So this is what I’m thinking: It is more morally acceptable to lust after imaginary people than real ones.
With real people, there is the pesky problem of reality. I mean, they exist. So there is actual possibility of doing things with them. It is actually possible to have sex with real people. Whereas imaginary people do not come with this feature: they are safe, because no matter how appealling they are you can’t give in to temptation.
This is fine so far.
Unfortunately, imaginary people are played by real people. In films or television or even theatre a character is represented by a person. How do you lust after the character without also lusting after the actor?
I find that my brain can handle this to a large extent. I think of characters as seperate entities who happen to look and sound a lot like the people who play them, and can happily sigh after a character and be uninterested in the actor. But is this moral cowardice?
By restricting myself to lusting after imaginary people, am I just fooling myself? Is it morally and emotionally equivalent? Is it just as problematic to lust after an imaginary person whilst myself in a closed relationship as it would be to lust after the person who plays them?