-Temptation, Desire, And Sexual Fantasy

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Heb. 13:4 

The physical act of sex is only honored by God within the confines of marriage. But what about sexual fantasies in the mind, or sexual desire? Is that sinful? Is it a temptation or a sin? Is temptation considered a sin?

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:14-15

James shows that temptation is not sin. After all, Jesus himself was tempted and was without sin. James also shows that desire is not sin, even if it is evil, as desire must be conceived for it to give birth to sin. Or in other words, a decision must be made to act upon it. And of course the desire must be toward something forbidden. Also, desire is not lust, which is synonymous with the word covet. Desire doesn't turn into lust until the decision is made to act upon the forbidden desire. Yes, we can sin in our mind, that is pretty easy to prove. But temptation and forbidden desires are not enough to sin in the mind. To lust or covet after something forbidden is to make the decision to pursue that forbidden object. You have at that point sinned in the mind with lust or covetousness. Before that decision those thoughts are not sin, but is said to be a temptation or desire of that which is forbidden.

Sexual fantasies are not sin. Sexual fantasies about that which is not sexually immoral, is simply by the natural design of God. Sexual fantasies about that which is sexually immoral, is a perversion of God's design. For example, to fantasize about incest, homosexuality, or say bestiality. Is that a sin? While that is a perversion of God's design, I do not believe it to be sinful to have these thoughts or feelings. If one was to make the decision to live out with action one of these thoughts, then that would become sin. But thinking about bestiality is not bestiality. Thinking about incest is not incest. Thinking of homosexuality is not homosexuality. Thinking about murder is not murder. Thinking about lying is not lying. It could very well be a temptation in which we are warned to flee from temptation. It's not a good idea to entertain these thoughts, but that doesn't make it a sin. We need not to feel guilt and shame when we are tempted with our forbidden desires. It is important that we know where that line is and understand the distinctions between sin and what occurs leading up to sin. 

Men desire and fantasize about a lot of things other than having sex with a woman. They desire driving their neighbors brand new Ferrari down the highway, but that doesn't mean he's decided to steal the car. They fantasize about the taste of eating their friends cinnamon roll on his plate, but that doesn't mean he's gonna snatch it when he looks away. Just the same, when a man fantasizes about his neighbors wife, that is not lust of covetousness, nor is that the act of adultery, and it doesn't mean that he has an intent to actually have sex with his neighbors wife. Men desire catching the winning touchdown in a football game, they fantasize of flying to space and landing on the moon. and killing the bad guy in a video game. None of these desires or fantasies are sin, but simply our imaginations doing what they are designed to do by God. So temptation, sexual desire, and sexual fantasy can lead to lust or covetousness, but it is not the same thing. Read The BIBLICAL Definition Of Lust page to understand this subject further of when our sexual thoughts become sin.

Song Of Songs

In the book of Song of Songs, we see further evidence for this subject. Read Sexual Imagery In Song Of Songs page to learn more. But we see the woman and the man Solomon having sexual desire for each other before marriage. And not just sexual desire, but sexual fantasies. While these fantasies are not condemned, they are warned to wait until after marriage to have sex. So while they were tempted by their desires for each other, they did not sin because they didn't have sex until the wedding night.