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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. 5 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. 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.

  4. 5 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?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maher Razouk

    Great book مشاعر الذنب ... . . كأطفال ، لا نحتاج جميعًا إلى التواصل مع والدينا فحسب ، بل أيضًا إلى الانفصال التدريجي عنهم. نحن بحاجة إلى الإعجاب ، و أن نكون محور حياة والدينا ؛ لكننا نحتاج أيضًا إلى الشعور بالكفاءة والقوة المتزايدة في قدرتنا على التغلب على العقبات والسيطرة على التحديات. نريد في النهاية أن نشعر بالقدرة على المنافسة بثقة ولكن أيضًا أن نسعد بالانتماء إلى أقراننا. بينما نتطور ، سنسعى - وسنحتاج - إلى اعتراف خاص بذكورتنا وأنوثتنا ، إحساس بأن "فتاتنا" و "فتانا" معترف بهما ويقدرهما آباؤهما. Great book مشاعر الذنب ... . . كأطفال ، لا نحتاج جميعًا إلى التواصل مع والدينا فحسب ، بل أيضًا إلى الانفصال التدريجي عنهم. نحن بحاجة إلى الإعجاب ، و أن نكون محور حياة والدينا ؛ لكننا نحتاج أيضًا إلى الشعور بالكفاءة والقوة المتزايدة في قدرتنا على التغلب على العقبات والسيطرة على التحديات. نريد في النهاية أن نشعر بالقدرة على المنافسة بثقة ولكن أيضًا أن نسعد بالانتماء إلى أقراننا. بينما نتطور ، سنسعى - وسنحتاج - إلى اعتراف خاص بذكورتنا وأنوثتنا ، إحساس بأن "فتاتنا" و "فتانا" معترف بهما ويقدرهما آباؤهما. نحتاج أن نشعر أنه يمكننا التأثير على والدينا ، وأن احتياجاتنا مهمة ، لكننا أيضاً نحتاج إلى الشعور بأن والدينا يمكنهم الحفاظ على حدودهم واهتماماتهم على الرغم مما قد نطلبه. نحن بحاجة إلى آباء يمكننا الإعجاب بهم والتعريف عنهم بفخر ، ليكون لدينا آباء سعداء يحبون أنفسهم وبعضهم البعض. الناس لديهم احتياجات كثيرة. لا يمكن تلبيتهم كلهم بشكل مثالي ، لكنهم جميعًا يظلون معنا ، مما يحفز تطورنا النفسي. ومع ذلك ، فإن كل هذه الاحتياجات قابلة للاستهلاك في خدمة الحاجة إلى الأمان النفسي. إذا تمكنا من تجنب أو إصلاح التمزق في علاقاتنا مع آبائنا عن طريق قمع أو تغيير مشاعرنا ورغباتنا وحتى تصوراتنا ، فسنقوم بذلك غريزيًا ، وبطبيعة الحال ، دون تفكير واع. نحن نتكيف. ضع في اعتبارك تجربة الطفل مع إهمال الوالدين. هل يمكن للطفل أن يفكر : "حسنًا ، والداي يمران بوقت عصيب لأن أبي فقد وظيفته وأمي مدمنة على الكحول. لا يمتلكان شيئا ليفعلوه من أجلي . سأكون قادرًا على الشعور بالرعاية والتقدير في أي مكان آخر في العالم" من الواضح أن الأمر ليس كذلك . لا يعرف الطفل أي حقيقة غير تلك التي تخلقها عائلته. لا يمكن للطفل أن يذهب ويعيش مع عائلة أخرى. يجب عليه أن يجعل الأمر "صحيحًا" - لجعل البيئة تبدو طبيعية أكثر من أجل التكيف معها بنجاح وأمان. نطور اعتقادنا بأن الحرمان هو الوضع الطبيعي للأمور. نحن أيضًا نخطو خطوة واحدة مهمة أبعد: نحن نبدأ في الاعتقاد بأن أي رغبة في رعاية خاصة وحب ممنوعة ، ومحظورة ، كما لو كان يعني طلب الكثير ، عن شيء لا يفترض بنا أن نمتلكه. لا يتعين علينا قبول الإهمال فحسب ، بل يجب أن نجعل الأمر يبدو كما لو أن الخطأ يقع علينا وليس