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Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies

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In this fascinating and provocative book, Dr. Michael Bader offers a groundbreaking new theory of sexual desire. Drawing on his twenty-five years as a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, Dr. Bader demonstrates that rather than being programmed by biology or society, sexual fantasies and preferences are really psychological antidotes to unconscious dangers. Armed with this n In this fascinating and provocative book, Dr. Michael Bader offers a groundbreaking new theory of sexual desire. Drawing on his twenty-five years as a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, Dr. Bader demonstrates that rather than being programmed by biology or society, sexual fantasies and preferences are really psychological antidotes to unconscious dangers. Armed with this novel theory, men and women will no longer need to feel ashamed about what arouses them or confused about what arouses others.


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In this fascinating and provocative book, Dr. Michael Bader offers a groundbreaking new theory of sexual desire. Drawing on his twenty-five years as a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, Dr. Bader demonstrates that rather than being programmed by biology or society, sexual fantasies and preferences are really psychological antidotes to unconscious dangers. Armed with this n In this fascinating and provocative book, Dr. Michael Bader offers a groundbreaking new theory of sexual desire. Drawing on his twenty-five years as a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, Dr. Bader demonstrates that rather than being programmed by biology or society, sexual fantasies and preferences are really psychological antidotes to unconscious dangers. Armed with this novel theory, men and women will no longer need to feel ashamed about what arouses them or confused about what arouses others.

30 review for Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Colesberry

    This is a marvelous book. At the very end, Bader tosses off a sweeping philosophical statement that provides a key to his thinking. In a few sentences, he discards the Freudian fantasies of perverted, sadistic children whose original impulses are more or less directly expressed in adult human "perversions" such as an obsession with anuses or high heels or punishment. Instead, with compassion and the kind of common sense that is all too rare in the professionally trained of any profession, he pro This is a marvelous book. At the very end, Bader tosses off a sweeping philosophical statement that provides a key to his thinking. In a few sentences, he discards the Freudian fantasies of perverted, sadistic children whose original impulses are more or less directly expressed in adult human "perversions" such as an obsession with anuses or high heels or punishment. Instead, with compassion and the kind of common sense that is all too rare in the professionally trained of any profession, he proposes that we gravitate towards sexual preferences and scenarios that make us feel safe enough to express our sexuality, scenarios that serve to down-regulate the shame, anxiety, guilt and fear we all in more or less quantities associate with sexuality. (He names as his intellectual antecedent a man names Weiss, a mentor he had studied under.) It's the way of intellectual movements that dramatic, implausible, exciting theories make more of a splash than their calmer, more common-sense oriented cousins. This is a real pity. You'd think we'd have gotten tired of thrilling but ultimately baseless theorizing after the 20th century with all its failures. I hope we have. Especially after Greenspan's theory of "economics works just like Ayn Rand says it does" has driven us into a ditch that our grandchildren will be lucky to drive out of, I hope we're more open to the less flashy, common sense philosophies of people like Bader.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kent Winward

    This book is an embarrassment of riches on understanding sexual fantasies without judgment and with a focus on to the inner self. Reading the book is a little bit like getting psychoanalyzed, but in a very good way. Why do we fantasize the way we do in all our individual peculiarities? Because our brains are going to figure out how to get us aroused safely. In that context, the outer shell gets broken and our true inner demons, often that have nothing to do with sex, are exposed. Thinking about This book is an embarrassment of riches on understanding sexual fantasies without judgment and with a focus on to the inner self. Reading the book is a little bit like getting psychoanalyzed, but in a very good way. Why do we fantasize the way we do in all our individual peculiarities? Because our brains are going to figure out how to get us aroused safely. In that context, the outer shell gets broken and our true inner demons, often that have nothing to do with sex, are exposed. Thinking about sex never felt so analytical.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heather Shaw

