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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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Sexual Fantasies in Sexological Psychotherapeutic Settings


Like sexual identity in a broad sense, and sexual practice, sexual fantasies are a part of sexuality on the individual level. Sexual fantasies are complex structures and can on one hand be seen as problematic in various ways and on the other hand be regarded as beneficial for our sexual well-being. In the present chapter, such fantasies will be considered from a sexological clinical perspective with a starting point in sexual script theory and its conflict levels: the cultural, interpersonal, and intrapsychic levels. In addition, contemporary psychodynamic developmental and mentalisation-based psychodynamic theory will be used to understand the handling of sexual fantasies within individual, relational, and cultural contexts.

In their review of research literature on sexual fantasies, Leitenberg and Henning (1995) define a sexual fantasy as a fantasy with the purpose to enhance sexual pleasure. They conclude from studies made from 1948 to 1992 that sexual fantasies are very common among both women and men. Men seem to use sexual fantasies more frequently in daily life and when masturbating than do women, but the use of fantasies during intercourse seems to be equally frequent among men and women. Sexual fantasies seem to decline linearly for both men and women with age. Some people have strong guilt feelings about their fantasies and in those cases they seem to be associated with having more sexual problems. Regarding the content of sexual fantasies, men are more likely to imagine more explicit sexual scenes and that they are actively doing...

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