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Appropriate versus inappropriate fantasy

Well actually, you are harming yourself because you are reinforcing your attraction to things that are illegal and abusive.

As explored earlier, we can get pleasure from our fantasies. If the subjects of our fantasies are inappropriate, we then associate feelings of pleasure with something that is illegal and abusive. This is particularly true if you masturbate to the point of ejaculation to the fantasy, as the next time you think of the fantasy you will remember the pleasure and arousal.

This is not helpful if you want to control an attraction to children.

So what are appropriate and inappropriate fantasies? We split inappropriate fantasies into three sections:




Have you recently had a fantasy about a child? If you have, then without thinking about it in too much detail, work through these questions one at a time and see if these help you think about your fantasies differently.

  1. Where is this fantasy situated?
  2. What are you doing there?
  3. Who else is there? What are they doing there?

What this fantasy says about you

  1. What role does this fantasy place you in?
  2. How does this fantasy compare to the type of person you are generally?
  3. How does this fantasy compare to the type of person you want to be?
  4. How does the fantasy of the content compare to real life?

What this fantasy says about how you view others

  1. How do you treat the people in the fantasy?
  2. How do they treat you?
  3. What if the roles were switched?

What this fantasy says about your view of the world

  1. What sort of world would it be if you or other people were able to act on this fantasy?
  2. Is this really the type of world you’d like to live in?
  3. What is the likelihood of your fantasy ‘expectations’ being met and would you want them to be met?
  4. What would your close friends and family feel about this fantasy? What would they think?
  5. How would you feel if your son or your daughter acted out this fantasy with another adult?

Were you struck by any of your responses? The above exercise has helped people identify needs met by fantasy that are not being met in the real world. These are not necessarily sexual needs. For example, some people identify that in their fantasy life they are able to take the role of someone more in control or confident than they feel in their day-to-day life and relationships.

The exercise can be used to work out how healthy a fantasy is. For example, if on reflection you feel it would be unpleasant to be treated in the fantasy the same way you act towards the others in the fantasy, or if you would be ashamed of others knowing about the fantasy, you may decide this is not a healthy fantasy.

The content of a fantasy is one aspect to consider in deciding whether the fantasy is appropriate or inappropriate, but in the next section of this module we explore other reasons why fantasy might be a problem.


Continue to When fantasy becomes a problem