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Cupid's Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships Paperback – June 23, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


“[This book] seriously challenges conventional ‘wisdom’ about human sexual interactions. It is as antithetical to modern cultural beliefs about sexual behavior as Galileo’s treatise was to astronomy. In Galileo’s time the earth (like the orgasm) was thought to be the incontestable center of the universe. Marnia Robinson’s hypothesis might result in much needed navigational improvements for modern family relationships.”
—A.J. Reid Finlayson, MD, Division of Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

“Marnia Robinson brings neuroscience into the bedroom, revealing how biology creates projection and separation. She provides a solution that will not only pleasantly surprise you, but will profoundly change your life. This is a must-read for anyone wanting to know love.”
—Kali Wendorf, founder of Australia’s Kindred magazine and contributing editor of the anthology Belonging

“I can honestly say that I have never read a more accessible and well laid out description of the brain’s reward circuitry. Combine that with the experiential, practical, and spiritual dimensions of Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow, and it is virtually impossible to walk away from it without the feeling that Marnia Robinson really is on to something significant in the field of human relationships and sexual behavior.”
—Russell Razzaque, MD, psychiatrist, London, England

Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow is a skillful blend of understandable science, informative personal reports and light-hearted humor, which make for enjoyable, thought-provoking reading. Between its chapters, curious readers will also find intriguing essays about various traditions (Taoism, Christianity, Buddhism, cortezia, karezza, etc.). These reveal little known, and often remarkable, clues about the hidden potential that lies in our sexual relationships.”

“In Cupid's Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships, author Marnia Robinson explains how neuroscience can help us understand and change our relationships. Robinson challenges often-held assumptions about the role of sexuality in an accessible way, including personal experiences, science, and insights from around the world.”

“Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow blends personal experiences with the latest neuroscience and various cultural insights to build a survey of popular notions about human sexual interactions and their realities, blending history with cultural and social observation.”
Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Marnia Robinson is a former corporate lawyer who left her career to investigate how ancient sacred-sex prescriptions can heal widespread disharmony in intimate relationships. She and her husband, Gary Wilson, have given presentations on the subject worldwide and run a Web site called Reuniting: Healing with Sexual Relationships. She lives in Ashland, OR.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books; 6.1.2009 edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556438095
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556438097
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As a former corporate lawyer (with degrees from Brown and Yale), Marnia Robinson never expected to find herself writing books about sex. She delved into the subject in part because she was a bride or bridesmaid in four weddings and nearly everyone who reached the altar (including Marnia) has since divorced and remarried. What was going on?

The more she learned about both ancient sacred sex traditions and the science of mating and bonding, the more she recognized the need for a cross-disciplinary perspective that also incorporates the experiences of actual lovers struggling with the tension between fiery biological urges and the desire for long-term harmonious relationships. Psychologists, neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists, anthropologists and ancient sages all have essential clues for coping with this challenge--and yet each profession alone is somewhat hampered by its codified assumptions. Marnia's work highlights key insights (both recent and long-forgotten) by weaving them together with practical suggestions. Her book has been endorsed by two psychiatrists, a UCLA biology professor and author of "Mean Genes," and others.

Her husband Gary Wilson, a neuroscience enthusiast, generously takes time from his teaching career to help her collect and analyze the material in her posts and books. He also hosts the porn recovery website Together Gary and Marnia blog on "Psychology Today" ( Their article "The Great Porn Experiment" recently appeared in "The Evolutionary Review." You can watch Gary's popular TEDx talk of the same name here: They reside in Ashland, Oregon.

Watch Marnia on San Francisco's "The View from the Bay" show ( (6 mins.)

