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Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies [Paperback]

Michael J. Bader
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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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.

From Library Journal

Bader, a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst for over 20 years, holds that we unconsciously design our fantasies to make sexual arousal safe for ourselves. Fantasies may seem bizarre and paradoxically opposed to our perceived selves, but they represent attempts to solve problems and overcome irrational beliefs about guilt, worry, shame, and rejection. Moreover, by understanding our fantasies, we (and our therapists) can get valuable insights into our psyches and daily functioning. Bader covers how arousal works, how fantasies assist in arousal, the role of fantasies in therapy, and the social meaning of fantasies. Throughout, he gives numerous case studies, examples, and sensible and compassionate conjectures about particular fantasies and the fantasizing process. Bader is a clear, graceful writer, and he makes his points with rare facility in a way useful to both lay people and therapeutic professionals. His book complements Nancy Friday's fantasy collections, which Bader considers rich sources of validation, as well as recent collections by Iris and Steven Finz, Suzie Boss and Wendy Maltz, and Bob Berkowitz. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Martha Cornog, Philadelphia

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Arousal represents an important advance in psychoanalytic thinking about sexual fantasies."—Nancy Friday, author of My Secret Garden

"Bader's story theory of sexual arousal is revolutionary. It has the potential to change forever the way we understand everything about sex. I believe that he has no equal among psychoanalysts in his understanding and elucidation of sexual passion."—Kim Chernin, author of In My Mother's House

"In this brilliant new work, Dr. Michael Bader offers an original and provocative theory that is the most definitive explanation I have ever read of both the psychological and social dynamics of sexual arousal. This highly readable and engaging book should be required reading not only for practicing psychotherapists but for all those who are interested in the how and why of sexual arousal."—Lillian B. Rubin, Ph.D., author of Intimate Strangers

"Bader is a clear, graceful writer, and he makes his points with rare facility in a way useful to both lay people and therapeutic professionals."—Library Journal

"An insider's look at what goes on behind the scenes of our desires."—Kirkus Reviews

"Bader comes across as a compassionate psychotherapist, dedicated to exploring desire in whatever shape it might take."—Library Journal

About the Author

Dr. Michael J. Bader has more than two decades of experience as a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, educator, and social critic. He is a frequent contributor to mainstream psychoanalytic criticism, and his series of highly acclaimed articles for Tikkun magazine has been instrumental in bridging the gap between psychology and popular culture. He lives in San Francisco.
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