Is sexual fantasy outside a relational context sinful?

Is it wrong for a man to have sexual fantasies about a woman he has no intention of pursuing as potential wife in marriage? Does God condemn sexual imagination that does not have as it’s focus either a real potential spouse or one’s current spouse if they are already married?

Many Christians believe the answer to both of these questions is a resounding “YES”. AnnaMS, a regular commenter here on BiblicalGenderRoles.com, recently represented this popular position in response to some comments on my post “Are some wives tempting their husbands to lust?”.

AnnaMS’s Statement on Sexual Fantasy

“Yes men are going to desire sex with a woman they are not currently married to. Both genders should have a healthy desire for sex although of course a man’s will normally be stronger. This desire needs to be channeled.

If the woman he is thinking about is a girlfriend or a fiance, he should channel that into excitement about a future marital sexual relationship. That is desiring sex in marriage.

If the woman is not someone he is in a relationship with but wants to be, he should channel that into trying to start a relationship which will hopefully lead to marriage (assuming other requirements like her being a Christian, both of them being single, etc. are all worked out). That is also desiring sex in marriage.

If the woman is someone he is extremely unlikely to ever be married to (like the guy at the supermarket who is married already and will likely be married for quite some time still), he should channel that desire into something that he can put sexual focus on (a wife), or if that is not possible, something that will distract him (like sports, or whatever). That desire is not sex in marriage because any sex that might happen between them will not be in marriage cuz they are extremely unlikely to ever be married.

So redirecting his attention to sex in marriage or something else entirely if that is not an option, is his best bet. Imagining being married to someone we are never in a million years going to be married to is hardly the same thing as actually pursuing a woman as a future wife.”

Sex is reserved for marriage

First let me state where I and most Christians like AnnaMS would agree. Sexual acts whether they be intercourse, oral sex or manual sex are strictly reserved for marriage. The Bible makes this clear in the book of Hebrews:

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

God is clear that the only sexual relations between a man and woman that he honors is that which occurs in the covenant of marriage.

If the physical acts of sex itself are reserved for marriage, then aren’t thoughts of sex reserved for marriage as well?

This is the logical question and conclusion that many Christians have come to and one that AnnaMS holds. Now there are some divisions within this group. Some Christians believe it is ok to have sexual fantasies about a potential spouse (someone you are dating or engaged to) while others believe all sexual fantasies before marriage are sinful. I believe taking the statement above as well as others I read from AnnaMS that she believes it is ok to have sexual fantasies about someone you are pursing for marriage, but sexual fantasies and thoughts without this context are sinful in her view and the view of many Christians.

This leads us into the key area of this discussion of sexual fantasy – and that is the thought life of a believer.

Does God care about our thoughts?

One of the things that distinguishes the Christian faith from others is that it shows us that God cares not only about our actions – but also our thoughts and intentions.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12 (KJV)

So Biblically speaking our thought life is VERY important to God.

Most people think that Jesus was the first one to speak on the fact that God judges not only our actions – but out thoughts as well. But they would be wrong. Moses actually elaborated on how important our thoughts are to God when he wrote the 10th commandment:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” – Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

Covetousness is a thought sin. It is thinking something God does not want us to think. Envy is also a thought sin along with hatred. Lust is synonymous with covetousness as we see here from the Apostle Paul:

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” – Romans 7:7 (KJV)

Coveting something is not the same as finding it desirable. You can find someone’s home, their car or even their wife to be desirable and there is no sin that. Coveting is when you desire to take possession of something God did not intend you to possess. So in the case of your neighbor it is when you desire to take possession of his wife sexually that you are lusting (coveting) after her.

Christ spoke again on this matter of coveting a man’s wife and he even classified it as a new form “mental” adultery when he stated:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)

So yes as we can see from Moses first mention of coveting, God very much cares about our thoughts.

So how does God judge our sexual fantasies?

Up to this point we have proven two things that are clear from the Scriptures – the physical acts of sex are reserved for marriage and God does indeed care about our thought life.

But where the gulf begins between believers on this issue of sexual fantasy is what thoughts God judges as sinful, and what thoughts God honors?

God definitely does not want us thinking about how we can get another man’s wife to have sex with us or how we can get some single girl into bed with us without being married to her first. That is something we can all agree on from Scripture. But what about our imagination?

How men and women imagine differently

Just like in many other areas, men and women tend to exercise their imaginations in different ways. Now this is not to say that some men don’t have imaginations similar to that of women and that some women don’t have imaginations similar to men but there are some distinct differences between the genders in this area.

Let me frame this outside the sexual arena first.

I have loved science fiction from the time I was little. I grew up on Star Wars and all the Star Trek TV Shows and movies. I was a big fan of the Lord of the Rings books and was thrilled to go and watch each one at the movie theaters. I loved and still love the Marvel and DC comic super heroes and there is are few super hero movies that I have not seen.

Is it a coincidence that the majority of Science fiction and fantasy fans are men? I don’t think so. I am not saying there are not women who are into these things as well because I know of them. But they are the minority.

Now some men may not be like me and they may hate sci-fi. But often they have some other area that they spend a great deal of time imagining about like sports, hunting, combat or architecture.

Women have been brought more into the fantasy worlds with series like the Twilight saga and other books but the way they are brought in is because of the romance and relational aspects.

So as we can see while both men and women do engage in various forms of imagination – men’s imaginations tend to be “action” based while for most women their imaginations tend to be “relation” based.

Let me say this another way – we as men imagine ourselves doing things like fighting the bad guy in a superhero or war movie or flying that star fighter while women typically imagine relational things like a man kissing them, or their wedding, or how they will decorate their house or holding their child for the first time.

Now let me bring this back to the sexual arena. A man imagines having sex with a woman much in the same way he might imagine himself scoring that touch down in the super bowl, firing that sniper shot that killed the bad guy or flying the millennium falcon in Star Wars. These are all actions to him.

A man can imagine having sex with a woman completely outside the context of any kind of relationship.

I am going to make a statement here that will make a lot of women upset but it is the truth about how a man’s mind works by the design of God.

A man can imagine having sex with an attractive woman in the same way he can imagine driving that speed boat he sees in the dock of some harbor.

Yes men see women as sexual objects to be used for their pleasure.

But we also see women as people too. These two things are NOT contradictory and every woman needs to realize this truth.  Every man needs to be honest with himself about this as well.

The fact that we as men see women as people too is the reason why men don’t just grab and have sex with every woman they see. It is why husbands don’t try to have sex with their wives when they are sick or after they have had a baby. It is why Christian men do their very best to not engage in sex before marriage. But make no mistake, we as men see women as objects of sexual pleasure – it is built into our DNA by God himself.

This is where men and women’s imaginations sharply differ. For most women – they cannot imagine sex with someone without a relational context and this is something that women cannot grasp about men how they can do this.

So in the same way that a man would NEVER be Iron Man but can imagine himself flying through the sky in that suit he can also imagine having sex with an actress in that same film that he will probably never meet and he has no intentions of pursuing for marriage.

So is sexual imagination outside a relational context sinful?

This brings us to the answer to our question. Are Christians like AnnaMs and many others right that God intended for our sexual imagination to always have a relational aspect to it(it must be about a person who we could actually marry or are currently married to) or can a man imagine sex with a woman totally outside of any relational context?

God created, understands and honors our ability to imagine things and he only dislikes wicked imaginations:

“And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” – I Chronicles 28:9 (KJV)

“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” – Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)

So as long as we are not imagining doing something evil – then we are free to imagine whatever we like. Whether that be with flying a space ship, scoring a touchdown or having sex with a woman outside of any relational context.

Sex is a good thing to imagine about. God designed us to imagine sexual situations – especially as men even more than he did women. We are hardwired to imagine every physical aspect of sex.

It is only when we add the relational context to a sexual thought that it becomes sinful or not sinful. If you imagine having sex with a woman by itself there is no sin.

But when you imagine having sex with her in the relational context of actually getting her to have sex with you outside of marriage then you have just had a covetous and wicked imagination. But if the relational context you add is that of marriage and you possibly could marry this woman there is no sin that either.

The answer to the question posed at the beginning of this post is this.

Relational contexts are NOT required for sexual imaginations any more than contexts are required for us imagining ourselves to be Iron Man or superman.

The scriptures never constrain sexual imagination to be limited to potential or current spouses in marriage.

Our ability to imagine things whether it be being a super hero or having sex with that beautiful blonde on the cover of that magazine is not something to be suppressed or something we need to distract ourselves from – no my friends it is a gift of almighty God.

To Christian young men and old men alike reading this. You have a choice. You can continue walking around the rest of your life condemning yourself for any sexual thoughts you have outside a relational context or you can embrace the fact that you have the ability to have sexual imaginations outside a relational context and this is a gift from God.

The enemy is not your sexual imagination, rather the enemy is lust which is covetousness.

Do not let other Christians, even well-meaning Christians steal your freedom to imagine or put constraints on your imagination that God has not placed, but rather do as the Apostle Paul admonished the Galatians:

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage… For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” – Galatians 5:1 & 13

Freely imagine my brothers, but do not allow your imagination to turn into covetous or evil thoughts. Your desire and ability to imagine the female form in all its splendor is a gift from God, just don’t allow your sin nature to corrupt this gift into thoughts of premarital sex or adultery.

73 thoughts on “Is sexual fantasy outside a relational context sinful?

  1. Just a few points for tonight. I might get into this more tomorrow after work depending on other comments. Most of our disagreements stem from our differing definitions of the word ‘lust’ and I’m not going to touch that tonight. I’m going to try to have my husband write another comment on that sometime as he does a much better job explaining that than I do. I think it will also mean more coming from him as a man and as someone who struggled with lust a lot. He is unfortunately very busy at the moment and it is the holidays, so we will see.

