"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
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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