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Sexual Fantasies

At the Convergence of the Cultural and the Individual

Edited By 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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Blocking out Sexual Fantasies for a Fantasy of Eternal Sex: Islamist Views

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Much has been written about Islam and sexuality during the last decade. Generally, many contributions focus on the differences between Western liberal conceptions of sexuality and the more conservative tradition prevalent in the Islamic world. Indeed, it seems to be the case, as Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris (2003: 65) argued in reply to Samuel Huntington’s (1995) thesis of a clash of civilizations, that the most salient division ‘between the West and Islam…concerns gender equality and sexual liberalization’. From data in the World Value Survey they concluded that values surrounding sexual relations is a more important divide between the two cultures than are democratic issues.

The following discussion is also grounded in the assumption that there are general differences between Islam and the West in matters of sexuality. However, my concern is not with Islamic ideas of sexuality seen in a general civilisation perspective. Here the issue is the status of sexual fantasies from an Islamic activist perspective. How do pious Muslims in the Islamic movement evaluate sexual fantasies? What kind of moral framework is used to interpret sexual fantasies? Further, what is at stake when pious Muslims argue for a certain stance towards sexual fantasies? What is argued in the following should be understood as a tentative discussion of an expanding field of research. Generally, several of the attitudes towards pornography formulated by Islamic activists can also be found among Western Christian fundamentalists and within the feminist movement. Islamic activists classify pornography in a...

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