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3.9 out of 5 stars35
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 4 June 2012
...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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on 6 June 2012
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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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2012
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. It felt more like an introduction than a comprehensive look at sexuality and sexual attitudes

Overall, it wasn't a bad read. It's a quirky title that brings some interesting ideas to the fray... but as stated by another reviewer: It's more of a long essay than a book
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on 17 December 2014
Although it offers some insights as to different ways of thinking about sex, in particular within long-term relationships, these are rare throughout the book. The majority of it seems to be pompous waffle and he shoehorns religious sentiments in all over the place (probably because he was writing a book about religion for atheists around the same time) -which I feel are out of place.
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on 11 February 2014
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 talks about how pornography should perhaps be censored against, or how sex is a wild and unruly force in our rationally conducted lives and even how perhaps thoughts of infidelity are somehow inevitable in a long term partnership. If there is a bum note its in his explication of a virtuous and wholesome future pornography in which even renaissance Madonnas are sexy - which goes against the definition of what pornography is.
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on 8 March 2014
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 how exploitative it is. As a writer he explores modern and ancient dilemmas that we face and gives useful solutions and suggestions.
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on 1 November 2014
A very enlightening book. Have read it twice and intend to read it again. Easy to understand, he sets you thinking... hopefully for everyone's benefit! A must read for couples.. .who need to be more understanding of each other's needs and feelings.
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on 26 June 2014
An intelligent writer who seems unable to escape his male identity, even when he is trying to make a gender-neutral point. Other observations stayed with me months after reading the book however.
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on 21 June 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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on 16 June 2013
I've always loved Alain de Botton's writing - and this book is a quirky extension of his invigorating thought processes.

With characteristic humour he tackles the ideas of attraction and pairing. It's an easy read and very thought provoking. A lovely book if you enjoy philosophy but don't want to have to think TOO hard while you do so.
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