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Sexual Fantasies during Sex: What is the Impact on you and your spouse?

Addictions, Asian Christianity, Asian Shame0 comments

Photo by Sabina Tone on Unsplash

Sex with your partner can be the most sublime experience if done with the intent of connecting with your spouse.  However, in my work with sex addicts (and many non-addicts), oftentimes the sex is devoid of connection.  What does this mean and what does it look like?

First off, at its basest level, sex is just that, a physical act of copulation between individuals lacking any desire for intimacy besides two bodies colliding.  This is usually relegated between strangers, hook-ups, and sex with prostitutes.  But surprisingly, it can happen within steady relationships where one partner becomes so emotionally disconnected from the self that the act of sex is purely a means of physical relief and satisfaction.  Some partners with strong intuition can sense this disconnect and verbalize it to me by saying, “It seems I’m being used or I’m just a sexual receptacle”.

Part of the disconnect can be the result of one partner either self-medicating physically (drugs/alcohol) or behaviorally (i.e. pornography or sexual fantasy). Individuals who use pornography or make it a habit to fantasize about others during sex are most susceptible to being emotionally bankrupt.  Critics may think this is being prudish and that having fantasies can “spice” things up.  But what I’ve seen over the years is not a heating up of a relationship but relationships getting colder through time, even if the sexual frequency is high.  So why the paradox?

Simply put, when you fantasize about another person during intercourse, fantasy becomes reality.  In other words, you are no longer emotionally with your partner but have substituted him/her with your fantasy.  The sexual desire, passion, and intensity may all be amplified but what’s lost is the emotional and spiritual intimacy.  If this is habitual, there’s a possibility the relationship is only standing on one leg (i.e. the sexual leg) and is vulnerable to being knocked over without the strength of the relational component.

It’s not uncommon for clients who want a better “sexual” relationship with their partners to ask therapists to “fix” something sexually/physically.  But what many aren’t aware of is the need to strengthen the connections both individually and between the two.

My belief as a Christian therapist is that sex is the manifestation of not only our physical selves but also embodies our emotional and spiritual dimensions.  We might try to separate the physical from the emotional/spiritual, but our souls yearn for the integration of wholeness made even more evident in our attempt at sexual gratification through fantasy.

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