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The Heart and Soul of Sex: Exploring the Sexual Mysteries Paperback – July 11, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This book was shaped by the results of a landmark sex survey called Integrating Sexuality and Spirituality (ISIS) that researcher and sex therapist Ogden undertook in 1997. Instead of focusing on the mechanics of sex, the ISIS survey asked the mostly female respondents how they experienced sex and what sex meant in their lives. Ogden (Women Who Love Sex) writes, "In some ways, the language of spiritual experience comes closest to expressing the fullness of our sexual response, for it is the language of connection and ecstasy." In Ogden's view, sex is (or should be) about more than physical sensation. She cites recent laboratory findings that show multiple areas of women's brains lighting up when they bring themselves to orgasm, including the areas connected with religious ecstasy and spiritual experience. The results of the survey bear Ogden out, as 47% of women say "they've experienced God during sexual ecstasy"; 67% say "sex needs to be spiritual to be satisfying." In this provocative, important book, Ogden functions as a gentle, persistent guide in mapping out paths—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual—that women can take to locate their sexual "center," where healing, ecstasy and transformation occur. There are also chapters on the chakras, tantric sex and creating ceremony for sacred lovemaking. (July 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“In this provocative, important book, Ogden functions as a gentle, persistent guide in mapping out paths that women can take to locate their sexual ‘center,’ where healing, ecstasy, and transformation occur.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review


“Gina Ogden is a master therapist and teacher. Her research redefines ways we can discuss sexual issues with our clients and patients. She offers a holistic, non-performance-based model that cracks open old beliefs, unearths fresh emotions, and carves out paths for healing and awakening sexual spirits.”—Patti Britton, Ph.D., cofounder of Sex Coach University and former president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists


“This is a glorious book. Gina Ogden speaks directly to the heart of sexuality in a way that women all over the world will recognize. To read this book is to remember and reawaken to the melody of the life force that both created and sustains our bodies and lives. May this book soar—and take us all with it!”—Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and Mother-Daughter Wisdom

“Gina Ogden has a keen sense of the complexities of our sexuality, and she knows how to take you there and back. The Heart and Soul of Sex offers insights, tools, and resources to help therapists bypass the tempting surface issues and get to the core.”
—Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Trumpeter (July 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159030456X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590304563
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,022,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wendy Orlow-strgar on November 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Here is the Book that so many women that I meet and that long for a sex life that works for them must read. Gina Ogden, conducted a survey with close to 4000 women on aspects of sexuality, spirituality and their meeting place. In addition to insightful and fascinating quotes from many of these women, the book explores in depth the emotional, mental and spiritual connections that mean the most in our sexuality.

One idea that seemed to answer a question that comes up continuously in my conversations about the question of desire is that when feelings of anger and fear are repressed, desire goes right along with it. It is not hard to see the connection and yet I never really understood so clearly how our repressed feelings cut us off from all our feelings. She quotes "you can't heal, what you can't feel."

And it seems that all the places we block, keep us from ourselves.

Particularly refreshing is a new formulation which the author terms ISIS - Integrating Sexuality and Spirituality which shifts the focus from classic definitions of healthy sexuality which is dominated by physical performance and ability to orgasm with specific stimulation to a newly and woman defined space of pleasure and satisfaction derived from a whole experience. In this process she explore a variety of energetic sexual models as well as tools for emotional and mental healing from sexual fears and abuses.

What I loved was the discussion about how our culture focuses and emphasizes the trauma of our sexuality and its lifelong events, but still offers little or no language to allow for the pleasure of our sexuality which is a primary source of our power, beauty and sense of belonging.
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Format: Hardcover
As a sex therapist I often work with couples who want more from their sex lives but don't quite know how. Gina Ogden's outstanding, accessible new book is written for women, and with a tremendous understanding of women's sexual experience, but I think it's a great book for men, too.

Ogden expands our notion of sex far beyond the physical and into the emotional, mental, and spiritual domains. She does this with candor, humor, compassion and imagination. She frames sex within a much broader context than we usually understand it and gives women (and couples!) concrete strategies to move their sex lives into the realm of cosmic sex, a path to oneness with self, partner, and the Divine.

You don't have to be a religious person or even think of yourself as exceptionally "spiritual" to benefit from Ogden's expertise and heart in this book. It is truly a gift to the soul.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Gina Ogden moves the discussion of sex from a quantitative ordeal (how big, how many, since when?) to a qualitative discourse (how deeply felt, how connected, how passionate?) Or let's say that she uses quantity - 3,800 people, mostly women, answered her survey - to get to the quality of their experience as sexual creatures. There have been very few American sex surveys this large and few that concentrate on what Ogden coins the ISIS: the integration of sexuality and spirituality. In fact, the scope and focus of this in-depth enquiry into what women feel about sex challenges the very nature of classic American sex research, which prefers information it can simply count.

Much research into women's sexuality has focused in some physiological way on their dysfunction, often with the assumption that women lust after "it" less than men. In the cultural background are the messages that sex is dirty and so are the women who are gagging for it. In fact, Dr. Ogden's review of the previous scientific cannon on sexuality makes you welcome her counter-approach. For example, she sites the University of Chicago's 1994 survey in which 1,500 women were asked to own up to any of seven sexual problems and when 43% checked even one, they were characterized as "dysfunctional." The researchers might have concluded that there are gobs of awkward lovers out there, but instead the 43% figure of sexually "dysfunctional" women has become ubiquitous, even used in ads to sell "solutions."

In contrast, Ogden demonstrates that girls want to talk about sex not in terms of how many pulses there are in an orgasm or the length of our clit hoods, but in terms of where sex takes us and what that journey feels like.
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Format: Hardcover
Gina Ogden's new book gives women unrefutable evidence that they don't have to compromise who they are - uniquely - to have a full experience of who they are as sexual AND spiritual beings. She has the statistics to back up her statements, but the book is not a scientific treatise - it's a flowing and exciting map of new territory for those who have not yet discovered the depth and breadth of their sexual/spiritual connections.

I highly recommend this book for any woman of any age, and for any man who wants to learn more about "his" woman.
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Format: Hardcover
Gina Ogden's beautifully written book, The Heart and Soul of Sex, gives women the permission and encouragement to explore our total body-and-soul female sexuality. With her unique blend of science, sexology, spirituality, and tantric practice, Dr. Ogden offers a variety of resources to stimulate the sexual imagination and realize greater physical and emotional pleasure. For anyone wanting to more fully expand her sexual experience, with or without a partner, into the realm of the magical and transformative, I heartily recommend this informative book.
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