Sex for many people feel like a dirty word and talking about it can be pretty uncomfortable, even in the context of marriage. When it comes to sexual expression and fantasy in marriage, it can be difficult to differentiate between what’s appropriate and inappropriate in your relationship with your spouse. There are a number of practices of love and sexuality in which the Bible is clear, but others that Scripture is silent. In Hebrews 13:4 we are told that the marriage bed is to be undefiled, it does not say what it means. Because of this, it is difficult to determine what is right and this is wrong. Is it ok to fantasize about your spouse? The best place to go to for the answer is the Bible.
First, we should look at the meaning and purpose of marital sex. The Bible describes the pleasure that husbands find in marriage with these words: “Rejoice with the wife of your youth….Let her own her breasts intoxicate you at all times. With her love may you be in an ecstasy constantly” (Proverbs 5:18, 19). This doesn’t mean that wives are excluded from pleasure in their marriage with their husbands. God also intends for wives to enjoy sex. The Bible says that husbands and wives should satisfy each other’s sexual needs: “Let the husband give to his wife her due, and let the wife also do likewise to her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:3). From this, we know that sex is a very mutual experience and about the satisfaction of both partners.
God created sex. God made our bodies for a special purpose. When our first parents consummated their covenant, God was not shocked or horrified, because He created our bodies for sex. The reason that sex is fun, wonderful and pleasurable is because it is the reflection of the loving goodness of God who created it as gift for us to steward and to enjoy: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:24-25). Sex is central to the process by which a husband and wife become one flesh.
When it comes to fantasy in the context of marriage, biblical principles should shape a couple’s expression of love and physical intimacy in marriage. God allows husbands and wives to define the particulars of their sexual relationship. As long as it doesn’t violate Scripture, we have the right and authority to define what that looks like. This includes certain fantasies. The important thing to ask yourself is whether or not the action is a healthy expression in your marriage. Every decision you make should be mutual and lifting up your marriage. There should also be an understanding of the physical and emotional ramifications of certain decisions. If you are committed to turning a fantasy into a reality, no party should feel pressured or coerced into engaging in any form of sexual activity with which they are uncomfortable. These fantasies should also not involve other parties because this puts in an adulterous mind-frame and can lead us down a dark path.
God wants us to reserve sex for marriage, not because it’s wrong, but because it’s wonderful and unique. Sex shapes and affects the relationship between a man and a woman as nothing else can. This is why writers of Scripture so often compare idolatry to the sin of fornication or adultery. It also explains why they use sexual purity and faithfulness between spouses as an image of our relationship with God.
This is where fantasy can get tricky. If your sexual fantasies involve someone other than your spouse, though it may seem harmless, it cause issues down the line. It objectifies the sexual experiences and introduces external influences into the intimate relationship between husband and wife in a context that should be sacred.
Proverbs 5:18-23 calls to question a man’s lust of another man’s wife: “Why, my son, bed intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and He examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly” (Proverbs 5:20-23). The Bible reminds us that sex should be done in such a way that there is no shame. No fantasy should make your partner shame or bring shame to the bedroom.
Many couples fantasize during sex for many reasons. It can be a result of everything from past abuse, previous premarital sexual activities, to a desire to achieve sexual excitement and fulfillment. Sexual pleasure does not always mean turning away from God but it’s important to look at what that fantasy is rooted in and if that fantasy will cause a physical or mental wedge between you and your spouse. Sexual pleasure does not always incite lust or incline us toward sin. As Christians, we don’t have to interpret pleasure or fantasy as sinful and worthy of shame. We should just be cautious if fantasy is causing harm or separation. Moral discernment will help us know if the fantasy is acceptable or problematic.