Understanding Fantasies

Fantasies are not frivolous. They can be entertaining, distracting, frightening, even arousing, but they also allow for creativity and help us plan for the future. As long as we don't mistake fantasies for reality (as in delusional disorder and schizophrenia) or let them become too rigid (as in paraphilias), they provide a necessary escape from the here and now.

Recent posts on Fantasies

Sexual Masochism: Torture and Transcendence Tied Together?

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on October 17, 2016 in Insight Therapy
Why would anyone experience pain and humiliation as sexually arousing? No longer defined as a psychological disorder, sexual masochism still puzzles psychologists.

Giving Voice to Grief in a Novel Way

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on October 09, 2016 in Creating in Flow
A doctor imagines cloning his lost son to keep him alive in the minds of his debut novel's readers. This Q&A with the author explains the why and the how.

It’s Okay to Be an Angry Young Woman

By Guest Blogger on October 06, 2016 in The Guest Room
Teenage girls in fiction tend to be stubborn, moody, or brooding, but rarely are they seething with anger. Why not?

Groping for Sex and More Life

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on October 04, 2016 in A Swim in Denial
Terror Management Theory (TMT) offers a scientific way of understanding the spellbinding effects of Donald Trump's fantasies..

Unrequited Love: Why We Cling

By Wendy Paris on October 04, 2016 in Splitopia
Intermittent reward keeps us attached, says psychotherapist and author Jeanne Safer. We need to credit our own feelings of dissatisfaction and let go of "relentless hope."

The Top Ten Myths About Men’s Sexuality

By Joe Kort Ph.D. on September 30, 2016 in Understanding the Erotic Code
It is time to stop gender bias and catch therapists up to understanding what really is happening in men’s erotic universe.

Pornography: Great Fantasies, Poor Modeling

By Marty Klein PhD on September 29, 2016 in Sexual Intelligence
Are you looking at porn realistically? It is neither a documentary nor primarily violent.
By Andreashorn [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Sleep Connectome

By John Cline Ph.D. on September 29, 2016 in Sleepless in America
Advanced imaging techniques and powerful analytic methods allow the creation of stunning maps of functional and anatomical brain connections. Can they help understand sleep?

10 Reasons New Love Is Like Crack Cocaine

Off-putting though it may be to some, here are ten reasons why I am sticking with “cocaine rush phase” as the best way to capture the first phase of new relationships.

The Other Einstein—Was There One?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on September 13, 2016 in Singletons
At what point can a writer legitimately cross the line between fact and fiction?

The Macabre Appeal of Serial Killers

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on September 12, 2016 in Wicked Deeds
Serial killers are transformed into culture celebrities through the efforts of law enforcement authorities, the media and the public’s appetite for the macabre.

Serendipity and the Serial Killer

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on September 06, 2016 in Shadow Boxing
A series of coincidences made possible a unique approach to a serial killer's narrative.

Asexuality Is a Sexual Orientation, Not a Sexual Dysfunction

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on September 05, 2016 in Living Single
A growing body of research suggests that asexuality is a sexual orientation and not a psychiatric condition or a disorder of sexual desire.

Pamela Anderson & Shmuley Boteach: "Porn is for Losers"

By Marty Klein PhD on September 05, 2016 in Sexual Intelligence
An anti-masturbation clergyman and a Baywatch actress join forces to promote a moral panic.

The Thin Line Between Fiction and Fact

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on September 02, 2016 in Trouble in Mind
A new novel about the relationship of Einstein and his wife Mileva, told from her point of view, strays too far from the truth.

Fantasy Choices and the Real Self

Choices people make in fantasy contexts reflect rather than complement their personalities. People may be reluctant to create imaginary identities that mismatch their real selves.

How the End of Jobs Could Be a Good Thing

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 29, 2016 in How To Do Life
A scenario for how the likely serious jobs decline would create a kinder, gentler civilization.

When It Comes to Sex, What's Really 'Normal'?

By Michael Aaron, Ph.D. on August 26, 2016 in Standard Deviations
Recent research shows that, when it comes to sex, people are kinkier than we realize.

A Simple Exercise to Boost Optimism (And Improve Health)

This visualization exercise is easy (and fun) to do and research shows it can have big payoffs.
CCO Creative Commons

Watching Video Is Great Mental Training

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on August 10, 2016 in The Power of Prime
Watching videos of yourself and the best athletes in the world in your sport is a powerful tool for strengthening important mental muscles such as confidence, intensity, and focus.
D. P. Lyle

Walk in My Shoes, Said the Serial Killer

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on August 09, 2016 in Shadow Boxing
As I discuss "Confession of a Serial Killer" on "Crime and Science Radio" this week, I'm reminded of how complex this 5-year project from a killer's point of view was.

New Book: Why Knowing Fact From Fiction Really Does Matter

By Jennifer Haupt on August 08, 2016 in One True Thing
In confronting the difficult problems America faces, we all need to have a point of view... a sense of how the world works, and the ability to distinguish solutions from rhetoric.

Diagnosing Compulsive Sexual Behavior

By Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, and Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD on August 08, 2016 in Why Can't I Stop?
Is compulsive sexual behavior a new disorder?

Kinky Women: How Do They Play?

By Michael Castleman M.A. on August 01, 2016 in All About Sex
Women and Kinky Sex: Women into BDSM enjoy a broad range of both vanilla and fringe sexual activities

Jack the Ripper: History’s Greatest Murder Mystery

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on July 31, 2016 in Wicked Deeds
More than 125 years after his killing spree abruptly ended without his capture, the murders of Jack the Ripper continue to tantalize people around the world.
K. Ramsland

Packing Heat: Writing About Sex

Writing a sex scene is like playing jazz: you shut down lose self-censorship.

Forced Introspection: Appealing Fantasy or Horror Story?

By Laurie Helgoe Ph.D. on July 22, 2016 in Introvert Power
What if you were forced to spend two solid weeks alone, inside your own mind? How would you fare?

Creating Fictional Worlds That Feel Real

By Laura Otis Ph.D. on July 13, 2016 in Rethinking Thought
When you read a novel, do you know what color hair each characters has?
<a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_guita22'>guita22 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Why Do We Hate Difference?

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on July 10, 2016 in Off the Couch
Why do leaders who nurture prejudice and fan the flames of hatred become so incredibly and disturbingly popular? And what can you do about it?

8 Common Myths (and 1 Truth) About Intimacy in Relationships

Without your realizing it, your beliefs about intimacy may be based more on myth than reality.