Fantasy (something that is imagined) also plays a significant role in the cycle of online offending. Everyone has fantasies and these are often about perfectly appropriate things, such as what you would do if you won the lottery! Everybody will have their own reasons for engaging in a fantasy…..
- For some, a fantasy will give them confidence, increased self-assurance and a sense of control over a situation by letting them rehearse how they will deal with a situation.
- For others, it may be a form of stress release (escapism) or a way to experience things that they wouldn’t in everyday life (that lottery win).
- Negative fantasies can be a way people try to cope and prepare themselves for something they fear will happen, or a way of punishing themselves.
- Some people use sexual fantasies as a form of sexual outlet; often if they are not meeting their sexual needs within a relationship.
Fantasies can be 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. Someone who can identify with the bullet points above may find that his fantasies begin to affect the things he cares about, including family, friends, employment and intimate sexual relationships.
Not everyone who fantasises about having sex with a child and has accessed indecent images to fuel this fantasy, will go on to abuse a child. However, the risk of doing so increases if someone routinely uses the Internet to fantasise about and masturbate to pictures of children. Under new and unknown circumstances, a person may act on that arousal.
This link contains more information about fantasy.