Module 6: Fantasy

When fantasy becomes a problem

Fantasies are a healthy and ‘normal’ part of everyday life and everybody fantasises about something at one point or another.

However, fantasies can become a problem when:

  • You engage in fantasies for a long period of time and increasingly often
  • You use fantasy to deal with a situation rather than resolving the problem itself
  • You would rather engage in a sexual fantasy than engage in sexual activity with your partner
  • Your sexual fantasies are illegal, abusive or inappropriate (explored later)

If you can identify with the bullet points above, then your fantasies may begin to affect the things you care about, such as your family, your friends, your job and your intimate and sexual relationships.

My fantasies

A good starting point in considering if your fantasies are problematic is to look at your fantasies in more detail. Exercise 1a and 1b will help you start to do this and will help you to explore your triggers to your fantasies.

Exercise 1 Part A – Thinking about past fantasies

Think of a fantasy that you have had. This can be one you have regularly or a one-off fantasy you have had. It can be a non-sexual or sexual fantasy. Now answer the following questions:

  1. Where were you when you were having this fantasy?
  2. Were there other people around? Were these people you know or strangers?
  3. What time of the day was it?
  4. What was your mood before you had that fantasy?
  5. Had anything happened during that day that led you to be in that particular mood?
  6. What was your mood after you had the fantasy?

Now think about other fantasies you have had and answer the same questions. Do you see themes developing? Do you tend to have fantasies when you are in a particular mood or at a certain time of day? You may find that sexual fantasies follow slightly different themes to non-sexual fantasies; make a note of these differences.

Exercise 1 Part B – Fantasy diary

Over the next week use the fantasy diary below to keep a record of your fantasies, both sexual and non-sexual.

Note down the time of day, your mood before you had a fantasy, the type of fantasy (sexual or non-sexual) and your mood after the fantasy.

Time of day Mood before Type of fantasy Mood afterwards





Click here to print off a full page diary

Many individuals who have accessed sexual images of children online feel that as part of addressing their behaviour, they have to stop all sexual fantasies.

However, sexual fantasies themselves are not necessarily a bad thing; it’s what happens in that fantasy or who is in that fantasy which may need to be addressed.

Hopefully, you should now be getting a picture of when and why you use fantasy.



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