    First off, and I do want to take responsibility for this as I should have been clearer, but I think that sexual fantasies in general are wrong, even if the woman in question is a girlfriend. When I said that such a man should ‘channel that into excitement about a future marital sexual relationship’, I meant something like this: “wow, that would be a lot of fun to do with her someday and I’m thankful that God seems to have that in store for me. However that is not where I am at right now at this stage of life”…followed by whatever will successfully re-direct him. I DO however think it is a lot more legitimate to say that you’re imagining it in marriage when it is with someone you’re dating than with some actress you’re never going to meet in a million years and just say “but in my imagination there was a wedding ring from me on her finger”….mean at that point it’s kinda hard to take seriously. I do think that in the former case, the sex he is desiring will be in marriage, whereas in the latter it is not and for somebody to say that in their imagination it was, just seems a little bit like the toddler with his hand in the cookie jar who says he hasn’t eaten a cookie yet…maybe it’s true, but come on. From your previous post, I did think that you (and some other men) thought that sexual fantasies should include marriage in the imagination, so that is why I had a bigger beef with the celebrity example. It seems from this post that you do not actually think that.

    Finally, you say this: “So in the same way that a man would NEVER be Iron Man but can imagine himself flying through the sky in that suit he can also imagine having sex with an actress in that same film that he will probably never meet and he has no intentions of pursuing for marriage.”
    First, this is another ‘he can’ statement which is automatically being translated as ‘he should’ and that is illogical. Second, the Bible never condemns being a superhero so imagining yourself as Iron Man is not something Jesus chose to address in the Bible. The Bible does however mention sexual purity, so people can disagree on what that means (as we do), but the Bible at least mentions it which separates it from the Iron Man example.

  2. The toddler with his hand in the cookie jar has erred by turning his thought into wrongful action. The toddler who sits and thinks about eating a cookie will told by his parents to wait until the appointed time for the treat, but he can sit and think about it all day. Even it if it someone else’s cookie he is looking at.

  3. When a wife sees a house that is not her own and she thinks how nice it would be to live in a similar one is she coveting? Is the parade of homes, house porn and the same as adultery? (Looking to lust for what is not hers). If the answer is no, then some Christians have some explaining to do.

  4. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “Most of our disagreements stem from our differing definitions of the word ‘lust’ and I’m not going to touch that tonight.”

    I look forward to you trying to prove that Apostle Paul’s definition of lust found in Romans 7:7 is not the definition of lust.

    Your Statement:

    “First off, and I do want to take responsibility for this as I should have been clearer, but I think that sexual fantasies in general are wrong, even if the woman in question is a girlfriend… I DO however think it is a lot more legitimate to say that you’re imagining it in marriage when it is with someone you’re dating than with some actress you’re never going to meet in a million years and just say “but in my imagination there was a wedding ring from me on her finger”

    In the beginning of your statement you seem to take a position that all sexual fantasy before marriage is wrong, but then you back peddled with the “I DO however think it is a lot more legitimate to say that you’re imagining it in marriage” so it seems you are going back to the first position before you tried to clear it up.

    And at what point did I argue that ““but in my imagination there was a wedding ring from me on her finger”? I did not argue that. I made a very clear point in my post that men are very capable of imagining sexual acts with a woman with NO relational context – no wedding ring on the finger. It is not a relationship, it is an action no different than him imaging using some gun he saw at the gun store to shoot a dear or driving some hot rod he saw that he could never afford. I think you are truly missing that point.

    Your Statement:

    “just seems a little bit like the toddler with his hand in the cookie jar who says he hasn’t eaten a cookie yet…maybe it’s true, but come on”

    Now AnnaMS this yet another time you have referred to men as children when it comes to their sexuality(You did this in comments on my article about how modern dating was cruel to men). Leaving that aside your analogy is flawed.

    There is no “hand in the cookie jar” when a man is having a sexual fantasy about a woman he is not married to.

    Do you know what the “hand in the cookie jar” would be? That would be actually coveting(lusting) after a woman – meaning you have a desire to actually take possession of her and are thinking of ways to get her into bed outside of marriage. That is the hand in the cookie jar.

    Taking the cookie and eating it – that would be acting on the covetous thoughts and actually having sex with the woman outside of marriage(fornication).

    Your Statement:

    “First, this is another ‘he can’ statement which is automatically being translated as ‘he should’ and that is illogical. Second, the Bible never condemns being a superhero so imagining yourself as Iron Man is not something Jesus chose to address in the Bible. The Bible does however mention sexual purity, so people can disagree on what that means (as we do), but the Bible at least mentions it which separates it from the Iron Man example.”

    I agree that just because we can do something does not mean we should. When I say “he can” I am talking about the distinctive ways God has designed man’s brain and I contend it was designed this way before the fall. But what determines if we should not do something that we are capable of doing Biblically speaking?

    These are the Biblical principles we should always apply to all our actions in life:

    Biblical Principle #1
    Has God condemned such an action that we are capable of doing? Then we should not do it. If it is a thought rather than an action, is it a pure thought?

    Biblical Principle #2
    Would this conflict with God’s design of my gender? Will this take away from the primary purposes for my gender?

    Biblical Principle #3
    Even if this is not condemned, am I doing too much of good thing? Am I coming under the power of this thing or becoming addicted to it where it controls my life?

    Biblical Principle #4
    Am I exercising my liberty in an improper place or putting it in my weaker brother’s face?

    Having a sexual imagination about a woman outside any relational context without a thoughts of covetousness toward her(desire to actually take possession of her) in an of itself does not violate ANY of these 4 Biblical principles I have mentioned.

    Now you might say “wait I got you – it violates your very first principle because the man is having impure thoughts about a woman!”

    Really? By whose standards? Can you supply me with a book, chapter and verse of the Bible that says it wrong for man to imagine having sex with a woman?

    Yes you can show me passages all day long that say a man should not lust after(covet) a woman but that is the desire to take possession of her and has nothing to do with him simply having a sexual imagination about her.

    You see AnnaMS – over several centuries our culture(both secular and Christian) has poured into the word “lust” its own meaning and we have left behind the meaning which God gave it.

    It is no more “impure” for a man to think about what it would be like to have sex with a woman than it is for a woman to imagine having a baby one day not knowing who the father will be. A man having thoughts of normal heterosexual sex is as pure as the driven snow whether that imagination comes from a painting, some graphically drawn woman on a computer screen or even a real woman standing in front of him in the check out aisle.

    It is only when he allows his sin nature to corrupt his God given sexual nature into covetous thoughts of possession that he has now entered the realm of sin.

  5. When my husband was dating his girlfriend, the one before me, (this is really going to date him, and me by association), she signed up for some lottery “prize” type thing. The prize was a date with Tom Selleck (Magnum PI was over, but Selleck was still very popular…this was around 1990). He found out about it and asked her if she planned on actually going on a date with Selleck if she won. She told him that she did. He never thought the same of her after that. He didn’t trust her, and he eventually left her. I agreed with him that this was a betrayal because it was her intention (if she’d won), and it didn’t really matter that she didn’t “win”. I’d say she crossed the line from lust to coveting.
    By contast, just watching Magnum PI and having an attraction for Magnum PI’s character (let’s face it, it’s fiction and fantasy…Selleck wasn’t Magnum PI, he was an actor playing Magnum PI) is not crossing the line into “sinful lusting”. Nor is reading fantasy fiction.
    100 percent of the best chick-porn I’ve ever read was recommended to me by Christian women. Do I really want to live in the 1500s with some smelly highlander? No. It’s a fantasy, and I understand the reality is I don’t want that at all. But it does excite me and get me going. It’s the same, I think, for visual imagery and men.

  6. Jonadab,

    Every sermon I’ve ever listened to about coveting was using examples of cars or houses. I think it’s one thing to look at a house and say “that’s a beautiful house!” It’s another to sit and think “that’s a beautiful house and I’d love to live in it.” Eventually you start wanting that more and you may become bitter God didn’t give you a house like that. It’s very unwise for a wife to think the second thought. That will damage her husband. That’s how I feel about this example. Yes God gave men sex drives. Yes they have sexual fantasies. But his poor wife! Here she is middle aged and her husband is looking at a 20 year old thinking she’d be a great wife. It’s one thing to find the 20 year old attractive, it’s another to start fantasing her as a wife. I’m not going to say it’s a sin but it doesn’t edify his wife. It’s natural for women to feel insecure as we age and I can’t imagine feeling insecure and my husband thinking that way. Also, if you’re thinking that way, at what point does that cause you to no longer be content with the wife of your youth? When do those thoughts turn to “I deserve a younger woman whose body is tighter because I’m a good man!”?

  7. I think it would kind of put a damper on things (for a man) to interject relationship status into a sexual fantasy. The fantasy is (presumably) that this woman wants him badly, not the he has to court her into accepting him. By contrast, the relationship is probably more likely to be part of the female fantasy because it increases her value and his desire for her in her estimation.

  8. “But his poor wife! Here she is middle aged and her husband is looking at a 20 year old thinking she’d be a great wife. It’s one thing to find the 20 year old attractive, it’s another to start fantasing her as a wife. I’m not going to say it’s a sin but it doesn’t edify his wife. It’s natural for women to feel insecure as we age and I can’t imagine feeling insecure and my husband thinking that way.”

    I think it would bother me if I thought Mike was fantasizing about taking some woman in a photo as his wife. I’m as sure as can be that isn’t the case. He understands that just about every one of the women in these photos would not make good wife material. It never really bothered me when Mike looks at imagery and fantasizes about other women. We used to keep a stack of (not porn, it was tasteful but there were some nudes) magazines in the bathroom until our first son started taking very long potty breaks in there and we figured it was time to get rid of it.

    When I was pregnant I didn’t feel very attractive even though my husband never made me feel unattractive. I can’t remember if the magazines bothered me then, but I suspect not. They don’t bother me now that I am older…I do sometimes feel insecure but he is very good about reassuring me and making me feel desired. That’s pretty key. He goes through phases. He even had wet dreams a few times about the first ten years of our marriage and I’d ask him what he dreamt about and he’d tell me and I’d tease him later. We had fun with it, and I like knowing his fantasies, I think it makes us closer and he finds it an attractive trait in me that he can be frank about that stuff.

  9. Liz, I’m not talking about the pictures of girls in magazines. I’m talkie about the example of a woman in real life at a grocery store l, a man behind her with his wife thinking “that 20 year old is sure attractive! If this were biblical times I’d love to take her in a tent and make her another wife!”