على والدينا. ليس الأمر أن والدينا لا يستطيعان العطاء ؛ بل أننا نحن نطلب الكثير. أخبرني المريض ، مارك ، مؤخرًا في جلسته الأولى أنه شعر بأن زوجته أسيء فهمها وأنه لم يتم تقديرها ، لكنه لم يخبرها أبدًا لأنه شعر بالذنب لأنه أراد شيئًا غير لائق. قال إن زوجته لديها ما يكفي بين يديها من رعاية أطفالها الثلاثة. وتذكر لاحقًا أن والدته كانت تبدو دائمًا على نفس القدر من الإرهاق وأنه على الرغم من أنه كان وحيدًا عندما كان طفلاً ، إلا أنه غالبًا ما شعر بالذنب لكونه محتاجًا للغاية. ألقى مارك باللوم على نفسه لشعوره بالإهمال. لماذا يطور الطفل مثل هذا الاعتقاد غير العقلاني والهزيمة الذاتية ، وهو المعتقد الذي يسميه المحلل النفسي جوزيف فايس بأنه عامل ممرض لأنه يعمل بشكل واضح ضد أهداف ومصالح الطفل الصحية؟ السبب هو بهدف الحفاظ على سلطة وفضيلة والدينا ، وبالتالي الحفاظ على سلامة علاقتنا بهم. من المعروف أن الأطفال المعتدى عليهم يرفضون بانتظام إدانة والديهم المسيئين. بدلا من ذلك ، يدينون أنفسهم. مع تبرئة والديهم ، يشعر الأطفال بالارتياح بشأن أمن هذه العلاقات. يقال إن معظم الناس يفضلون أن يكونوا خطاة في الجنة على أن يكونوا قديسين في الجحيم ، ويعذرون والديهم باستمرار ، ويتحملون مسؤولية سوء معاملتهم ، ويطورون نظريات خاصة غير واعية لتبرير ذلك. يبدو الأمر كما لو أن الطفل يقول دون وعي ، "كل شيء على ما يرام ... لا أريد الكثير على أي حال. في الواقع ، ربما لا أستحق ذلك حتى. إنها ليست غلطتك؛ بل إنها غلطتي " يغير الأطفال مسار احتياجاتهم ورغباتهم في خدمة السلامة والتكيف طوال الوقت. أحد الأولاد يثبط قدرته التنافسية الطبيعية لأنه يدرك أن والده يحتاج دائمًا إلى الفوز ، أو أنه يبدأ بالفشل في المدرسة لأنه يستنتج دون وعي من سلوك والده أن الأب سيشعر بالغيرة إذا قام ابنه بعمل أفضل منه . يمكن للأطفال أن يكونوا مدركين تمامًا لوالديهم ولا يسجلون هذه التصورات بوعي أبدًا. كان الصبي الذي لديه والد منافس أو حسود قلقًا بشأن إيذاء والده بقوته ونجاحه ، لكنه ربما لم يسجل الفكرة بوعي مطلقًا ، والدي يتنافس معي ويغار مني. ومع ذلك ، لا يزال الصبي متحمسًا للغاية لقراءة والده للتأكد من بقاء الاثنين على اتصال بأمان. في الواقع ، قد يكون مخطئًا بشكل موضوعي بشأن الدوافع الحقيقية لوالده ، لكن النتيجة واحدة. كان فرويد قد ركز على حاجة الصبي للتخلي عن ارتباطه الرومانسي بأمه بسبب تهديد الإخصاء من قبل والده الغيور ، لكن الحقيقة هي أن الأطفال يضحون أو يثبطون مساعيهم المعتادة لجميع أنواع الأسباب. أصبحت إحدى مرضاي شديدة الحساسية وخجولة عندما كانت طفلة صغيرة لأنها لم تكن تريد أن تثقل كاهل والدتها المرهقة. نشأت وهي تشعر بالذنب تجاه دوافعها الطبيعية. كشخص بالغ ، إذا شعرت بأي ميل إلى أن تكون كسولًا وتحث صديقك على القيام بالمزيد من التنظيف ، فسوف تشعر بالذنب لأنك "تفلت من شيء ما". مريض آخر واجه صعوبة عندما كان طفلاً في تكوين صداقات لأنه شعر بالذنب لتخليه عن أمه الوحيدة. رداً على شعوره بالذنب ، اعتاد البقاء في المنزل والاحتفاظ برفقتها ، ولعب الورق ، والطهي ، ومشاهدة التلفزيون ، مع التضحية برغبته التنموية الطبيعية في حياة منفصلة مع الأصدقاء وإثارة التحديات الجديدة. . Michael J Bader Arousal Translated by #Maher_Razouk

