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Rekindling Desire: A Step-by-Step Program to Help Low-Sex and No-Sex Marriages Paperback – January 13, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


This book brings hope and excitement as it gently unravels the mysteries and misunderstandings surrounding marital sex and helps couples-step-by-step-find the keys to their own secret garden. I highly recommend it.
Diane Sollee, Director, Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education and

Rekindling Desire will prove indispensable for couples with low desire problems and will provide a helpful adjunct for working collaboratively in sex therapy.
Peggy J. Kleinplatz, Ph.D., School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Canada, editor,New Directions in Sex Therapy

A sensitive practical book that most couples will find useful, written by gifted and respected clinicians, provides a wealth of information gathered from the professional experience of treating couples...
Taylor Segraves, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry Case Western Reserve University, editor,Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy

...highlight[s] poignant stories of lost initimacy. Read it for a map of how to reunite with tender loving care.
–Lybi Ma, Psychology Today

Barry and Emily McCarthy bring rich experience and insight...Rekindling Desire makes a valuable contribution and provides therapists who use bibliotherapy with a practical and informative resource..
–Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, January 2004

About the Author

Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., is a certified sex therapist and Professor of Psychology at American University. He has published extensively on couples and sexuality and given more than a hundred workshops around the world. Emily McCarthy holds a B.S. in Speech Communication from Southern Illinois University. Having worked for years as a speech therapist, she now collaborates with her husband on books that address issues faced by married couples. This is the seventh book he and his wife, Emily, have co-authored on the subject, including Sexual Awareness, which has sold more than 500,000.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (January 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415935512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415935517
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 137 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
What a surprise to see that the reader from Kalamazoo was disappointed with this book .... Au contraire, I thought the authors did an excellent job of laying out reasons for lack of marital bliss between the sheets, and then presenting great step-by-step strategies and techniques for effecting change.
There were many eye openers:
* Good sex in a marriage contributes 15-20% of marital vitality. Bad sex contributes 50-70% of marital malaise.
* Romantic love is inherently unstable usually ending before marriage or seldom lasting past the first year.
* Sexual desire is based on emotional and sexual intimacy NOT on romantic love or passionate sex.
* YOU are responsible for yourself as a sexual partner. It is NOT the job of the spouse to make you desirous or turn you on.
* Good intentions are not enough. You need a PLAN to enhance your sexual relationship. The most successful strategy is a gradual step-by-step process.
* The most powerful aphrodisiac is NOT an esoteric technique; it is an involved, aroused spouse......
The McCarthys did a fine job of differentiating "media hype" sex,(spontaneous,intense,nonverbal,passionate,perfect)from "real marital sex", (less than half of the time there is equal desire,arousal, orgasm and satisfaction).
I also enjoyed learning about the poisons for sexual desire. It was a jolt to discover that sexual desire is SO easy to kill.
I could go on about the merits of this book.... Suffice it to say; it was a great and informative read. I highly recommend it for all couples, but especially for those grappling with sexual concerns.
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104 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Pardue on September 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
Finally, an empathetic, informative, non-judgmental approach to understanding and resolving what felt like an overwhelming problem. I was impressed that the book offered such kind, practical advice without assuming a clinical tone. It was clearly written and by following their suggested techniques, my husband and I are truly emerging as an "intimate team". Our thanks to the McCarthy's for their sensitive and sage advice. This book is not for those who wish to take a TV commercial pharmaceutical approach to their sexual issues; however, I would highly recommend it to couples who seek to understand and strengthen all aspects of their intimate relationship.
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101 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Sallie Foley on April 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am a sex educator teaching in a Michigan college town. A graduate student told me about Rekindling Desire and how it helped both she and her partner have a much better sex life. I bought Rekindling Desire on her recommendation, read it, and now recommend it to couples of all ages. If a couple want to work on being an `intimate team'-a term that is creatively used in the book-to change their sexual life for the better, they'll find this book honest and clear, explaining lots of common sexuality concerns and making suggestions for how to move forward and solve problems. The book doesn't just cover sex, it really helps couples deepen their relationship and strengthen their intimacy.
The McCarthys' have written other good books about sex, and are known for their conversational, non-textbook way of writing. Since Barry McCarthy is a sex therapist, he understands real people and real people's problems. No time is wasted on blaming; instead there are understandable and doable steps outlining a path to change. Great information, clearly written. For people who want to work together realistically to bring out the best in themselves, this is a wonderful book.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Robert P. Weil, Jr. on September 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I particularly liked this book because it approaches the problem of rekindling sexual fulfillment in marriage from the viewpoint of the whole person. That is, it deals with the range of mental and emotional elements which contribute to real sexual fulfillment. This permits the reader to identify the elements applicable to his or her relationship and also to recognize that remedial action may require a range of actions.

I also liked the authors' thesis that sexual fulfillment, even in a good marriage, is something which should be viewed as an objective to be tended to, requiring a certain amount of ongoing attention.
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86 of 99 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had read sex-starved marriage prior and there was very little new information that I learned in this book. The author definitely takes a much more clinical approach than Sex Starved Marriage but in the end he is basically saying the same thing - increase desire through more physical arousal. It's not a bad "introduction" to the subject and it (along with Sex Starved Marriage) will help couples when the low-desire partner is motivated to work on the problem. This is rarely the case.
It wasn't until, I read Dr. Schnarch's Passionate Marriage that I discovered the "real" dynamics at play in our relationship. Passionate Marriage has a completely different approach to it. If you could only buy one book, I would recommend Passionate Marriage instead.
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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Aline Zoldbrod, Ph.D. on July 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Barry and Emily McCarthy have written THE book for couples who are mired in a sea of sexual avoidiance. If you still love your partner, but you somehow just can't make the sexual connection, read this book. It is a treasure trove of practical, realistic
strategies to revive your love.
Here, finally, is the comprehensive, thoughtful, down to earlth, un-gimicky guide and roadmap I needed to have to give to the many, varied low and no sex couples who I see for sex therapy. There is no simplistic, woman's-magazine advice to be found in the pages of Rekindling Desire. I can't think of anything I wish the authors had said that they omitted. The discussions and the cases have depth, and as a reader struggling with the problem of a low sex relationship, you will find yourself in its pages. As the reader, you can hear the authors' seasoned clinical voices cheering you on, giving you sage advice. A major strength of this book: you get concrete, healing suggestions for rethinking, reframing, and constructively talking to eachother about this important, joint problem.
You also get the chance to give up some long-held myths that are ruining your chances to reawaken love. I admire the McCarthys' discussion of normal sexuality and their counseling on realistic sexual expectations. Just reading through Rekindling Desire will be educational for all couples. Low and no sex relationships are complicated. Rekindling Desire does't promise instant cures, it doesn't hype the "latest advances." To make deep changes, readers will need to be committed to change, to grab hold of the techniques provided. But by adopting the "intimate team" approach, a loving couple who each intend to reclaim their due share of physical and emotional connection and sexual desire will surely succeed.
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