General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Are some people afraid of fantasies? Do they think fantasies will become real?

Asked by wundayatta (58326 points ) March 11th, 2009

It seems like people don’t know you can fantasize something, and you don’t have to act it out in real life. We get a lot of questions from people who fantasize about sexual acts out of the norm, and wonder if that means they are out of the norm. How many people have fantasized about killing someone? Even uttered the words? How about fantasies about sado-masochism or dominance, etc, etc. Does that mean you have to act it out, or even want to act it out?

This has bothered me for years. It seems like people believe that if you think it, you will act it out. Of course, sometimes we do act on our fantasies. Sometimes we have fantasies about things we really wish would happen to us. Yet, for most, fantasies are not prologue. They are just entertaining waking dreams.

To what degree do you think people are afraid of fantasies? Are there some groups that are more afraid than others (religious groups, perhaps)? Do some people really believe that if you fantasize it, it will happen? If so, where does this come from?

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34 Answers

casheroo's avatar

There are, of course, some fantasies that are highly disturbing. If someone admits to having fantasies about having sex with children, I’m sure they’d be an outcast.
I have fantasies about being raped. Not by a stranger, but by my husband. Nothing crazy. But I feel wrong for having such a fantasy, especially having been a victim of rape. It makes no sense to me. But, I’ve never thought something was actually wrong with me.

marinelife's avatar

@casheroo That is common for women. It means you feel safe enough to be vulnerable with your husband. It does not mean you want to be raped.

There is a continuum of fantasies. The danger is when a fantasy becomes obsessive. When it becomes more important than real life. Then it is dangerous. That is real.

Other than that, our culture is pretty repressed about sex and the range og the sexual norm so it makes sense that applies to our fantasies as well.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Short answer? Garbage in, garbage out.

wundayatta's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater: huh? You’ll have to explain a bit more for my puny brain to understand.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@daloon Of course, we all have had fantasies that we’ll never act out. My point is that there is merit to nevertheless avoid subjecting yourself to some of them. There is reason behind avoiding the dangerous notion that “it’s just a fantasy” if it reaches a point where fantasy and reality are becoming blurred. (Yes, I know.. not true of most people.. I hope)

By garbage in, garbage out I’m just saying that there ARE unhealthy fantasies that if over-indulged would have a negative effect.

Bri_L's avatar

I think there is a difference between fantasizing and plotting. That difference would be taking action.

Like NaturalMineralWater said. As long as our own limits are known there you go. But when a loaner fantasizes about raping a co-worker who he never talks to and starts building up a relationship in his head that doesn’t exist, that’s bad fantasizing.

syz's avatar

I have fantasies that I know would not be feasible or even very pleasant in real life. That’s what makes them fantasies – I know I’ll never act them out.

fireside's avatar

@syz – do tell. it’s about the animals, isn’t it?

I can’t say that i have many dark fantasies anymore. Just the usual run of the mill stuff about the women on Fluther (oh, um i mean the women that I meet) which don’t normally play out like I would want them to in my head. And of course there are the fantasies of winning an Academy Award, which is really more up to me to make happen if it is possible.

syz's avatar

@fireside Eww, no bestiality. Kinky, yes, bestiality, no.

Bri_L's avatar

@syz – Cher isn’t just an over age plastic rock star…. ;-)

Bri_L's avatar

I was trying to make a joke. like “denial ain’t just a river in egypt” “share ain’t just an over age plastic rock star” share your fantasy (not really) joke kinda thing

syz's avatar

@Bri_L Ohhhhh. I would, but we got us some youngsters ‘round here…....

Bri_L's avatar

@syz – I was teasing. That is your business. And mine if you pm me. nudge nudge wink wink :-)

Blondesjon's avatar

I think we fear our fantasies because, on a primal level, we know that we manifest much of our own reality. Think of it along the lines of the old adage, “Don’t speak the Devil’s name lest he appear.” Also, by acknowledging and embracing our fantasies, we run the risk of being labeled different or gasp an individual.

99% of our planet’s human population are sheep

mcbealer's avatar

This question reminds me of the film Minority Report based on the short story
by Philip K. Dick.
SPOILER
I think the future depicted in the film is very frightening, wherein precognitive thinkers predict the next murder before it actually happens just because someone had a malicious thought, and as a result people are arrested.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Well, as I writer, I have taken various fantasies and turned them into great fiction. I can think of no better way to get rid of an enemy than to use them as a character in a story. Got an enemy? Have a dragon rip him to pieces and slowly savor each bloody bit.

Fantasies are fine, as long as you keep them in the realm of fantasy. But then, if you cannot decipher the difference between reality and fantasy, then you should probably stick to the more mundane forms of fantasy.

Aren’t most movies simply fantasies acted out? If thinking was doing, there would be a whole lot of movie directors doing time for some pretty heinous murders.

kevinhardy's avatar

well i hope most of them come true, i feel im meant to be famous, but i always get the other hand of things, which is demeaning and sucks, I deciced to nto snap out of anything and find a way to live my own path of things

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I don’t necessarily think all fantasies will become a reality, but I do think some of them are unacceptable, no matter what. One of them is when people fantasize or act out pedophilia. I understand that two consenting adults are taking part in the act and aren’t actually harming anyone or breaking the law.

However, what worries me – and what I find completely unacceptable – is that people think behavior like that is okay, even in fantasy. To some degree (and there is no getting around it) a fantasy stems from something we want. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be something we think about at all. So for me, what it boils down to is the character and morality of the individual.

