- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Beaufort Books; 1 edition (October 15, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0825306299
- ISBN-13: 978-0825306297
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 98 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #662,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Intimacy & Desire: Awaken the Passion in Your Relationship Hardcover – October 15, 2009
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Readers sick of typical glossy-magazine self-help patter about reigniting romance, or the droning pomposity of most author-experts, will be pleasantly surprised with psychologist and sex therapist Schnarch (Passionate Marriage). He immediately catches readers' attention by agreeing that the common "just do it" approach to solving sexual problems is not only ineffective, but often results in one partner responding with a decisive "Don't tell me what to do!" That kind of understanding produces a number of unexpected bombshells-including "Marriage does kill desire"-which produce an uncanny effect: getting couples to stop and reconsider their emotions, quit blaming each other, and start to think (and act) differently regarding sexual situations, behaviors and attitudes. The book's flaws are more aggravating than genuinely problematic-a tendency to lean on jargon and trademark key phrases ("Four Points of Balance(tm)")-but O'Neill breaks down complex issues with loosely-drawn real life examples, illustrating the dramatic and fundamental changes that occur when couples have a greater understanding of desire, monogamy and the brain. The process is neither easy nor quick, but Schnarch's confidence is contagious.
"Readers sick of glossy-magazine self-help patter about reigniting romance, or the droning pomposity of most author-experts, will be pleasantly surprised with psychologist and sex therapist Schnarch (Passionate Marriage). He immediately catches readers' attention by agreeing that the common "just do it" approach to solving sexual problems is not only ineffective, but often results in one partner responding with a decisive 'Don't tell me what to do!' That kind of understanding produces a number of unexpected bombshells--including 'Marriage does kill desire'--which produce an uncanny effect: getting couples to stop and reconsider their emotions, quit blaming each other, and start to thing (and act) differently regarding sexual situations, behaviors and attitudes breaks down complex issues with loosely-drawn real life examples, illustrating the dramatic and fundamental changes that occur when couples have a greater understanding of desire, monogamy and the brain. The process is neither ea
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The book is, indeed, fun to read. Schnarch can deftly shift between transcribing the words & thoughts of a counseling session to his principles of human interaction & growth, and on to sometimes salacious stories of couples getting it on -- not only sexually but mentally & emotionally, and in a more open, enlightened way. He breaks into a mercifully short few pages of techno-babble at the beginning of one chapter to show his inclusion or understanding of brain science, but that is the only lapse in the smoothly flowing writing in this book.
Schnarch presents a number of "moving parts" within our relationships that work to grow us personally & as a partner. And his approach is generally at odds with the common approach within our culture of accomodation or withdrawal from conflict. Instead, he suggests that confronting one's issues -- from one's family of origin or from one's current partner (and commonly they are one & the same) -- is the real path to growth. The process involves these key variable:
* All key dimensions of activity, including sex, have a high & a low desire partner.
* Our sense of self can be based on others' opinion (other validated) or on our own heart (self validated). Both are valid, but if one is predominantly other-validated, then one becomes reluctant to say or do things that will endanger our partner's good opinion of us. And that creates major problems often to the extent of losing our self in the process.
* The tension between autonomy & connectedness provides the opportunity for personal growth: the authors Crucible Approach (which he's trademarked).
* Mind mapping is the core process of understanding the thoughts & intentions of another. Only where you allow another to honestly & fully know you can you have that deep connection most of us seek.
* Mind mapping as well as personal integrity is intimately involved in maintaining collaborative alliances with your partner. Being able to maintain such a collaborative alliance most of the time over a prolonged time is what makes for a "good relationship."
* Being psychologically prepared to sustain an alliance, and the integrity necessary for it, requires individual skills that were collectively called "differentiation" in Passionate Marriage and are here more usefully detailed as his Four Points of Balance on page 72.
* Marriage is a people growing system. One of its key mechanisms is to give you 2 Choice Dilemmas, forcing choice between alternatives that are both desirable. It forces growth where we might otherwise be tempted to complacently stay within our comfort zone -- and thus stagnate within relationship.
* Desiring your partner is one such Choice. And positively choosing your partner is a key part of fully participating in relationship.
Reading this book or any book won't cure a troubled relationship. But it will give you guidence on how to face your own part in your troubles and, very importantly, give meaning to the fact of your relationship struggle. Yes its hard, but yes it is the felling of growth. Find that meaning and the hardship becomes very tolerable.
I highly recommend this book (and Passionate Marriage).
By the way, I recommend these two books even if you're not in a relationship currently. If it were up to me they would be required reading BEFORE marriage. We have a tremendous rate of failure in marriages culturally which is (I suspect) largely related to completely inaccurate expectations about the purpose & mechanics of a good marriage. I know that was true for me at least. Thanks to this book I went into my last marriage with a significantly different concept than previously. I can also say that I believe this one will last the rest of my life (it's already lasted longer than any previous relationship). Note that I'm not saying that it's all sunshine and rainbows, but rather that we do a much better job putting the bad days to good use and spend way less time on them. I think anyone has an easier time tolerating discomfort when there's a positive purpose. This book doesn't promise no discomfort...just tells you how to make it useful (and eventually reducing the amount of time you must spend in the messy bits).