    I’d also add, it’s unwise for wives to read romance novels and watch Rom coms. I believe they are the reason why so many women are unhappy in their marriage (unwise, not a sin).

  10. I see what you’re saying about the grocery store aisle.
    Candidly, again, yes it would bother me quite a lot (again) if I thought my husband were fantasizing about taking another wife. It would depress me in the extreme if he thought he needed and/or wanted another wife.

    “I’d also add, it’s unwise for wives to read romance novels and watch Rom coms. I believe they are the reason why so many women are unhappy in their marriage (unwise, not a sin).”

    I think if a woman is experiencing unhappiness in her marriage when she is reading romance novels or watching rom coms, she is guilty of the sin of coveting. In my case, one thing has nothing to do with the other. I couldn’t be happier with my marriage and I don’t envy the lives I read about (although, chick lit in general is swill so I don’t read it often for that reason). Likewise, my husband doesn’t covet the “fantasy girls” in his magazines and (again) we’re very very happy together.

  11. It should be noted that the women in these magazines aren’t actually real anyway.
    They are photoshopped, made up, the lighting is perfect, they probably haven’t eaten in two days and just had an an enema to get rid of “excess bloat”. It’s a fantasy, just like the Highlander stud (or whomever).

  12. @December

    I think the point BGR has been trying to make is that looking at a house and thinking “that’s a beautiful home”, is not sinful, nor is thinking “that’s a beautiful house and I would love to live in it!”. Where your fantasy crosses the line is when you start thinking of ways to take the home from it’s owners and make it your own (not as in purchasing it from them, but, perhaps, by swindling them out of it – acquisition through sinful means). I liked the example BGR used in another post about steaks. Looking at a steak on someone else’s plate and desiring steak, even desiring THAT steak is not bad, but as soon as you plan on MAKING that steak yours through wicked means you have crossed the line from fantasy into lust/covetousness, and therefore into sin. Likewise if I see a beautiful woman, obviously married by the ring on her finger, in the grocery store line and think “wow, she is hot”, I have not sinned. If I think “she would probably be great in bed” and fantasize about having sex with her I have not sinned. If I, as a married man, approach this married woman and strike up a conversation, who’s main goal is to hopefully bed her, I have just crossed into the area of sin. I have taken an actionable step to take another mans wife.

    Of course, in todays time, even if she were not married I would be in trouble because we live in a monogamous society, so a married man talking to an unmarried woman raises eyebrows, but in other societies and in older times even a married man would not be out of bounds if said woman were not married because he could take her on as another wife.

  13. @Liz

    I don’t see a problem with women reading romance novels any more than I see a problem with men looking at girls in magazines. I used to have an issue with my wife watching all her late-night dramas with the hunky firemen and suave cops until I realized she was coming to bed with her motor revved, after that it didn’t bother me at all. This is one of the points BGR seems to be trying to make. Fantasies and imaginations inspire us, but where we use that inspiration makes the difference. If we focus that fantasy into our husbands/wives then it is used for good! If a man sees a hot woman, gets turned on and cant wait to get home to his wife for a little fun time, then that is good! Likewise if a woman reads a book, gets riled up and cant wait for her husband to get home so she can riled, all the better! The sin comes when we SEEK to have those fantasies fulfilled outside of our marriage bed with the object of our fantasy, not by the fantasy itself.

    Now excuse me, I have to go set the DVR for my wife. I wouldn’t want her to miss her shows……

  14. Hee hee. Thanks, Snapper. 🙂
    My husband calls my chick-lit habit (when I get on a roll….which actually does not happen often because it requires a good writer and there aren’t many in that genre) “adorable”.
    His opinion is similar to yours for the same reason, I’m pretty sure.
    😉

  15. December,

    Your Statement:

    “Yes God gave men sex drives. Yes they have sexual fantasies. But his poor wife! Here she is middle aged and her husband is looking at a 20 year old thinking she’d be a great wife. It’s one thing to find the 20 year old attractive, it’s another to start fantasing her as a wife. I’m not going to say it’s a sin but it doesn’t edify his wife. It’s natural for women to feel insecure as we age and I can’t imagine feeling insecure and my husband thinking that way. Also, if you’re thinking that way, at what point does that cause you to no longer be content with the wife of your youth? When do those thoughts turn to “I deserve a younger woman whose body is tighter because I’m a good man!”?”

    It is natural for men to look and fantasize(and no its not sin) and it is also natural for women to feel less secure as they get older. I think that both husbands and wives need to show one another understanding in this area. If a man knows his wife is on the more insecure side(even if at at earlier point she may not have) then he needs to be aware of that and act accordingly. That means be more careful about how he looks at women around him(obviously men should not gawk) and taking other precautions with her. But it does not mean he cannot think it! He can fantasize about whatever he wants as long as it is not something sinful or wicked. A wife cannot control her husbands thoughts anymore than he can control hers.

    I agree that if he gawking at young women or showing his wife magazines of bikini babes and he knows she was feeling insecure that would be insensitive and wrong. But he cannot even think that a woman is hot or imagine sex with her? His thoughts are between him and God, not him and his wife.

    Sure can a man allow his natural pleasure from seeing beautiful young women make him feel less content with his aging wife? Absolutely. But if we start eating we may be turn into gluttons, and if we start drinking we may turn into alcoholics or if we buy a gun we might murder someone with it. My point is there are many things in this world that God has given us to enjoy or that we have a right to do but we can abuse these things and let them cause us to sin.

    My point to these men reading my blog is – let’s aim at the sins themselves and not what is not sin and what I would argue God has given us for our enjoyment(our imagination is one of his greatest gifts to us).

    “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage… For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” – Galatians 5:1 & 13

    There are two kinds of bondage the Scriptures warn us to no allow ourselves to be entangled by – one is bondage to sin and the other is bondage to rules of men rather than the commands of God.

  16. Liz,

    Your Statement:

    “I think it would kind of put a damper on things (for a man) to interject relationship status into a sexual fantasy. The fantasy is (presumably) that this woman wants him badly, not the he has to court her into accepting him. By contrast, the relationship is probably more likely to be part of the female fantasy because it increases her value and his desire for her in her estimation.”

    You pretty much said what I said in my post about differences between male and female imagination and fantasy. Well said and very true.

  17. Liz,

    Your Statement:

    “He goes through phases. He even had wet dreams a few times about the first ten years of our marriage and I’d ask him what he dreamt about and he’d tell me and I’d tease him later. We had fun with it, and I like knowing his fantasies, I think it makes us closer and he finds it an attractive trait in me that he can be frank about that stuff.”

    I think it is great that you are open to hearing about your husband’s fantasies – I think most women would not be so comfortable with that, and fewer husbands would actually feel comfortable sharing their fantasies with their wives. I know I for one would have a hard time sharing all my thoughts with my wife – but that may be because I know my wife is less secure in this area.

  18. Liz,

    Your Statement:

    “Candidly, again, yes it would bother me quite a lot (again) if I thought my husband were fantasizing about taking another wife. It would depress me in the extreme if he thought he needed and/or wanted another wife.”

    I think this is one of those issues were a man does not need to share everything he thinks so you would never be bothered by that thought because you would never know about it. Obviously you know that I believe polygamy is was allowed by God and men are designed with a capacity for polygamy. I don’t think it is a sin for a man to have fantasies about polygamy which is something God allows in men. I think it can become wrong if we share it with our wives in a way that hurts her.

    As I have said before I don’t think it is always wrong to lie as I have shown in a previous post some instances of lieing where actually blessed by God when done under certain circumstances.

    Like I think very much God blesses the lie when men as are asked by their wife “Do I look fat in this?” and He says “No”.
    Or when a woman asks her husband about some other woman “Do you think she is beautiful?” and he responds “Yes but not as beautiful as you” – even if that is not true.
    Or the question on polygamy that so many Christian husbands have been asked by their wives “Would you take another wife if you were allowed to?” and the husband says “no – your the only woman I would ever want” or “having more wives would just be a pain”.

    Yep in all these cases it is a very good thing for men to lie with a very convincing face.

  19. Snapper,

    If I knew that my husband was looking at other women, fantasing about having sex with that woman and then coming home to have sex with me while thinking about the other woman it would hurt me very deeply. I would feel unattractive and not good enough. I would feel like half a woman and I’d feel used. Maybe that’s a lot of insecurity but while I realize God made men to desire women he made women want to feel desirable.

  20. True, but if your husband is telling you he is having sex with you because he was looking at another woman then he is a dolt. A loving husband would say something kind to his wife like “I was just feeling turned on today.” or, even better and still truthful, “I saw something that made me think of you.”

  21. Snapper,

    Your Statement:

    “I don’t see a problem with women reading romance novels any more than I see a problem with men looking at girls in magazines. I used to have an issue with my wife watching all her late-night dramas with the hunky firemen and suave cops until I realized she was coming to bed with her motor revved, after that it didn’t bother me at all. This is one of the points BGR seems to be trying to make. Fantasies and imaginations inspire us, but where we use that inspiration makes the difference. If we focus that fantasy into our husbands/wives then it is used for good!”

    I agree that fantasies by both men and women(whether it is men with nude images or women with romance novels) can be a positive influence with a couple. I don’t mind at all if my wife were to get turned on by a Chris Hemsworth movie – after all I am the beneficiary of it! And no man should feel guilty that he was turned on by the sight of some woman standing in check out aisle or some woman in a picture and then goes home and has sex with his wife. Now whether he tells her where his mood came from is another story depending on how insecure she is he might never want to tell her.

    But I also don’t think it is wrong for a man or woman to masturbate to sexual fantasies especially in the case where one spouse has a much higher sex drive than the other. As long as masturbation does not take the place of sexual intimacy between a husband and wife or cause it to decrease then this is not a problem either.

    In fact for some men(and women) this is the only thing that keeps them sane and management in their marriage especially when they have a spouse that only wants sex once a week and they may need it every day. Should they pursue trying to get sex more? Yes. But while pursuing it sexual fantasy used with masturbation can be a tool to keep one from having covetous or discontented thoughts that would get them in trouble.

