Having Fantasies About Someone You're Not Married To?

The Pros and Cons of Sexual Fantasies in Relationships

RichVintage/Getty Images

Some people believe they are unfaithful, cheating and otherwise breaking their marriage vows if they have sexual fantasies about someone other than their own spouse. Sex therapists state that having sexual fantasies, either about one's spouse or about other partners, is normal and healthy.

What's All the Fuss About?

There appears to be quite a bit of evidence that sexual fantasies are not a sign of sexual inadequacy or deprivation, but are a sign of a healthy and happy sex life.

With more books and articles being written about sexual fantasies about them being a harmless addition to a person's sex life, some conservative and religious leaders are expressing concern that marriage relationships will be damaged with the more lenient attitude being expressed about sexual fantasies.

An Argument Supporting Sexual Fantasies

  • Dr. Joyce Brothers says, "It might relieve some of your guilt to know that many happily married individuals who have no thought or intention of ever betraying their spouse have sexual fantasies about someone other than their spouse."
  • Fantasizing about having sex outside of your marriage is okay. There is nothing wrong with it and is considered to be both a pleasurable and safe emotional outlet. In fact, not having sexual fantasies could cause you to be bored with sex and you could ultimately feel more distance from your mate.
  • Fantasies of sexual liaisons and escapades during sex, whether they are about your spouse or someone else, are a legitimate way to add variety to your sex life. They can be used to generate more passion and intimacy with your spouse.
  • Fantasies are normal and natural occurrences where you can have total control and freedom. You make the decision as to who your lover is and where your sexual encounter happens.
  • Although you can't always control what you think, you can control how you behave.
  • Studies reveal that people who fantasize frequently appear to have more fun in bed and have sex more often. Women have more orgasms during sex than those who refrain from fantasizing about their sex lives.
  • Therapists now consider it unhealthy for individuals to not have sexual fantasies. Researchers believe that people who say they aren't having sexual fantasies are either not admitting it, not paying attention to their own thoughts or receiving their fantasies through movies or books.

The Case Against Having a Sexual Fantasy

  • It is unhealthy to become obsessed with your fantasies to the extent that they take over your life and ultimately disrupt your marriage relationship.
  • Sexual fantasies and having lustful thoughts about other people is considered cheating and a sin to some people/in some religious communities.
  • You could reach a point of not being able to distinguish between reality and fantasy.
  • It is sometimes not healthy to nurture images of having sex with a specific person other than your spouse. The images can contribute to lowering your resistance to infidelity.
  • Fantasizing about other people can be a danger sign in your marriage. You could be trying to escape not being turned on by your spouse.
  • You may be fantasizing about things that are missing from your marriage. The fantasies are a compensation for an inadequate sex life. This now widely discounted 'deficiency theory' was started by Sigmund Freud in 1908 when he stated that "a happy person never fantasizes, only a dissatisfied one."
    Judy Dutton elaborates, "This is called the 'deficiency theory,' which states that for whatever's lacking on our lives that we want -- more sex, more orgasms, or a partner that could appear in a Victoria's Secret fashion show -- we'll conjure up a virtual stand-in. The more conjuring we do, the less satisfying our real-life sex lives must be."

    Where It Stands Today

    Most marriage experts believe that fantasies are in your mind and are your private thoughts to which no one has a right to intrude. If you do decide to share your fantasies with your spouse, the two of you need to set guidelines and honor each other's limits.