    It's not "arousal" that I recently read, it's "Male Sexuality: Why Women Don't Understand It --And Men Don't Either." Okay at first I wasn't much impressed. The book seemed standard fare as in fantasies are a way of dealing with childhood trauma and adult fears. But then, I got to thinking -- maybe pornography, dominance issues, and prostitution aren't generally dealt with from a fear/trauma perspective. Bader's point, for example, that some men worry too much about taking care of or not hurting It's not "arousal" that I recently read, it's "Male Sexuality: Why Women Don't Understand It --And Men Don't Either." Okay at first I wasn't much impressed. The book seemed standard fare as in fantasies are a way of dealing with childhood trauma and adult fears. But then, I got to thinking -- maybe pornography, dominance issues, and prostitution aren't generally dealt with from a fear/trauma perspective. Bader's point, for example, that some men worry too much about taking care of or not hurting women, and therefore seek out relationships (outside their marriages) where they can relax and enjoy sex without being responsible for the well-being and happiness of the women. What do you think? Anybody read this?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yemaja Maat

    This author has helped me understand my own sexuality. As a survivor of rape this book has revolutionised my love life. I have been set free from survivor guilt.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sonica

    An extremely effective, if unusual, way to understand the most hidden and perplexing parts of yourself. This guy makes a lot of sense!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carisa

    This book is giving me more to think about with regard to sex and what is considered pathological. It's a very interesting read. This book is giving me more to think about with regard to sex and what is considered pathological. It's a very interesting read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Snyder

    Ground-breaking study. Bader's main thesis, that successful fantasies (the ones that reliably get you excited) are the ones that manage to bypass the parts of your mental life that might get in the way. And the more imposing the blocks are in the way of your sexuality, the more intricate and exacting your fantasies might have to be to get around them. The ideal situation is to have had trusting, encouraging, and rich enough childhood experiences with caregivers that later in adult life you can b Ground-breaking study. Bader's main thesis, that successful fantasies (the ones that reliably get you excited) are the ones that manage to bypass the parts of your mental life that might get in the way. And the more imposing the blocks are in the way of your sexuality, the more intricate and exacting your fantasies might have to be to get around them. The ideal situation is to have had trusting, encouraging, and rich enough childhood experiences with caregivers that later in adult life you can be free to be sufficiently "ruthless" enough with sex partners to enjoy real passion with them -- since passion requires ruthlessness. Without this freedom, you're too constricted by worry that you're going to hurt someone or worse be abandoned by them. The book is also a reasonably good introduction to "control-mastery theory." But the author's enthusiasm for control-mastery theory, and for its founders, makes the beginning of the book slow-going for anyone who's just interested in Bader's ideas about sex.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robb Seaton

    This book attempts to apply psychoanalytic techniques to sexual desire and it goes about as well as you'd expect. I'd wager most readers will come away with a less accurate self model than if they'd never encountered this work. Here is a particularly egregious example. The author writes, on rape fantasies, that they are "[c]ommon among men, and infrequent among women." Uh, dude, have you ever read a romance novel? How can someone setting out to be a kink authority get this so wrong? Rape play is This book attempts to apply psychoanalytic techniques to sexual desire and it goes about as well as you'd expect. I'd wager most readers will come away with a less accurate self model than if they'd never encountered this work. Here is a particularly egregious example. The author writes, on rape fantasies, that they are "[c]ommon among men, and infrequent among women." Uh, dude, have you ever read a romance novel? How can someone setting out to be a kink authority get this so wrong? Rape play is one of the most female-skewed kinks out there. (Supporting data.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    LUIS E MARTINEZ

    Not what I expected As the author said, every person and every mind is different, so this book doesn't offer a good framework for sexual fantasies, just a set of few examples that area talked again and again during the book. Not what I expected As the author said, every person and every mind is different, so this book doesn't offer a good framework for sexual fantasies, just a set of few examples that area talked again and again during the book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aalok Wyckid

