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How To Think More About Sex: The School of Life by de Botton, Alain, The School of Life (2012) Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Macmillan
  • ASIN: B00DJFRJ98
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,036,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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...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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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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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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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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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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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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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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