One thing I knew for sure is that I wanted the book to be psychologically sound, but biblically-based. But when the bible says so little about the topic of sexual fantasy, how is that even possible?
Then I remembered what Dr. Tim Clinton, president of American Association of Christian Counselors and my first professor at Liberty University, taught me when I was working on my master’s degree in counseling – that Satan had distorted sexuality seven different ways in the book of Genesis alone…
- Polygamy (Gen. 4:19)
- Homosexuality (Gen.19:5)
- Fornication (Gen. 38:16-18)
- Rape (Gen. 34:2)
- Prostitution (Gen. 38:15)
- Incest (Gen. 19:30-32)
- Evil Seduction (Gen. 39:7)
Having more than one marriage partner, engaging in sex with someone of the same gender, indulging in sex outside of marriage, sex as an act of force, sex as an act of bartering, being intimate with someone young enough to be your child or old enough to be your parent, using sex appeal to lure someone into a forbidden act—aren’t these the very things that most illicit sexual fantasies are made of? So that was the launching point for my brainstorming. I wanted to understand the psychological reasons why one might be tempted in any of these directions.
I began having conference calls with my research team every few days to discuss what needed to be researched. I didn’t want to get too specific in telling them exactly what to look for, so I just gave them a few ideas as to what I might want to say in each chapter, and trusted that they’d be able to filter what kind of research had been done to support (or de-bunk) those theories. Just to give you an idea, I had them research things such as:
- What percentages of people say that they have sexual fantasies that don’t line up with their moral values?
- How common is it to fantasize about a co-worker or a friend’s partner rather than your own?
- What percent of the population fantasizes about having a same-sex partner even though they consider themselves heterosexual?
- What do professionals believe is the reason why a man may fantasize about raping a woman, or why a woman may fantasize about being raped?
- What exactly happens in the brain when a man or woman experiences orgasm? How exactly do our thoughts trigger (or block) that process?
- Can unwanted fantasies be avoided, or troubling fantasies be re-constructed in accordance with one’s values?
Needless to say, we all learned a TON, and were fascinated with what so much of the research revealed!
But I quickly grew so overwhelmed by all of this information and how to organize it, so I literally took several days to type up everything in bite-size pieces. Then I printed that document out (almost 100 pages) and cut it up into sections. I designated a big wall as a “story board” and literally piece-milled the work together with scissors and tape. That wall looked like a scene from A Beautiful Mind, but it totally worked. I felt as if I was able to organize a HUGE amount of information in a tiny amount of time. Sure, the printing, cutting & mapping was tedious and time-consuming, but it kept me from writing, second-guessing, re-writing, and re-writing even more, which would have drained me dry and driven me insane. I believe mapping everything out was probably the best decision I made.
From this map, I was able to formulate an outline of what I wanted to say in this book, and created this Table of Contents:
1. Why Discuss Sexual Fantasies?
2. The Benefits of Boundaries
3. The Faces Behind Sexual Fantasies
4. Pornography: The Fantasy Factory
5. Bartering with Our Bodies
6. When “One Flesh” Isn’t Enough Flesh
7. Grappling with Gay and Lesbian Fantasies
8. Our Fascination with Pleasure, Pain, and Power
9. Putting Fantasy in its Place
I also wanted to weave in personal stories from some of my most memorable coaching clients, so I made several calls and scheduled telephone interviews with them, or I simply wrote the story from my memories of our coaching sessions together and forward it to them for their approval. I was incredibly pleased with their wiliness to share their powerful testimonies about how they learned to understand the root of their own fantasies, and overcome the guilt, shame, and negative impact of them. So after every chapter, there are “Behind the Curtain” features that highlight these stories and help readers see how to apply the principles covered throughout the book – vividly demonstrating how one can control sexual fantasies rather than allowing them to control us!
Although I’d only been allotted 60 days by Thomas Nelson, I was stunned when we completed a 65,000 word book (the maximum for most books of this nature) in only 40 days. This left us 20 days to do a much more thorough job of editing, tweaking, and polishing (hopefully to perfection).
I only cried twice during those 40 days. Well, I should clarify. I only cried tears of stress twice. I cried tears of joy several times – joy that God would allow me to partner with Him in giving birth to this book that will hopefully usher in an even BIGGER tidal wave of (healthy) sexual curiosity than Fifty Shades of Grey!
The Fantasy Fallacy should be coming off the presses any day now, so hopefully next time I’ll be able to tell you what it feels like to finally HOLD the baby we’ve been laboring to bring to life!