About the author, Jay Stringer

A licensed mental health counselor and ordained minister, Jay Stringer has spent the last decade working on the frontlines of the demand for pornography and sexual exploitation. Stringer holds an MDiv and Master in Counseling Psychology from the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and received post-graduate training under Dr. Patrick Carnes and Dr. Dan Allender. Jay's first book, Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing, will be released in the fall of 2018. His book includes original research on over 3,600 men and women struggling with pornography. Visit Jay's website to download a free chapter. Follow Jay on Twitter: @_jaystringer

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Your Brain on Porn

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

Watching just 5 hours of porn has been proven to significantly change people's sexual beliefs and attitudes. Find out 5 distinct ways that porn warps your brain, as well as 5 biblical ways to renew your mind and find freedom.

26 thoughts on “What Your Sexual Fantasies (Might) Say About You

  1. This was an extremely helpful article. I’ve always viewed fantasies as a bad thing that I needed to fight. My wife allows me to share them without judgment but I still feel bad when they come up.

    I know this article covered one example in depth but it is not one I can relate with. It would be a great followup in the series to cover other types of fantasies and the examples you’ve come across and what they say about the struggle to help decode them further.

  2. Wow
    This is good!

    I do wonder though if being “transformed by the renewal of the mind” through Christ as promised in the Bible is the only true remedy… or in addition to this.

    But yes, the church MUST be open to this need for help and not shame people!!!

    This is very good and well written !

    • Erica,

      Thanks! Yes, yes, yes to the renewal of the mind through Christ. A good friend and theologian named Andrew Decort once put it like this:

      “Jesus’s basic message was a call to metanoia, which is unfortunately translated as “repentance” but means a revolution or turning (meta-) in the mind or consciousness (nous). The climax of Paul’s theology in Romans 12 is a call to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (again, he uses the word nous). Likewise, Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1 is that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” ”

      I believe our minds are renewed when we understand the “what” and the “why” of what we were turned towards in our sexual fantasies. When that occurs, we can ask ourselves what it would mean to turn our consciousness to a sexual life that bears glory and beauty.

  3. I wholly believe that this article addresses the crux of our collective porn issue; if we don’t seek to understand the “why” behind our specific searches for pleasure and affirmation, we will continue to fall into the pit of despair and labeling ourselves as “perverted, messed up, etc.” The latter mindset only perpetuates the issue. Freedom is found in allowing ALL of ourselves (the porn addicted self included) to be before God, and to be at peace knowing how HE feels about US. He is not ashamed, afraid, or disgusted by our sexual desires, even when they fall into sin. Rather, he understands that our sexual sin is a legitimate longing gone astray, and one that is only satisfied in relation to Himself as Creator. Armed with this understanding, I pray that we walk boldly forth into the landscape that is the kind and redemptive power of God.

  4. Thank you, Rev Stringer. For several years, my accountability partner and I never talked about anything else except the fact that we both consumed porn and treated women the wrong way. We got nowhere until we started to realise that we use it in very different ways. He looks at women he wants to dominate. My fantasies are matriarchal. Now, we’re starting to consider what that says about our pasts and what drives us to pornography. Pray that both of us find healing for those pasts through the Holy Spirit.

    • Jason,

      Thank you for all your honesty in this response. Yes, accountability so often falls short for exactly the reason you named. So encouraged to hear how you two started addressing the main themes that bring you to your struggle.

      Jay

  5. I read the article about these fantasies that develop and I have one unusual one that may be interesting to identify where it came from.

    • Austin,

      Thanks for your response. Curiosity is definitely the key. I always recommend a good therapist or pastor trained to explore these matters.

      Kindness to you,

      Jay

  6. Thank you Jay for writing this article.

    I feel very inspired to dig deeper with my personal struggle with pornography and identify those areas in my life that lead me to indulge in viewing pornography.

    I never realized that this pain can be transformed. Thank you for highlighting the need to make this pain redemptive and a pathway to finding peace in myself.

    All the best.

    • Michael,

      All the best to you too. I’m grateful you feel inspired to dig deeper – it is truly the way this journey out of unwanted sexual behavior should feel. Pain can certainly be transformed. There is much beauty ahead.

      Jay

  7. Thank you for this article, Jay. I’ve been chewing on it all week. It never occurred to me that understanding the content of my fantasy life might be a step along the path of freedom. As a woman who struggles with these things, I’m waiting on the promised “next blog” that may give some insight to women’s patterns. I very much appreciate the work you’ve done to compile this information, understand it, and share it with us.

    • Britt,

      Thank you for your kind words, but even more for your vulnerability and courage. I am working on the “next blog” in the coming months. In the near future though I will be releasing a blog that addresses how many women’s first exposure to pornography is not an accidental discovery, but a set-up/introduction. Very often the sexual struggles we face are re-enactments of the very ways pornography first arrived in our lives.

  8. This was an EXTREMELY helpful and eye opening article! I too feel that it would be great to address other specific types of fantasy in other articles. I’ve addressed the “drive” underneath my sexual struggles but for some reason, it doesn’t “stick” for me and I always seem to return to old acting out behaviors. I really need to read this article again as it really hits home for me and I know that I’m “Missing something.” I don’t want to just be in recovery because I don’t know what I’m trying to recover! I want to be transformed!!!!

  9. I haven’t reviewed the comments yet, but I was wondering your perspective on this. After, “Ben” understood what his sexual fantasy symbolized. What other steps of inner healing did you and him take. How did or how are you currently pursueing a God centered view of sex. Lastly, how did you phrase that conversation…. “okay Ben, now that we know your fantasy symbolized this to you, we are going to talk about …..?”

    Did you just encourage him with truth. I know the article talking about transformation from pain but did that come from leaning on God’s truth. And if so in what way!

    By the way thank you for reading this! I really really loved your article! I thought it was insightful and I plan on talking about it in detail with a couple people in accountability and that’s why I want to know more on the subject! Thanks again!

    • Thanks for your kind words and thoughtful questions, Derrick.

      I will hopefully be addressing many of your questions in the following months as I blog with Covenant Eyes. For many men, there is a fundamental lack of purpose in their lives. Men often default to watching something – pornography, sports, television. We are drawn, magnetically, to arenas that do not require risk or imagination. This is why a singular focus on lust can be so detrimental to recovery – it over looks sooo many other areas that have to be addressed to pursue freedom. Ben had to discover more about what he wanted in his life – from career to sex to friendships. And yes, Jesus’ words of Blessed/happy are those who mourn, for they will be comforted, were certainly true for Ben. There is a lot more I could say, but as I said earlier, hopefully subsequent blogs will get closer to answering your questions. Really appreciate your response!

  10. Have you written your blog post about women yet? Where can I find that? I am very interested to know what you learned about women and fantasies.

    • Hello, Eliza, the blog post about women hasn’t been written yet, but if you’re connected to our blog updates, you’ll hopefully see it soon.
      Chris

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