    Speaking of discontent. Yes a man or a woman can allow themselves to become discontented while looking at porn or reading romance novels. However I would argue that if they do in most cases they were already discontented before they look at these things and it just caused existing discontent to fester. But in either case yes we need to be on guard against discontentment when it comes to our fantasies.

  22. Snapper,

    If it’s not wrong and not sinful, why wouldn’t you tell your wife?

    The reason I stopped watching Rom coms and reading books like twilight was because I had a realization while listening to girlfriends after watching a movie together. They’d say things like “I wish Jon would kiss me more often!” Or “I wish drew would love me like that.” They’d then go to their husbands and let them know they weren’t content. Their husbands didn’t appreciate it.

    Bgr, I don’t agree with polygamy (I read a great biblical analysis by deep strength). I know how you feel about and I don’t want to start a debate but you even admit it would be hurtful to a wife if a man was honest about wanting more wives.

  23. Yes, the issue of discontent was something I had wanted to mention earlier when replying to December with the housing example. Fantasizing about something to the point of discontent can lead to a host of other issues including envy and disrespect. If you fantasize about something so much that you start to become envious over the target of your fantasy you need to re-evaluate what is going on in your life.

  24. SnapperTrx,

    Your Statement:

    “True, but if your husband is telling you he is having sex with you because he was looking at another woman then he is a dolt. A loving husband would say something kind to his wife like “I was just feeling turned on today.” or, even better and still truthful, “I saw something that made me think of you.””

    I would call the man who tells his insecure wife that he was turned on by the sight of another woman a complete MORON!

    But this where men must uses discretion with their wives. Most wives think they need to know every thing that is going on in their husbands head. Every thought, every dream and ever feeling he may feel. Women hate when they think their husband is holding back anything.

    But let me tell you young men reading this – sometimes we want things that are not good for us. All of us as husbands can probably recount times when we were brutally honest about our feelings or thoughts and all it did was hurt our wife and hurt our marriage.

    I have been very guilty of telling my wife too much of my inner most thoughts and it causing damage that took some time to heal. Is it sometimes necessary to talk about uncomfortable things? Yes. But only when you know it is for the betterment of the marriage. If something you reveal about your thoughts or dreams would only serve to hurt your marriage – then keep it to yourself or tell you guy friend in confidence – but do NOT tell you wife everything you think and feel.

    No matter how hard she tries to pry it out of you.

    And for the ladies. No your husband does not have to tell you everything thought or feeling he has. Sometimes you just need to let go and stop prying.

  25. December,

    Your Statement:

    “If it’s not wrong and not sinful, why wouldn’t you tell your wife?”

    I realize that you are like many women who think they want to know every thought and feeling in your husband’s head.
    But the Bible is clear on this:
    “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” – Proverbs 29:11 (KJV)

    It is fool hearty and dangerous for couples to share every thought and feeling.

    A wise man knows what things to share and what things not to share with his wife.

    There is not one verse in all of the Bible that tells couples they must share every thought and feeling they have with one another.

  26. It’s not sinful for me to use the toilet either, but why would I tell my wife about it? There is such a thing as too much information, and there is such a thing as sparing the feelings of the one you love. If your husband put out a less than stellar night of lovemaking and afterward asks you how he did would you have any problem telling him it was no good and you could have had more fun doing your crochet? I guess if one was heartless then the answer would be yes, but I think the normal response from a loving wife would be that she would have no problem telling him he was great and that she had fun. As for husbands not appreciating their wives request for more attention, well, that depends on both the husbands attitude and how the wife asks. I have been on the receiving end of that request and I can tell you that when my wife is acting loving and our marriage is going well I often consider her words and review how I am treating her. Am I stressed? Am I working a lot or spending way too much time on hobbies? Is her request valid or is she just complaining? Also, if she has a recent history of being a pill then she may be right, and I may be showing less affection if she has had a prickly attitude. I think many women want to have their fantasies fulfilled, but don’t want to do the work associated with it. Sure they want to be loved and kissed and swept away, just like in the stories or movies, but are they taking steps that would put their husbands in the right mindset to do that? Are the acting submissive and feminine, or are they the typical ‘modern woman’ who’s opinion must be heard! I know men who would love to do more for their wives, if they would just act more like a wife/girlfriend instead of a mom. Women say they can’t understand how a man would want to have sex with a woman they are in love with, but they wouldn’t see a problem with wanting a man to lavish romance on a woman he is having trouble trying to love.

  27. “If it’s not wrong and not sinful, why wouldn’t you tell your wife?”

    Because she might find it hurtful. Why would the husband want to cause his wife pain or harm?
    During certain times in our life together, I’ve kept clips from magazines (pottery barn, and so forth), to remind myself about the styles I like best in case we were ever in a position to buy it. We move a lot, and it hasn’t been feasible. But during times in our life when funds are tight I wouldn’t take out my photo clips and say, “Gee…wish I could buy this and this and this….”
    That would be hurtful.

    “The reason I stopped watching Rom coms and reading books like twilight was because I had a realization while listening to girlfriends after watching a movie together. They’d say things like “I wish Jon would kiss me more often!” Or “I wish drew would love me like that.” They’d then go to their husbands and let them know they weren’t content. Their husbands didn’t appreciate it.”

    I dont’ think the problems in those cases were the rom coms or twilight (she’s an awful writer, btw, how could you stand that stuff?).

  28. Bgr,

    Not in a million years would I want to know if my husband was getting turned on by another woman and coming to me to fix it while thinking about said woman. It would crush me. And I agree it’s not smart. That’s partially while I don’t indulge in chick porn.it produces discontentment (in me) and thoughts lead to me telling my husband I don’t feel loved or desired enough. That crushes his spirit. I can continue to watch and read that stuff and try to keep quiet or I can just avoid it and learn contentment with the spouse God gave me. My husband knows I wish he would kiss me more and cuddle and hold hands. But he doesn’t want to and so the best measure for us is for me to learn contentment.

  29. Liz the writing is horrible. But I read one book so I had to finish them.

    Also Edwards character is why women swoon.

    Snapper I agree, but my instance might be different. My husband considers me very submissive and respectful. But he’s not an emotional man at all. We joke his emotions are “pissed off” and “fine.” I think deep down cuddling and kissing seem weak to him especially if they aren’t leading to sex. I can learn to deal with that and find joy in our relationship or I can nag or manipulate him into affection I want. I did try that years ago and I quickly figured out I wanted him to want to do those things not wanted him to do them out of duty. That must be what guys feel like during duty sex. That’s a different topic altogether

  30. Your behavior is a good example for other women to follow, but I am afraid it is not typical. At least not in my neck of the woods. I see to many Christian women who rule over their husbands, and too many husbands willing to take it. Now show me a story where THAT takes place and everyone is happy.

    On second thought, don’t. Let’s leave that part of the internet where it is……

  31. SnapperTrx,

    I agree that as husbands and wives, just even as Christians in general the quality of learning to be content in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in is crucially important. The Bible tells us:

    “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” – I Timothy 6:8 (KJV)

    It does not mean that we should not strive to better ourselves or better or marriages as much as in our own power to do so but there are some things that we simply learn to live with. Many men are not as romantic as their wives would like them to be and many women may give their husbands sex but they do don’t do all the things their husbands wish they would do. At a certain point you must just accept what is and learn to be content.

  32. So much of the fantasies of both sexes is to be passionately desired by someone we desire. Add some novelty and adrenaline and these are the things fantasy is made of. When a spouse is lazy, boring or miserly in bed they fail to fulfill the need of their spouse. Then turn them over to Satan to be tempted. Instead of policing the imagination of your spouse, how much better to be the fulfillment of their passions. Hot marriage beds lead to fidelity and oneness!

    I enjoy watching thrill seekers jump off cliffs with a flying squirrel suit on and viewing their flight through their go-pro helmet cam, it is invigorating and a rush just to watch. Yet I would never want to do it myself. I also enjoyed watching American sniper, I find the glamour of war and the manly virtues of valor thrilling, but I would not like to be a sniper or a SEAL. These things are not wishes they are imagination and dreams, just not dreams that I want to come true. I have imagined what it would have been like to be Joseph in Potiphar’s prison, but I would rather not experience it. I might enjoy playing pirate with my wife and taking her booty as booty from the king’s ship, yet I would never kidnap a woman in life, nor would I want any woman to be kidnapped. I have the volition to choose to avoid all these things or perhaps to play act them out in a manner I find safe. We loose our minds when sex is involved, it is like there is an ethic for life and a completely different ethic for sex. IMO- we are still living the heritage of dualism, the gnostics, neo-platonists, virgin veneration, clergy celibacy and the baggage that sex is somehow dirty.

    It is to the benefit of women who wish to control their men to keep a cold frigid eye on their imagination. What ever the issue a woman can always deny sex, complain about men always wanting sex or that her husband looks at other women. Every woman has these weapons in in her arsenal, she would loath to part with them, to do so is to surrender the power of control and we all know where that could lead….that could lead to submission. (gasp)

  33. Tobias is fairly certain he will get to comment on lust and coveting later tonight (we don’t normally stay up till midnight so we’re enjoying the extra time but we’ll see how functioning we are at later hours lol). I did want to make one quick clarification on the ‘childish’ issue. I absolutely do not think that male sexuality is childish. I do think that some men can act childish about it. Men who complain about looking but not touching (outside of marriage of course) are acting childish. The man I referenced to Liz (in the post about dating) who touched a stranger’s butt because it looked good was acting childish. Women are often the exact same way when it comes to periods. Like male sexuality, the beginning of periods for a woman is part of what marks them as the beginning of an adult (sexually at least). So it is by definition not childish, as is male sexuality. However, plenty of women turn into absolute toddlers during parts of that cycle. I might get flack for saying that, but it’s true.

