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Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic Hardcover – 1 Sep 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; 1 edition (Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060753633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060753634
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,088,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"So honest it hurts." -- Irish Times

"Her advice is refreshingly counterintuitive." -- Salon.com

"This is a brave book...refreshing." -- The Times Higher Education Supplement

So honest it hurts. --Irish Times

"Well argued points written with considerable eloquence."--Jerusalem Post

"A charming blend of wit and wisdom...this book will give you a fresh perspective on long-term love."--Gold Coast Bulletin (Australia)

"An excellent book, full of provocative prose and entertaining case illustrations."--Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy

"This is a brave book...refreshing."--The Times Higher Education Supplement

"An elegant sociological study, complete with erudite literary and anthropological references."--Daily Telegraph (London)

"Mating in Captivity...articulates a poignant and unacknowledged modern crisis for the first time."--The Evening Standard (London)

"Her advice is refreshingly counterintuitive."--Salon.com

"So honest it hurts."--Irish Times

Her advice is refreshingly counterintuitive. --Salon.com"

Mating in Captivity...articulates a poignant and unacknowledged modern crisis for the first time. --The Evening Standard (London)"

An elegant sociological study, complete with erudite literary and anthropological references. --Daily Telegraph (London)"

A charming blend of wit and wisdom...this book will give you a fresh perspective on long-term love. --Gold Coast Bulletin (Australia)"

Well argued points written with considerable eloquence. --Jerusalem Post"

This is a brave book...refreshing. --The Times Higher Education Supplement"

So honest it hurts. --Irish Times"

An excellent book, full of provocative prose and entertaining case illustrations. --Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

I wrote this book because, in 22 years of practice in six
different languages, I've met couples over and over again who were having a
good relationship, who love each other, but who have no sex, no tingle! I
met couples who had a bad relationship, and who I helped to have a good
relationship again, and the expectation was that the sex would just come
back - but it didn't. I began to think there's something in this premise -
that if sex is wrong, the relationship is wrong; and equally that more
talk, intimacy and closeness will equal more sex, better sex - that just
doesn't work. I knew I was on to something. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is a huge and perplexing quantity of literature out there crammed with
advice on how we may tackle the blandness of sex in a long term relationship and thus improve our sex lives; if only we were to follow those authors clearly laid out instruction manuals. Whilst this may be effective for many people, hoards are left asking themselves why they feel so much in a rut and unable to relate to the proposed steps forward. The trouble is, as Esther Perel puts it, “eroticism simply doesn’t lend itself to the rigors of scorekeeping” but “is an imaginative act” and “cannot be measured”. Furthermore, “no amount of will or reason can dictate our love dreams”. How can we desire what we already have? How do we liberate ourselves and re-discover excitement in a sexual relationship that has gone stale? In our long term relationships, how do we manage “the tension between security and adventure”, between commitment and eroticism, or put “the ‘X’ back in sex”? Answers can never be simple and Perel does not pretend otherwise. But what she does do, through case studies and discussion, is explore the paradox between separateness and closeness, as it is acted out in sex, in a way that is plucky, inspired, imaginative, intelligent and entertaining. It is extremely well written and does not hide behind a lot of psychoanalytic jargon, thus making it accessible to the lay as well as the specialist reader. As a professional in the field, I found it to be a first class piece of writing that I can highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback
Esther Perel asks how do we bring lust home? We all need security, love and commitment but eroticism can be lost with repetition and familiarity. Desire is about wanting. Can we - and our partner - want what we have? This is what she says...

Erotic intelligence is about bringing the space between two people to life. Desire needs a degree of distance, elusiveness, excitement, fun, fascination, adventure, discovery, novelty, change, uncertainty, mystery, anxiety of the unknown and anticipation.

We advocate togetherness but we also need autonomy, freedom and personal fulfilment and therefore we should allow a little space in our relationships. If we lose our separateness then connection can no longer occur. For example we shouldn't feel we have to talk about everything - women especially can share too much such that doing so becomes obligatory with nothing left to seek. We are two different people and have a sexual self which is individual, generates its own images and is aware when it gets turned on unexpectedly.

Esther believes fantasy is important, since it allows us to break rules and to have some freedom and excitement, escaping the constraints of life. We shouldn't worry that the erotic imagination is fuelled by a host of improper feelings- lust, aggression, power, neediness. In fact fantasy can be a reaction to unconscious pressures. What turns us on often goes against our preferred self image and our moral convictions, but there's no need to feel ashamed or guilty about our fantasies. Acknowledging one's eroticism is healthy but we should be wary of detailed sharing of our fantasies with our partners.

Esther talks about the '3rd person' in other words someone else, real or imagined, whom we or our partner desires.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have you ever wondered why affairs are so common? Have you ever actually questioned why the whole -"meet someone you fancy, fall in love, live happily ever after" kinda doesn't really happen and noticed that adult relationships are actually way loads more complicated than this - then this book is for you and will help you address much of your resultant confusion. Its an exceptionally well written book - it is clear it has been well researched, considered and thought about, and the author clearly has considerable expertise in this area.

As a therapist and clinician I found myself nodding in agreement with so much of what was written - I noticed how much of my own knowledge and experience mapped exactly with her findings and many of her observations resonated powerfully for me: speaking truths and realities so seldom mentioned in our society and so often specifically avoided in our education about relationships.

The primary focus of the book is exploring and seeking to understand how sex, sexuality and erotic desire exist within an intimate relationship and how sexual desire and emotional intimacy are not necessarily compatible. In clear and straight forward language she both illustrates and explains the mechanisms by which sexual desire and passion are ignited or indeed damped (or potentially extinguished) and goes on to show how many of our thoughts about emotional closeness and emotional intimacy fly in the face of raw sex desire.

She makes the point that monogamy was historically a patriarchal mechanism to control the fertility and reproductive capacity of women: yet in the 21st century we need to wake up to new ideas around male and female sexuality and indeed on the value or purpose of monogamy against other models of sexual relationship.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't find it easy to give books a five star rating - I know how much I myself am influenced by reader reviews, though only the ones that are written well of course. In this case, I was not 'looking' for this book but the TED talk that Esther Perel gave displayed a very very sharp mind at work. It did not take long to find the book from which much of that wisdom came. There is presumably a chapter for everyone, (and that includes most persuasions) in this book. What is outstanding is the liberal philosophy the book espouses. The case studies are very much unique individuals under Perel's eye and the world which Perel inhabits so comfortably, is depicted as almost endless in its possibility, nothing that is here is formulaic and as a consequence, the book celebrates its subject matter rather than taking a diagnostic approach per se.

The book is a kind of ero-political guide to help navigate and reframe the complicated landscape of contemporary relationships and it is very truthful in its evaluations. Perel is obviously a brilliant therapist cum counsellor and clearly is a pioneer in a field often given a bad press. A field which often over simplifies the area over which it claims expertise. I learnt a lot about myself reading it and I am urging my wife to read it too. What I love about what Perel has done here is she has acknowledged the need for this discussion irrespective of whether you feel you have problems or not - you go to the gym to keep healthy after all. I think that books like these are all part of adding value to that idea of social capital that is gradually gaining currency in all aspects of our lives and work. I absolutely champion the movement that this is part of. I would like to see more by this author, she has an important voice.
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