Fooled by Fantasy
by Rob Eagar
Nothing poses a bigger threat to the welfare of your dating life than pornography and romantic fantasies. Yet, our culture bombards us with sexual pictures, innuendos, and references. Several of my past relationships were ruined by inappropriate views about sex, and I’ve met too many singles who possess a similar attitude. Why does our sex-saturated society set us up for failure? Let’s understand the hidden danger of an unhealthy sexual mindset.
In 1 Corinthians 6:16, the Apostle Paul explains that God created sex to firmly join, or “superglue,” a man and a woman together in marriage. However, two people do not have to be together for the sexual bonding process to take place. Your heart can also be tricked into bonding with someone who is not even in the room through sexual or romantic fantasies.
For instance, a man who fills his mind with sexual images and thoughts commonly falls into this trap. Pornography can become a drug that men use to find quick relief from their daily frustrations. The temptation to lust after erotic pictures of models seems easier than taking the time to build a real relationship with a woman.However, when a man looks at pornography, he can form a sexual bond to a woman who is not physically present. As he gazes at her image, he unwittingly tells his heart to seek fulfillment from a woman who does not love him. Initially, the ability to experience pleasure through his fantasies may convince the man that pornography is satisfying. Through this process, though, that man may not realize how the pornography silently destroys his self-esteem. Consider the truth. Strippers and nude centerfold models do not love the men who look at them. Instead, those women selfishly use men to make money or boost their egos. When a man looks at pornography, the woman in the photo seems to entice, “I want you.” In reality, however, the man cannot have her.
Consequently, a man can feel empty and ashamed after he fantasizes about a woman. He concludes, “I want her, but she is not here with me. Why can’t I have a woman like her? I must not be worthy of love.” Pornography degrades a man’s self-worth because fantasy relationships promote a sense of guilt, secret shame, and feelings of inadequacy.
Pornography also produces unrealistic expectations about sex in relationships. As a man lusts after pictures of naked models, he wrongly assumes that the best kind of woman is perfectly proportioned and offers constant pleasure. Lust classifies a woman as a sex object who should fulfill a man’s selfish desires, instead of a precious person to be loved sacrificially.
Sexual addiction can entrap singles when a pattern of fantasy and masturbation become deeply rooted in their minds. In these cases, Christian counseling may be required to help break the bondage. A counselor can uncover the lustful lies that a man or woman believe and help them source their acceptance and significance from Christ (for information about finding a Christian counselor.
Recent statistics show that women are just as vulnerable to internet pornography and sexual addictions as men. Women can also fall prey to harmful fantasies through reading romance novels, watching soap operas, or daydreaming about men. These actions constitute emotional pornography.
When a woman feels lonely or insecure, Satan may tempt her to yearn for a man to rescue her from problems and fulfill her heart. Amorous affairs in cheap romance novels or romantic movies provide the fantasies to escape her troubles. The pleasure from these daydreams, however, is temporary and promotes an unrealistic ideal of relationships. More importantly, emotional fantasies fail to satisfy a woman’s deep longing for love. She can daydream all day long, but her fantasies won’t improve her reality. For that reason, her heart can fall further into emptiness, discontent, or depression. Meanwhile, Jesus wants her to know that He has already rescued her.
You cannot spend time lusting in your mind and walk away unscathed. Paul urges in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” Falling prey to sexual fantasy comes with a price that can include a defeated self-image, destruction of character, and the inability to experience true intimacy later in life. If you ignore God’s design for sex, you can destroy your capacity to fully enjoy it. God can renew your heart, but He doesn’t erase the lasting consequences that we bring upon ourselves.
When you do not consciously walk in the love of Christ, you are vulnerable to dwelling upon fantasy relationships. Fortunately, resisting sexual fantasy is easy when you let Jesus satisfy your heart. His unconditional love wants to fulfill you and make false relationships look foolish. It’s like comparing real money to counterfeit money. Pornography and emotional fantasies represent fake love and cannot offer anything close to the reality of Christ’s complete acceptance of you.
However, if you recognize how much Jesus loves you, then sexual fantasies turn into ridiculous, unappealing substitutes. And, when you begin to see sin as stupid, then you are on the road to freedom!
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