  6. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    This is a great book. It definitely sheds some light on what fantasies are all about and why all the weird and wonderful ones arise and what they are trying to overcome. It has the benefit of increasing understanding of ones own and others preferences and inclinations, and with this comes more compassion and tolerance for oneself and others too. I think the model and theory that the author is proposing is quite sound. Though perhaps it isn't fully formed, or fully explained, or fully verified. It This is a great book. It definitely sheds some light on what fantasies are all about and why all the weird and wonderful ones arise and what they are trying to overcome. It has the benefit of increasing understanding of ones own and others preferences and inclinations, and with this comes more compassion and tolerance for oneself and others too. I think the model and theory that the author is proposing is quite sound. Though perhaps it isn't fully formed, or fully explained, or fully verified. It still seems a bit speculative, even though the author is a clinician and does employ it with some success in his own therapeutic practices. Overall, though, this book is definitely an asset for gaining insight in the quest for understanding of desire and arousal. I feel more enlightened about the subject than prior to reading it, which is a very good thing. It doesn't add to the mysteries of arousal and sex, it goes some way to help solve them.

  7. 5 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!

  8. 4 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.

  9. 4 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.

  10. 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.)

  11. 5 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.

  12. 4 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.

  13. 4 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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Frrobins

    It's not a good thing when I am relieved to finish reading a book about sex. That said, the fact that I reached the end rather than gave up meant there was some good information and the first part of the book was definitely more interesting than the second part, where I started wondering just how many different ways the author could restate and pontificate on the same ideas. Written by a psychoanalyst, this book posits the idea that sexual fantasies are a way to create conditions of safety necess It's not a good thing when I am relieved to finish reading a book about sex. That said, the fact that I reached the end rather than gave up meant there was some good information and the first part of the book was definitely more interesting than the second part, where I started wondering just how many different ways the author could restate and pontificate on the same ideas. Written by a psychoanalyst, this book posits the idea that sexual fantasies are a way to create conditions of safety necessary to get aroused by overcoming maladaptive thoughts formed in childhood and that by understanding sexual fantasies things that seem unrelated, like depression and anxiety, can be resolved. I am a therapist, though I drawn towards more evidence based forms of therapy such as CBT, ACT and DBT rather than psychoanalysis, which I associate with Freud and sexism. While I have heard that modern psychoanalysis has changed a lot since the days of Freud this was the first time I have read from a therapist who practices psychoanalysis, so it was interesting to see a more modern form of psychoanalysis in action, including how in some ways it parallels CBT. I also thought his thoughts about some therapeutic processes were interesting and enlightening. I can definitely respect this more modern form of psychanalysis more than the type that Freud ushered in and the book was at its strongest when it detailed how he used psychoanalysis to help people. I enjoyed the case studies very much and found them fascinating and illuminating. But midway through the case studies stopped, and once that happened I lost interest in the book. Strangely at some level it feels as though the author was cognizant of the danger he was walking in when he talked about people asking if he would including the sexual fantasy equivalent of a dream encyclopedia. Basically when he started using a big paintbrush to explain fantasies rather than focusing on how fantasies made sense in the context of an individual's life, it felt like the wishy-washy "well perhaps this applies for some people but it doesn't resonate with my experience" problem that you get with Freud. What worked rather well in the context of putting an individual's life in context lost cohesion when trying to explain things en masse. And this is where the book became downright tedious and repetitive. I wish instead of going in this direction the author had spent some time going into more practical aspects of his hypothesis. While there is a lot that rings true in his ideas, it is also highly anecdotal and leaves out a lot of cognitive priming, genetic factors and sensory issues. That said, his explanations make a lot more sense then behavioristic explanations, which never felt satisfying to me. I would recommend this with caveats.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Reiner

    Arousal was a remarkable and insightful read. Sexual fantasies discussed through this modern psychoanalytic lens made nothing but perfect sense. Listing this as an essential text for therapists or those in long term psychodynamic/analytic therapy.

  16. 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.

  17. 4 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.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Othman

    This book offers a different perspective on understanding sexual fantasies. I couldn't finish it. It got really boring around the middle. This book offers a different perspective on understanding sexual fantasies. I couldn't finish it. It got really boring around the middle.

  19. 5 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.

  20. 4 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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erica

  23. 4 out of 5

    Antonina

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eugenio

  26. 4 out of 5

    Riccardo Pignatti

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Fink

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kent

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dougw

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maria Chiara Giangrande

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