We're all different. We all crave sex (and ecstasy, which are two different things sometimes) and/or push away sex (and ecstasy) for various reasons. Barbara wants you to find out those reasons. I sometimes wondered as I was reading: are you talking about the same sex I have? And I came to the conclusion that in many ways Barbara Carellas ISN'T talking about the same sex as I have.
As she says in her book: "I do sex for the mystical experiences--for the connection to all the disembodied beings and spirit guides I meet in erotic trance. I love altered states of consciousness, and nothing has ever beat sex and orgasm for consistently delightful--and often profound--travels through the cosmos. I have a partner who values sex as passionately as I do--for a completely different reason: she gets high on the intense intimate connection with her partner. With such different reasons for doing sex, we had our challenges in finding a way of creating sex together where she felt the connection she needed and I did not feel constrained."
I probably relate to Barbara's partner more. But the fact that she pushes anyone to have a dialogue with their own sexual nature makes this book useful for people who don't have sex for quite the same reasons as Barbara. You get to decide how you feel and what you want from relationships. Her book is not necessarily line after line about her perspective on sex: it's actually just one huge excellent and resourceful brainstorming get-together, between herself, her collegues, her research, and her polls -- and then bringing them to you to get you to add to the brainstorming your own individual feelings and wants and tie it all together to better understand yourself. You'd only open a self-help book on sex if you were looking for ideas -- and Barbara is never short of ideas.
It would be an understatement to say that she breaks social conventions, widens allowances, and builds an understanding and an adventure of sex -- but I'll say it anyway. In her words: Refuse to dwell on the question "Is this normal?" If you're feeling turned on by something, you can count on the fact that so are at least thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of others. Replace "Is this feeling/attraction/desire/activity normal?" with "What about this could be fun?" "What about this could be liberating?" "What about this could be ecstatic?"
You can tell that Barbara is a healthy individual and promotes healthy relationships -- bottom line. And I think she wants people of all types to feel healthy and happy -- regardless of what unconventional desires they have. Her audience, I think is quite a wide audience -- perhaps it's so wide and far-reaching that it actually lacks practical advice for the traditional sexual person (me). But Barbara Carrellas has been doing this for a long time and she's built her niche. It's a bit of an "anything goes" niche, but once you accept her flavor of sexuality, you can better hear the insights that would relate to you. If you are a person with an untraditional relationship, you'll appreciate how geared she is towards allowing you to accept yourself and to explore your desires in a healthy way.
I've already come to the conclusion that I'm a complete Puritan (in comparison to her) and I'll probably never take any of her practical advice on sex. However, I loved her insights into psychology and her comprehensive way of describing important aspects of relationships like communication and boundaries. I had a huge breakthrough reading her chapter on boundaries. For a long time I've been trying to figure out -- in short -- what's wrong with me? Then Barbara mentioned the term: the Resilient Edge of Resistance. This term means that "without risk, there is no growth or energy; however, without support, risk becomes recklessness." In other words, although we create boundaries partly to protect ourselves from uncomfortable circumstances -- we also push ourselves to the edge and seek risk, because that's what makes our lives exciting, fulfilling, and what perpetuates personal growth. In a relationship, you want an element of safety -- for sure. And you should always ask for those boundaries that help you feel comfortable, instead of constantly traumatized. And yet, you want some element of risk. You want to live safely dangerously. Relationships are meant to be stimulating -- but not traumatizing. Sex, itself, is meant to be stimulating, but not traumatizing; being safely pushed to the edge of unknown territory is partly what makes romance romantic. Relationships are not meant to be stale and typical or predictable and dependable.
Now you can imagine why she gears towards patients who do erotic, "kinky" sexual activities in ORDER to find that extra spice in their lives. We need it. My uneducated impression is that after years and years of seeking ecstasy, she's constantly finding herself expanding her boundaries to do and try more. So, if you're on the verge of expanding your horizons, but you'd only thought about it or were afraid to be judged, then this book is great for you. She brings out your craving to be open-minded, to accept your deepest desires, and to become a completely guilt-free, healthy version of the sexual self you have deep within you. Barbara Carrellas will be that safe voice in your head telling you -- it's perfectly acceptable to embrace your inner desires and to become an authentic version of yourself.
She's coherent, practical, insightful, and resourceful. She's been doing this a long time and she covers just about everything you could imagine (except phone sex. YESSS, it makes me feel less puritanical to do something Barbara didn't think to cover :p) But everything else, aside from phone sex is covered in the book: monogamy, safe sex/diseases, ecstasy, orgasms, different kinds of sex, masturbation -- actually she calls it medibation (or the act of masturbating and THEN meditating), roleplay, desire, homosexuality, breath, communication, boundaries. And she has tons of practical brainstorming exercises or questions you should ask yourself in order to discover your inner sexual self.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book for free by Hay House in order to review it