Understanding Sexual Fantasies

Fantasies allow us to experience pleasure during sex in the midst of boredom, conflicted feelings, or even painful memories. Though fantasies are complex and not simple to understand, let me at least give you some basic insight. I like to think of fantasies in three categories. Dreams, Fantasy to Orgasm, and Ingrained Fantasies.


Many of us have woken up from a sex dream and thought to ourselves, “Whoa, what was that?” Weird things happen in sex dreams that make no sense and have nothing to do with what we would actually enjoy. We don’t have control over our dreams and we need to just let go of them.

We do however have control over what we feed our mind during the day. If you allow your mind to dwell on things outside of God’s boundaries, you may dream about them. 2 Cor 10:5 says, “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. Beyond that, don’t get caught up in the meaning of a sex dream.

Fantasy to Orgasm

Many books recommend fantasizing in order to help a woman reach orgasm. Even Christian books suggest fantasizing about your husband during self-stimulation to discover how to have an orgasm. Our minds are powerful.

Before Jim and I started working on our sex life, if I was bored during sex, I would sometimes escape in my mind and imagine having sex with Jim on a deserted Island. Fantasizing what I found exciting created the extra push I needed to finish.

When we began working on our sex life, the draw of fantasy decreased.  As I understood that God created sex as a way to know each other, I decided I wanted to stay present.  Instead of imagining what excited me, I wanted to create it with Jim. With vulnerable communication, our sex life got better and better. We talked about new ideas and explored each other’s bodies with renewed energy. Rather than just focusing on mechanics, we also worked on connection during sex. We even shared our fantasies and had a fun time creating them together.

Creating it Together

Jim is a car guy and whenever he shared his fantasies, it always had to do with cars. I could never quite imagine actually enjoying sex in a car because of the fear of getting caught. One night I got an idea. I set up our van in the garage with votive candles on the dashboard. A laptop played a romantic comedy while we made-out on the bench seat covered with blankets. As we watched the movie, we might as well have been parked at a drive-in movie theater. That night we played out my husband’s fantasy in a way that both of us could enjoy.

Another cold winter Saturday I cranked up the heat and told Jim to put on his swim suit. I slipped into my bikini and gathered supplies.  While Jim laid on the large beach towel soaking up the heat, I slowly covered him in suntan lotion. The smells transported us to the beach where we had amazing sex that day – without the nuisance of sand.

God gave us powerful imaginations that can transport us in order to experience pleasure. If we want to get to know each other during sex, then we have to be present. Rather than settling for escaping to experience excitement, create it together. Start talking about sex, have fun, laugh, and enjoy an amazing time of discovering each other.

Ingrained Fantasies

The last category of fantasies is what I would call Ingrained Fantasy. They are the fantasies that appear over and over and less under our control. These fantasies leave us feeling confused or ashamed because the content so drastically opposes real life. Rather than defining us or foretelling our future, these fantasies provide a window into past painful experiences or messages. Our mind has the capability to allow our body to experience pleasure or comfort, even when we go through hard things. So ingrained fantasies aren’t usually about the surface meaning, but a window into a painful time in our life. When we uncover the layers of their deeper meaning, these fantasies loosen their hold and don’t seem quite so scary. Let me give you a few examples to help you understand.


One woman shared that her first husband had died serving in the military. She was blessed to quickly fall in love again. Before she wed, she vowed never to think about her deceased husband during sex. When fantasies of her late husband’s brother popped into her head sex, she realized she wasn’t attracted to his brother. She simply had not allowed herself time to grieve her first husband. Understanding, extending grace, and allowing herself to grieve loosened the hold of the fantasy.

Another woman shared the guilt and shame from visualizing topless women just before orgasm. As we talked, we discovered that as a young girl, she had seen movies in school of topless women in Africa. That same year, her father abandoned her family and she learned to comfort herself through touching herself. Her fantasy had nothing to do with attraction to women. It simply was a window into a very painful time of her life when she needed comfort.

Many Christian women fantasize somehow being forced to have sex. This doesn’t necessarily happen in a violent way but might involve a husband insisting on giving a wife pleasure, while she thinks, “No, you can’t make me enjoy it!” Eventually her body can’t resist and she experiences pleasure. The need for the fantasy comes from a deep-seated belief that good girls don’t enjoy sex. Fantasizing being forced to enjoy sex, allows her body to respond in pleasure, even when her conscience disagrees.

Rather than being afraid and looking at the surface meaning of an ingrained fantasy, search for the deeper understanding. As understanding replaces fear, the fantasy will have less of a hold. Focus on being present with your husband by keeping your eyes open during sex or talking to each other. If your mind wanders, gently pull it back. Eventually you may even decide to stop rewarding the fantasy with orgasm. Focus on connection with your husband and give your mind and body time to learn to respond in new ways. For a more in-depth look, Fantasy Fallacy by Shannon Ethridge is a great Christian resource.

Final Thoughts

Whether you fantasize for excitement or because of past painful experiences, give yourself grace. Gradually move toward God’s design of getting to know each other through sex.  Sometimes, one of the most intimate things we can do is to share the fantasies with our husband. If they are within God’s boundaries you could have some fun by creating it together in your marriage bed. If the fantasy troubles you, then your husband could help you unravel the deeper meaning to unlock your past. God wants us to be fully known.

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