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How To Think More About Sex (School of Life) [Paperback]

Alain de Botton , The School of Life
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 May 2012 School of Life

In this rigorous and supremely honest book Alain de Botton helps us navigate the intimate and exciting – yet often confusing and difficult – experience that is sex. Few of us tend to feel we’re entirely normal when it comes to sex, and what we’re supposed to be feeling rarely matches up with the reality. This book argues that 21st-century sex is ultimately fated to be a balancing act between love and desire, and adventure and commitment. Covering topics that include lust, fetishism, adultery and pornography, Alain de Botton frankly articulates the dilemmas of modern sexuality, offering insights and consolation to help us think more deeply and wisely about the sex we are, or aren’t, having.

One in the new series of books from The School of Life, launched May 2012:

How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry

How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric

How to Worry Less About Money by John Armstrong

How to Change the World by John-Paul Flintoff

How to Thrive in the Digital Age by Tom Chatfield

How to Think More About Sex by Alain de Botton

Frequently Bought Together

How To Think More About Sex (School of Life) + How to Find Fulfilling Work (The School of Life) + How To Stay Sane: The School of Life
Price For All Three: £18.37

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447202279
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447202271
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.7 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alain de Botton is the author of Essays in Love (1993), The Romantic Movement (1994), Kiss and Tell (1995), How Proust can Change your Life (1997), The Consolations of Philosophy (2000) The Art of Travel (2002), Status Anxiety (2004) and most recently, The Architecture of Happiness (2006).

Product Description

About the Author

Alain de Botton is the author of the international bestsellers, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Art of Travel and Religion for Atheists, and other books that try to throw light on the big challenges of our lives. He is the founder of Living Architecture (, a social enterprise which gets top architects to build holiday homes for rental by anyone. He is also founder of The School of Life (, for which this series has been designed.

The School of Life is a London-based enterprise that is dedicated to the most useful ideas relevant to the dilemmas of everyday life. We consider questions like: How can we fulfil our potential? Can work be inspiring? Why does community matter? Can relationships last a lifetime? We don’t have all the answers, but we will direct you towards a variety of useful ideas – from philosophy to literature, psychology to the visual arts – that are guaranteed to stimulate, provoke, nourish and console.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sex is more in the mind that we admit it is... 4 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
...and that is what makes this book such an intriguing read. It's not meant to patronise you about sex and suggest you need to try harder with more effort, instead it's about examining the behaviour of yourself and possibly your partner to understand why we do the things that we do and perhaps celebrate these behaviours rather than push them away to the repressed corners of our minds.

I am a fan of Alain de Botton and find the tone in his books and essays to be measured and even and really do recommend this and other readings of his work.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totemic polemic 6 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Short though it is, this is a hugely important book which I hope politicians and policy-makers are reading right now. AdB has some wonderful insights into the (non) functioning of long-term human relationships and some truly novel ideas about how to make things better.

I appreciate that labelling a book like this a polemic may put off readers but AdB has a poet's gift of expression and writes with disarming accessibility. There are also many lyrical passages which demand to be re-read for the sheer enjoyment of his style of expression.

Hard to think how the rest of the titles in this series can possibly live up to this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Does it as the blurb says "help us think more deeply and wisely about sex"?

I could identify with most of the observations that he makes particularly "the boldness displayed by middle aged married men when they are trying to seduce other women should never be confused with confidence; it is just the fear and death, which breeds an awareness of just how infrequently they are ever going to have to sample such moments again". (although I'm not married).

The book is full of observations like this which make me simultaneously happy and sad.

I did think pretty hard about whether what we individually as beautiful is to fill a specific lack in ourselves. I thought the Mexican Church was ugly and OTT so perhaps I'm looking for calm in the middle of chaos. However like another reviewer I didn't rate Madame Antonia Devaucay - I thought she looked mean and bovine.

Whether this thinking will carry on and improve my (sex) life and life in general I am not too convinced.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Charming though brief and a tad artsy 2 Sep 2012
By Patrick Løye VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A delightfully quirky little book!