    The ideas in the book are thought provoking, but the book is written in a way that makes reading it a slog. I give it's content 5 stars, but I have to take 2 back for the writing. The ideas in the book are thought provoking, but the book is written in a way that makes reading it a slog. I give it's content 5 stars, but I have to take 2 back for the writing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Some interesting thoughts, but I think I'll stick to Jack Morin. Some interesting thoughts, but I think I'll stick to Jack Morin.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Stein

    In some ways, this book is an interesting break from Freud. Sexual fantasies, rather than being a product of a primordial stew of fear of castration and lust for your mother, are interpreted as coping mechanisms for guilt, shame, fear, etc. Despite that break, sexual fantasies are still pathologized here. It goes from “you had childhood trauma that caused these wack fantasies, you freakin’ pervert” to “you had childhood trauma that caused these wack fantasies, uh, ...dude?...”.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Briana Johnson

    This is very informative, I do believe that sexual fantasies are healing something and this book talks about the point of view on psychotherapy. I really enjoyed the way its written. It also talks about the shame of some sexual fantasies and how some fantasies are NOT to be taken literally.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Snowwhitesgoneblonde

    Interesting read, of course the analysis isn't too scientific, but there are interesting theories posited about common sexual fantasies. Interesting read, of course the analysis isn't too scientific, but there are interesting theories posited about common sexual fantasies.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Giorgia

    Trovato a fortuna in un mercatino l’ho comprato al volo. È stata una scoperta, come solo il sesso può esserlo. Un viaggio attraverso le varie fantasie sessuali molto interessante, viste dal punto di vista psicologico diventano ancora più reali. Scoprire cosa c’è alla base di qualcosa è sempre interessante e questo libro passa in rassegna le fantasie sessuali più gettonate! Fantastico.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Starfire

    I actually finished this book over the weekend, but I've been putting off reviewing it because I haven't really been sure what I wanted to say about it. I was drawn to pick it up when I saw it at the library a couple of weeks back partly because I'm going through an intellectual "learning more about sexuality" kick at the moment, and partly because there are parts of my own sexuality and psyche I've always been frustrated about not understanding - parts of me where I really, really want to know * I actually finished this book over the weekend, but I've been putting off reviewing it because I haven't really been sure what I wanted to say about it. I was drawn to pick it up when I saw it at the library a couple of weeks back partly because I'm going through an intellectual "learning more about sexuality" kick at the moment, and partly because there are parts of my own sexuality and psyche I've always been frustrated about not understanding - parts of me where I really, really want to know *why* they are the way they are. So this book seemed to be a chance to kill two birds with one stone. From the point of view of simple academic learning, I found Arousal an interesting book. In it, Dr Bader posits a theory of sexuality that's based around safety as a primary driver, and theorises that sexual fantasies are the unconscious mind's creative way of designing an inner world with the necessary characteristics that whatever it is that an individual is most scared of subconsciously (which might, for example, be needing too much, or hurting other people) is no longer an issue. From a personal viewpoint, I can see how some of what Bader suggests might apply to some of the stuff I want to understand in myself. It didn't provide me with any kind of giant revelation that suddenly explained everything I've always wanted to wrap my brain around in myself (but to be fair, I'm jaded enough to mistrust anything that gave the appearance of doing that anyway), but it did give me a few interesting ideas to chase down, explore and journal about - ideas which perhaps, given time, might lead to further insights or threads to chase down as well. The book itself is fairly academic in tone, which means that I sometimes felt a bit mired down in it. It's also extremely heavy on case studies, which I know one of the other reviewers saw as a negative thing (for me, it was just a thing, rather than an inherently positive or negative one). But I did find it readable overall; and in as much as it gave me practical ideas for further exploration, I also found it useful. So I think, all up, I'll give it a 7/10. Useful and interesting if sexuality or the possible rationale behind sexual fantasies interests you, but probably not of much value otherwise.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eugenio

  19. 4 out of 5

    Riccardo Pignatti

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Fink

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dougw

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anita

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Davies

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Prince

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karina Loktionova

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael Salas

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kara

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kristopher Earnest

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ibrahim Zaghw

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