This question again came from a coaching client, and I thought it was so appropriate in light of the whole 50 Shades of Grey discussion going on in the marriage field these days, that I would write a post with my response.
So, is there a right way? Is all fantasy wrong? Is role playing okay for Christian marriages?
Solo or shared fantasy?
First thing I think we need to determine is whether we’re talking about a fantasy you are having, or one you are sharing with your spouse. I think fantasies we keep to ourselves are dangerous. Typically if we keep something to ourselves, there are two possible reasons:
- We know it’s wrong, and we’re afraid if we share it, we’ll be rebuked.
- We don’t think our spouse can handle it, so we hold a part of ourselves back from them.
So, if you’re hiding it because you know it’s wrong … well, do we really need to talk about whether or not that’s wrong? Hopefully not. You should be working to rid your mind of such fantasies. Pray for God to take them away, and starve those neuropathways. Don’t let your mind dwell on those thoughts. Whenever they pop into your head, deliberately think about something else.
On the other hand, if you think your spouse can’t handle it, so you’re hiding a part of yourself … that one gets a bit trickier. I would submit that if you are hiding a part of yourself, then that’s always a bad thing. You are denying your spouse knowing who you really are. You are avoiding true intimacy. This constitutes a pulling away from your spouse in at least one respect.
That said, there are some marriages where one spouse needs to mature a bit. They either aren’t able, or willing, to deal with fantasies with activities that are perfectly normal and are not immoral. But, I think this leads us to the next question:
Who is the fantasy/role-play about?
I’m going to argue that your fantasies should only be about you and your spouse. Now, some will disagree with me, but I’m going to pull out the go to verse for this topic:
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Don’t you dare try to tell me that fantasizing about someone is completely different than looking at the real person. It’s not about the looking, it’s about what’s happening in your brain. A blind man can lust just as easily as a sighted man. So, if you are fantasizing about someone other than your spouse, then I think that’s akin to adultery.
But, I’m going to extend this a bit further. If you are fantasizing about your spouse, with some “tweaks” to either their body, or personality…I’m going to argue that that’s not a true representation of your spouse, and so I’m going to say you are cheating on them in those situations as well. Why? Because your fantasy is causing you to want something other than your spouse.
Now, if your spouse is typically not in the mood, and you’re fantasizing together that this day they happen to be all hot and bothered … I don’t think that’s an issue. I mean, it could happen. Everyone has good days and bad, right? But, if you are fantasizing that your spouse, who is typically fairly sex negative and has a low sex drive, now all of a sudden can’t keep their hands off of you and wants sex every hour on the hour … I’d be worried that this fantasy is going to cause you to feel some resentment and treat your real spouse differently. I don’t think that’s right, do you?
Likewise if your fantasizing that your spouse has different physical features (be it a different weight, height, bust, or other measurements), I’d be concerned that you’re not really fantasizing about yours spouse, but instead entertaining the idea of being with someone else.
What situations are you fantasizing about?
Also, I think it can be dangerous to fantasize about immoral acts. Fantasizing or role-playing scenarios that depict sex before marriage, adultery, threesomes, and the like I think cause us to become more comfortable with these situations, when instead we should be holding fast to our convictions that they are wrong.
So, what is okay then?
Of course, this is all just my opinion, you’ll have to make up your own mind. But, to me, I think some examples where roleplaying or fantasizing together are okay are things like:
- When the kids are grown and you have the house to yourselves.
- Being stuck together on a deserted island, or on a space station. Highly improbably events, but I don’t think anyone is going to be hurt by these.
- Activities you aren’t ready to try yet in bed, but the idea turns you on. For example: honor bondage is the practice of “pretending” that your arms are tied to the headboard. They stay there only because you have promised not to move them. It’s bondage … without bondage.
- A special event where the mood might be such that you would feel compelled to be a little more wild and let loose a bit more than usual.
- Being back on your honeymoon, both of you clueless about sex (except this time you get to benefit from your years of experience together).
All of these ideas don’t make unrealistic expectations of your spouse, don’t involve other people, nor do they glorify immortal sexual acts. Within those parameters, I think these are a few valid ways you can express your desire to incorporate fantasy into your bedroom activities. Of course, I’m sure you can come up with much better ideas than I did above.
What are your boundaries when it comes to fantasy? Have you ever talked to your spouse about them?