Is Sexual Fantasy Women’s Secret Sin?

Two years ago we did a survey on married folks having sexual fantasies about someone other than their spouse. I was surprised by how much of an issue this is among women. It was a problem for men, but just by a bit.

Is Sexual Fantasy Women's Secret Sin?

Forty-seven percent of the women said they’d had a sexual fantasy about someone other than their husband in the last month. Fifteen percent of women (and 16% of men) said they had such fantasies seven or more times in a month.

The most surprising result was about having sexual fantasies about others during sex. Only 16% of men said they do it, while 45% of women admitted to doing it. So the odds a husband is thinking of another woman while having sex with his wife are about a third of the chance his wife is thinking of another man!

My guess is women are more likely to have other person fantasies during sex because they use/need them to get aroused and reach climax. Men get plenty of physical stimulation from sex and tend to focus on those sensations. Boosing arousal with fantasies is a trap because the more a woman does it the more she comes to depend on it.

About half of you don’t do this. But about half of you do. Just because it’s secret doesn’t make it okay. The way to deal with this is to confess to your husband and seek his forgiveness. Tell him you don’t want to do it anymore, and also explain how that may make sex more difficult for you. Tell him what he can do to help you get aroused, and if you need him to slow down or change what he’s doing, say so. Don’t make it sound like your resorting to fantasy was his fault, but do make it clear you need his help to provide what you were getting from fantasy.

The full Survey results are on The Marriage Bed 

~ Paul – I’m XY and only my wife gets to have sex with me in my thoughts.

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17 Comments on “Is Sexual Fantasy Women’s Secret Sin?

  1. I fantasize about my husband during sex. He refuses to do what it takes to get me aroused and climaxed, and if I don’t fit in his time frame and he climaxes before me, we are done. And that leaves me tempted to masturbate and fantasize my sexually aroused frustrations away. So, my compromise is to fantasize about my husband until I reach the “tipping point” and than I open my eyes and fully engage with him.

    While fantasizing, sometimes others come in unbidden and I have to push it away, or even give up trying for climax that way. I pray and over time it has become less of an issue for me. It also helps to avoid sexual stimuli from the outside…tv, movies, magazines, internet. I blocked all my gal pals who post beefcake pics.

      • @Andrew Budek-Schmeisser @Rosemary – I get why you think confession might be a problem. Guys say the same things about porn use and adultery.
        Thing is, I don’t see any exceptions in the Bible. We are to confess our sins in general, and we are to confess and seek reconciliation with those we sin against.
        Aside from all that, not confessing makes it far more likely one will repeat the sin.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Make Your Bride a Platinum Points WifeMy Profile

  2. I’m actually with Paul on this one. It would be a double-standard for us as women to expect husbands to confess porn use or adultery to us, so we shouldn’t get out of something like this. I’ve never had to confess this particular sin to my husband, but I did have to confess another that was pretty intense. Doing it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it has also helped us to be open with each other, and to hold each other accountable.

    • @Alicia – Good for you!
      Unconfessed sin between spouses is like slamming the brakes on the marriage.
      I have had plenty of men say they are keeping quiet for her – they don’t want to hurt her. Maybe they should have been more concerned about her feelings when they were looking at porn or bedding another woman!
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Why Do You Want Sex?My Profile

  3. “My guess is women are more likely to have other person fantasies during sex because they use/need them to get aroused and reach climax”

    I find it sad that so many women have trouble figuring out how to make sex enjoyable for themselves.

    • It’s a two-person deal. We don’t have sex by ourselves so how can we figure it out by ourselves? Please reread the comment by Libl. Though I don’t participate in this fantasy, “figuring figuring out how to make sex enjoyable for” myself is a stretch when married to a sexually selfish husband or one who refuses to discuss anything sexual.

