One of the most frequent questions I’m asked when people learn about how I’m writing The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts in response to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon is, “Do you think all fantasy is wrong?”
The answer is “Absolutely, positively NO!”
I do NOT think that ALL fantasy is wrong! In fact, I think God designed the human brain in such a way that fantasy can actually be God’s gift to us for a wide variety of reasons!
In Christian circles, we may hear a little about how fantasy is our foe, but we don’t often hear about how fantasy can be our friend! Let’s fix that, shall we?
I know… talking about this can seem a little uncomfortable, or even scary! Just the word itself—fantasy—can illicit all kinds of anxiety among Christians. In fact, I’d say that fantasy seems to be an even more taboo word than sex!
But before we throw the baby out with the bath water and assume that all fantasy is unhealthy, dangerous, and therefore entirely off limits, let’s consider in this 5-part blog series how fantasy can actually be our friend…
Fantasy can help numb us to unbearable pain.
When my daughter was a brand-new driver, she hit a tree and did a face-plant into her windshield, requiring twelve stitches to keep her ear attached to her head. As she lay trembling on the emergency room table wide-eyed with fright, I was desperate to help her cope with the pain and trauma of it all. I resorted to fantasy. “Erin, let’s pretend we’re going on a trip to anywhere in the world you want to go! Where to? Australia? Okay! Now tell me who do you want to take with you? Our friends Terrica and Sharon? Absolutely! Who else? Where will you want to take them once we arrive? What will we do there?” The fantasy went on for twenty minutes—long enough for the doctor to finish his sewing project. Through this experience, I was reminded of how our imagination is a gift from God—one that can distract us from great pain when necessary.
Carrie Orthner says
I agree, fantasy or imagination can be used for good in our lives. A more clinical definition is that it is at times a necessary coping mechanism for someone going through physical or emotional trauma. But, it is also a tool of the enemy to bring great dissatisfaction to our otherwise often mundane lives as women. God spoke this truth to my heart when I was asking him to set me free from a battle with sexual fantasy I’ve suffered with for way too long. ~Carrie
I’m not sure fantasy is the right word in this case. Simply imagining one’s spouse and thinking of time with one’s spouse is not fantasy. Imagining one’s spouse to be something other than what they are is fantasy and is just as bad as men who think of the last porn rag to make sex with their wives more exciting. It’s not her. Her whole person and their relationship is not what stimulates him. Fantasy involves unrealistic expectations, that’s why they’re called fantasies.
It’s only as we get older that both my husband and I realize that both of us have indulged way too many ‘fantasies.’ We thought we were thinking of each other in all this. We bought into the Mark Driscollesque “Christians should have the best sex lives in the world” idea. I see how we basically have both used each other and spent so much time being attracted to someone who really wasn’t the spouse, but our ‘fantasy’ of what the spouse should be.
I get what you’re saying, I just think it’s not a fantasy and using the word is fraught with confusion, only perpetuating the problem.
I also am not sure that every sexual problem is going to be tied to some bad thing that happened to us as children. Everyone has had SOMETHING bad happen to them. Everyone reacts sinfully in some way to moral and natural evil. The solution isn’t necessarily going back and psychoanalyzing everything, but in finding forgiveness in Christ and focusing more on him than on ourselves and our ‘progress.’ Only then can we be free to give, to lose, to be unselfish, because Christ has won for us all that we need, Christ has paid the price and adopted us into a family where we can freely give because he has freely given.