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?”
Luck went into even more detail with CP about the problem men can have with unhealthy fantasy.
“Fantasy is a replacement for not having the character to meet the demands of reality,” Luck said. “An example would be [a man thinking], ‘I don’t have the emotional maturity and character to resolve conflict.’ The reality is that there is ‘conflict in my marriage.’
“Because emotional maturity and character is missing, then ‘I’m failing at meeting the demands of my reality, which is that I need to work through this with my wife to get intimacy and connection again.’”
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.
“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.
While looking to escape through fantasy, online pornography and seductive imagery can become a real problem for men.
“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.”
Luck said he is working with the Southern Baptist Convention to bring some of the men’s issues onto the forefront. His next book, Sleeping Giant, is due to be released in May 2012. The book will serve as a resource model to SBC pastors and men to be a part of a “global church to church movement,” he said.
The book is about “moving the men of the church from the audience to the army for their local pastor.”