Sexual fantasies are common, normal, healthy, and harmless. Many of us have cherished this modern viewpoint in order to achieve freedom from guilt and shame about our sexual feelings and thoughts. We have struggled against rigid Puritan values that permit only a very narrow range of sexual expression. So why question our sexual fantasies now? Unfortunately for most sex addicts, sexual fantasies are not free from harmful consequences. They may spawn obsessions that are intrusive and compelling. They disrupt peace of mind. Fantasies often lead towards undesired, risky behavior.
The following questions may help you to examine fantasies that arise and decide whether they are helpful or harmful.
Why is this fantasy appealing to me?
What does it do for me?
What problem does it seem to solve?
What feelings does it help me to avoid?
What risks would I face if I act on this fantasy?
What are the negative consequences for myself? – (Consider financial, health, job, relationships, self-esteem, and emotional consequences.)
What are the negative consequences for others?
How am I deceiving myself about these consequences?
It will be different this time. I’m smarter. I’ve got it figured out now.
At least it is not as bad as ____________?
It won’t hurt anyone if they don’t know. I can control it. I will stop before any harm is done.
What other things do I tell myself to rationalize or minimize the risks?
What is it I really need? The fantasy is a substitute for ____________?