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THE "SIN" OF FANTASISING ABOUT SEX
 
Preface
 
The Church forbids bad thoughts. That is you are not allowed to have deliberate sexual or violent fantasies. Jesus said that adultery was a very serious sin and to look at a married woman with desire was a big of a sin as adultery. And so bad that it should make you wish your eye would be gouged out (Matthew 5). It’s adultery in the heart. Yet the Church allows acting which involves rousing violent emotions. Teenagers are blackmailed by the Church not to have wilful sexual feelings or thoughts on pain of eternal damnation. To try and warp sexuality and pervert it as the Church does is extremely damaging. When sexuality is attacked so viciously one’s non-sexual relationships are impaired for all relationships are sexual in the sense that it is a man or woman having them. A system that teaches that to commit murder while being fairly insane and therefore not guilty of a mortal sin is better than being fully sane and having a wilful sexual desire for a few seconds is downright evil and any good it does it not down to it but down to nature.
 
To write about nude women or sex involves much the same thing as thinking about them so it must be a sin too. Even if you keep the picture out of your head the picture is there subconsciously. Arousal is round the corner.
 
Some daring theologians have said that if you are a single person and are reading a manual on sex out for educational purposes and you get aroused you must stop reading. More logical theologians say you should not read such books at all. They that if you are married or get married you will learn about sex by practice and that is the way it should be. So you should not allow yourself any deliberate sexual feelings outside of marriage.
 
SEX FANTASIES

The Church says that one reason sexual fantasy is so bad is because it leads to forbidden and illicit sex.
 
Jesus said that any man who looks at a woman (he didn’t say married woman so it is just woman in general for you can look at any woman) lustfully has committed adultery with her as far as intention is concerned: “I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). He means that this man would commit adultery with her and only the circumstances are stopping him. The man is as bad as actually doing it for if he actually got her in the sack it would be his will that would be making him do it. It is the will that counts in determining if a sin has happened.
 
Our quote from Jesus implies that he forbids erotica, pornography, nudity – for nudity causes lust - and sexual fantasy and masturbation. Adultery is a crime that deserves death (Leviticus 20:10) and repudiation by the Lord. Fornication is also condemned by the law of God in the Bible but the price is compulsory marriage. An adulterer or fornicator cannot go to Heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9). What Jesus’ assertion means is that all wilful sexual desire and thoughts are forbidden outside of marriage. Falling in love must be a sin for it is about sexual attraction. Masturbation must be wrong for it is accompanied by dirty thoughts.
 
That the teaching banning sexual fantasy and masturbation is harshness is plain from the fact that the Church has always permitted violent thoughts and desires when evoked in the context of acting and television. You need to feel and think violent to act violent. So sex is worse than violence! The man giving the lustful look does not want to hurt the woman who attracts him at all so the consensus among Christians who want to do what they like that this just forbids malevolent lust is incorrect.
 
Even a man who loves his wife is treating her with lust when he has sex with her because if she aged 60 years overnight he wouldn’t have sex with her again. It is not about her being a person so much as being a sexy object.
 
The Church does not follow through its doctrine on the importance of decent desires and thoughts at all. Jesus undoubtedly forbade going to violent or sexy plays even if the violence and sex were not explicit for the imagination fills in a lot of the gaps subconsciously at least and a desensitisation towards sin always results. All that proves that the Church made up the confessional where Catholics have to tell their sins to the priest for the sin of sinful thoughts would mean you would need to pester the priest every day. Jesus could not have established the sacrament with the belief he had that sin was rampant in every person. The Church ignores Jesus in this for it knows he went too far and that if it obeyed him nobody would join it.
 
Some people think that if an old man or old woman looks at sexual images it does no harm for there is no risk of lust stirring up. But it is possible even if it has not happened for years. If mortal sin is the worst evil then even the slightest risk of committing it or being tempted to should not be taken. You wouldn't take your eyes off your child purposely for ten seconds in a busy shopping mall and would consider yourself evil if you did. So how evil are you if you play dice with mortal sin?
 
The old man and old woman are still taking something from sin. They are looking at images of people sinning and they imply approval for this sin merely by having the pictures and looking at them. There would be no such images if nobody looked at them. So they share in the sin of the immodest people in the images. These images are to be abhorred as idols are to be abhorred according to the Bible. Buying papers with page three girls in them is sinful.

The Church will say that if you fantasise about a person who does not exist during masturbation it must be a sin for you are pretending it is a real person and you think you are degrading a person.

