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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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The Politics of Sexual Fantasies: The Inversion of Sexual Fantasies in Orientalism and Occidentalism


Sexual stereotypes of the Other

How can a sexual fantasy have political implications? And, vice versa, can political circumstances influence certain sexual stereotypes of the Other? The West has been accused of constructing an Eroticised Other within the discourse of Orientalism. The veil, in particular, seems to evoke certain sexual fantasies with political connotations: The unveiling of the Oriental woman can be regarded as a classic Western sexual fantasy, as well as a symbolic colonial conquest of the territory of the Other. The seductive and decadent odalisque in the harem is another element in the fantasy of the East that can be contrasted to the Victorian puritan sexual morality in the colonial age. These figures of sexual fantasies and what may be labelled ethnopornography have had certain political implications, such as, according to Said’s (1978) influential analysis on Orientalism, the conquest and submission of the Other.  

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