    I had thought from your previous post that sexual fantasies were fine as long as they involved marriage in the fantasy. That seemed to me to be why you preferred the guy in line at the supermarket fantasizing about making the younger woman one of his wives rather than just fantasizing about sex in general with the actress on the magazine cover. I realize now that is not the point you were trying to convey (still a little confused there, but not the main point so not trying to sidetrack), but I thought at the time it was and it is a point I have heard multiple times from other men. Even though I think that both are wrong, for someone to say ‘but…..in my imagination i had given her a wedding ring so that makes it okay’, when he knows that will never in a million years actually happen, does seem childish. It is literally the kind of logic I would expect from a toddler. Right up there with ‘shut your eyes and nobody can see you’. Does that mean male sexuality is that way? Of course not. Because I have far too much respect for male sexuality to define it as that kind of attitude.

  34. This is Tobias. Anna asked me to present and defend a defense of a certain concept of lust that is, to my understanding, opposed to your own. Now, first of all, to my understanding you argue that lust and coveting are the same thing (or at least effectively the same thing), and that coveting involves in itself an intent to actually acquire the desired person/thing that has moved at least into the planning stages (i.e. If I sit at home watching a movie and spend thirty minutes fantasizing about having sex with the star of said movie then I am not lusting, but if I start planning out a way to find and meet her then I am lusting). I say this for the purpose of presenting my own understanding of your position, and of the position that I intend to argue against.

    I agree with you that lust and covetousness are strongly related. However, I strongly disagree that any biblical conception of lust or coveting can be reduced to the intent or attempt to actually procure a person/thing. In the New Testament the Greek word Epithymia is translated as both lust and covet, it is generally translated as ‘lust’ when it is used in a sexual context and ‘covet’ when it is used in a non-sexual context. The word itself, in its core usage, simply refers to a very strong and/or illicit desire for something, and it can be used in both of these contexts. So, in a sense I should epithymia my wife (i.e. strongly desire her), but this sense ignores the connotation of illicit desire. In the same sense I should not epithymia other women precisely because this desire is in and of itself illicit. There is no connotation of intent of planning in this term. The same can be said of the Hebrew word Chamad, which is generally translated ‘to covet’ and is the term used in the Ten Commandments.

    Chamad simply refers to a very strong desire or a desire that one takes pleasure or delight in (for instance, a fantasy about having sex with a movie star), but it has no connotation of intent or planning. Further, the term ‘lust’ isn’t actually used in the Ten Commandments, and in the OT where some translations do use the term it is commonly the Hebrew Phrase ‘al-tav-libi’ or ‘nava-libi’ which is more literally translated as ‘incline my heart’ or ‘move my inclinations, will, appetites towards.’ Again, this doesn’t carry with it a limitation of direct planning or intent, but instead involves a movement of the desire in and of itself.

    Now, it is impossible to argue that if I am fantasizing about a woman for thirty minutes that I have no desire for her or that my appetite has not been moved towards her. Certainly, I may recognize that this desire is not realistically fulfillable (for instance, let us assume that I have been fantasizing about Jennifer Love Hewitt–it is incredibly unlikely that I will ever meet the woman, and even more unlikely that if I did she would have any interest in me), and thus have no realistic intent or plan of pursuing the physical fruition of that desire. However, in this case both epithymia and chamad have been accomplished–I have coveted her and lusted after her, and thus I am guilty of both.

    Anna has pointed me to Romans 7:7 as a key verse you use in defending your position. The context of this verse is Paul’s argument that we are no longer bound by the Mosaic law, and that the Mosaic law even encourages sin in us because of our twisted and perverted natures–that because the law condemns coveting I can know that coveting is wrong, and yet knowing that it is wrong my fallen nature desires to covet all the more and my covetousness actually increases rather than decreasing, and thus the law actually creates sin in me rather than destroying it. Romans 7:7 is a key part of this argument as it is here that Paul argues that it is by the command against coveting that he knows that coveting is wrong. Here the Greek literally says that Paul knows that epithymia is wrong because of the command against epithymeo.

    Epithymia is simply the verbal form of epithymeo, and etymologically this word comes from Epi (a preposition meaning to, toward) and Thumos (passion or heat). So, verbally speaking Epithymia literally means simply ‘to be heated or passionate towards.’ Again, even in the etymology, the concept of intent of planning is absent. All that is required here is a desire or passion towards a thing.

    Given this, while I will absolutely agree that lust and coveting are related both linguistically and conceptually, I cannot see any support for the argument that either one requires an intentionality that has been taken to the planning stages. If I have misunderstood your argument, then it is possible that this has little bearing on your actual position, but if I have understood your argument correctly, then I am not sure how it is supportable from scripture.

  35. @tobias Good discussion points. Thank you for resisting the temptation to irrationally emote. Many have read BGR’s position and failed to interact with maturity resorting to name calling and stirring up outrage. (Some on facebook want him condemned as a heretic , blasphemer and false teacher and those are just the one’s that claim to teach against feminism.)

    I think the question is how much inclining one’s heart toward heat constitutes coveting. Gluttony is also a sin and coveting food could also be condemned under the same principles, of course we do not make vows to only enjoy our wife’s cooking, but the question of coveting remains the same.

    If I see an woman at the beach and my body responds with a hormone rush or even the redistribution of blood in my body, have I sinned? If after having seen the other woman at the beach, I tell my wife that I am really looking forward to some intimacy, then have I sinned? If she asks what has gotten into me an I say seeing women at the beach makes me desire my woman – should she be then be offended by my “looking to lust”? Is she doing “God’s work” if she tells me that I will not be getting any “honey on the biscuits” when we get home, because she doesn’t want to be intimate with a man with an adulterous heart? Should she inform the elders that I have a lust problem and am probably a porn addict?

    (just for grins substitute the food example in the above examples, ie I am at a potluck and start salivating, want to get home and eat my wife’s cooking etc.)

    Disclaimer – I am not encouraging men to smudge the line of what God calls evil. I am encouraging all to question their presuppositions that are probably the result of unbiblical ideas like, dualism and its cousin asceticism, sex is dirty – meme, celibacy is a more holy estate, woman worship and egalitarianism and replace those ideas with ideas founded from exegesis not eisegesis.

  36. Tobias (AnnaMS’s hubby)
    First of all I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to come on here and represent your family’s position on lust. As I told your wife I realize that the position that you and your wife take on lust and sexual fantasy is widely held in the many churches today and I think it is good for my readers here who know I and other Christians take a different position on this issue to see your position in your own words – straight from the horse’s mouth. I also thank you for the respectful tone of your disagreements as well.

    I am glad we agree that lust and covetousness are for all intents and purposes synonymous so we don’t need to debate that here – I have had many arguments with those who try and distinguish the two and that is an easy debate to win if we look at the original texts of the Bible.
    One of the first posts in which I talked about what I believe the Bible says lust is was back in April of 2014 and while I have made some edits to it over the last year and half it remains essentially the same.

    You can find it here – https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2014/04/18/what-does-the-bible-say-about-lust/

    Here is where I gave my understanding of how sexual covetousness (synonymous with lust), fornication and adultery fit together:

    “Covetousness first begins when a man goes from finding a woman he cannot marry desirable(which is not sin) to him desiring to possess her(which is sin).
    The second phase of covetousness is when a man goes from his desire to possess her (which is already sin) and then he compounds this by actively planning in his mind how he could possess her, whether he acts on that plan or not, it is still covetousness and is a grave sin before God.

    Fornication (which encompasses all sexually sinful activity) is when a man actually makes good on his covetous thoughts and then takes sexual possession of a woman he cannot marry and has not married. If the woman is another man’s wife that is Adultery – which is a specific form of fornication.”

    So your understanding of my position on lust is slightly off when you thought I believed there had to be active planning involved for it to be lust. But you are not alone in this misunderstanding of my position – even many who agree with my position have mistakenly thought I meant only active planning. Covetous or lustful thoughts have commenced the moment we go from finding a woman sexually desirable to actually desiring to possess her(outside of marriage).

    And just for another clarification – if a man desires a woman, he desires to possess her. It is the same thing. But even the desire to possess is not always wrong if the man is able to marry the woman. The desire to possess becomes wrong if that desire is to possess a woman sexually outside of marriage. But a man simply finding a woman sexually desirable, and being aroused by that woman, wondering what she looks like naked or even having a sexual fantasy about her is not the same as desiring to possess her sexually outside of marriage.

    Your statement:

    “Chamad simply refers to a very strong desire or a desire that one takes pleasure or delight in (for instance, a fantasy about having sex with a movie star), but it has no connotation of intent or planning. Further, the term ‘lust’ isn’t actually used in the Ten Commandments, and in the OT where some translations do use the term it is commonly the Hebrew Phrase ‘al-tav-libi’ or ‘nava-libi’ which is more literally translated as ‘incline my heart’ or ‘move my inclinations, will, appetites towards.’ Again, this doesn’t carry with it a limitation of direct planning or intent, but instead involves a movement of the desire in and of itself.”

    As you know the Hebrew word Chamad like its Greek synonyms Epithumia and Epithumeo can take on a negative or positive meaning depending on its context.

    Here are some positive uses of these words in the Scriptures:

    “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired [Chamad] are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” – Psalm 19:9-10 (KJV))

    “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire[Epithumia] to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” – Philippians 1:22-24 (NIV)

    “And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire[Epithumeo] to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” – Luke 17:22 (KJV)

    And I know you fully understand this based your comment this comment you made:

    “The word itself, in its core usage, simply refers to a very strong and/or illicit desire for something, and it can be used in both of these contexts. So, in a sense I should epithymia my wife (i.e. strongly desire her), but this sense ignores the connotation of illicit desire.”

    I completely agree that covetousness means illicit desire and not necessary actively planning to acquire the person or object of that illicit desire.

    But where we come to the core of our disagreement is when you made this statement:

    “Now, it is impossible to argue that if I am fantasizing about a woman for thirty minutes that I have no desire for her or that my appetite has not been moved towards her. Certainly, I may recognize that this desire is not realistically fulfillable (for instance, let us assume that I have been fantasizing about Jennifer Love Hewitt–it is incredibly unlikely that I will ever meet the woman, and even more unlikely that if I did she would have any interest in me), and thus have no realistic intent or plan of pursuing the physical fruition of that desire. However, in this case both epithymia and chamad have been accomplished–I have coveted her and lusted after her, and thus I am guilty of both.”