Religion condemns sexual fantasies because they allegedly treat a person like a thing to be used for sexual pleasure and not as a person. But when you intend to receive sexual pleasure you are not thinking of a person as a person but of pleasure so that would forbid all sex. Its idea of treating a person as a person in sexual matters is sleeping only with a person you intend to spend the rest of your life with. But it is not clear why this should be. It is like saying that you should only kiss a person you will never leave. There is nothing about sex that means you have to remain true to the person you have it with forever.
 
Sex is sometimes a desire and sometimes a need. Rights are based on needs. It is agreed that a man has a right to marry meaning he has a need to. Love is as necessary as food and drink and shelter to live. Sexual love then is a need though sometimes it is not a need but a desire. For example, someone who is lonely and needs sexual love has a need but somebody who has a partner he loves but who desires somebody else has no need but just a sexual desire. It follows from all this that the Church in its attitude to sex is setting itself up in opposition to human rights. It does not care about the needs of priests, fertile women who don’t want children, gays and I could go on forever. The Church might say it cares about gays when it helps them to live without a relationship. But to help people live out your standard of morality and not let them find their own way by experimentation is not helping them but exploiting them.
  
RAPE FANTASIES

 
Is a man enjoying rape fantasies doing wrong even if it will not lead to any violent behaviour towards actual women?
 
Christians say that even if he would not rape in real life he is intending to do it in the fantasy world and in fantasy you show what you really want and could do if you could control reality the way you do fantasy. For them, this man is as bad inside as the man who really rapes. On the humanist level, this teaching that equates a rape fantasist with a real rapist is deadly. It as good as tells a man he may as well rape for real if he is going to fantasise about it.
 
Many say yes for the man will not know that his fantasies will not lead to that. The man who enjoys violent films does not know that his enjoyment will not lead to him becoming violent. But as long as he has no reason to think he can go out of control, he is not doing wrong. And so it is with the man who fantasises about rape.

 
Many say he distorts his relationships with women making it impossible for him to relate to them.
Actual rapists are often so good at relationships with their girlfriends that the girlfriends end up being unable to believe they are rapists. Saying it is impossible to relate to women is strong and harsh. It could be difficult but not impossible.

 
He is not being as good as the man who does not enjoy such stuff.

 
Its possible that actual violence against women may be just as easily triggered by refraining from fantasies about violent rape. I would assert that if the man suppresses his desire to fantasise about rape, he becomes unable to face the desire and deal with it if it erupts uncontrollably. He becomes a pressure cooker of evil. The Christian faith by making it a sin to fantasise about rape, is clearly turning some men into rapists.

 
Is man enjoying rape fantasies doing wrong even if it is not intended to lead to any violent behaviour towards actual women? The absence of the intention ensures that he can fantasise without inciting himself to become a rapist. 
 
SIN OF SEXUAL TEMPTATION

Immediately after condemning lustful looks, Jesus said, “If your right eye serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, pluck it out” (Matthew 5:29). In other words, a man should be ready to suffer like he plucked his eye out in order to avoid sexual temptation. And a man with the roving eye should be happy to lose his eye in an accident – assuming Jesus didn’t want a man to pluck his eye out. No wonder some of the saints ran a mile if there was a woman about. (I wonder what the male saints who fancied men did?) They battered and starved their bodies to root out sexual desire. The more a person tries to repress sexual feelings the more they emerge and the more powerful they grow. Forbidden fruits are definitely the sweetest. Jesus would think nobody does enough to stop sexual temptation so their temptations then would be their own fault.
 
Ezekiel 23 is incredibly pornographic and Jesus accepted it as scripture which shows that Jesus had double-standards like the rest of us.
 
When to stir weak and harmless sexual desire is sinful it implies that sexual desire is not bad because it is harmful but just because it is sexual desire. Weak sexual desire that you don’t have enough desire to carry out hardly degrades the object of attraction and is something you do for yourself. Since men need to get aroused to have erections and produce children and women do not the implication is that women should not seek or enjoy sexual pleasure. In fact, women believing and being allowed to believe they should like sex is a recent thing. Before, the Church could not stomach women liking sex and discouraged enjoyment even in marriage. The woman was expected to lie back and think of having another baby for God and the pope.
 
