Sexual Intelligence: What We Really Want from Sex--and How to Get It Hardcover – 5 Mar 2012
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“Marty Klein is the Steve Jobs of sex advice. With beguiling ease, he takes complex issues and distills them down to their essence. Sexual Intelligence is a work of enormous wisdom and expansiveness, and will inspire readers, regardless of age, to realize their full sexual potential.” (Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First)
“Marty Klein’s is a calm voice of reason at the center of the storm raging around sex in America. His tolerant, informed approach to the unavoidable sexual difficulties we all face is a welcome antidote to the panic and ignorance clouding public discussion and private understanding.” (Christopher Ryan, Ph.D., co-author of Sex at Dawn)
“Sexual Intelligence will help you fire the sex cops who have set up roadblocks in your head, and replace them with some good ideas to ponder and put into action. Dr.Klein has truly given us a helpful guide to authentic sexual satisfaction.” (Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of The Dance of Anger and Marriage Rules)
“If you read only one book on sex and relationships during your entire lifetime, this should be it. Dr. Klein confronts the problems that have plagued couples since the beginning of time with refreshingly simple and brilliant insight.” (Paul Joannides, Psy.D., author of Guide to Getting It On)
“Instead of a manual of better tricks, this book is a practical plan to improve your relationship with your sexuality. Klein liberates and provokes--and illuminates the way to change your sexual experience for good.” (Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity)
“Read this if you want to let go of your inhibitions and improve your sex life. You might have to change your mind-set first, but Klein’s advice, quizzes, diagrams, and case studies will help you do just that.” (Psychology Today)
“Klein is comforting and permission-giving, while presenting boundaries that you can discuss with a partner if you have concerns. This is an easy to read, smart book with loads of information and advice. Sexual Intelligence is an important contribution to the field and to the reader.” (Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., sex/relationship expert, AARP; chief relationship expert, PerfectMatch.com)
From the Back Cover
Enjoyable sex: it’s not about technique or a perfect body or being hopelessly, passionately in love. It’s about Sexual Intelligence.
In his three decades of working with couples and individuals as a sex therapist and marriage counselor, Dr. Marty Klein has continually seen that although most people say what they want from sex is pleasure and closeness, that’s not what they focus on during sex. Instead, we’re preoccupied with how we look, what our partner is thinking, how we’re performing, and whether we’re “normal.” We do more thinking, worrying, and judging than experiencing. Sex like that can’t thrill us, can’t create intimacy, and can’t, well, feel sexy.
In Sexual Intelligence, Klein shows how to stop observing ourselves during sex, ending our obsession with sexual performance and sexual normality. “I don’t help people ‘function’ better during sex,” he says. “I teach people how to relax and enjoy sex with the body they have, the partner they have, in the situation they have.” Now that’s something we all want: fulfilling, exciting sex at every stage of our lives.
In Sexual Intelligence, Klein challenges our understanding of sex, love, intimacy, romance, and satisfaction. After all, sex isn’t just an activity. Change the way you think about sex, and you can change your sex life—forever.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In addition to offering lots of great information about each of the components of Sexual Intelligence, Klein also discusses some of the common obstacles to developing it, how to respond to the sexual effects health issues & aging, and letting go of the idea of sexual success or failure. I really do wish I'd had this book when I was younger, if only because it would have helped me respond to some of the difficulties that I faced. But no matter where you are on your life's path, if you want to get the most out of sex and relationships, there's something here for you.
I don't think that this book will replace the amazing how-to books and movies that are available because even with Sexual Intelligence, people still need to learn how to explore and enjoy the many kinds of sexual pleasure that are available to them. And I think that it offers a solid starting point for figuring out how to get the most out of sex and our relationships. So I'm giving this book a big thumbs up!
His central, core insight, roughly paraphrased, is, "Relax and enjoy the sex you have, with your actual body, and your actual partner, with her/his actual body. Stop worrying about what's `normal', or whether you and/or your partner are `good enough', and just enjoy the sex that the two of you actually have together." Pretty simple, really, but definitely in the category of `easier said than done'. So, yes, certainly - this is a helpful book, written with sympathy and wit.
That said, it contains a perplexing number of befuddling head-scratchers. For one, he perpetuates the bizarrely reductive caricature (distressingly common among otherwise-highly-trained medical professionals) of the Sympto-Thermal Method of Natural Family Planning as "marking days off the calendar" and "The Rhythm Method". I could recommend that he audit an NFP class, to come up-to-speed on the current state of the art.
In a related vein, he tells us that contraception is "a special part of Sexual Intelligence", because "to reduce . . . anxiety, we have to make sex essentially harmless and meaningless." Huh?? That just seems incredibly lame. Hooray for meaningless sex! Really?? Our experience has always been that participating in the `transcendence' of sex (its `cosmic meaning', if you will) has made it immeasurably richer, not anxiety-provoking. And over the three-plus decades of our marriage, my wife and I have had lots and lots of really satisfying (and occasionally mind-blowing) sex, without contraception. In fact, the generation of a new human being literally from the `stuff' of the two of us, is one of the most powerfully erotic experiences we've known. Your mileage may vary, I suppose. . .
In the further context of `sex is better if it's meaningless', he delivers, on page 158, an odd mini-rant about `organized religion', `American Christianity', and others who "claim to know what sex `means' or what its `purpose' is", so they can `control you'. Huh?? I have to say, if 'American Christians' are really trying to 'control' other folks' sex lives, it ain't working very well. And aside from Dr. Klein's negative stereotyping and imputation of nefarious motives to his philosophical adversaries, one wonders what he makes of the various well-known surveys indicating that religiously-committed married couples (i.e., people who subscribe to notions like 'meaning' and 'purpose' and 'commitment') report the highest levels of sexual satisfaction.
To sum up - I thought this was a helpful book, and we have recommended it to friends. It contains some helpful insights. But more often than I liked, it left me scratching my head, saying "Huh??"
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