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I'd Rather Eat Chocolate: Learning to Love My Low Libido Hardcover – January 23, 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sewell understood that a huge inequality existed between her and her husband, Kip, in their levels of sexual drive. With humor, she recounts her journey to reconciling this disparity, creating along the way an ad hoc social commentary on the way both men and women look at sex. Sewell consults many experts: marriage counselors, relationship experts, sexperts, women's magazines and Oprah. Sewell determines that much of the advice is based on the ideals of men, and she finds that many ideals of the prosex feminist revolution have morphed to focus on male desires rather than women's liberties. This first-time author disagrees that women should live by such standards and sets out to prove that a healthy relationship can be had despite vastly differing levels of desire. And while it isn't an easy journey (a fight over porn and a time of separate beds are just some of the hurdles), the love and openness of their marriage allows Joan and Kip to reach a conclusion by which they are both satisfied—sexually and emotionally. Honest and accessible, this is not just a guide for libido-impaired individuals, but for anyone who wants to take a closer look at one subject that continues to gap the genders. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


In the sex-frequency wars, an authentically fresh new voice has arrived.”
Atlantic Monthly

“The best part of this intelligent book is how Sewell subtly frames her sexual issues within modern culture, from Sex and the City to Girls Gone Wild to pornography and lap dances.” –USA Today

“Amid all the cheesy surveys and hand-wringing talk shows . . . a bright spot in the discussion of lackadaisical libidos.”

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; 1 edition (January 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767922670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767922678
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,730,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I read this book on a intercontinental business trip on a recommendation from a female friend. It was good for this purpose because its really a page-turner and puts some pretty common sexual dynamics into sharp focus. The author makes a pretty good case that she (and so many other women) shouldn't be judged as flawed because they are barely interested in sex. She also thinks the conflation of love=sex is a BS guilt trip to get wives to put out more lest they be withholding love from their spouses.

I get it. I feel sorry for her and her husband, but I get it.

But there's something I really, really didn't get: if sex is NOT a form of love, and if it is such an infinitesimally low priority for her, then why does she care if her husband gets it elsewhere? If I take her at her word that she doesn't care about sex hardly at all, then why does she need to control her husbands sex life, including (and this made me a bit angry) putting restrictions on his access to pornography?

I don't get it. I really don't. If you aren't interested in having sex with someone, why would you care if he gets his needs met elsewhere? I wish someone would explain it to me.
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Format: Hardcover
Joan Sewell's memoir, "I'd Rather Eat Chocolate" could not be more timely: Redbook magazine just printed a survey sating that 70 percent of women would choose chocolate over sex. The author finds herself squarely in that camp. It's not jthat she has no libido (she masturbates)or can't orgasm through intercourse, etc. Her husband has skills, but sex is such a low priority that if left up to her, she'd never get around to initiating it with an actual partner. Like me, she fakes lust until she can't fake it anymore.

Her sexual compromise with her husband is unlike any I've seen. She admits that this part is not supposed to be example for everyone. But that's what it takes for Joan to feel autonomy over her own body (that's important to her)while giving Kip the sex he hasn't been having at all during their platoic stalemate. A small part of the book, this part does seem incomplete. But it's a start in breaking the iceberg that developed between them. (And you've got to have a guy like Kip. They argue, but really he's pretty open-minded. I don't know if most husbands would be that understanding. Maybe they should be.)

The book isn't a self-help manual anyway, offering "10 sure-fire way to light her fire" or "7 steps to boost your libido." The main atraction fo me is Joan's often hilarious step-by-step story of what it's like to try what the sexperts, the magazines, and pop psychologists say will help her "dsyfunctional" drive.Instead she shows that most women who think they have a low sex drive are really only low compared to men. It's biological. Final judgement: Put it on your bookshelf if you're looking for a funny, poignant, and subversive book for any woman who's ever felt "les than" because of her sex drive.
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Format: Hardcover
This book came at a crossroads in my own life. My wife of 15 years simply did not enjoy sex, and what started out as a relatively healthy and fun relationship, ended in affairs, recriminations, and hurt feelings.

It's my fault. She tried to warn me that she had had several failed relationships in the past - all due to this issue, but I was determined to make it work. It didn't.

It couldn't really. She was the one with the power to change things, but if someone doesn't like broccoli, you can't MAKE them like it. Sex is like that, and when partners have a major sexual imbalance like we did, it isn't going to end well. Well... It didn't.

This book verified my deepest fears about my wife. I came to understand that the situation was never going to change, never going to get better, and I was getting no younger. So to that end, it was a great book. BUT... There are really no solutions here. My guess is that Joan and her husband are no more. First her blog, then her whole website has disappeared into the ether. No more interviews on how things are going great. Silence... And that speaks for itself.

I guess there are some things you simply can't erase through behavior modification. A healthy sex drive is a gnawing thing - never going away, always reminding the person how long it's been, or wouldn't it be nice if, and ultimately: Does she, in fact, still care for me at all?

Why only three stars? Ladies with this problem are essentially told that it's 'OK' to not to have a sex drive and that the other person should just 'give in', but it's a cop out, really. There are consequences, and Joan really doesn't suffer them in an equal share, except to say that she lives in constant fear of her husband leaving her and hates to disappoint him.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a personal memoir about an aspect of Joan's life, not a self help book. And yet may people (both men and women) may find it helpful. I also found it funny and well written.

Joan identifies three problems:

1) The guilt and shame that prevent couples from having honest communication about sex.
2) The way society defines and portrays low libido as disfunction.
3) The incompatibility of her and Kip's (her husband's) sex drives.

Other reviews were very hard on Joan for pulling a bait-and-switch because she tried to give Kip "enough" sex early in their relationship and then later realized that she couldn't live with that anymore. I was sympathetic with her about this issue. I've heard of people being married many years and then finally announcing that they are gay. It's the same thing. They thought they were abnormal and had to suppress their true selves. And guilt and shame prevented them from talking about it even to their spouse. Kip was also self-censoring his desires to a certain extent. In this book Joan does a good job of presenting how they got into this situation. Even though talking about everything openly and honestly early in the relationship would have been best, there were real reasons why they didn't. This is perhaps the best lesson to learn from this book. You can't suppress your true sex drive in the long term. I think this would be a great engagement gift for a young couple to make them talk about these issues.

Joan presents a lot of evidence that in our culture low libido is considered a disfunction needing to be fixed. She also presents a counterpoint that her low libido is completely natural to her and she doesn't feel lacking in any way for not wanting sex. This is an important point.
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