Your Sexual Fantasies – Part III
When Fantasy and Reality Clash
Clients sometimes come to sex therapy when they feel their sexual fantasies are interfering with their ability to have a healthy sex life with their partner. For some, the problem resides in the fact that they are unable to get aroused without the fantasy. The fantasy has become a must: something that is necessary for sexual functioning and gratification.
Other times, they find themselves unable to eroticize real (i.e. not fantasized) people. As you can imagine, this can be a source of much pain and frustration for the person and within the couple.
Sexual fantasies can also become problematic when someone spends too much time in fantasy land, like in excessive porn use for example. In extreme cases, a person can spend sleepless nights watching pornography. You can imagine the repercussions such an unhealthy use of fantasy can have: fatigue, absenteeism, psychological pain (shame, guilt, social isolation) let alone genital discomfort from too much stimulation.
Sexual fantasies become a real serious problem in 3 ways: 1) when a person is unable to distinguish between what is real and what is fantasy, 2) when one feels out of control and fears acting out fantasies that involve harming themselves or others, or 3) if fantasies actually lead todangerously acting out. It you find yourself is this situation, seek help now.
Whether our fantasies are healthy or not can be revealed in how we relate to them.
When assessing if your fantasies are healthy or not, consider these questions: What drives me to fantasize sexually? Is it about pleasure seeking, relaxation or treating myself? Or is it to escape my problems, responsibilities or uncomfortable feelings? Do I feel overwhelmed or consumed by my fantasies? Does the amount of time I spend thinking about my fantasies affect my day to day activities, responsibilities or relationships?
How you feel after having indulged in your sexual fantasies can also be a good indicator of a healthy fantasy life. If you feel guilt or shame about what you fantasize about and this affects your self-worth, creates depression or anxiety, you might need to take a closer look at what’s behind your discomfort and make peace with that part of your sexuality.
So how healthy is your fantasy life?