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Sex in the Forbidden Zone Mass Market Paperback – October 21, 1991

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Courageous, compassionate and insightful. While focusing on the pain and disillusionment of the victims, he examines the complex dynamics of betrayer and betrayed with understanding and humility."
LOS ANGELES TIMES
This provocative, insightful book, based on the authors' years of experience and over 1,000 in-depth interviews helps victims of professor, physician or psychiatrist seduction, understand: the private fantasy worlds of powerful men ; the unspoken emotional needs of women; effective strategies for women to help them reinforce the bounadaries against invasion, and much more.
Selected by the Literary Guild, Doubleday, and Psychotherapy Book Clubs
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett (October 21, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449147274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449147276
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,143,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Whether you are a man in a position of power/authority, or a woman who routinely encounters men in power and authority, this book should be required reading. Men using their positions of power and authority to victimize women is a problem of huge proportions. Some men are predators, some men are culpably ignorant of their own individual weaknesses. Dr Rutter attacks this issue of sexual tensions in relationships between men and the women who should be able to trust these men. His true stories are very clear and chilling. They are chilling because if you are honest, you can see yourself in those situations. Dr. Rutter has expressed the subtle emotional undercurrents that go on within a man-woman work/professional relationship better than any other book I have ever read. He does not mince words or try to nicely talk around blunt, painful and destructive sexual encounters within the "Forbidden Zone." If you want to bury your head in the sand and pretend that these interpersonal sexual dynamics are not there, then stay away from this book. If you want to deal with reality, try to understand yourself and safeguard your professional relationships, then read this book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This important book has been around for a decade, and I'm pleased to see it is still in print. Rutter, a psychiatrist affiliated with the C.G.Jung Institute, was one of the first authors I know of to publish a book in the popular press about this topic. He demonstrates clearly the essential nature and healing potential of maintaining appropriate boundaries in helping relationships. Although I might, as a female mental health professional, take issue with his unilateral depiction of the man-as-powerful/woman-as-victim dynamic, his point is certainly well taken. I've read this book twice over the years.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Written so clearly - it would be hard to misunderstand! :)
Yes, the role of male as authority/powerful and female as submissive/victim - needs to be addressed. Sex in the Forbidden Zone is a well written self-help to knowing your rights when considering relationships in any professional arena. I am so very pleased.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a wonderful book for anyone in a position where they have a degree of power of over another. One reviewer felt the book's outdated views on women is a fair complaint. While I agree with the reviewer, for me, this book still offers a complete approach toward understanding the power imbalances related to sexuality that haunt the clergy, psychotherapists/counselors, and others in a position of authority/power.
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Format: Paperback
For the past ten years, I have been enthusiastically recommending Peter Rutter's, "Sex in the Forbidden Zone" along with "The Betrayal Bond," by Patrick Carnes, to any clergy abuse victims I've worked with. I think of either book as being "must reading" for victims and survivors of any kind of sexual abuse. I also agree with another reviewer who said Rutter's book should be required reading for all psychotherapists. Add to that: this book should be required reading for any type of so-called "helping professional," including clerics, medical professionals and teachers.

While I have provided support to male clergy abuse victims, most of the people I've helped are as myself, adult female survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation, committed against us by Catholic priests. Thus, I also reference Rutter's book whenever dealing with opponents of clergy abuse victims who persist in referring to priests' sexual exploitation of adult parishioners as "consensual affairs."

Rutter's book is a godsend in exposing the insidious subtleties of therapeutic role reversal that can lead to professional misconduct. Rutter's book has helped countless victims clearly see beyond their own vulnerabilities long enough to work their way out.

Based on what I've been told by countless victims of clergy abuse, I know most victims of sexual abuse have pre-disposing histories that unwittingly cause them to roll right out of one type of abusive relationship into another. Or people who have been "groomed" (usually from childhood) to comply with sexual predators, often simply cannot will themselves beyond that tendency, without professional counseling help.
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By A Customer on March 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I've read this book 3 times over the years and refer back to it often. The book has helped me in so many ways and on so many different levels. The author is needed to continue writing many more such books so we can address this male/female power imbalance in society.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book may be a little difficult for any professional male to read publicly. I worry that by being seen with it, others will think that I have sexual issues working with females. However, if we as men are honest, most of us do have issues to some degree or another viewing attractive women that we mentor, supervise, treat, or have some other power differential. I think that men have a lot of shame and secrecy about this, which adds to the problem. Some of the natural fantasy that men have may not even be unhealthy, though certainly acting on this is. Unfortunately, the stigma against even mentioning that there is a problem is so great, this is often not even discussed

That being said, the "forbidden zone" relationships that men have with women can be powerful, provided that sexual and professional boundaries are maintained. This book does an incredibly good job of elucidating the problems that potentially and do arise, much of the insight to why this occurs, along with methods for dealing with it. As importantly, it stresses the reasons of maintaining appropriate relationships. I really feel that this book should be read by more men, particularly in professional roles, but good for all men who interact with women at all. Not being a woman, I don't know if it is particularly useful for women to read this. I'm not sure that the problems laid out in this book could be reciprocally true for women by switching the genders in the book. I wouldn't discourage any woman from reading, I simply don't know if there is any relevance.

I will say that since this book was written in the mid to late 80's, some of the culture has changed. Most notably that men are less apt to get away with inappropriate sexual relationships. However, that is not entirely different today.
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