Moral question for devout or semi-devout folks

Do you find it morally–or doctrinally–wrong to fantasize about others’ spouses or people other than your spouse?

I was raised Catholic, and as a boy asking my dad about this whole *coveting * business mentioned in The Big 10, he explained that it referred to serious, serious desire for someone or something, a lust or want that practically consumes you, more or less. But lately I’ve been wondering how accurate that is–whether a fantasy about this or that person falls under “coveting” according to Judeo-Christian doctrine. (I’m still not sure if this belongs in in General Questions or here. . . mods, please move at your discretion.)

I guess I’m just wondering how those who adhere to an organized or semi-organized religious doctrine reconcile their less-than-devout mental landscape.

Catholic here. My view is that it’s not wrong to simply imagine or even fantasize about an immoral act, as long as you don’t have a desire to commit the act in real life.

On the other hand, if you recognize that an act would be immoral, but you want to do it and intend to do it if given the chance, you are in the wrong even if you never actually commit the act.

I would basically agree with this. Thinking about the act isn’t wrong, but desiring to perform an act that is morally wrong is a wrong.

I’m a Christian (nondenominational, former Baptist), by the way.

Thanks for the responses. My beliefs always ran along similar lines to both of yours until recently. . . perhaps as my worship habits slacken, new guilts are beginning to manifest themselves.

I don’t worry about the occasional fleeting thought but if it would become an obsessive thought (that is, thinking about ways to be with that person, trying to seduce the person, or thinking about them to the exclusion of my spouse) then it is a problem. My sexual energy in general should be going toward my husband, IMO.

Raised Reformed Christian, very conservative, now Christian semi-liberal, FWIW.