- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: TarcherPerigee; Reissue edition (October 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399527125
- ISBN-13: 978-0399527128
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,094,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Everything You Know About Love and Sex Is Wrong: 25 Relationship Myths Redefined to Achieve Happiness and Fulfillment in Your Intimate Life Paperback – October 1, 2001
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Of course everything you know about love and sex isn't wrong. But Pepper Schwartz and her publisher know how to make a catchy title. Professor of sociology at the University of Washington and coauthor of several books on relationships, sex, and parenting, Schwartz here offers 25 common myths and debunks them. Her goal? "I want to help you take a fresh look at a whole lot of sacred cows." She accomplishes this, although only a handful of these 25 cows are grazing in the sex field. An example: "Even if sex isn't fantastic in the beginning, it can be fixed." Not true, Schwartz cautions; if you're disappointed early on, bad sex can derail love, bonding, and commitment--and practice won't make perfect.
Most of the myths she includes are about relationships, as in "you will know when you have met 'the one,'" and "your lover should be your best friend." In the "Never Go to Bed Mad," chapter, she denounces the practice of "venting": "The idea is that, like a vent, you can let hot air out and make the temperature cooler. But what scientists find is that anger builds up more anger," fostering "the kind of adrenalized conversation that encourages couples to say things that they never should say."
Schwartz's Ph.D. seems to be in pragmatism. In the chapter "Everyone Should Cohabit Before Marriage," she warns, "If you eventually hope for marriage, don't live together for over a year. Let's get real. You know everything you need to know by then, and if you think you don't, you are kidding yourself." And on lusting after someone other than your partner: "Attractions are more often an artifact of the circumstances than of the person--and so many people can be fascinating for a short period of time."
Whether on flirting or fantasizing, each chapter reads like a quickie column (she's written for Glamour and Playboy), and superficial advice is all she can squeeze into a few pages on such heavy topics as infidelity. While this is not a deeply analytical look at complex issues, it would be helpful for anyone just beginning to challenge longstanding relationship assumptions, or wanting to reconfirm values and ideals. --Rebecca Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"I love this book. I couldn't put it down. So many people guide their lives and make major decisions based on myths that are unstated and even unconscious. Pepper Schwartz's delightful book clears away the cobwebs from clouded minds and gives us the power to see things as they are." John Gottman, author of The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work
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Overall, this was an interesting read and it openly explores territory that other writers don't want to venture into such as jealousy, affairs, lying, etc. However, the examination of these areas is not necessarily deep, consistent or based on any type of real research. However, she does through in an occasional citation to back up her opinion, but not very often.
Much of the thinking in this book seems to be driven by a narcissistic worldview. In other words, the right thing to do is the thing that gets you want you want with minimum risk. I'm not sure I would be particularly proud of myself or my life if that was a code that I adopted and over a lifetime it turned out to be my legacy.
On the other hand, the author takes a practical view of difficult to discuss topics and examines many of the disconnections between what people say they believe and what they actually do. This can be a real eye opener for many. The author also offers some good advice and insights, but philosophically I diverge from her core beliefs and don't accept the assumptions they are based on. I realize others might find more congruence.
I was particularly disturbed by author's advice about lying. While I can see where lying might save a relationship or spare people conflict, it may also spare them badly needed personal growth and a sense of responsibility for their actions. She also leaves out the fact that lying can become a downward spiral and devastate self esteem. For a book that takes a deeper look at lying in personal relationships, I would check out PRIVATE LIES by Frank Pittman. To my knowledge this is the best discussion of this controversial area.
Another important point that the author leaves out about lying is that it may be a flag you are with the wrong person or have some personal growth work to do. If you can't talk to your partner because you don't feel safe, then maybe there is a compatibility issue. The point of using this area as an example is to illustrate that important implications of behavior are often not looked at deeply or even ignored.
Where the book succeeds is at getting you to look deeply at the truth you are living and contrasting this with some hard realities about the landscape of modern love relationships. Even if you disagree with what the author says, the book raises questions which might not go examined without this kind of stimulus.
The book is and the author has a style of writing that pulls the reader in from a drama standpoint. However, I am less excited by her ideas and the quality of her thought process. That is not to say she is not a very bright woman, but given the importance of the topics in question, I think a deeper examination would have served more people. Put another way, people might act on this advice and I feel she would have helped more people if she did a deeper and more thorough analysis of the issues she was discussing. Prior to writing this book, she gave advice for on relationship for Glamour, so I would expect something along similar lines.
I personally disagree with her advice in a number of areas. However, the book is entertaining and a light read. If that is what you are looking for then it might be a good fit. However, if you are looking for solid relationship advice, I would turn to other sources such as WILL OUR LOVE LAST by Sam Hamburg. (I have listed some of my personal favorite books on love, sex and relationships in a listmania list under my profile. You might find this interesting to check out as well.)
Everything You Know about Love and Sex is Wrong:
Twenty-five Relationship Myths Redefined
to Achieve Happiness and Fulfillment in Your Intimate Life
(New York: Putnam: [...], 2000) 277 pages
(ISBN: 0-399-14655-5; hardcover)
(Library of Congress call number: HQ801.S4398 2000)
This book deals with some of the most common problems in loving relationships.
Each can be dealt with by itself.
Thus the book can be read in any order.
The advice is solid but not very deep.
And there is no comprehensive concept of loving relationships.
A quick check of the Internet will disclose the exact content of each chapter.
Each theme is illustrated by real-life examples
of couples who suffered that problem and/or discovered what works for them.
Schwartz looks at twenty-five myths about relationships and how they keep you from achieving a happy and contented relationship. Some of the myths she challenges are holy grails of what relationships "should" be. For example, that your lover or mate should also be your best friend.
I don't agree with everything she says but she has compelling arguments for her positions and encourages us to challenge our preconceptions to see if they fit for us.
Not a deep book filled with psychological studies and analysis by any means, it is filled with practical advice and new ways to look at relationships. A recommended read for anyone with a history of relationship problems, entering into a new relationship or just questioning the values that they grew up with.
Schwartz has a zippy, fun, unpretentious style. It's an invigorating read. Never once to you feel the pace lessen or that Schwartz takes her foot off the accelerator. She illustrates her points with an invigorating mix of her own anectdotes and stories of others.
Obviously, Schwartz had a ton of fun exploring these myths--and so do we as we follow her mind at work. Enjoy!