Who’s Been Sleeping in Your Head: The Secret World of Sexual Fantasies by Brett Kahr, Ph.D. is 451 pages of sticky, tricky, sexual psychoanalysis. And I loved every bit of it!
The author has over 20 years of clinical practice as a psychotherapist and as part of his work launched a sexual fantasy research project that surveyed thousands of British and American participants. The project included five hour long face-to-face interviews of some participants for the project. The fruits of this project provide the foundation for the book.
And, yes, before we get much further, you read that right: psychoanalysis! Let’s talk about that first.
If you aren’t a fan of Freud, chances are you probably will take issue with several of the author’s conclusions regarding sexual fantasies. A central theme is trauma and after highlighting several case studies, the author concludes that most, if not all, sexual fantasies are rooted in childhood trauma.
This can be an off-putting statement for many readers. And I can’t deny that I was skeptical of a few interpretations of sexual fantasies throughout this book. Some may find the interpretations outdated, or worse, harmful or useless to people trying to work out their sexual fantasies. This has garnered more than a few bad reviews for the book.
I enjoyed the book regardless. Though I didn’t agree with everything the author purports, I was interested in the psychological theory and how the author analyzed the fantasies. I was also intrigued about how the study was carried out: the way the survey was presented and answers collected, as well as the structure of the one-on-one interviews. Admittedly, to a reader not interested in psychological tests and measurements, these bits will probably be utterly boring. Therefore, I must admit that I was interested in this book equally as a way to learn about Freudian theory as well as sexual fantasies.
There are several reasons this book was an awesome and interesting read for me:
*In-depth case studies that showcase very detailed sexual fantasies along with descriptions of the person’s past and present life situation. The author shows how a sexual fantasy is a part of the person as a whole and shouldn’t necessarily be segregated from other aspects of life.
*A cornucopia of sexual fantasies. Threesomes. Incest. Celebrities. Fetishes. Violence. Teens. And even, wait for it, fantasies of comfort, joy, and sweet pillow talk. The book lists fantasies word for word from survey and interview participants on a range of topics.
*Discussion of the “Intra-marital affair”: what it means to think about others when having sex with a primary partner. Overall a balanced analysis.
*The author asks and attempts answers to 22 Questions regarding sexual fantasies, all of which I found engaging.
*The author’s theories regarding the function of sexual fantasies: Dr. Kahr lists and dissects 14 potential functions of sexy thoughts.
*Examples of how fantasies ruined relationships… and examples of how fantasies strengthened relationships.
Overall I thought this book was a balanced and realistic take on exploring sexual fantasy. I suggest giving it a go, especially if you are interested in both sexuality and psychological theory. Just know it’s an investment and (as with any book, really) you will have to make up your own mind about some of the statements and conclusions.
And, honestly, just look at that cover. It’s gorgeous. I still love picking it up every once in a while just to look at it. Take that, Freud.