Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies Paperback – Jan 18 2003
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"The function of sexual fantasy is to undo the beliefs and feelings interfering with sexual excitement, to ensure both our safety and our pleasure," writes clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Michael Bader. In Arousal, Bader discusses the role of sexual fantasy as an unconscious problem solver and describes how his patients have come to understand the background, logic, and positive messages of their fantasies. Bader offers case studies of patients (heterosexual and gay) with varied conflicts, and analyzes their sexual fantasies in light of their desires, guilt, and past and current relationships. Most patients, Bader found, are able to resolve their issues by understanding the meaning and logic of their fantasies and then move on to more satisfying relationships.
Bader also interprets common sex fantasies and discusses sexual boredom in ongoing relationships, the power of pathogenic (irrational and self-defeating) beliefs, and sexual fantasies as a therapeutic key to problems that seem independent of sexuality, such as depression.
This provocative book is scholarly yet accessible to the lay reader interested in psychology. Although readers might be drawn in by the gritty, sexy details about Bader's patients, thoughtful readers also will learn about themselves and what their own fantasies may be addressing and revealing. --Joan Price --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This analysis of the pathologies of fantasy and psychology shows the road to hedonism is not paved with bricks but with dreams. With more than 20 years of counseling experience, Bader comes across as a compassionate psychotherapist, dedicated to exploring desire in whatever shape it might take: "Sexual excitement," he writes, "is loaded with taboos in our culture and is inevitably fraught with conflict and complications." Describing clinical practices and employing stories from his couch, Bader constructs a sexual world view wherein the shame and guilt patients experience in their early years (via the usual suspects: unhappy childhoods, bad parents) later well up in their intimate lives, often times in the form of secret and seemingly deviant fantasies. Throughout the book, Bader attempts to elucidate how these fantasies are used as the bridge between sexuality and the unreleased psychological tensions that float beneath the surface of consciousness. Readers may find his interpretations of fantasies from the familiar to the strange titillating (from voyeurism to coprophilia and sadomasochism), but may wonder if it's really accurate to say that "sexual fantasies are the keyhole through which we will be able to see our true selves." Bader's methodology insists that these desires are played out on a field viewed solely through the lens of psychoanalysis, a form of treatment some believe is outdated. And even though he may be a proponent of pop-sexology, Bader never gives a nod to Havelock Ellis, who pioneered in the field a century ago.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Each of the fantasies profiled has a very logical premise that Bader explains clearly and believably. For instance, the feminist fantasized about being raped because she felt stronger than most men, and only in the arms of the fantasy rapist - who was all muscles and ruthless about taking what he wanted - could she just think about herself and surrender to her own excitement. With her own husband, she didn't feel nearly as comfortable about being selfish sexually (she was instinctively sensitive to his feelings), and thus didn't experience the same level of arousal as in her fantasies.
Bader makes an interesting distinction - between people who have fantasies, and people who act on their fantasies. I would have enjoyed seeing him go into greater detail in this area. However, his explorations regarding the background of various common fantasies - domination, submission, masochism, sadism, fetishism, underage, invisibility (and myriad others) - more than make up for this lapse.
This book is wonderful for anyone who is curious about the underpinnings of their fantasies, or who is interested in how a psychoanalyst might dissect those same fantasies (and then put that understanding to work). The book is fascinating, provocative and well worth checking out.
Most recent customer reviews
This is the best book about sex that I've ever read. Bader explains the concept of psychological safety, and how you need safety to feel aroused. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Lefty
Bader has done a terrific job describing how sexual fantasies relate to a basic instinct as survival. Read morePublished on May 19 2013 by Lolo
This book was so simplistic. I was quite disappointed. You get the impression his main goal was simply to reassure people that they are normal after all. Read morePublished on July 13 2004
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