Men engaged in fantasy football leagues may be a rather benign activity, but when it comes to males creating imaginary sexual relationships, the results can be devastating, said the founder and president of Every Man Ministries.
Author and pastor Kenny Luck, who has written more than 20 books about issues that men need to deal with while using biblical principles, told The Christian Post that the severity of the fantasy problem for men is on the same scale as the epidemic of immaturity seen among men today.
The seemingly growing acceptance of men that refuse to mature past adolescent behavior has been well chronicled in the media during the last few years and amplified by a “cultural uncertainty about the social role of men.”
In confronting the problems men face today, Every Man Ministries recently posted a video clip of Luck addressing the question, “Is it OK to fantasize?”
“Fantasy is a replacement for not having the character to meet the demands of reality,” Luck said. “An example would be a man realizing and thinking to himself, ‘I don’t have within me what it takes to resolve this conflict or hard reality with my girlfriend or wife.’ This is a masculine cul de sac or dead end—specifically, the end of his character. So what is he to do now? He can face this hard reality and ask for help. Or, he can do the emotionally easier and deny any deficit in his own life, excuse himself or accuse the other person of the problem and carry around all the self loathing connected to his immaturity.” Luck says that these negative emotions demand relief and the one of the most available sources of relief from hard and seemingly unfixable personal realities is fantasy.
Luck, who is also the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., explained, “When men recognize that they don’t have the emotional maturity and character to do relationships right they resort to fantasy because it feels better.” The realization that comes when a man discovers he is inadequate to handle relationships on a mature level foster low self-esteem and have him looking for relief from the painful feelings, Luck explained. This moment can introduce a very slippery slope.
“Then he reasons that ‘I don’t want to feel bad about myself.’ Guess what’s waiting for him to create this world where he doesn’t have to feel bad about himself and he can feel like a man again? It’s fantasy,” he said. Fight or flight kicks in and the culture tells him to escape the negative and find some positive—any positive.
“He can pop on the Internet and those pixelated women are not going to ask him any questions that demand character. They let him do in his mind whatever he wants to with them and it gives him a sense of power in the moment that is fleeting,” Luck said. “That feeling of power and control that is absent in his reality is [to him] worth going back to again and again even though its fantasy.”
Having developed workshops for men dealing with sexual addiction, Luck said he knows the struggles with fantasy well.
“Men need to learn how to not act selfishly in relationship. Isn’t it interesting that Satan’s solution when the pressure is on, and a man is not managing conflict well, is to make him be selfish and pursue fantasy and self-gratification which keeps him immature?” he noted.
“It enslaves men to emotional immaturity. You can’t love fantasy, especially sexual fantasy, and pursue personal maturity at the same time because it’s immature behavior.”
The way to combat the temptation of fantasy for men is to become secure emotionally, he said.
“This whole equation about why do men turn to fantasy goes back to their need to be loved and validated,” Luck said. Love and validation “produces the internal security and maturity in a person which helps them stand in the midst of harsh realities that demand more of them.”
He explained that, ultimately, security comes from a man’s relationship with God.
“That’s why the love of God is so important to a man. It’s a father loving a son and the love from a father to a son that makes him feel validated, accepted and secure,” he said. “God’s love creates inner security. Inner security leads to inner maturity. Inner maturity is required to deal with reality in a grownup way.”
SHARE: “Yo-MANswers” to questions about the “FANTASY” blog:
“How do you deal with the pressures of every day life and relationships?”
“Is fantasy a part of your solution?”
“How does your fantasy life impact you spiritually? Relationally?”
“What helps ground you in the midst of pressure and conflict preventing you from needing to escape reality?”
“What tools or truths have helped you escape “escapism” or fantasy?
WATCH: “The Fantasy Island” video series with your men’s group.
EXPLORE: The “Media Vault” for more related resources.