    Let’s take your example. If I were to fantasize about having sex with Jennifer Love Hewitt for 30 minutes because I find her sexually desirable can I do that without desiring to possess her sexually outside of marriage? Of course I can.

    I actually do believe that it is easier for us as men to not desire to possess a woman sexually outside of marriage the farther from reality that this is possible. This is why I counsel men all the time that while I do not believe sexual arousal and fantasy are wrong in and of themselves – they can quickly lead to lust(the desire to possess a woman sexually outside of marriage) when it is more realistic that we actually could accomplish this with a particular woman.

    That is why men should be extremely careful with women they work with or have close relationships with of any kind.

    This is why when we recently had discussions on Biblical dating I said I did not think men should put themselves in a position with their girl friends or fiances where it could become more realistic that sex could occur. The more realistic it is the more likely lustful thoughts(the desire to possess her sexually outside of marriage) can grow. When it comes to dating if a Christian young man is making sure he is always with family or in a public place and never alone in a car or alone period with her he will have a much better chance of warding off lustful thoughts.

    Your Statement:

    “Again, even in the etymology, the concept of intent of planning is absent. All that is required here is a desire or passion towards a thing.”

    Once again we agree that planning is not required for covetousness or lust to occur (although I would argue it often follows and is the second part of covetousness and lust).

    I think the big difference between us is where we believe a man finding a woman sexually desirable ends and where illicit desire begins. I doubt that you believe a man looking at a woman finding her attractive is sinful.

    But based on your comments I believe that you think if a man finds a woman sexually desirable(attractive) and he does not leave it at that but begins to wonder what she looks like naked or even has a sexual fantasy about her that now he has crossed into illicit desire right?

    But my question for you is – what is his illicit desire? Was it wrong for him to enjoy memory of her body or wonder what she looks like naked?

    Finding a woman sexually desirable and even enjoying the memory of her or sexually fantasizing about her is not illicit desire. It is a man enjoying the image of a beautiful woman – period. It is no different than a man enjoying the memory of a great steak that he smelled as he walked through a restaurant. Now if this man allows his enjoyment of the memory of her form to move into illicit desire – which is the desire to possess her outside of marriage than he has sinned.

  37. AnnaMS,

    Your Statement:

    “I had thought from your previous post that sexual fantasies were fine as long as they involved marriage in the fantasy. That seemed to me to be why you preferred the guy in line at the supermarket fantasizing about making the younger woman one of his wives rather than just fantasizing about sex in general with the actress on the magazine cover. I realize now that is not the point you were trying to convey (still a little confused there, but not the main point so not trying to sidetrack),”

    I just wanted to clarify your confusion on my position(and I understand how you might be confused as I sometimes even confuse those who agree with me on this). We are talking about two different things – one is the desire to possess someone sexually outside of marriage and the other is fantasizing about how you might accomplish this sinful desire. Covetousness does not require fantasy or a plan – it requires only the desire to possess someone sexually outside of marriage.

    I think when you read my previous comments on fantasy you often see me saying “outside of marriage” and could easily think that I meant a man must involve in his fantasy a ring on the woman’s finger and that they are actually married as they have sex. That is why I pointed out in this post that men are fully capable of and there is no in do so – imagining sex with a woman outside any relational context.

    So going back to my example of imagining a woman as another one of my wives example. Yes we can imagine a context of marriage with our sexual fantasy, or we can imagine sex with no relational context. In either case – we are not sinning. The sin occurs when we first cross over from finding a woman sexually desirable to then desiring to possess her sexually outside of marriage. One we have allowed that sinful desire to take root – then we may start fantasizing about how we might make the desire come to fruition.

    I hope that clears up the confusion.

  38. Epithumia/epithumeo are used by Jesus in Luke 22:15 to say that ‘[He, Jesus] epithumia epithumeo the Passover with his disciples’ at the Last Supper. That is Jesus desired to eat the Passover with his disciples.

    From this we know two things in my opinion:

    1. I agree with Tobias in that this “desire” is not the same thing as coveting. Although in the vast majority of cases, desire is usually interpreted as coveting when speaking about your neighbor and his possessions (including his wife).

    2. This desire and/or longing can be a good thing if operated in the correct context.

    My thoughts which are far from being set in stone but are my best possible solution at the moment:

    I don’t believe masturbation is sinful as the Scriptures do not speak against it. However, I also believe that it is questionable at best to use fantasies, especially when they involve women and other objects of desire. If we are to be ever increasing in the Spirit which includes self control then masturbation can certainly be used as an outlet if the desire gets too intense.

    But ideally the goal is to have complete self control over desires until they can be fulfilled in the correct contexts (e.g. sex drive in marriage). Using women or other objects of desire only reinforces a negative self control pattern. Obviously, using no fantasies makes it more difficult to masturbate which is a good thing. As you learn to keep in step with the Spirit more you will have less of a desire to as you walk the road.

    Thus, the desire should be funneled toward keeping in step with the Spirit as opposed to gratifying the desires of the flesh through fantasies, even though masturbation is non-sinful an outlet if you lose self control. Obviously, the sinful outlets are illicit sexual unions… porneia.

  39. My Dad, a professing Christian from when I was about 6 months old, watched every beauty contest – Miss America, Miss Universe types – that came on the TV. It really burned my mother. Before he became a Christian he committed adultery against her, more than once that I understand.
    He would invite me, a child, to come watch along with him. I would always soon leave the room and not come back.
    It really got under her skin that he would want me to watch the pageants.
    It wasn’t that she suspected him of coveting any of those young women – he and she were in their 40s and 50s when I was a child – it just irritated her.
    She was still a very pretty woman in a youthful sense clear into her 60s. Why he would persist in that behavior when he knew very well how it affected her, I don’t know.
    When I’m out and my wife is with me I make doubly sure to keep my eyes off other women. Why annoy, or risk annoying, my dear and faithful wife with such?

  40. BGR, this is Tobias again. So, to begin: we seem to agree 1) that covetousness and lust are synonymous (i.e. lust is simply covetousness applied to sex), 2) that sex is itself inherently possessive, and 3) that there is a difference between looking at a woman and recognizing that she is attractive and desiring to sexually possess her. However, our primary disagreement seems to be on the point at which ‘desire’ becomes possessive. You seem to be arguing that a man can ‘desire’ a woman even in fantasy without desiring to possess her, which would be wrong. However, I disagree with this position. I should point out that I will also disagree that because a man sexually possesses his wife she becomes his possession, or at least in any way that he is not also her possession. Spouses possess one another, as Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 7.
    Consider that Paul tells us that a man who has sex with a prostitute becomes ‘one flesh’ with her. This clearly establishes a concept of ‘use possession’ as morally wrong. So, when we are speaking of a ‘one night stand’ this is no less possessive than a long-term sexual relationship. When we speak of sex as ‘possessive’ we are speaking of a ‘making use of’ rather than an ‘ownership on the shelf’ possession. This, I think, raises a problem for your argument that sexual fantasy is morally acceptable. If use possession is wrong, unless we divorce fantasy from possession entirely, it is morally wrong. You make a distinction between ‘finding a woman desirable’ and ‘desiring to possess her,’ and if I am reading you correctly you argue that sexual fantasy is not a desire to possess. However, I will argue that this is prima facie untrue.
    A desire to possess does not require an ability to possess. For instance, I may stop by a Ferrari dealership everyday to stare at the newest Ferrari model. This may take me away from my other responsibilities as a husband, father, employee, friend, etc, and distract me from my relationship with God. The fact that I am poor and have no ability to actually buy the newest Ferrari model does not keep me from desiring to possess it. Further, since you agree that the sexual act is inherently possessive, a desire to perform that act would also inherently be a desire to possess, even if such possession is not realistically possible.
    In the case of Jennifer Love Hewitt, sexual fantasy is a desire to possess the unpossessable(at least for most), but it is no less a desire to possess. If the act of sex is inherently possessive, then the fantasy would inherently be a possessive fantasy. Further, just as the desire for a new Ferrari may distract me, sexual fantasies may also distract me from my relationship with God and my relationship with my wife. If I desire others more than I desire her, then I have, to use the biblical expression, inclined my heart in the wrong direction.
    This seems to be a better model overall for discussing the morality of sexual fantasy: where does it lead me to incline my heart? There is certainly a difference between ‘appreciation’ and ‘desire.’ Just as I may appreciate the artistry of a painters work without any desire to own the work or hang it on my wall, or appreciate the technical quality of the set and camera work in the movie Titanic or the writing of the show Gilmore Girls without any desire to actually watch them myself, I can appreciate the natural beauty and skill of a woman other than my wife without any desire to have a relationship with her. I can appreciate that Jennifer Love Hewitt is an attractive woman without desiring her. However, when I begin to fantasize about her (whether this is a fantasy about seeing her in a bikini or a fantasy about having sex with her), I have moved past appreciation and into desire. I have begun in increasing increments to incline my heart towards her, and this is what scripture describes as lust/covetousness.
    Further, I disagree with you that a divorce from reality makes sexual desire healthy. I will agree that a man who is fantasizing sexually about his neighbor is much more likely to try to act on that fantasy than a man who is fantasizing sexually about a movie star. However, when we divorce sex from reality we make it easier to objectify (i.e. to see a woman as an object to serve our pleasures rather than a human that we are to love and serve). There is nothing wrong with seeing a person as an object for sexual fulfillment (I certainly see my wife that way at times and she sees me that way as well), as long as we are not losing sight of them as a person at the same time. It is a common argument (especially among feminists perhaps ironically), that people cannot be seen as people and objects at the same time and that therefore, they should never be seen as objects. I think that is wrong, but it is just as wrong to see someone as an object without seeing them as a person which is an inherent part of porn and can actually be one of the most devastating consequences of porn.
    It is perfectly fine for me to objectify a piece of art… it is an object and it is not a person. However, the use of pornography, for example, encourages men to divorce their sexual desires from reality and to objectify the women that they are viewing. It is easy to forget that a significant percentage of the women photographed and filmed in pornographic material are not there by choice. Easy to forget that that woman is someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, and someone’s friend. That she is a creation of God that should be treated with care, a neighbor that should be treated with love, and a divine image-bearer that should be treated with dignity. In pornography, just as in sexual fantasy, we generally pay attention to none of these. This then shapes our character in ways that incline us away from God’s perfect image of love and justice, and this is certainly a bad thing.

