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The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Passion and Fulfillment Paperback – August 2, 1996
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-- --Lonnie Barbach, Ph.D., author of For Yourself, For Each Other, and Erotic Interludes
"The Erotic Mind offers unexpected opportunities for intimate partners to translate their appreciation into passionate and fulfilling sex." -- --John Gray,Ph.D., author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
About the Author
He is the world's foremost expert on peak erotic experiences, including real-life encounters as well as fantasies. He has studied these remarkably revealing and fulfilling experiences with the help of his patients in therapy and also by analyzing anonymous responses to his "Sexual Excitement Survey," a powerful tool for self-discovery which you'll find in the book.
He is a diplomat of the American Board of Sexology, a board-certified sex therapist, and a licensed psychotherapist in the San Francisco Bay Area. He speaks regularly to professional and lay audiences across the country.
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060984287
- Dimensions : 7.9 x 5.3 x 1 inches
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060984281
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (August 2, 1996)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #80,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I bought it believing that it would simply be about human eroticism - which it is, and the study, formulation and advancement of individual eroticism - which it is; but then the author beautifully transitions about two-thirds of the way through through a psychological diagnosis of the theme to his work and life: an unhealthy, unopen, incurious, closed, denying individual sexuality is a sign of poor mental health stemming from childhood trauma.
Thus the book is actually a powerful self-help book about general psychological well-being through a well argued perspective of sexuality.
The author argues that people with the most fulfilling sexual lives are those that also lead the most fulfilling lives in general because they are comfortable with themselves and what they want and do not deny themselves this. Thus healthy sexual lives means healthy lives in general and the attainment of dreams in all aspects of life.
A great book and one of the best psychology books I have read.
--Understand my weird fantasies better--and make peace with them;
--Rekindle passion in a relationship where it just wasn't working;
--Respect and acknowledge things I enjoy without needing to act on them against my own interests;
--Get over traumatic experiences of sexual assault;
--help friends struggling with sexual issues make sense of and overcome their problems.
Seriously, if you're trying to figure yourself out, or any sexual problem, THIS is the book to get. It's also both extremely open-minded, without being unnecessarily explicit, so I recommend it broadly.
This book, in some ways, might be a modern-day Western equivalent of Vatsyayana Mallanaga's Kama Sutra, written circa the 5th century, B.C.E. Contrary to popular belief, the Kama Sutra is not merely a lurid manual of sexual positions (although it does include such in one of its chapters), but a comprehensive catalog of sexual behaviors on the Indian subcontinent. Morin's book is based on his experiences as a psychologist, copious readings on sexuality, in addition to responses to a survey he calls The Sexual Excitement Survey (SES -- also featured in an appendix to this book) which he began administering in the 1980s. In this survey, respondents are asked about their most memorable or exciting sexual experiences or fantasies. Morin encourages readers of The Erotic Mind to take the survey when they start the book to inform and enhance their reading of the text. I found the SES incredibly eye-opening and insightful.
Readers approaching this topic for the first time may initially find it somewhat disconcerting or even frightening. However, Morin's writing style is so comprehensive and compassionate that it quickly neutralizing any apprehensions or qualms. Morin exhorts readers to maintain an attitude of compassion, self-trust and curiosity as opposed to hostility (or even shame) towards what they discover about themselves. He encourages the reader to keep an erotic diary/journal in which they can record insights and thoughts. (I personally kept an erotic diary separate from my regular journal because I was afraid of what I would find. I needed to do so only temporarily, as I became more comfortable with my eroticism upon completing the book.) The book itself is divided into three parts: Part I (called "Realms of Passion") explores the underlying psychology of eroticism. It is filled with brilliant insights into how eroticism develops and operates from childhood through adolescence into adulthood. Morin maintains an objective but understanding tone throughout, elaborating on his concepts by use of plenty of examples from his practice and the SES. Readers with a particularly kinky eroticism will likely find themselves more at ease as these examples would probably serve to de-stigmatize some of the shame/embarassment surrounding many sexual quirks.
Part II (Called "Troublesome Turn-ons") is particularly interesting. What should you do if, during the course of your exploration, you discover aspects of your eroticism which are harmful to yourself or your loved one? That are causing conflicts in your love life or precipitating in self-destructive behaviors? One's eroticism can develop in response to distressing childhood or adolescent (or even adult) experiences and circumstances, thus incorporating elements of self-hatred if this was a particularly prominent presence during one's upbringing. For these troublesome turn-ons, Morin details a course of action that allows the sexual identity to expand and become more conducive to the expression of true love and affection as well as personal self-esteem. Morin's seven-step program is a holistic plan that cultivates general well-being, self-esteem and independence. Part III ("Positively Erotic") completes the cycle by exploring the sexual habits of couples that lead to long-term fulfillment and pleasure. In this section, there is a particularly interesting chapter on "signposts" to erotic health.
If there is one criticism I have with this book, it is that Morin is sometimes guilty of overcomplicating or oversystematizing sexuality. This can obscure his deeper insight into the underlying mechanisms at work. Morin's brilliance shines when he deals with eroticism in more encompassing terms; among the many insights, the one I myself walked away with was that eroticism springs from the deep-seated need for self-affirmation. This was a guiding principle for me that prevent me from getting lost when exploring my own eroticism. Likewise, although Morin's book, like Tristine Rainer's The New Diary, considers sexuality in the context of the whole personality, 370 pages concentrated on eroticism can be somewhat overwhelming. The book is so fascinating and engrossing, it is difficult to resist reading large chunks in one sitting. The reader may be left feeling like they've overdosed, or that need some space to reacquaint themselves with life outside of sexuality. I give Rainer the ultimate victory in placing eroticism in the context of the entirety of life (among other things, she acknowledges the necessity of finding one's own erotic vocabulary), but nothing can really replace the depth and topicality of Morin's book. This is not properly a criticism of Morin's book (hence, why I still rate it five stars), but simply a warning to readers seeking to undertake its reading.
Since Morin's book was published in 1996, the present trend has moved toward evolutionary psychology and neurobiology, which have revealed quite a lot about the workings of sexuality that places much of what Morin writes in a larger context. Morin's book does not deal with the biological underpinnings of eroticism, but it might be helpful for readers to venture out into the popular science section of the bookstore to supplement the reading of this book. Joe Quirk's It's Not You, It's Biology.: The Science of Love, Sex, and Relationships is one book I found particularly delightful. Such reading will not necessarily improve erotic life in the same way Morin's book will, but it may help to contextualize it.
All in all, Morin's The Erotic Mind remains the definitive book on eroticism. Morin acknowledges the erotic life as highly individual, yet part of a larger shared human experience. It is appropriate for adults at all stages in their romantic lives and all sexual orientations. I don't foresee anyone surpassing Morin in either depth, scope or compassion on this topic in the near future.
I would tell anyone grappling with their sexuality or that of a loved one's to go out and get the book immediately! It definitely spiced up our life!
Top reviews from other countries
Needless to say, I spent literally all night reading through the book, and loved how compassionnate Morin is. It was not only a fascinating read -devoid of judgement- but it also provides an opportunity to grow and respect your sexuality in the awareness that it is much more complex than one could ever imagine.
Recommended for anyone shocked, guilty or anxious about their sexual fantasies.
There was a captivating part of the book talking about long term couples and the necessity to differentiate between closeness and sexual desire. Compromising about each spouses' sexual needs to reach better intimacy will tame the passion. It appears to make sex exciting that it is a good thing to maintain a sane difference in our fantasies. Of course, it will require our spouse and ourselves to be more open-minded and accepting of the differences!