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Sexual Intelligence: What We Really Want from Sex--and How to Get It Hardcover – February 7, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Marty Klein is the Steve Jobs of sex advice. With beguiling ease, he takes complex issues and distills them down to their essence. Sexual Intelligence is a work of enormous wisdom and expansiveness, and will inspire readers, regardless of age, to realize their full sexual potential.” (Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First)

“Marty Klein’s is a calm voice of reason at the center of the storm raging around sex in America. His tolerant, informed approach to the unavoidable sexual difficulties we all face is a welcome antidote to the panic and ignorance clouding public discussion and private understanding.” (Christopher Ryan, Ph.D., co-author of Sex at Dawn)

“Sexual Intelligence will help you fire the sex cops who have set up roadblocks in your head, and replace them with some good ideas to ponder and put into action. Dr.Klein has truly given us a helpful guide to authentic sexual satisfaction.” (Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of The Dance of Anger and Marriage Rules)

“If you read only one book on sex and relationships during your entire lifetime, this should be it. Dr. Klein confronts the problems that have plagued couples since the beginning of time with refreshingly simple and brilliant insight.” (Paul Joannides, Psy.D., author of Guide to Getting It On)

“Instead of a manual of better tricks, this book is a practical plan to improve your relationship with your sexuality. Klein liberates and provokes--and illuminates the way to change your sexual experience for good.” (Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity)

“Read this if you want to let go of your inhibitions and improve your sex life. You might have to change your mind-set first, but Klein’s advice, quizzes, diagrams, and case studies will help you do just that.” (Psychology Today)

“Klein is comforting and permission-giving, while presenting boundaries that you can discuss with a partner if you have concerns. This is an easy to read, smart book with loads of information and advice. Sexual Intelligence is an important contribution to the field and to the reader.” (Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., sex/relationship expert, AARP; chief relationship expert, PerfectMatch.com)

From the Back Cover

Enjoyable sex: it’s not about technique or a perfect body or being hopelessly, passionately in love. It’s about Sexual Intelligence.

In his three decades of working with couples and individuals as a sex therapist and marriage counselor, Dr. Marty Klein has continually seen that although most people say what they want from sex is pleasure and closeness, that’s not what they focus on during sex. Instead, we’re preoccupied with how we look, what our partner is thinking, how we’re performing, and whether we’re “normal.” We do more thinking, worrying, and judging than experiencing. Sex like that can’t thrill us, can’t create intimacy, and can’t, well, feel sexy.

In Sexual Intelligence, Klein shows how to stop observing ourselves during sex, ending our obsession with sexual performance and sexual normality. “I don’t help people ‘function’ better during sex,” he says. “I teach people how to relax and enjoy sex with the body they have, the partner they have, in the situation they have.” Now that’s something we all want: fulfilling, exciting sex at every stage of our lives.

In Sexual Intelligence, Klein challenges our understanding of sex, love, intimacy, romance, and satisfaction. After all, sex isn’t just an activity. Change the way you think about sex, and you can change your sex life—forever.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062026062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062026064
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Sexual Intelligence is a really easy book to read. Klein's information is very straightforward and quite accessible. But that doesn't mean you'll get through it all in one sitting, because you'll find yourself putting it down and thinking a lot about a story, or a suggestion, or an example. Odds are that you'll find yourself reflected back from the page somewhere along the way, but don't let that scare you. Klein's compassion is so clear that it becomes more of a revelation than a threat.

In addition to offering lots of great information about each of the components of Sexual Intelligence, Klein also discusses some of the common obstacles to developing it, how to respond to the sexual effects health issues & aging, and letting go of the idea of sexual success or failure. I really do wish I'd had this book when I was younger, if only because it would have helped me respond to some of the difficulties that I faced. But no matter where you are on your life's path, if you want to get the most out of sex and relationships, there's something here for you.

I don't think that this book will replace the amazing how-to books and movies that are available because even with Sexual Intelligence, people still need to learn how to explore and enjoy the many kinds of sexual pleasure that are available to them. And I think that it offers a solid starting point for figuring out how to get the most out of sex and our relationships. So I'm giving this book a big thumbs up!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up a copy of this book after reading a review which suggested that it could help me cope with the effects of aging on a satisfying sex life. My wife and I, both in our late 50s, read the book to each other, and it provided a good springboard for some helpful conversations. We found that Dr. Klein really does have some worthwhile insight into our concerns, and in fact, his insight covers a wider range of `troublesome' situations.

His central, core insight, roughly paraphrased, is, "Relax and enjoy the sex you have, with your actual body, and your actual partner, with her/his actual body. Stop worrying about what's `normal', or whether you and/or your partner are `good enough', and just enjoy the sex that the two of you actually have together." Pretty simple, really, but definitely in the category of `easier said than done'. So, yes, certainly - this is a helpful book, written with sympathy and wit.

That said, it contains a perplexing number of befuddling head-scratchers. For one, he perpetuates the bizarrely reductive caricature (distressingly common among otherwise-highly-trained medical professionals) of the Sympto-Thermal Method of Natural Family Planning as "marking days off the calendar" and "The Rhythm Method". I could recommend that he audit an NFP class, to come up-to-speed on the current state of the art.

In a related vein, he tells us that contraception is "a special part of Sexual Intelligence", because "to reduce . . . anxiety, we have to make sex essentially harmless and meaningless." Huh?? That just seems incredibly lame. Hooray for meaningless sex! Really??
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Format: Hardcover
My partner and I greeted this book with great anticipation, reading it aloud to each other, as we're both focused on what makes for a solid, later-in-life relationship. We were disappointed. We get Dr. Klein's point that striving to be "normal" in sex assures that one performs sex (or doesn't) rather than enjoys love making. But he repeats this theme over and again to the exclusion of anything new. For us, the book was not complex enough for our liking. We kept asking ourselves, "Who is he writing for?" Sexual Intelligence did not take us inside the bedroom into the minds and hearts of those who love and seek to be happy. The author speaks of "sexual intelligence" but where is the emotional intelligence of the stuck places of of his case studies? How does it feel to want intimacy but be fearful of it? What is is like to struggle with sex and aging, or sex and pregnancy? For example, Klein offers up the case of a young pregnant woman who sexually withdraws from her husband. In place of the normal anxiety that occurs during this period (which we know from our own past lives), the young pregnant woman comes off, not as understandably anxious about sex, but as spoiled and immature. How are we to relate? Frankly, we had trouble attaching emotionally to the book. While we agree with the call for "sexual intelligence" (especially as one matures in life), we didn't feel drawn in to a deeper understanding (and appreciation) of what it means to be a sexual being.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting and Excellent. There may be well satisfied and adjusted, and intelligent people who have ultimate sexual practice, but my guess is there are many who wish it was easier to do and communicate. Relaxing into great sex as an older man with medical problems who can talk about anything without being upset with a partner who is happy and can do the same is a beautiful conscept. Sex changes as life goes on, but it can always be beautiful if we are free to talk about it when a problem arises and also not talk about it if there is no need. We always seem to have something lurking in the background in our subconscious or cultural conditioning. Once we understand ourselves and each other, communication is good at any level, sexual or otherwise. It requires listening, patience, intelligence, and true compassion. That is what the world needs now. This book is about all of the above, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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