Having Fantasies About Someone You're Not Married to?

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Some people believe they are unfaithful, cheating, and breaking their marriage vows if they have sexual fantasies about someone other than their own spouse. Sex therapists state that having sexual fantasies, either about one's spouse or about other partners, is normal and healthy.

Latest Developments

There appears to be quite a bit of evidence that sexual fantasies are not a sign of sexual inadequacy or deprivation, but are a sign of a healthy, happy sex life.

What's All the Fuss About?

With more books and articles being written about sexual fantasies being a harmless addition to a person's sex life, conservative and some religious leaders are expressing concern that marriage relationships will be damaged with the more lenient attitude being expressed about sexual fantasies.

Pros and Cons of Sexual Fantasies Within a Marriage

Yes, Sexual Fantasies are Okay

  • Dr. Joyce Brothers: "It might relieve some of your guilt to know that many happily married individuals who have no thought or intention of ever betraying their spouse have sexual fantasies about someone other than their spouse."
    Source: Joyce Brothers. "There is nothing wrong with fantasizing about sex outside your marriage." Seattlepi.com. 7/8/2004.
  • Fantasizing about having sex outside your marriage is okay. There is nothing wrong with it and is considered to be both pleasurable and a safe emotional outlet. In fact, NOT having sexual fantasies could cause you to be bored with sex, and you ultimately could feel more distance from your mate.
  • Fantasies of sexual liaisons and escapades during sex, whether they are about your spouse or someone else, are a legitimate way to add variety to your sex life. They can be used to generate more passion and intimacy with your spouse.
  • Fantasies are normal and natural occurrences where you can have total control and freedom. You make the decision as to who your lover is and where your sexual encounter happens.
  • Although you can't always control what you think, you can control how you behave.
  • Studies reveal that people who fantasize frequently appear to have more fun in bed, have sex more often, and women have more orgasms during sex than those who refrain from fantasizing about their sex lives.
  • Therapists now consider it unhealthy for individuals to not have sexual fantasies. Researchers believe that people who say they aren't having sexual fantasies are either not admitting it, not paying attention to their own thoughts, or receiving their fantasies through movies or books.

    No, Sexual Fantasies are Wrong

    • You may become obsessed with your fantasies to the extent that the fantasies can take over your lives and ultimately ruin your marriage relationship.
    • Sexual fantasies and having lustful thoughts about other people is cheating and a sin.
    • You could reach a point of not being able to distinguish between reality and fantasy.
    • It is not healthy to nurture images of having sex with someone other than your spouse. The images can contribute to lowering your resistance to infidelity.
    • Fantasizing about other people is a danger sign in your marriage. You could be trying to escape not being turned on by your spouse.
    • You may be fantasizing about things that are missing from your marriage. The fantasies are a compensation for an inadequate sex life. This 'deficiency theory' was started by Sigmund Freud in 1908 when he stated that "a happy person never fantasizes, only a dissatisfied one."
    Judy Dutton: "This is called the 'deficiency theory,' which states that for whatever's lacking on our lives that we want -- more sex, more orgasms, or a partner that could appear in a Victoria's Secret fashion show -- we'll conjure up a virtual stand-in. The more conjuring we do, the less satisfying our real-life sex lives must be."
    Source: Judy Dutton. How We Do It: How the Science of Sex Can Make You a Better Lover. 2009. pg. 210.

    Where It Stands

    Most marriage experts believe that fantasies are in your mind and are your private thoughts to which no one has a right to intrude.

    If you do decide to share your fantasies with your spouse, the two of you need to set guidelines and honor each other's limits.