Regarding Sexual Fantasies
I have found that married couples in religiously conservative communities many times have challenges within the realm of their sexuality. Most of us spent the first part of our lives avoiding our sexuality, trying to stay morally clean until we became married. And if we did not stay morally clean, then along with that came the process of repentance, guilt, remorse, etc. And the “not staying morally clean” can include behaviors or thoughts that cover a large spectrum going from actual intercourse, to looking at pornography, to masturbation, etc. If there is any history of sexual abuse for either partner, things get exponentially more complicated. So we all come to a marriage with a sexual history – whether we’ve had sex or not. And most people find themselves having sexual thoughts or fantasies, whether inappropriate or not. These can include same-gender sexual fantasies. Then a couple finds themselves married in a culture where talking about or exploring their sexuality can seem like a very taboo subject. It’s very easy at this point for a certain level of secrecy to develop between a couple. And secrecy can be a true killer for any marriage or at least for the level of intimacy capable within the marriage.
Please let me clarify that when I speak of “intimacy” I am talking about the whole package: emotional, spiritual and physical. Many times people use this word only to convey the sexual. It is when secrecy runs high and when we feel unsafe sharing our most innermost thoughts that sexual fantasies can take a turn to the inappropriate and holding too much power in our minds. Here are some questions that I like to have every couple ask themselves:
If my spouse came to me and disclosed either sexual history, sexual fantasies, or sexual needs, how would I respond? Especially if I felt like whatever was shared was inappropriate? Am I safe place for my spouse to come or just another place to be judged?
Am I honest with my spouse about my sexual history, fantasies, needs, insecurities, etc.? Am I willing to be vulnerable enough to discuss these types of topics with my spouse? Would my spouse be a safe place to go?
How do my insecurities about my body affect my sexuality? In a culture which promotes physical perfection do I allow my imperfections to keep us from enjoying each others bodies? Do I allow my partners imperfections to keep us from enjoying each others bodies?
When was the last time we made love with our eyes open? When we really looked at each other? When was the last time we kissed while looking at each other? Is it always completely dark when we make love or can we actually see each other?
Do we communicate during love making or is it a silent act where nothing is verbally shared?
Am I willing to explore sexually with my spouse and get creative or am I too limited by rigid rules and regulations imposed by my history, my culture, or my insecurities?
It never ceases to amaze me that while we get completely naked in front of each other and partake in the most sacred act imaginable with our spouses, we many times hold back in truly giving ourselves over. We are taught that we are created in God’s image and therefore, know that our Heavenly Parents are sexual beings. This is probably as close as we get to being Godlike. I tell couples all the time that God wants us to have hot sex! How we define hot sex and how we go about getting it can be a very exciting adventure for any married couple to embark upon. And the beautiful thing about intimacy is that it can always be improved upon. So, wherever you are in your current relationship, if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone a bit, you can always have something more to look forward to. Full disclosure and honesty, especially about taboo subjects, are the true tickets to increased intimacy.
Natasha Helfer, LCMFT, CST, CSTS is the owner and founder of Symmetry Solutions. She is a Licensed Clinical Marriage & Family Therapist in the states of Kansas and Wisconsin and a Certified Sex Therapist. Natasha has been in practice for over 20 years and works with adults and adolescents. She specializes in mental health therapy, sex therapy and sexuality concerns, family/couples services and faith transitions within spiritual journeys.