  41. The problem with some of this is Policing a spouses thoughts.

    Also, when you look at even the Christian culture we see men doing everything they can for their wives short of just telling them to go find a man who will help them fill loved and fulfilled, but the wives are not content enough. Jonadab, BGR and many who have been on this and other forums have written about fulfilling their wives “list” of things that would qualify them to receive enthusiastic sex from their wives or even just sex from their wives. Not only did said “list” not work even though it was the wife’s list of “do these things and the sex will happen”, it backfires on most husbands. The wife disrespects the husband even more for doing those things.

    My wife doesn’t believe me when I have told her that even if she was a little over weight, house wasn’t kept all the time, and her cooking wasn’t good, BUT she enthusiastically and readily had sex I would be fulfilled. She and most women have some sort of weird idea that men have a list. They probably do, but since most marriages lack sex for the men and they are thinking about it so often their (husband) list comes down to sex, and more sex. I am getting older, so although the sex is very very important I have resigned myself to starfish sex with enthusiastic sex when she decides, because of that resignation I have my list of clean house, no nagging, respect etc. Like most men, during those high sex drive years (she wasted on her petty excuses) she could have treated me poorly in some ways if sex was abundant and enthusiastic. Instead I have memories of her feminism and lack of sex. Now I get to look forward to starfish sex and her trying to be respectful and submissive. Those 3 things are happening, but she has lost her attractiveness somewhat even though she maintains her wait. She is greying, has a ton more wrinkles than me and more so than many women in her own age bracket.

  42. @Gerry

    Your situation sounds like an unfortunate one for a kid to have been in. I don’t see why a father would force his kids to sit around and watch a beauty pageant with him if it makes the poor kid uncomfortable. I don’t have my boys sit and watch that stuff with me, but if a nice looking woman shows up on TV or a movie in a bathing suit or something similar I don’t force them to cover their eyes or turn away. They are both teenagers and I know they have an interest in girls. I don’t feed it, but I don’t try to squash it either.

    @AnnaMS
    Using your Ferrari example: I may stop and look at said Ferrari every day and I have not sinned. Obsession can certainly lead me to sin (start missing work, discontent, etc.), but the actual desire to own the car is not sinful. Neither is the effort to own the car under normal circumstances (put money away, put in a few extra hours at the office, etc.). Sinful ACTION toward possessing the car has now turned my normal desire for something typically good into sin. If I start skimming the company books for extra cash or selling my body underneath the dim light of a streetlamp so I can afford this car I have turned the desire for the car into coveting/lust.

    I don’t think BGR has said anywhere that the desire to possess the woman is the sinful part of the equation. Using his example, again, from the steaks, if I view another mans steak and desire a steak I have not sinned. If I view another mans steak and desire HIS steak, I have not sinned. If I desire HIS steak and intend to steal it when he walks away or turns around, I have now sinned. My simple desire has turned into coveting/lust. (I could be wrong, it has been a while since I last read that post, but I believe that was part of it. Please correct me if I am wrong.)

    Does this concept change because the object of desire is a person? Paul said to LIE with a prostitute is to become one flesh with her, not “to DREAM about a prostitute is to become one flesh with her”. In this case there is an actual PHYSICAL action taking place! There are plenty of things in this world that belong to others that we desire to possess, but it seems more like HOW we possess it that matters. If I am unmarried and desire sex and go to a prostitute, I have possessed my desire through fornication and have committed sin. If I take a wife then my desire is obtained rightly. If I fantasize about another mans wife or another woman I have not sinned unless I take steps toward making said fantasy come about. Again, that is not to say that an unhealthy obsession with that fantasy cannot lead to sinful behavior aside from making a move toward making the fantasy a reality, but we are talking about a fantasy and not an obsession. I have always viewed fantasies as something you bandy about with on occasion, not something you spend all day mulling over, or even a couple of hours.

    Just my input on the subject. I am not a bible scholar, nor a college graduate, I am just a guy on the internet who is plodding through this world and trying to understand how to raise his two boys. I see so many men that are filled with shame because they are taught that to even look at a woman and become aroused or think about her beauty makes them sinners. I stopped turning my eyes to the ground when a beautiful woman/girl walks by a long time ago. I don’t stare, I don’t follow, I just see – enjoy and move on. I will tell my sons this same thing. As BGR has stated over and over, gawking/staring is rude not only to the target but also to your spouse if they are about.

    I’d better stop or I’ll keep going until my keyboard breaks….

  43. @Jeff

    This is the concept of The Wall that the manosphere speaks of. We see a number of women who spend their youthful, sexy years being mean spirited and stingy with their husbands, completely unaware that, at some point, all that youth and sex appeal disappears and all that will be left is the underlying layers of personality, for better or for worse. An old, but kind hearted and happy woman may not draw the gaze of men much anymore, but those around her who know her with tell of her beauty because they know her gentle spirit. A selfish and crabby woman will suffer from having none of that residual ‘inner beauty’ when her outer veneer has faded, and all she is left with is the lines on her face and a heart full of hate. No one see’s her as beautiful anymore. Her family can’t stand her and only puts up with her presence because they are forced to, and no man, especially her husband, finds her attractive. There is no inner beauty in the elder years because none was stored in the younger. It’s a sad tale, but one that we will see more and more of as feminism marches on.

  44. Tobias,

    I am actually going to start with your Ferrari example then move back up to your “use possession” theory.

    Let’s use your example of you stopping by a Ferrari dealership to stare at the newest Ferrari model. I actually think that is a great example for us to work from.
    Would it be wrong for you to find a Ferrari desirable to drive or own even though in this world it would seem that you could never have that Ferrari? The answer is no. You could sit on your couch and imagine yourself as a billionaire with 5 Ferraris! Tobias – our imagination does not have to line up with our reality.

    It is interesting to me how you move straight from imagination regarding the Ferrari right to obsession. Now obsession is an entirely different kind of sin. The scriptures warn us as believers from becoming obsessed with anything – even good things:

    “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” – I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)

    So yes if you were to go sit in front of a Ferrari dealership every night and it became an obsession to the neglect or your relationship with God, your wife, your children or your job then absolutely it could become wrong.

    But just because something good can be abused (in this case our imagination) does not make it wrong.

    It is not sin for a man to see a woman on some movie or show and imagine having sex with her any more than it is wrong for a man who can never own a Ferrari to imagine driving one.

    First let’s use your Ferrari example to illustrate my points and then we will move this to the sexual arena:
    1. He imagines himself just driving the Ferrari down the road with no context of how he got the Ferrari, he is just enjoying the use of it.
    2. He imagines himself being a billionaire and going to the Ferrari dealership, buying the Ferrari and then using it.

    In either of these first two cases there is no sin in this man’s imagination.

    Now here are two sinful imaginations he could have about the Ferrari:
    3. He imagines himself breaking into the dealership late at night to take that Ferrari for a spin.
    4. He imagines himself selling his home and putting his wife and children in a one bedroom apartment so he can go and buy that Ferrari.

    Now let’s change this up and replace it the Ferrari with Jennifer Love Hewitt:
    1. He imagines himself just having sex with Jennifer Love Hewitt with no context of how he got the Jennifer Love Hewitt, he is just enjoying having sex with her.
    2. He imagines himself being a polygamist in Biblical times and going to her father and purchasing her as another one of his wives and then enjoying having sex with her.

    In either of these first two cases there is no sin in this man’s imagination.

    Now here are two sinful imaginations he could have about the Jennifer Love Hewitt:
    3. He imagines himself bumping into Jennifer Love Hewitt, striking up a conversation and going back to her hotel room and having sex with her outside of marriage.
    4. He imagines himself leaving his wife and children to find Jennifer Love Hewitt and get her to marry him so he can have sex with her.

    Even if he does not think either of the two bad things I just mentioned if he becomes obsessed with Jennifer Love Hewitt to the point of neglecting his relationship with God, his wife, his children or his job then it could become sin.

    I doubt that you think it is a sin for a man to imagine himself driving a Ferrari or owning a Ferrari even if based on his economic status this would never be the case.

    But the thing you are doing that many Christians have done is that you are placing a constraint on sexual imagination that you would probably do not place in any other area of imagination. You place the constraint that if the sexual imagination is not firmly rooted in reality, and the person’s actual position in life that somehow this automatically makes it sin.

    But the Bible places no such constraints on our imagination. It only says we are not to imagine wicked things like stealing things or having sex outside of marriage. But we can imagine sex by itself (apart from any relational context) and we can imagine sex in the context of marriage (even if we may never be able to marry that person for a variety of reasons).

    Now let’s return to your ‘use possession’ theory.

    I think you and I still have a great divide on what “desire to possess” means.

    When I speak of the “desire to possess” in this situation of sexual covetousness, I am referring to the “desire to possess outside of marriage” or in Biblical terms “to fornicate with” (which also includes adultery).

    What I am arguing is that it is very possible for a man to find a woman sexually arousing and sexually desirable and even fantasize about her but have no desire to fornicate with her.

    So the order goes like this:

    A man finds a woman sexually desirable – may even wonder what she looks like naked, or later remembers her form and has a sexual fantasy about her. No sin has been committed.

    If a man allows his finding a woman sexually desirable to be turned into a desire to fornicate with her he has now committed the sin of covetousness (lust).

    A man can further compound this covetous desire to fornicate with a woman by fantasizing about how he might go about fornicating with her which usually follows not long after he allows himself to desire to fornicate with her.

    So when you made this statement about my position this again does not fully represent my position:

    “You seem to be arguing that a man can ‘desire’ a woman even in fantasy without desiring to possess her, which would be wrong. However, I disagree with this position…”

    If I were to word it to reflect my position correctly it would read:

    “You seem to be arguing that a man can find a woman sexually desirable even to the point of fantasizing about her without desiring to fornicate with her”

    Your “use possession” theory fails at its very conception. Paul’s admonition is for men not to abuse their bodies (which are the temple of God) by engaging in sex with prostitutes. There is absolutely nothing in this context about sexual fantasy.

