Thank you for your question. I appreciate the confusion that you are
expressing. I think this confusion comes in part because of the bombardment of sexual images and ideas that are presented to us in our culture of sexual permissiveness. "Anything goes!" And media plays into the natural inclinations we — as persons of flesh and blood — experience in the form of sexual curiosity.
Sexual fantasizing comes out of our natural sexual curiosity, which in and
of itself is not a bad thing. However, when we take our curiosity to a
level of fantasy, we are crossing a dangerous line!
Most sexual fantasies base themselves around sexual sin! To derive
pleasure from thinking about sin is to sin itself.
In Matthew 4:28 we read: "But I say to you that every one who looks at a
woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
A passing sexual thought is not a sin. Thoughts come to our mind all the
time. But what are you to do with those thoughts? To dwell on them, to
fantasize about them and to allow those thoughts to entertain — is sinful.
Lust in thought is equal to the sin of adultery in deed!
Neither the Church, nor God, are down on sex! For a husband and wife to
desire each other sexually is a beautiful thing! This is part of their
marriage covenant. And the expression of the marital embrace is a gift of
God which mirrors of the very life of the Trinity: The Father initiates the
love which is received by the Son and is returned to the Father . . . and
that love becomes so real it has a name: The Holy Spirit. This Divine love is seen in our human experience in the covenant of marriage wherein the Husband initiates the love which is received by his Wife and is returned to her Husband and . . . sometimes that love becomes so real that (just as Scott Hahn often says,) nine months later you have to name it!
When God "created man in His own image . . . male and female He created
them", (Genesis 1: 27) God stamped into our very nature an imprint of who He was — for the very nature of God IS love.
Does it surprise us that Satan has twisted and distorted our understanding
of the gift of sexuality so that as a society we no longer recognize God's
love in our human experience of love between a man and a woman?
If you are experiencing a confusion over sexual fantasy it is probably
because no one has ever explained to you the depth and beauty of the gift of our sexuality. When we see it as the gift of life-giving love that it is,
mirroring the very Life of the Trinity, it brings a whole new depth and
meaning to our life and our love.
Do not allow sexual fantasies to distort and rob from you the very gift of
love that God has planned for you if you are called to marriage. When you
experience the temptation to indulge in sexual fantasy, call upon the Name
of the Lord. Ask His Blessed Mother to help you to be pure. Pray, pray and pray some more . . . until you have conquered that temptation.
Sexual fantasies destroy marriages! Even if you are not yet married, they
will resurface when you are married and destroy the fabric of love which
exists with your spouse.
Pornography (especially for men) and sexually explicit romance
stories (especially for women) are ways that Satan steps in and tries to cut
us off from God by cutting us off from each other. These deceptive things
train us to see persons as objects to be used to fulfill our sexual desires
So if you are at all indulging in pornography (that includes movies with sexually explicit scenes!) or romance stories that are sexually
explicit, you are in danger of very serious sin. And you will have an awful
battle in trying to fight back sexual fantasies. And be advised, that those
images "burn" and imprint on your mind that are painfully hard to remove!
Stay away from these distorted presentations of human sexuality and if you
find you are plagued by the desire to indulge in sexual fantasies, be sure
to pray, seek strength from the Sacraments (get to Confession and then
receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist) and seek spiritual direction from someone you can trust and who is well-grounded in the Church's teachings.
It is normal to wonder about sexuality, but it is not healthy to dwell on
wondering about it. Just as it is healthy to eat, but not to over eat — we
must train ourselves in self-discipline in the area of sexual desires and
As I stated earlier, sexual fantasy usually basis itself around sexual sin.
If you are married, sexual fantasy that centers itself on your marital love
with your husband is appropriate — but the danger of indulging in this type
of sexual fantasy is that it can lead us to view our spouse as an object for
The true experience of human sexuality AT ALL TIMES must be FREE, TOTAL, FAITHFUL and FRUITFUL ("fruitful" meaning: open to life — not contracepted — but this does not mean it must ALWAYS result in a child — it just may never be artificially blocked!) Sexual fantasy that is based in your own personal marriage and reflects all these qualities can be licit.
I hope that this very LONG explanation helps to give you an understanding of the WHY behind the WHAT of the Church's teaching!
A closing — and important — thought for you to meditate on is this: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8) Guard your heart, clothe it in purity at all times and set your heart's
desire on one day seeing the face of God! And let this desire for purity
shield your mind from all impure thoughts. Preserve your body and soul in
purity for the Lord now and He will grant you the rich and beautiful
treasure of amazing sexual pleasures in marriage according to His holy plan!
Know that you and all our readers are in our prayers daily. I ask that you keep me and my family and this apostolate work of promoting purity in your prayers as well.
Be pure — In His Most Holy Name,