Look to God (instead of other people) to meet your needs. God is the only one who can ultimately fulfill all of your needs, such as those that you may fantasize about another person meeting (satisfaction, provision, and comfort). So don’t barter with your body to try to get other people to meet your needs (such as by fantasizing about people as mother figures, father figures, or spiritual idols, or keys to unlocking the fountain of youth for you). Recognize that what you may have been desperately searching for in others, you already possess in God, through your relationship with Him – and all you need to do is turn to God to claim what you’ve been searching for. Once you’ve learned how to trust God to meet your deepest emotional needs, you can learn how to express affection toward other people in healthy and holy ways.

If you’re married, invest your best efforts into your marriage. God has designed marriage to be the only context in which sexual energies can be expressed in healthy ways, and when you focus your sexual energies on your spouse, your marriage can grow stronger. So if you’re married, do your best to develop healthy intimacy with your spouse. God can show you how to use your fantasies to energize your marital sex life, drawing you and your spouse closer to Him and each other.

If you’re single, direct your sexual energies toward other pursuits. If you’re single, there’s no healthy way for you to express your sexual energies through sex until you get married. So while you’re single, direct those energies into healthy pursuits, such as exercise and creative work.

Expose the roots of fantasies about taboos. If you fantasize about gay or lesbian sex, rape, incest, recognize that such things go against the natural order of how God has made creation and will harm you and others if acted out. If you fantasize about bondage, sadism, or masochism, understand that it’s never God’s plan for sexual pleasure to involve anything that causes others pain. 

Put fantasy in its place. Defuse the unhealthy power that fantasies have over you by: focusing on other things you’re passionate about, trusting your God-given instincts more than you do other people, refusing to rationalize stupidity, trusting in God’s grace to avoid sin, strengthening your marriage so you won’t be as tempted to have an affair, and trusting God to lead you and your spouse into deeper levels of sexual and spiritual connection.

Adapted from The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts, copyright 2012 by Shannon Ethridge. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.

Shannon Ethridge is an international speaker and certified life coach. She has a master’s degree in counseling/human relations from Liberty University and is author of the million-copy, best-selling Every Woman’s Battle series. Learn more at www.ShannonEthridge.com

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: angels@aboutguide.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer

Publication date: December 28, 2012