The Church says that involuntary desires and temptations towards sexual sin are not sins. But it also says these desires are still bad which is why they are sins if deliberately entertained. So it follows that if you would rather be dead by a decree of God (who has the right to take your life) than alive to experience these temptations, only then can you escape the experience unscathed by sin. In other words, "I am a tempted being and I'd consent to destruction if it were God's will. God has the right to destroy me if my temptations make me potentially dangerous." The desires and temptations are not sins if you have that attitude. But you would refuse to consent if God wanted to take your life to rescue you from these temptations, then you consent to be alive for the temptations. You are choosing to be tempted which makes you a sinner. You are then no different from a person who entertains the temptations except you are sneakier which is worse. So unless you love God perfectly which no person can manage, if temptation does not cause you to sin one way it will another.
 
The Church says masturbation is sinful and is objectively seriously wrong and very evil. However, the less control you have over it the less sin you commit. Speaking from experience, though the Church claims that wet dreams are not sinful and are good and normal and healthy, this is not the message you get from the ban on masturbation. If pleasure and ejaculation should always be open to creating new life as the Church says then it is certainly not good and therefore not normal – though common – and not healthy. You don’t say having involuntary orgasms in public is healthy and normal – even if it were happening to most men. So you should feel bad about wet dreams. You should feel dirty. God could have made us so that wet dreams occur a lot less than they do but he didn’t. If God is good then though the person swears its involuntary his sinful nature and self-will have had something to do with it so wet dreams are always sinful. To deny this is to say that God is a sinner for he causes the wet dreams – when it is not the person it is him. I do wish the Church would admit it hurts young men who had wet dreams and do something about this. If a gay man was turned on by a workmate involuntarily the Church would still require him to leave his job for his job is giving him bad thoughts. He might not be in control of the thoughts but he is free to prevent the opportunity for the thoughts to present themselves. The ban on sexual desire has many cruel implications.
 
The Church says that masturbation is objectively bad. Just as you would feel terrible if your hands took a life of their own and somebody gets strangled to death, so you should feel bad if you are subject to involuntary masturbation. You should abominate the pleasure. The teaching that masturbation is only a sin if there is any consent given to it is not much of a comfort.
 
Finally

 
The Catholic Church should face stern opposition from psychologists who should not allow it to hurt people and lie to them over sex fantasy which is a wholesome and natural thing.

WORKS CONSULTED

A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Catholic Truth Society, Westminster, 1985
A Teenager’s Answer to “Shall I Go to the Prom?” Sherry Burgess, Guardian of Truth Publications, Kentucky
A Work of the Flesh: Sexualism, Weldon E Warnock, Guardian of Truth Publications, Kentucky
Believing in God, PJ McGrath, Wolfhound Press, Dublin, 1995
Biblical Dictionary and Concordance of the New American Bible, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington DC, 1971
Contraception and Chastity, Elizabeth Anscombe, Catholic Truth Society, London
Contraception, John T Noonan, Jr., A Mentor-Omega Book, New American Library, New York, 1965
Courtship and the Dangers of Petting, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 1943
Divorce, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1946
God Is Not Great, The Case Against Religion, Christopher Hitchens, Atlantic Books, London, 2007
Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, Uta Ranke Heinmann, Penguin, London, 1991
Moral Questions, Bishops Conference, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1971
New Catholic Encyclopedia, The Catholic University of America and the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., Washington, District of Columbia, 1967
Pornography – A Psychiatrist’s Verdict, Melvin Anchell MD, Liguori Publications, Missouri
Preparing for a Mixed Marriage, Irish Episcopal Conference, Veritas, Dublin, 1984
Rediscovering Gay History, John Boswell, Gay Christian Movement, UK, 1982
Rome has Spoken, A Guide to Forgotten Papal Statements and How They Have Changed Through the Centuries, Maureen Fiedler and Linda Rabben (Editors), Crossroad Publishing, New York, 1998
Scattered Vows, Exodus From the Priesthood, David Rice, Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1990
Sex & Marriage A Catholic Perspective, John M Hamrogue C SS R, Liguori, Illinois, 1987
Shall We Dance? Dick Blackford, Guardian of Truth Publications, Kentucky
Son of Joseph, The Parentage of Jesus, Geoffrey Parrinder, T&T Clark, Edinburgh, 1992
The Emancipation of a Freethinker, Herbert Ellsworth Cory, The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1947
“The Lord Hateth Putting Away!” and Reflections on Marriage and Divorce The Committee of the Christadelphian, Birmingham, 1985
The Pope and Contraception, Brenda Maddox, Counterblasts 18, Chatto & Windus, London 1991
Vicars of Christ, Peter de Rosa, Corgi, London, 1993

The WWW
 
How to Fight the Religious Right, Brian Elroy McKinley
http://elroy.net/ehr/fighttheright.html
 
BIBLE VERSION USED

The Amplified Bible