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Sexual Fantasies

At the Convergence of the Cultural and the Individual

Mariah Larsson and Sara Johnsdotter

This book expands the notion of sexual fantasies from the field of psychology into the realms of cultural studies, anthropology, philosophy, and sociology. So far, much research on sexual fantasies has dealt with issues of gender differences, the effect of sexual fantasies on people’s sex lives, or how problematic fantasies can be treated in therapy. In this volume contributors from different academic disciplines explore sexual fantasies at the convergence of the cultural and the individual, taking into account that fantasies are paradoxical: highly individualised and private, and at the same time dependent on a world that supplies structures, images, symbols, and narratives.
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Feminism and Sexual Fantasy: Reading and Defending Fifty Shades of Grey as Pornography


History and context

E.L. James’ erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey (2011) has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Reports indicate that the first novel in the series is one of the fastest selling books of all time (Bosman 2014) and it has been followed up by two additional best-selling novels, Fifty Shades Darker (2012a), and Fifty Shades Freed (2012b). Beyond this commercial success, the Fifty Shades series is now unquestionably one of the most famous erotic artefacts of our time. Despite this notoriety, many critics and detractors seem to know almost nothing of the tone, characters, or story itself other than its inclusion of BDSM sex, and its roots as fan fiction of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga. Because of both its prominent status in the public eye and its overwhelmingly female audience it has become ‘hot’ to hate Fifty shades.

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