"Cupid's Poisoned Arrow" has also been published in German as "Das Gift an Amors Pfeil."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Lily Seram on October 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thanks to this book, at age 63 I finally understood why things went wrong every three years in my relationships ! This book is a real breakthrough in the art and science of loving (and LASTING) relationships. It shows the source of our passion-fading problem (our mammalian brain with its procreating programmation) and the cure (tiptoeing around the orgasm and lots of bonding behaviours). The revelation for me was that orgasm triggers dopamine release, which acts like a hard drug with its associated withdrawal symptoms, and that this unconsciously alters your perception of your partner. Bonding behaviours (tender touch, kissing, caressing, smiling, etc.) in opposition, trigger beneficial chemicals in our brain which help us keep our positive perception of our partner. Thanks to the author for daring to expose the scientific truth behind passion, sexual attraction, love and attachment. This book was life-changing for me.
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The world has gone crazy over orgasm. 50 years ago few women had orgasms, just the men. Today in our liberal society there is a smorgasbord of information on how to have multiple orgasms, g spot orgasms cervical orgasm, prolonged orgasm. It's been studied and promoted to exhaustion. The ultimate pleasure hit in our society which is so focused the pursuit of the ultimate rush for our own little self satisfaction.

And how are relationships between couples going? The stats are not good. Despite the fact that more people are having the hottest sex using all the techniques now available, there are more relationships on the rocks than ever.

Marnia Robinson blows the lid on what is really happening. There are a plethora of books and studies out there examining what happens before and up to orgasm, but no one is looking at what happens afterwards. Its the last thing we want to know. Sex just becomes two Dopamine junkies who get into bed with each other to feast on the hit we get from the big O.

Tantra is the big thing at the moment, but under the guise of sacredness it frequently degenerates into just another way to get a dopamine hit. It sells well, but doesn't make lasting bonded relationships between couples.

This book go where none other dare to go. What is the ultimate effect of this lust feasting on each other. From this book I have made more sense of what has happened in my relationships than any other. Its not just what happened in my childhood, its also about how we are wired as humans.

I always believe I should follow my heart in life and relationships, but at least now I know that it can also be just my penis connected to my limbic system wanting to follow natures agenda for offspring.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Frank Schoenburg on March 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cupid's poisoned arrow is a wonderful revelation. I'm very grateful for the insights this book provides. Although I suspected that frequent ejaculation and porn use caused inner turmoil, I didn't have any good ideas of what to do about it. This book confirmed and greatly expanded my suspicions and intuitions about the after effects of sex. Furthermore, unlike any other book, sex expert, or podcast that I've come across, Cupid's poisoned arrow shows us a way off of the physical and emotional roller coaster ride from the endless pursuit of bigger, better, and more intense orgasms. Personally, it's a relief.
Unless this is pointed out to you, the negative after effects of orgasm are very hard to spot. I didn't see them. Even when I suspected after effects such as moodiness and fatigue were related to ejaculating, what could I do? Although books such as The Multi-orgasmic man pointed out the pitfalls of ejaculating, the prescription was to get to the edge and then move the sexual energy up the spine. I tried and eventually gave up these exercises. Too frustrating and I didn't get results. Karezza, by contrast, looks easy.
Cupid's poisoned arrow gives us a thorough, comprehensive view of orgasms. There are no moral arguments against them. The argument is neurochemical. Avoid orgasm because there is a hidden two week hangover called the passion cycle. I'm grateful for knowing this and for a path out - karezza. It's too early to give 1st hand knowledge that karezza works, but my intuition says "Yes". I'll be experimenting, no doubt. Thank you Marnia, Will, and the growing community.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nicholson on July 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A friend told me about the predecessor to this book ("Peace Between the Sheets") at which point I went to her website,, and watched the wonderful videos she has there about this material. I wanted to read the book and so I ordered this new version and am very impressed with it. It is well written and the information is unique and life changing. The book has a lot of additional information beyond what are in the videos.

I think this information is essential to anyone that wants healthy romantic relationships but beyond that because of all the information in the book about how our brains work and how patterns and addictions are formed and healed I think it's essential to all human beings!

This is one of those books when you wish you could go higher than five stars. Thank you, Marnia, for such a great book!
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