Q: I am worried that I am ruining my relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I love being with my wife. We have great times together and we do have fantastic sex. I’ve never cheated on her and I have no intention of ever doing that. But, I can’t stop fantasizing about sex with other people. When we’re having sex and when we’re not having sex, I think about being with other people all the time. And I don’t understand it! And honestly, there is no underlying issue here, we get along great and have great sex. But I am afraid.
A: I have no idea the imagination capabilities of other animals, but I’ve always believed it is one of those things that humans have and should always enjoy to the greatest capacity. Isn’t it great to sometimes get completely lost in a fantasy moment, kick up your legs, lean back and just revel in something that may or may not ever happen?
Obviously, you don’t think so—at least not all of the time. And I can see where you’re coming from and why you are upset. It is clear in your note that you do truly love your wife and that you do enjoy being with her. But you’re concerned that your mind is trying to tell you something else.
But here’s the thing. Fantasy, particularly sexual fantasy, is a very natural thing—even thinking about someone else while having sex with your loved one. When it comes to fantasy, our minds aren’t necessarily working out of emotion or intellect, but rather, we’re being driven by a simple primal wonder. There is so much stimulation around us, every day, that it would be impossible to shut that all down and not wonder. It sounds like you have a vivid imagination and probably daydream and wonder about a lot of things, not just sex.
Unfortunately, society has placed in us a specific type of guilt that forces us to negate our fantasy feelings. You clearly state you’ve never cheated and never intend to. That’s great! But it sounds like you think a common concern, that fantasizing is equal to cheating. And this is simply not true. If you were dreaming of an emotional attachment to a specific other person, there might be a problem you and your wife should discuss. However, you say it is just sex you’re thinking about and that is healthy and encouraged.
Yes, encouraged. Our sexual fantasy lives are where our desires and needs are discovered and considered. And, depending on your relationship and what your partner is sexually interested in, your fantasy might be the place some of your sexual needs are met. There are things you might really want that your partner might really not want and out of respect, you keep that vision within you. Or watch porn and masturbate. Fantasy can be an integral part of our sexual personhood.
I will caution, however, that if your fantasy life ever starts replacing all of the excitement you feel with your wife, then you two should take some time to discuss the things you’re fantasizing about (if you haven’t already). While I don’t think this will lead you to cheat, you might become and start to resent her. Keep that in your mind, as well.