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Hypnography for MenReview - Hypnography for Men
by Sean Ryan
Passion Press, 1998
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Aug 22nd 2003 (Volume 7, Issue 34)

Hypnography for Men is a curious audiobook with a guided meditation with erotic content.  It starts out as a relaxation exercise with familiar elements: lying down and focusing on different parts of the body in turn, letting go of the stress in each part.  Then the fantasy changes to a description of taking an "orgasm pill" that makes the listener highly aroused and erotic.  The listener imagines a beautiful exotic woman-spirit and feels strong sexual desire for her.  The listener is delighted with his appearance and his bodily response, which is presumably mean to enhance self-esteem and confidence.  The exotic woman, wearing an arousing exotic perfume, floats on top of the listener.  The listener then brings the spirit to a climax through oral sex, who then returns the favor. The listener becomes so pleased with the appearance of his penis, "like a branch on a tree."  The ghost-friend gives the listener the best oral sex he has ever had and he releases himself deep into her mouth.  This provides a tremendously satisfying orgasm, and she is so happy to satisfy him.  He is proud of his wonderful performance. 

It is fair to say that most of us experience lots of stress these days, and this is likely to interfere in our erotic lives at least as much as it does in the rest of our personal lives.  So there may be a substantial need for people to learn to become sexually relaxed, and certainly for many men, stress may make them less confident about their sexual performance. The method of hypnography is obviously intended to be related to hypnotism, with the hope that the listener goes into some kind of trance-state and absorbs the lessons of the meditation, becoming more relaxed and confident after each listening. 

The title of the book is of course not quite right, since it is aimed at heterosexual men and would not be appropriate for gay men.  But that's a small quibble.  The question is whether this method is actually successful for straight men.  I can only evaluate this as a potential consumer rather than as a therapist.  So far at least, I have no experience of sex therapy, and so I can't say much about what confidence-boosting and relaxation techniques might be useful.  There is no information accompanying this audiobook about whether it has been studied scientifically and found to be helpful.  Of course, there is a large self-help industry based around hypnotism and guided-imagery, generally associated with more new-age and even flaky elements in psychology.  Some people are likely to be more receptive to such self-help techniques than others.  In these days when male sexual problems are thought to be solves by an erection-enhancing pill such as Viagra, it might well be a good idea to keep in mind the possibility that there are other ways to deal with such issues that don't involve powerful medication.  So the idea of an audiobook that helps men become more comfortable with their sexual selves sounds like a great idea. 

However, I have considerable reservations about this audiobook.  Personally, I have enjoyed and even benefited from some relaxation tapes, while I have found others absurd and laughable.  I have no particular interest with hypnotic techniques, and I've never had any evidence that I'm a good hypnotic subject.  So hypnography would not be likely to be helpful to me whatever the content of the guided imagery.  The particular content of this audiobook strikes me as pretty silly.  It relies on sexual clichés of exotic women and men feeling masculine and having a large firm penis.  Of course, these are ideas that are potent for many people and the aim of a self-help exercise is not to deconstruct our sexual discourse.  What's more, our gender-stereotypes are firmly embedded in our individual and collective psyches, so even those of us who are uncomfortable with these stereotypes or who simply don't fit them well may still feel anxiety because we don't match them.  Nevertheless, I'm not sure that the best answer is to feed fantasies of fitting these sexual clichés.  I would prefer a self-help exercise that didn't sound corny or trite.  So I would not recommend Hypnography for Men

 

© 2004 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

 

  Link: Publisher's Web Page

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.


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