Is it wrong to have sexual feelings for other people?

Janice from Atlanta wrote to me this question after letting me know that she is married. I had no further details.

Although I love to give straight answers when possible, it won’t be the case here.

Sexual feelings…


Let’s pause on sexual feelings. We are seeking physical pleasure on many levels that have nothing to do with sex, and no one wonders if feeling sleepy for instance is wrong.

Sex has been under the close watch of religions, brain washing everybody in the process.

Part of acknowledging who we are is also accepting that we are sexual beings with sexual needs that go beyond procreation.

Having sexual feelings is part of life, and it shows we are alive.

Now similarly to the urge to move when you have been sitting for a long time, lack of sexual intercourse can lead to uncontrolled desires to fulfill the body’s need.

Sexual feelings may lead to lust, but they are not lust. It is deeply wrong to confuse the two.

The major reason why there is confusion is that we forget how intimate sex is: it deals with the intimate parts of our body, and belongs to the private sphere. It should be shared exclusively with the participants, and never be viewed, or witnessed by anyone else. Whenever it falls into the public scrutiny one way or the other, it loses the amazing energy that it carries, and makes it unique to each intercourse. Watching sex makes it vulgar. Being aroused when watching sex is a major problem. Please see my post on pornography for more on that matter.

Having sexual feelings recognizes the fact that we have sexual needs, and that our body is meant to move and generate pleasure in connection with another body.

Just like we have the choice of what we eat when we are hungry in a civilized world, we can choose where to direct those feelings. Unconsciously directing them to a situation that will result into troubles is similar to always picking the wrong friends: only personal work can change that.

…For other people… 

Let’s pause now on other people

Does that mean that there is no other person in particular? Or is it a generic way to mention another specific person without doing so?

The email would have been sent by a man both options would be possible; for Janice or any other woman, however, it is most likely the second option.

As long as desires go outside the marriage, why does it matter if desires are directed to a particular person or not?

Feeling some kind of attraction outside of marriage is rather normal; initial attraction is not yet a desire, even less a sexual desire. It is part of the alchemy of connecting more or less with people.

Feeling sexual desires for other people in general reveals a strong libido unfulfilled. For men many factors can lead to that situation without necessarily revealing an underlying problem in the relationship. Women place sex at a different level, and physically the need for sex is simply different: quality matters more than quantity.

Feeling sexual desires for a person in particular reveals problems in the relationship beyond the libido. A healthy relationship is based on multi level desires: sexual desire is an essential part of a healthy relationship. If one seizes to desire his/ her spouse, boredom and lack of spices have dampened the relationship, eventually threatening it. Naturally, sexual feelings will turn elsewhere. The risk of an affair is then real.

…Is it wrong?


As always the guilt underlying in the question is of no use.

Self-assessment here is needed: ask yourself the following questions. Your answers will guide you to the solution.

  1. What am I attracted to exactly?
  2. What does this person seem to have that my husband does not have?
  3. What do I feel for my husband?
  4. Am I attracted to him physically?
  5. What bothers me with my husband’s body or attitude?
  6. What would I love?

You may or may not be in the right relationship for you right now. Remember though that all our problems start first with us. This is why working on ourselves is so critical.

In the end, never forget that what you see in someone is what you want to see. The “other” mostly likely is a mere illusion distracting you from addressing the true issues in your own life.