Module 6: Fantasy

Fantasy Management

So you have identified which of your sexual fantasies are inappropriate. But how do you stop having them?

For some people this will be easy, but for others it will take time, hard work, a lot of willpower and heaps of self-control. You are not alone if you feel it is too hard to control these fantasies, but YOU ARE IN CONTROL of your thoughts and feelings and you can make a choice as to how much attention you choose to give to them.

Many individuals use fantasy management techniques to help stop having these harmful sexual fantasies.


Exercise 4 – Use a fantasy management technique

Have a read through the techniques below. Next time you have a harmful sexual fantasy, you need to try and use one of these to help you stop. The more you use these, the more you will learn what works more effectively for you. It may be that you need to rehearse them or use a combination of these to get it just right.

1. Challenging your thoughts

‘Why am I having this fantasy; what good is it actually going to do me?’ These are examples of questions you can ask and challenge yourself with. Be firm with yourself.

You could also ask about the consequences to implant fear. ‘Why would happen if someone walked in and could see what I was fantasising about?’ ‘I know if I keep having this fantasy, I am more likely to look at indecent images of children; what are the consequences if I was caught?’

2. Fantasy replacement

Change the ending or the subject of your fantasy. For example, if you are beginning to indulge in fantasy about a child you have seen in an indecent image, change the child to an adult. In order to gain the same satisfaction, this will probably not be an immediate solution, but you could start by changing small features like hairstyle or body form and over time change the whole situation. In contrast, try a different fantasy all together which is new and exciting…. and legal!

3. Fantasy blocker

Imagine someone walking in to your fantasy and catching you. This person has to be someone who you would never want to find out, like a close friend or family member. Or maybe the police.

4. Escape route

Sometimes we need to remove ourselves from the situation in which we are fantasising. Get up, get out of that room, leave the house if you have to. Go anywhere that stops you from having that sexual fantasy. Put yourself around people so that you can’t masturbate.

5. Active distraction

Do something that prevents you from thinking about a fantasy. This could be reading, watching TV, going for a walk. It could be ringing a friend or going for a drink. Anything that takes your thoughts away from that fantasy.

6. Urge surfing

Imagine your fantasy as being like a giant wave. It will build and build to a peak and then suddenly go the other way and decline in intensity. If you do not masturbate, eventually the urge to do so will go away. This happens with all urges, not just sexual urges; for example if you are craving chocolate, eventually this craving will go away. Urges never stay.

7. Self-care

Eating well, exercising, sleeping and relaxation; all of these contribute to a happier, healthier you. If you ensure all these are in check, you will find managing sexual fantasies much easier.

8. Praise your success

The most important thing is to praise yourself for your success. If you are able to stop a particular fantasy, congratulate yourself. Treat yourself to something nice to eat or do something you enjoy. Stopping fantasies can be difficult, especially if you are used to having them, so you need to give yourself credit for that.


What do I do if my sexual preference is children?

We understand that some people have no sexual interest in adults. They often report an exclusive and life-long sexual interest in pre-pubescent or pubescent children. If this is true of you, then we understand that asking you to replace a child in a fantasy with an adult may not work for you.

Rather than try and change your sexual interest, your task is to learn how best to manage your sexual thoughts, feelings and fantasies. Of course there are no easy answers but the aim is to try and reduce both the frequency of your sexual fantasies and their intensity. We hope the suggestions and advice below are helpful:

  • Try to avoid sexual fantasies about children when masturbating. Of course this can be difficult, especially if you are not attracted to adults. To help, try focusing your attention exclusively on the physical sensations you experience while masturbating. Experiment with different sensations e.g. use of lubricants.
  • Reduce the amount of time spent thinking or fantasising about children in a sexual way. The more time you spend having sexual fantasies about children, the more these thoughts will govern your mental and sexual life. So, the less time you spend thinking about children in a sexual way, the better.
  • Develop a busy day-to-day lifestyle with a range of activities and interests that hold your attention. The more our minds are focused on things that we find engaging and rewarding, the less time we spend thinking about sexual things. This helps people feel more in control of their sexual thinking. And, of course, it helps people feel better about their lives more generally.
  • Try and spend time with others. People tend not to day-dream, or have sexual fantasies, when they are interacting with others, for example, at work or when socialising. Their minds are otherwise occupied.
  • If you are aware that you use sexual fantasies as a way of coping with other things in your life e.g. an escape from things that are worrying you or as a way to relax, find other ways of coping with these things. This will help you reduce the frequency of your sexual fantasies.
  • Self-care is important too. If you feel OK about yourself, you are less likely to use sexual fantasies as a prop for your emotional health. Mindfulness (http://bemindful.co.uk/) is a technique that has been shown to improve people’s mental health and resilience.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. For many people, it simply does not feel realistic to never have sexual fantasies about children or to never masturbate. That’s just how it is. Mindfulness can help people come to terms with their feelings about this. Compassion and self-acceptance is a better mind-set than one of despair and resignation.

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