Sure, a guy fantasizing about molesting a 10-year-old may never choose to act out his fantasy, but the idea is obviously there. Thinking about having sex with a 10-year-old turns him on. He breaks no laws, but it is still very disturbing. How many parents would let their child be around someone like that, even if he’d never actually done anything wrong? I sure as hell wouldn’t. I don’t think any good parents would. Some fantasies just aren’t okay.

SherlockPoems's avatar

@daloon I haven’t the foggiest notion what the ‘norm’ is and I seriously doubt that anyone else does either. That said… I think fantasy is the way we keep ourselves alive, happy AND sane. Dreams are fantasy and everyone knows they help you ‘work out’ problems, troubles and stresses. I say ‘go for it’!

wundayatta's avatar

One problem with fantasies is that if someone has them, but never tells anyone and never acts on it, we don’t know if they have them. Do, with DD’s example, a half of all men could have such fantasies, and none of us would ever know.

If someone told you about the fantasy, that’s another story. Then you would know, and you could do whatever you felt necessary. You couldn’t incarcerate the person for having the though, though.

It disturbs me that people would take action knowing that another person had had a thought, even if they never acted on that thought. I think it is reasonable to act in response to an action, and it is reasonable to be wary of someone with an expressed fantasy who has never acted on it. However, I think there is much more danger from people who have never expressed a desire that they hold. So wariness is a full time activity, no matter what you think you know about a person.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

We are getting into some dangerous territory here, especially since as Americans, we have something called freedom of expression. People can say “I hate all _______ and I wish they would all just die.” That same person can express his dislike for whoever (whomever?) he hates, and can even march down the street holding a peaceful demonstration. The KKK does it quite often. We have a right to peaceful demonstration, whether our opinion is acceptable by the majority or not.

Having an unpopular opinion or point of view isn’t a crime; nor should it be. That’s what is great about America. I would hate to see my freedoms restricted out of someone else’s irrational fears. If I were to suddenly decide to become a follower of Islam, then by some folks line of reasoning, that would automatically make me most likely to become a terrorist. Which is just fucking ludicrous. Saying all Muslims are terrorists is a stereotype, and I for one would hate to see this country become that way because of irrational fears drawn from poorly thought out conclusions.

Just my two cents.

SherlockPoems's avatar

@daloon I too find it disturbing (to say the least) that anyone would ‘take action’ because another person ‘thought’ about something. Talk about Big Brother -YIKES!

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

If I have a fantasy about cooking an enemy slowly over a fire, is that an unacceptable fantasy? I know that if I were to actually do it, then that would be illegal, immoral, and a very heinous crime. I would lose my freedom for committing a felonious murder.

Fantasies aren’t actions and should not be judged the same as physical acts. To say that some fantasies aren’t okay is a moral judgment. It might apply to your particular set of morals, but never assume that it will apply to anyone else’s. I have had some very terrible fantasies, but never intended to act them out, so I see no problem with said fantasies. I also see no need for the thought police to regulate my mind out of fear for what I might do.

Not all fantasies become fixations, and then the fixations become manias, and then the mania becomes an established fact. While this could happen, who is to say that it will?

wundayatta's avatar

Fantasies of child molestation? Do they face a different standard?

SeventhSense's avatar

@daloon
I think the issue that comes into play is that many persons who have acted out heinous crimes say that they fantasized about them extensively-sadomasochistic serial killers, pedophiles etc. I saw someone’s profile recently that mentioned “barely legal sex practices” as an interest. I don’t think I’ll be calling them up to babysit anytime soon.
Sometimes the dark side belongs in the shadow if it’s just fantasy. And of course that’s not to say that people will of necessity act out their fantasies but with many disturbed psyches there does seem to be a tipping point where the fantasy is not enough. Like a drug addict who needs more and more to achieve the same result. I think that’s what frightens people.
A few years back some graphic artists created highly realistic computer generated images of underage sex. The realistic quality of these photos being indistinguishable from actual photos was considered so subversive that it was banned. So there does seem to be a level of disturbance in fantasy that we find acceptable and morally responsible for society. But we should never strive to monitor people’s thoughts. That must be self directed by the individual as applies to the collective good.

wundayatta's avatar

@SeventhSense: thank you for your insight. Makes sense to me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DrasticDreamer
I used to think like you
something happened in my life
someone, actually
and I completely changed my mind

Sometimes there are fantasies one can’t help
because of the abuse they faced in the past
Sometimes there’s arousal one doesn’t want to feel
and it might have to do with younger people

What’s important is that one should feel comfortable expressing that to a person, a best friend, a partner and then get help, through therapy or whatever for their original issue/trauma

And this someone I know is an excellent parent
and I would trust them implicitly with my children

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

With sexual fantasies between partners, a common big fear is one partner will come to prefer the fantasy over the everyday reality of the other partner and this hurts the ego.

Some people will become so excited over the acting out of fantasy that they choose to seek it out as a lifestyle and not all partners want to go down that road together.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I believe you and I won’t say that you’re wrong. Maybe the person you know is an excellent parent. But if I had a child, I would not take the chance of leaving them alone with someone like that, regardless.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I think the person will be helped by therapy and has been already and I will take that chance – I trust my intution but I, of course, understand what you’re saying (I’m sorry it’d be easier if I could reveal more, but this is not my battle and it’s not mine to reveal)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir No worries. Don’t reveal more than you’re comfortable with. I also do believe that some people can be helped, just that it’s really rare.

75movies's avatar

To get off the children for a moment… ba dum bum.

The main fantasies that I am afraid of are those held by religious people with political connections.

Just_Justine's avatar

What a wonderful question. I am terrified of some of mine. For the most part I could not even share them. Not with anyone. They are too shocking and they actually disturb me. I want to learn more a about fantasies simply because of this. I wish I could share them, then I could get to the bottom of them.

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