasingly… that [my] confidence [should] wax strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45).

    It is my perception that you are addressing such matters– if such keeps you from reality and meaning in your life– don’t do it! I see my marriage relationship intertwined with my relationship with God, because the promises I made entailed such a contractual obligation.

    fantasy can be as dangerous as pornography

    I’m taking this a little bit out of context, but I believe a spade is a spade. I don’t appreciate some women’s rants about men and pornography, while avoiding “erotica” and such. It’s a really slippery slope, and so they are basically the same in my book. I know my church has spoken out against indulgences with contemporary romance novels and soap operas because they can lead to similar consequences. Some members have noted that contemporary romance has been leaning more towards explicit descriptions of sex in recent years, and so it is less of a gray area than it used to be.

    It should be well noted that “the high road” is fading– attitudes towards adult literature in general are softening. The notion that pornography is a man’s thing is on the way out. I think it a great disservice to claim “women’s fantasy is not the same as men’s pornography.” As gender roles continue to be deconstructed, the line continues to blur, and the double standard just ain’t gonna cut it.

  7. Ubuntucat: But that’s exactly the point I was making in the verse- if fantasy crosses the line to making our hearts unfaithful, Jesus does condemn it, doesn’t he? I’m not saying that in all ways thinking about something is the same is doing it, because in that case we’re all murderous whoremongers. But when it bleeds into our hearts it becomes like a poison.

    M54: You are right, the Bible says what it says.

    Jaklumen: Note that I never said that women’s erotica is different from men’s porn. If it gets the engines going and it is built to get the engines going, I don’t think it’s fair to quibble over whether it’s emotional desire or sexual it’s stimulating. Desire is desire.

    And as for being done with the concept of “sin”, I’m not there yet. I think that there is objective truth about holiness that is found in God and the Bible.

    Clearly defining what that is, on the other hand, appears to be more difficult than a girl would like!

  8. Sin?
    I don’t think I know enough or believe enough about the subject of Christianity to evaluate what “sin” is in that context.
    I CAN say that anything, taken to extremes,can be hurtful.

  9. What a great post! It reminds me of the saying everything in moderation… If your moral compass is intact then how can it be sin – with regards to being in a relationship and fantasizing about your partners brother/sister then its more an indication that perhaps you aren’t either being true to yourself or the reality is that you aren’t so “happy” in that relationship and it’s time to re-evaluate things. Once again, great post, thanks for sharing 😀

  10. I appreciate the question, as well as the fact that you bring it up from a woman’s point of view. Regrettably, some women do seem to see the danger of unfaithfulness and escapism that getting caught up in romance novels can often be (just like some guys don’t see ogling the ladies in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition as unfaithfulness and sin, since the magazine isn’t “officially” porn).

    I can appreciate SanityFound’s point of view, except that saying “[i]f your moral compass is intact then how can it be sin” leads to a dangerous bit of circular reasoning. Calling sin “not sin” is one of the most helpful ways we learn that our moral compass is not intact (Isaiah 5:20-21). That turns into substituting our own judgment for God’s on these matters, which — we would all have to admit — the Bible does not speak glowingly of (Deut. 12:8, Proverbs 14:12, et al.).

    When Job spoke of not looking on a young woman unfaithfully because he had made a “covenant with [his] eyes” in Job 31:1, I would dare say that includes the eyes of the mind, as well, and Christ’s words of Matt. 5:28 that you give as guidance are exactly the principle at hand.

    Our covenants with our spouses deserve (and rightfully demand) 100% of our energies, and the escapism of sexual fantasy is, indeed, sin. We shouldn’t give to another that which we told God we would give only to our spouse.

    Actually, yesterday a friend of mine sent me notes from a sermon he gave recently and it included this quote form Shannon Ethridge’s book Every Woman’s Battle: “Men and women struggle in different ways when it comes to sexual integrity. While a man’s battle
    begins with what he takes in through his eyes, a woman’s begins with her heart and her thoughts. A woman’s battle is for sexual and emotional integrity.” While I haven’t read the book, it might be very helpful on this topic.

    Sorry for going on so long, but I have just one more relevant verse: Matthew 15:9 speaks directly to the idea of thoughts of fornication and adultery, and the things discussed here are textbook cases of what Christ was wrestling against in that culture. To avoid acts of adultery and fornication but to indulge thoughts of such acts in our mind is still sin — the message to us is just as true (and needed!) as it was to His listeners in the first century.

    Ack — I’m embarrassed I’ve been so long winded! Thanks for bringing up the topic!

  11. I think Shannon Ethridge oversimplifies re. women and men. Really.

    As for highly erotic “romance” novels, they’ve been around for a long time – the “bodice ripper” subgenre took off during the late 1970s – early 1980s. My guess is that a lot of it always was soft-core porn, but that people shied away from labeling it as such. Now it’s morphed into something much more hard core – and I think the pretense that it’s “nothing” is a foolish one.

    I think that’s all i have to say for now. 😉

  12. Fantasies are not sinful. Without them, we would have no psychic connection to sexual feelings, therefore we would not achieve sexual gratification. If people did not fantasize, there wouldn’t be people.

  13. I agree with DKN: fantasies are not sinfull, acting on them is both if you’re not married AND/OR if you just wanna git-your-kiks (not the cereal). Looky here…

    Precisely why I had our ‘philanthropic + epiphany’ (=so much to give + vision): wanna see a perfectly cognizant, fully-spectacular, Son-ripened-Heaven?? … yet, I’m not sure if we’re on the same page if you saw what I saw. Greetings, earthling. Because I was an actual NDE on the outskirts of the Great Beyond at 15 yet wasn’t allowed in, lemme share with you what I actually know Seventh-Heaven’s Big-Bang’s gonna be like: meet this advanced, bombastic, ex-mortal Upstairs for the most juvenile-lip-service, ultra-groovy, picturesque-paradox, pleasure-beyond-measure, Ultra-Yummy-Reality-Addiction in the Great Beyond for a BIG-ol, kick-some-ass, party-hardy, robust-N-risqué-passion you DO NOT wanna miss the sink-your-teeth-in-the-smmmokin’-hot-deal enveloping, engulfing our catch-22-excitotoxins. Cya soon, girl…

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