Alain de Botton takes us on an unusual journey into the world of sex. But less of a teenage-snickering-at-rude-words venture or a "sexpert" telling us how mastery of the lotus position is the solution to all our sexual woes (I did chuckle at Alain's remarks to this very notion) - more a thoughtful glance from a completely different perspective. Philosophy and sex. Not a normal combination, I give you that... but Mr de Botton is frighteningly on the ball with a number of his observations, and paints a rather stark view of sex. His theories into eroticism and the lack of desire were particularly interesting

His tone is dry, yet charming. It's a bit dark but laced elegantly with some lashings of good humour and a fair amount of tongue-in-cheek to boot. His obsession with art, however, grated somewhat... Trudging through a whimsical, yet painfully detailed, fascination with a painting of a woman (personally I thought it was a creepy sort of painting I'd see in a Count Dracula's Castle), how the biblical Madonna is somewhat sexually alluring (The original MILF, I guess) and how our fascination with art depicts our sexual interests.

On a number of occasions I found that he barely skimmed the surface of a topic, or I challenged the idea and wanted more explanation - but was disappointed not to see him explore them further. Some topics weren't even graced with a mention at all - such as social attitudes to sex (i.e. Why are men and women judged so differently in terms of their sexual behaviours)... which left the book feeling a bit bare. It was like I went to a fancy restaurant and left after having the Starters. Lovely starter for sure... just not truly satisfying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and life changing 21 Jun 2013
This is a quick read that can change your life. Importantly, it's now about how to 'it' better, but to get what you want, which honestly negotiated should lead to happier coupledom or partnership just for a night! For us singles we can read it as a thought-map to the kind of relationship we want in future. Or read it with your partner. Discuss the issues you disagree and agree on: your relationship will be stronger for it. It is now my gift de jour: everyone is getting it.
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By Self-help junkie VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The best book on sex and relationships I think I've ever read - and that's saying something! de Botton is a rather wry, but very compassionate, guide to the mores and pitfalls of modern sexual life. He tackles subjects such as internet pornography, infidelity, loss of sexual desire within marriage, and more... He is intelligent and not at all preachy: one gets a strong feeling that he locates himself within the issues he describes. He is not some scientist observing subjects; he writes as 'one of us', attempting to navigate our perilous way through the hormonal, moral and psychological sexual maze that we are forced to enter simply by dint of being human. One small point: all of the sex he mentions is heterosexual. It would have been nice if at least one of the examples could have been a same-sex couple. There is perhaps a whole other dimension here which he decided to steer clear of. Other books on this topic I heartily recommend are Meg Barker's "Rewriting the Rules", and Esther Perel's "Mating in Captivity".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant de Botton. As always.
Published 2 months ago by Samosir
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant and insightful, as expected from Alain De Botton
Published 3 months ago by Celine Loh
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Thoughtful and readable short book.
Published 4 months ago by Sue D.
3.0 out of 5 stars How to know what a man thinks about sex
An intelligent writer who seems unable to escape his male identity, even when he is trying to make a gender-neutral point. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nina Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of the book
The subject matter is complex to most of us. The author made a sound attempt at tackling it. He is correct about how porn on the internet can drag so many down into the pits, and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr Dewi C Owen
3.0 out of 5 stars Two birds with one stone
This book not only helped me think more about sex; it also helped me think less about Alain de Botton.
Published 8 months ago by Dennis Scotchbrook,
5.0 out of 5 stars an honest philosophical look at sex
Alain de Botton has written a very honest philosophy of sex here. He describes how our sense of loneliness in the world make sexual attraction a special form of validation, or he... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr. Robert Marsland
4.0 out of 5 stars How weird are you?
de Botton's insight and wit make this a good read. Whilst he gives a list of sources/further reading at the end, the text doesn't provide references, making me think that much of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Matthew Stannard
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect if you're looking for a light summary of a few theories
de Botton could have done with going into more detail and he missed out a few very important theorists but an interesting insight into sexuality and the breakdown of the... Read more
Published 14 months ago by anna
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this writer...
One of my favourite writers though one of my least favourite subjects... When it popped up on screen it seemed an interesting way to gain an insight into a subject which I find... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Coline
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