Marriage Alert: Are Sexual Fantasies Harmful To Your Marriage?

Marriage Alert: Are Sexual Fantasies Harmful To Your Marriage?

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Ed and Brenda have been married for nine years. Both describe their marriage as fulfilling and generally happy, and they experience the typical ups and downs that many couples face. They report that they share a good, solid sex life, and–as in all relationships–the passion between them ebbs and flows with the tides of life.

However, Ed has a secret that weighs heavily on him: He fantasizes about other women.

Ed doesn’t fantasize all the time–just some of the time. But sometimes he thinks of other women (real or imagined) while he makes love to Brenda. He was relieved to read that it’s normal to periodically fantasize about other people. And he knows that he doesn’t want to have an affair, and that most of his sexual energy is directed toward Brenda.

Should Ed be concerned that his fantasy life means his marriage is in trouble?

Not necessarily…

The role of fantasy in long-term relationships:

We are sexual beings and research shows that many people with healthy marriages and relationships fantasize — in a healthy way.

Occasional fantasy can actually enrich your sex life. It can increase passion by adding a dash of eroticism that may be temporarily lacking in your relationship. So when you periodically fantasize, you’re relying on a safe and creative way to refuel your sexual energy.

You might rely on fantasy to overcome certain inhibitions. Fantasy can act as a momentary escape from the pressures and responsibilities of life. A good imagination can allow you the opportunity to feel free and expand your erotic self.

Some use fantasy to boost self-esteem. Within the story of your fantasy, you take center stage in a way that makes you feel better about yourself. This may explain why fantasies often involve the doting supermodel or movie star who cannot get enough of you.

The fantasy danger zone: when fantasy replaces intimacy.

Like all pleasures in life, the use of fantasy can be overdone. If you find yourself needing to fantasize most of the time in order to become aroused or to be physically intimate with your partner, fantasy has replaced reality. You’ve created a world where other people (real or imagined) have taken the place of your partner. This level of fantasy indicates that there is trouble in paradise–something is lacking in your marriage or relationship.

There might be many reasons why you feel the need to escape from your partner through the use of fantasy. Communication problems (you are unable to communicate your sexual needs and desires) and/or sexual incompatibility are just two possible explanations.

Back to Ed

So let’s give Ed our verdict: Because he doesn’t act on his fantasies, because his fantasies don’t interfere with his daily life, and because his wife is still the center of his erotic and emotional world, Ed’s relationship is not threatened by his periodic flights into fantasy.

To discover ways to build a more vibrant relationship, visit and sign up for Dr. Nicastro’s FREE monthly newsletter. As a bonus, you’ll receive two FREE reports that you can begin using immediately with your partner.

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