    The only sexual fantasy that is sinful is when a man fantasizes about fornicating with a woman. This would always be proceeded by him desiring to fornicate with her before he actually fantasizes about how he would fornicate with her.

    Your statement:

    “when we divorce sex from reality we make it easier to objectify (i.e. to see a woman as an object to serve our pleasures rather than a human that we are to love and serve). There is nothing wrong with seeing a person as an object for sexual fulfillment (I certainly see my wife that way at times and she sees me that way as well), as long as we are not losing sight of them as a person at the same time.”

    While we agree that feminists are wrong about it not being possible for men to view women as objects of sexual pleasure and as persons too we still disagree on men being able to separate a woman’s person from her sexual desirability.

    Sex is “the natural use of the woman” according to the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:27 and we are designed by God to as men to see women as objects of sexual fulfillment, in the same way that we see are designed to see a hamburger as a source of pleasure to our taste buds.

    A man can find a woman sexually desirable, then find out he can’t stand her personality and that does nothing to change the fact that he finds her sexually desirable. We as men cannot turn off that we find a woman sexually desirable any more than we turn off the pleasure we get from seeing and smelling our favorite foods.

    It is how we process that sexual desirability that comes next. We can do as you and your wife have suggested and use suppression and distraction techniques. Or we can be honest with ourselves that we find a woman’s body sexually desirable, but not her person. Then we can allow ourselves to enjoy the sight of her body but understand we want no relationship with her and that is not a sin.

    In fact we can imagine our own world in our minds where that woman has a completely different personality and we take her as a wife. As long as we are not allowing ourselves to desire to fornicate with her then we have not sinned.

    Your statement:

    “However, the use of pornography, for example, encourages men to divorce their sexual desires from reality and to objectify the women that they are viewing…
    In pornography, just as in sexual fantasy, we generally pay attention to none of these. This then shapes our character in ways that incline us away from God’s perfect image of love and justice, and this is certainly a bad thing.”

    I am not going to make a defense of the porn industry or its practices. However again you make a key statement talking about men divorcing “their sexual desires from reality” and to objectifying “the women that they are viewing”

    Going along with what I said earlier about sexual imagination. Again you demonstrate that when it comes to sexuality – we have all these rules that apply to no other types of imagination. Our sexual desires must be firmly rooted in the reality – really?

    Do some people have a problem separating fantasy from reality? Absolutely. Do others have problems with obsession? You bet. And if you do then you may need to get help for that. But most normal people are completely capable of separating reality from fantasy whether it is in sex or science fiction.

    Men are programmed to be objectifiers
    Women have a very hard time objectifying people and that is why most of the time men make far better business leaders, political leaders and especially military leaders.

    When a foreman manages an assembly line at an auto plant – its primary mission is to keep that assembly line moving and producing that end product at the fastest rate possible. The personal problems of each man on that line is irrelevant. If a person does not do their job adequately they must be replaced with another person who can do the job. He must see each person as an assembly machine no different than if they were robots on that line making parts and faulty robot had to be swapped out for a new one.
    If that foreman saw each man on the line as someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s father or someone’s husband before he saw them as a worker he might allow men to work that line that don’t belong there which could endanger their entire business operation.

    When a general goes into battle sometimes he may have to send men to go in knowing most of them will be wiped out. He must separate these men from their personhood and instead see them as military assets no different than a jet fighter or a tank.
    If that general saw each man on these units as someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s father or someone’s husband before he saw them as a solider he might not send them on this necessary mission and in the process end up costing more lives.

    Even political leaders sometimes have to look at people as objects and they must not consider their person-hood. What if a virus broke out in a major city and it was spreading rapidly killing the population and it could spread to other cities if it was not contained? A leader in this situation would have to view the people of these cities as if each one was vile containing a disease rather than as a person otherwise the disease might wipe out a much larger area.
    If that political leader saw each man in these cities as someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s father or someone’s husband before he saw as carriers of a lethal disease he may end costing many more lives in the process.

    Women when put in these situations have a much harder time objectifying people than men do – but that is what is called for.

    For these same reasons this is why a man can view a woman as sexually desirable and as a result wonder what she looks like naked and imagine having sex with her apart from any considerations of her person-hood and there is absolutely no sin in that. It is how we are designed by God as men.

    Now am I arguing that men should marry women based solely on their perceived sexual value? Of course not. This is certainly a biologically hardwired concern God has placed in us men but it should not be our only concern when seeking dating and seeking a wife. We also want to see that her person is one that is spiritually compatible with us.
    But when it comes to sexual fantasy yes we as men objectify women as a foreman objectifies his workers and a general objectifies his soldiers and that is ok as long as we don’t mix fantasy with reality or begin to fantasize about sinful things like fornicating.

  45. Tobias,

    I wanted to address this very important concern of yours in separate response:

    “where does it lead me to incline my heart?”

    The Bible says:

    “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”

    So even if we are allowed to do something, in some cases it might not be beneficial to us. I can see from your comments and I know from many other Christian friends of mine who disagree with me on this that your concern is that saying men are allowed to freely engage and enjoy their sexual fantasies even with the constraints of not allowing themselves to desire to fornicate or fantasize about fornication that thinking of other women will just take their desire and focus off their wife, or cause them to see their wife as not as desirable.

    While it is certainly possible that some men can allow themselves to obsess and covet there is danger in causing men to suppress their natural sexuality. I would argue there is an equal danger on the other side with the effects of sexual suppression.

    Every man if is he honest with himself is drawn to the beauty of women around him. And let’s not kid ourselves, it is not like looking at a piece of art work – its more like looking at a cheeseburger. We find women around us sexually desirable – we are extremely visual creatures.

    When we tell men it is wrong to sexually fantasize about any women other than their wife – do you know happens many times? They continually “fall” based on what they have been taught and have sexual fantasies while constantly condemning themselves and asking God for forgiveness. They see that woman’s cleavage at the office or at church and they are running to pray and ask God for enjoying what they just saw. Then one day after years of condemning themselves you know what some of these men do? They go and commit fornication. They reason to themselves “well if I am sinning just for enjoying the view and having a sexual fantasy and I can’t seem to stop this, I might as well go and do the real thing”. This happens in Christian churches far more often than you may realize.

    So yes I am concerned as well where men’s hearts will be inclined and that is why I believe it is an utter mistake to tell men that the soul focus all all their sexual thoughts must be on one woman and one woman only(their wife) – it is asking men to go against how they were designed by God. Now I realize from another comment your wife wrote that you believe that it is not God’s design but part of the fall and that is something we will simply have to agree to disagree on because I believe the weight of the Scriptures supports my position on that.

  46. SnapperTrx,

    Your Statement:

    “I don’t think BGR has said anywhere that the desire to possess the woman is the sinful part of the equation. Using his example, again, from the steaks, if I view another mans steak and desire a steak I have not sinned. If I view another mans steak and desire HIS steak, I have not sinned. If I desire HIS steak and intend to steal it when he walks away or turns around, I have now sinned. My simple desire has turned into coveting/lust. (I could be wrong, it has been a while since I last read that post, but I believe that was part of it. Please correct me if I am wrong.)”

    Let me clarify my position on lust and covetousness here. I think a better way to say it is if you find your neighbor’s steak desirable – there is no sin in that. Even if you desire to possess his steak lawfully, by offering him money for it there is no sin in that. It is when you first desire to unlawfully take then you have committed the sin of covetousness. Now in most cases as soon as you desire to unlawfully take something(covet it) then you will eventually be planning on how you can unlawfully take it(how you will steal it). But the desire to unlawfully take always precedes the fantasy on how you would unlawfully take the object in question.

    Now translating this to your neighbor’s wife – obviously you cannot buy your neighbors wife from him the way you would that steak. But you can definitely find her sexually desirable, imagine her naked or what it would be like to have sex with her and as long as you have no desire to fornicate with her, which then leads to planning in your mind HOW you would fornicate with her then you have not sinned.

    Does that make sense?

  47. Yes, and that same concept is what I explained while using Tobias’s Ferrari example. If I acquire my fantasy through normal, lawful means it is not sinful. Likewise acquiring a woman for sex by making her your wife is acceptable and not sin. Obviously there is no lawful way to take another mans wife. Thanks for the clarification.

  48. SnapperTrx,

    Your Statement:

    “Yes, and that same concept is what I explained while using Tobias’s Ferrari example. If I acquire my fantasy through normal, lawful means it is not sinful. Likewise acquiring a woman for sex by making her your wife is acceptable and not sin. Obviously there is no lawful way to take another mans wife. Thanks for the clarification.”

    This really goes to the heart of the matter. Tobias, AnnaMS and many Christians that feel as they do feel that if there would be no lawful way to acquire(or use) something or in this case have sex with a particular person then allowing yourself to enjoy the fact that you find them sexually desirable would be sinful because there is no way real way to fulfill that desirability.

    I have been trying to drive home that point that there is a very clear and distinct line between finding someone sexually desirable(and even enjoying that sexual desirability from a imagination standpoint) and then moving toward the desire to fornicate with that person.

    In fairness to Tobia’s position – I don’t think he thinks finding someone sexually desirable is a sin, but he believes if we dwell on the sexual desirability of that person by allowing ourselves to enjoy the sight of their body, or wondering what they look like naked, or imagining sex with them that this will ALWAYS lead to a desire to fornicate with them.
    As I pointed out to him if we really think about it that is not true. We can finding someone sexually desirable and even fantasize about them but have zero desire to fornicate with them.

    The true danger of putting ourselves in a position to desire to lust is when the prospect of actually and realistically being able to fornicate with a woman becomes a very real prospect. Examples would be a woman at work that you are close with, or if you are going out to lunch with her and allowing yourself to be alone with her. Maybe you are flirting with or talking about in appropriate things with your neighbor’s wife. These are all things that put us in the danger zone.

    The only way in my opinion that sexual fantasy even without any real prospects of being able to fornicate can be damaging is when it becomes obsessive to the point that we neglect our wife, our children, our job or other responsibilities.

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