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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
© 2004 Christian
Perring. All rights reserved.
Link: Publisher's Web Page
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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