      • @Jolie @Roomtogrow – You both have valid points. We don’t teach girls to value their sexuality for themselves, and we certainly don’t encourage them to learn about the pleasure their bodies can provide. Boys get a lot more freedom in this, and it means they are miles ahead when a couple gets married.
        I suspect a lot of men assume their wife understands her sexuality and will guide him just as he understands his and guides her. If she says nothing he assumes what he’s doing is good. By the time she speaks up, he has deeply set habits.
        And yes, some folks are just selfish when it comes to sex. This is a bigger problem for women than for men, unless the selfishness takes the form or refusing sex most of the time. Sometimes it’s not as much selfishness as an unwillingness to discuss sex.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Be The Change In Your MarriageMy Profile

  4. Interesting. I think your survey certainly opened up the conversation. I feel better knowing other women struggle with this too. The thing is I used to do this too, and I felt convicted to stop, but to be honest it is a LOT harder to get aroused. Not only that but other negative thoughts come into my mind, which make it hard to feel sexy.
    I don’t know what the answer is. I certainly agree that it is a sin. But I don’t know how to handle it better. The problem is too that everyone in the world tells you its normal and important for a woman’s sexuality.
    So, I don’t know the answer, it is indeed a problem, there is no easy solution, but I’m glad the conversation is being had.

    • @Alex – It’s always comforting to know others struggle as we do.
      I think the real danger is it can be a trap. You use it to make sex better or faster, then when you stop things seem even worse than when you started. This is why talking to hubby is important – he needs to know why his wife is suddenly struggling sexually. And if he’s a decent guy, he will both understand and be all about what he can do to help.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…You Can Write The Ultimate Marriage BookMy Profile

    • I personally think that fantasy in itself isn’t wrong. That can be a normal part of a woman’s sexuality. The trick for me has been in making sure those fhantasies are about my husband, and where possible, things we can jointly fantasize about. Things that it’d be fun to do, or try, even if there’s no way to actually make said thing happen. We sometimes incorporate that into sex: creating mental pictures for and with each other, and mentally putting ourselves in those situations and playing it out for fun. For us it works, because we share those fantasies with each other, not hide them, and they are about each other, not someone else. I really do think there are ways for Christian women to make fantasies work within god’s design, whatever that looks like for them and their husband, instead of against it. After all, we get the ability to draw said mental pictures from our Creator..the Enemy has just twisted that gift.

      • Well said Alicia! As a woman, our largest sexual organ is our brain!! While our husbands are often most stimulated by sight, we are often most stimulated by STORY. God made us this way and fighting against this aspect of our sexuality almost always results in a total shut-down of any sexual feelings.
        That said, there is definitely a wrong way to use fantasy. If I’m fantasizing about a particular someone (co-worker, neighbor, etc), then I’m making love to that man in my head instead of my spouse = WRONG! If I’m fantasizing about a generic scene or man, but I’m letting that image completely detach me from the reality of where I’m at and who I’m with, then I’m hurting myself and my husband. I’m making love to a picture in my head instead of my husband.
        But, if I’m creating a story in my head of my husband and I in locations, positions, etc that helps trigger my sexual arousal, then I’m using my brain as a sex organ accordingly. And once those juices are flowing, I can do things to help me be fully in the moment with my husband (eye contact, speaking, guiding his hands to where I want to be touched, etc).

        Telling a woman it’s wrong to use her brain in sex isn’t helpful. However, telling a woman HOW to use her brain in sex can be extremely liberating for a woman

  5. Paul, I am almost always with you in your statements. However, confessing your thoughts to your mate is theologically unnecessary and in this instance extremely destructive. I say this as a pastor with almost 40 years of experience, and a one who has been happily married for over 40 years. Should a man confess to his wife every time he lusts after another woman? It is wrong and he should confess it as sin to the Lord. If he repeatedly confesses to his wife she will eventually be devastated. She will ply him with questions on particulars and she will be poisoned against the woman he has fantasized about. Confessing her fantasies will likely do the same with him. The sin is private and should stay so. But, it needs to stop, and be considered by the perpetrator as serious. I would suggest that the women who engage in the practice you discuss to fantasize about their husbands in the romantic ways that would add the excitement necessary to orgasm.

    • @Charlie O – I’ve had this disagreement with a lot of rock solid Christians – you are not alone and I may be in the minority.

      Will ongoing confessions of lust hurt a man’s wife? Yes. But I would argue the solution is to deal with the lust problem. No, it’s not easy, but the Bible tells us to do it so I assume it’s possible.

      The other side of this is the fear and assumptions that come from silence. Some women are assuming far more sexual sin on their husband’s part than is really there.

      Confession and honesty are scary and can cause problems. But done right it results in a depths of relationship a couple can’t have without such openness.

      Yes fantasising about her own husband is a much better choice, but even this is tricky. If she fantasies things that he would never do, is she really fantasising about her husband?
      Paul Byerly recently posted…We MUST Treat Women Better!My Profile

  6. You sometimes post disturbing images (including this one) .

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