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The Sex Diaries Project: What We're Saying about What We're Doing Hardcover – January 1, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
From the Inside Flap
"The Sex Diaries Project is a razor-sharp analysis of how we mate and relate. Cohen is a modern-day Kinsey, offering us a fascinating peek behind bedroom doors that are usually closed. Treat yourself to a good read, a good night, and good partnerships."
—Nancy Redd, New York Times bestselling author of Body Drama and Diet Drama
Arianne Cohen spent four years collecting 1,500 sex diaries from people all over North America. In The Sex Diaries Project, she takes us on a tantalizing tour through the sometimes shocking, always entertaining real diaries of forty diverse women and men, creating a compelling portrait of sex and sexuality in America today that will forever change the way you look at relationships.
Have you ever had a nagging sense that there's more to sex than you've experienced? There is. Whether straight or gay, younger or older, single, married, or other, each sex diarist tells a story that will transform your perspective on your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and fellow commuters. Ranging from scandalous to hilarious, moving to rowdy, the writers speak frankly of their desires and share their sexual and romantic fantasies and realities.
Each of the sex diaries is fascinating and thought-provoking. From the Madly-in-Love 17-Year-Old Who Might Be Pregnant to the Cheating Father of Three and the Grandma Who Is Perfectly Happy Alone, these tales of loving, longing, and leaving will amaze you. You'll meet the Sexy Stay-at-HomeMom, the Single Virgin Obsessed with Sex, and the Marketing Guy Hosting His Hot Long-Distance Boyfriend for the Weekend.
Yet there is more to these personal stories than sex. Editor Arianne Cohen acts as a trusted and informed narrator as she guides you through the intricate labyrinth of the sex diarists' private lives. In her brilliant and incisive commentary, Cohen explores major themes such as how Americans relate to one another sexually (monogamy is less common than you think, for example) and shows how and why the definition of what a relationship is can vary so broadly from person to person. She shows you the three main types of relationships, highlighting the pros and cons of each, and shares how this knowledge might inform your own decisions to help you build the relationships and sex life that you want.
Once you start reading The Sex Diaries Project, you won't be able to put it down. Nor will you want to. Enjoy!
From the Back Cover
"The Sex Diaries Project is the ultimate snoop fest: a peephole with pages. Because we all want to know if they're doing it the same way we are."
—Laura Zigman, New York Times bestselling author of Animal Husbandry and coauthor of Get Over Yourself!
"If it weren't for sex, you wouldn't be here. The Sex Diaries Project opens the door to priceless real-life tips, tricks, and experiences. I promise that you're not the only one?who hasn't had sex in five months, is obsessed with someone, or has a fetish. You'll laugh out loud and see the lighter side of your sexy self—it's liberating."?
—Steve Santagati, author of the New York Times bestselling The Manual
A tantalizing tour through the private lives of ordinary people
The Sex Diaries Project turns the lights on to reveal the secrets behind closed bedroom doors, presenting a groundbreaking portrait of relationships in America—including the options beyond single, dating, or married—and a brilliant, witty analysis of how Americans relate. It includes sex diaries of straight, gay, bi, single, married, young, and older diarists, published here for the first time.
"As a gay man who is married to a wonderful husband, I found this book completely fascinating. The Sex Diaries Project presents the diverse spectrum of sexuality in America today in a nonjudgmental and brilliantly insightful manner."
—Ryan Nickulas, The A-List: New York
Top customer reviews
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Some parts of Cohen's analysis of the dairies tend to drag on a little too long, but just feel free to skip what you don't want to read.
If you've been in several relationships, I guarantee there will be diary entries you can relate to, and you won't feel alone about some of your taboo habits or fantasies.
After reading this book my relationship with my "partner" has improved. At first I wanted this status quo love and partnership but that ended with me confused and hurt. After seeing how love and life works outside my own perception we are back to "seeing" each other but with a new approach. It's causal most of the time with occasional bits of something more but not enough to make it stressful and confusing.
This book really helped me make sense of relationships and love and has given me a great perspective on how the secret love lives of the world operate.
Easy, fast read full of invaluable information and stories.
With that said, there are some interesting insights. She divides the diarists into three categories, based on what people seem to prioritize: The Lovers, The Aspirers, and The Partners. Lovers are the head-over-heals types, Aspirers are those who have goal-oriented lives and relationships, and Partners are what other authors would call companionate love. She argues that our language and orientation treats relationships as on/off, despite finding that many relationships are varying degrees of non-monogamous. Sociologists have been finding this too.
The thing is, there will be one paragraph of synthesis, some diaries, another paragraph of synthesis, some diaries. The synthetic paragraphs are sort of previews and descriptions of how it fits her thesis. On the bright side, she lets the diaries speak for themselves. This is great, but after a while all the diaries seem to run into each other.
The other thing to note is that the book seemed heavy on the self-marketing even within its own pages. A bit of a turn off for me, as I do not really appreciate that style, but your mileage may vary.
Truth be told, I struggled to finish the book. I study people for a living (I am a PhD student in sociology) so my sense of "Meh" might be an occupational hazard. It's an good and interesting book; it's just not amazing.
If you're interested in other people's sex lives, try "Sex: Real People Talk About What They Really Do" by Harry Maurer.