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Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies Paperback – Jan 18 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (Jan. 18 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312302428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312302429
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 1.8 x 21.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #243,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

"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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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A thirty-two-year- old lesbian patient, Jenny, reported that she liked to be dominated during sex. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By janeyb on July 29 2002
Format: Hardcover
I found "Arousal" to be a fascinating analysis of sexual fantasies. Through the use of case studies - the feminist whose biggest turn-on was the idea of being be raped by a custodian, the man whose fantasies involved turning invisible, the fellow who imagined having sex with a bubbly, underage highschool student, and many more - Bader ably demonstrates how a psychoanalyst who is sensitive and open-minded might go about understanding the genesis of a patient's sexual fantasies and turning these insights into something of therapeutic benefit.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Jan. 28 2002
Format: Hardcover
The best teachers - and the best psychotherapists - have a way of making the most profound and original insights seem inevitable, as if you were just on the verge of thinking them yourself. Dr. Bader is clearly among their number. His central thesis, that sexual fantasies are a search for safe conditions to experience arousal, gave me that "of course" reaction. But that reaction was the result of his lucid discussion of how we grow up as we do and, of course, his vivid case studies. The result is not only to think about sex, but about everything in life and about how worrying about others (unconsciously) can interfere with getting the pleasures we all want. I've paid big money to see people face to face and gotten less grist for introspection that I got from reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15 2002
Format: Hardcover
What a blessing it was to find this book. For so long I have wondered about whether there was something wrong with me, whether I was different, sick just because I have a rich sexual fantasy life. Reading Dr. Bader's book was such a comfort; he's both knowledgable and sensitive--like a great therapist--which I imagine he is. I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the place of sexual fantasy in life and especially psychotherapists who need to know a lot more about this subject than I bet they do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was fortunate already to be familiar with Dr. Bader's academic writings. The same qualities of original thought, humor, and pragmatism are featured in this book for a general audience. Among clinicians, Dr. Bader is best known for his ability to wade skillfully into highly philosophical debates and drag theoreticians back towards a focus on helping people with their struggles. In this book, he ventures into areas of shame and secrecy and once again finds perpectives that are useful, accepting and liberating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Jan. 14 2002
Format: Hardcover
...Using case studies from his own practice, Michael Bader argues convincingly that our sexual fantasies are neither kinky nor perverse but are driven by the desire for pleasure and safety. As AROUSAL makes clear, "Sex begins in the mind, and travels downward." With case study after case study, taken from Bader's practice, we begin to understand why domination and submission play such an integral part in so many couples lovemaking. A must read for anyone practicing sex.
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Format: Hardcover
Haven't we all been with people who have sexual fantasies about which we haven't a clue as to why they turn them on? Like a former boyfriend who made me dress up in the classic, Catholic Girls School uniform: white knee socks, short, pleated skirt, white school blouse and white cotton underpants--and then he would put me over his knee, pull them down and spank me! He was so scrumptious (and, may I add 18 years younger) and it was such a turn on for him that I began to like it! But, have even a clue as to why it had to be part of his sexual foreplay--not until I read AROUSAL, psychoanalyst Dr. Michael J. Bader's riveting account of how our sexual fantasies evolve from our childhood traumas in order to make having sex seem ok and safe. Nancy Friday says it much better than I: AROUSAL represents an important advance in psychoanalytic thinking about sexual fantasies. Using case studies from his own practice, Michael Bader argues convincingly that our sexual fantasies are neither kinky nor perverse but are driven by the desire for pleasure and safety. As AROUSAL makes clear, "Sex begins in the mind, and travels downward." With case study after case study, taken from Bader's practice, we begin to understand why domination and submission play such an integral part in so many couples lovemaking. A must read for anyone practicing sex."
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