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Rekindling Desire: A Step-by-Step Program to Help Low-Sex and No-Sex Marriages [Paperback]

Barry McCarthy , Emily McCarthy
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 May 2003

Is sex more work than play in your marriage? Do you schedule it in like a dentist appointment? Do you make love once a month, twice at the most?

If you answered yes to these questions, you are among the forty million Americans trapped in a low-sex or no-sex marriage.

Now there is help from nationally acclaimed sex and marital experts Barry and Emily McCarthy, who for years have helped couples break down the barriers that have developed between them, and rebuild closeness and longing. Their groundbreaking ten-step program is designed to get sex and intimacy back into these marriages and revitalize relationships. Crafted by years of clinical practice, Rekindling Desire first shows couples how to root out the "poisons" that inhibit sexual desire: shame, guilt, anger, passivity, as well as medical side effects and physical dysfunctions. With sensitivity and tact, the McCarthys then lay out concrete techniques and effective strategies that help couples increase sexual awareness, confront inhibitions, revitalize desire, and integrate intimacy and eroticism.

An exciting new way to spark and sustain desire, Rekindling Desire confronts the secrecy and stigma of low-sex and no-sex marriages, teaching couples how to enjoy a fulfilling, life-long sexual partnership.

Frequently Bought Together

Rekindling Desire: A Step-by-Step Program to Help Low-Sex and No-Sex Marriages + The Sex-starved Marriage: A Couple's Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido + Resurrecting Sex: Solving Sexual Problems and Revolutionizing Your Relationship
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (16 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415935512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415935517
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 16.3 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


".. brings hope and excitement as it gently unravels the mysteries and misunderstandings surrounding marital sex... I highly recommend it." -- Diane Sollee, Director, Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education and

"...highlight[s] poignant stories of lost intimacy. Read it for a map of how to reunite with tender loving care." -- Psychology Today

"A sensitive practical book that most couples will find useful, written by gifted and respected clinicians..." -- Taylor Segraves, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry Case Western Reserve University, editor, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy

About the Author

Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., is a certified sex therapist and Professor of Psychology at American University. He has published extensively on couples and sexuality and given more than a hundred workshops around the world. Emily McCarthy holds a B.S. in Speech Communication from Southern Illinois University. Having worked for years as a speech therapist, she now collaborates with her husband on books that address issues faced by married couples. This is the seventh book he and his wife, Emily, have co-authored on the subject, including Sexual Awareness, which has sold more than 500,000.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE NUMBER ONE sexual problem facing American couples is inhibited sexual desire. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
As a practicing psychotherapist myself, I am well aware of the pain and frustration that men and women have when sex evaporates from their relationship. One partner in the relationship (typically the male, but certainly not always) seeks to persuade, coerce, control, badger, blackmail or even force the other to consent to having sex, while the other slowly shrinks into withdrawal. One partners' withdrawal is seen as a rejection by the other, creating the perfect environment for the growth of frustration, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, retaliation and eventual death of the relationship.

Couples that enter this ever tightening cycle of pressure -withdrawal-rejection -frustration and resentment frequently blame each other for the problems. And in a society where we're all supposed to be having sex 2-3 times a week in order to be "normal", the last thing we want to do is to ask for help. The internet (to which we can secretly turn for ideas and input) offers very little in the way of respectful, practical or helpful guidance. Having reviewed a number of books on the topic, Rekindling Desire: A Step-by-step Program to Help Low-sex and No-sex Marriages stands out among the crowd by offering a gentle approach to breaking this cycle, as well as encouraging the couple to go beyond merely recovering from their sexual problems, but to press on and create systems that seek to ensure such issues do not become problematic in the future.

While the authors do cover specific conditions (erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, vaginismus, nonorgasmia etc), they have concentrated the book very much on the basic building blocks of the relationship itself - intimacy, personal responsibility, trust and effort.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An invitation to talk openly 15 July 2012
By Fox
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book to help me with my professional practice in family & couple therapy. The book is well written and offers some useful suggestions and ideas. In addition, it positively challenged me to think about some aspects of my personal relationship, which perhaps I had not considered fully. It is an invitation to have an open dialogue about sex and intimacy with or without the help of a therapist. However it is not a substitute for therapy if you are experiencing more complex problems with your partner/spouse.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Academic but Thorough 5 Oct 2012
By Steve
As a man who suffered for years from what McCarthy describes as "inhibited sexual desire" on the part of his wife, I found a lot of interesting stuff in this book. It is a proper book written by an "expert", rather than a collection of happy- in-the-end-case-studies as some of these books tend to be. It gives practical advice for you to use as a couple to get the intimate side of the relationship back on track, or if not back on track, then at least to a position where you're both happy with it.

For some people, that may also be its weak point. It's rather academic, jargon-filled and dry (I notice a lot of the reviewers tend to be therapists themselves, so perhaps it's meant as a text book) but I'm OK with that.

One thing that did slightly annoy me was the way it described the low sex drive as "dysfunctional". There are two problems with this. Firstly it seems to be an unnecessary labelling of the woman you love, possibly insulting even, when you consider that the issue is so common. Secondly, calling it "dysfunctional" entrenches the situation as a problem, like a chronic illness or something. Surely that won't help.

Also they prescribed fines for looking at porn or for phoning 900 number phone sex lines. What's the point of that? Those things are a symptom of the problem, not its cause. How many guys who have a good love life look at porn anyway?

But those are small points. There is a lot of practical advice in this book, if somewaht drily expressed.

I also just downloaded "Rekindle your Love Life" by Richard Thomas. His view is that it is not a dysfunction. It's just that many women become stressed about sex, they fear it and want the problem to go away - which is why they never want to talk about it or do anything about it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great advice throughout 14 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a great read for people in a long term relationship who needs to find a way to reconnect. Definitely recommend.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book and a very prompt delivery 29 Sep 2013
By Matti
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good quality book, states some basic concepts that can make a real difference. Delivery and conditions as described by the seller
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