Stanley Siegel, LCSW
Your Brain on Sex lays out a path for uncovering one’s true self through sex. It answers questions such as why we experience “chemistry” with some individuals but not others, what our sexual fantasies mean, how we can use sex to find the most compatible life partner, what our past has to do with our sex these days and whether and when we should act out our sexual fantasies.
Stanley Siegel, LCSW, the author, a psychotherapist, lecturer, and life coach, proposes that we all grow out of childhood with some conflicts or unmet needs that become part of our individual psychology and dictate how we interact with the world. During the heightened sexuality of adolescence, we unconsciously eroticize these unmet needs or unresolved conflicts from childhood in an attempt to turn early painful experiences into pleasurable ones, which is consistent with our drive as human beings toward self-healing. In adulthood, these conflicts gain sexual themes and are coded in our fantasies, desires and sexual behavior. And through our sexuality, we attempt to gain mastery over feelings of powerlessness, shame, guilt, fear, and loneliness. We transform the pain into pleasurable experiences.
Siegel argues that people are typically unaware of their true desires and their meanings. When we become conscious of them, they are often accompanied by shame and misunderstanding. We tend to disown those important parts of who we are and who we could become. The consequences of this denial can be devastating. On the other hand, if we identify our true sexual desires and the unmet needs or conflicts they serve to counteract, we take a step towards healing and completeness.
Your Brain on Sex is divided into two parts: Part I: Introducing Intelligent Lust and Part II: Living with Intelligent Lust. In the first part, the author offers case examples to illustrate ways in which sex can heal. Then he introduces Intelligent Lust as a process that involves searching for authenticity and unity, source of deep satisfaction and beauty. In order to achieve Intelligent Lust, Siegel suggests we follow these steps: getting in the right frame of mind, identifying fantasies and true desires, the meaning and purpose of desire, cracking the code of sexual chemistry, determining sexual compatibility and finally acting out sexual fantasies.
The second part of Your Brain on Sex offers suggestions for those who are in committed relationships and not sexually compatible with their partners. Siegel encourages the readers to embrace sex as an affirmation of life and make it a prominent part of it. He also offers explanations to and recommendations for managing such specific and common complaints related to sex as lack of sexual interest, too much interest in sex and the combination of sex with alcohol and drugs.
Your Brain on Sex teaches how to discover one’s true desires, understand what they mean, and, in the process, change one’s life. Stanley Siegel encourages us to think more about sex because, according to him, each one of us can transform our lives by focusing our thoughts on our true sexual desires.