A New York City therapist examines the paradoxical relationship between domesticity and sexual desire and explains what it takes to bring lust home. One of the world's most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home. Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships. Wise, witty, and as revelatory as it is straightforward, Mating in Captivity is a sensational book that will transform the way you live and love.
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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel. Esther Perel takes on tough questions, grappling with the obstacles and anxieties that arise when our quest for secure love conflicts with our pursuit of passion. She invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.
In her 20 years of clinical experience, Perel has treated hundreds of couples whose Esther Perel takes on tough questions, grappling with the obstacles and anxieties that arise when our quest for secure love conflicts with our pursuit of passion.
In her 20 years of clinical experience, Perel has treated hundreds of couples whose home lives are empty of passion. They describe relationships that are open and loving, yet sexually dull. What is going on? In this explosively original book, Perel explains that our cultural penchant for equality, togetherness, and absolute candor is antithetical to erotic desire for both men and women. Sexual excitement doesn't always play by the rules of good citizenship. It is politically incorrect.
It thrives on power plays, unfair advantages, and the space between self and other. More exciting, playful, even poetic sex is possible, but first we must kick egalitarian ideals and emotional housekeeping out of our bedrooms.
While Mating in Captivity shows why the domestic realm can feel like a cage, Perel's take on bedroom dynamics promises to liberate, enchant, and provoke. Flinging the doors open on erotic life and domesticity, she invites us to put the "X" back in sex. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Mating in Captivity , please sign up. When is part 2 coming out? See all 3 questions about Mating in Captivity…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 01, kareem rated it it was amazing. If you're in a long-term relationship, or ever want to be in one, you must read this book. It tells you how to have the security, stability, comfort, etc that are requirements for a healthy a LT relationship while at the same time creating the uncertainty, mystery, and risk that are requirements for passion.
The author is a therapist in NY and draws on cases to illustrate her points. It's engaging, the topic is fascinating, and Perel has some refreshingly smart suggestions for maintaining or rec If you're in a long-term relationship, or ever want to be in one, you must read this book. It's engaging, the topic is fascinating, and Perel has some refreshingly smart suggestions for maintaining or recapturing eroticism in relationships. Note that this book probably won't resonate with everybody: some of her suggestions have a healthy disregard for the status quo, which the iconoclastic realist in me appreciates.
As an um firm believer that if people had better sex lives, the world would be a happier place, take my advice: don't sleep on this one! Apr 09, Jeffrey rated it liked it. Reconciling Cliche and Popular Sociology On a crowded bus last week, my eight year old son couldn't help but inquire about the title of Esther Perel's debut book, "Mating in Captivity : Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic. And "cap-tiv-i-ty?
In the pages that follow, a cast of stereotypical characters her clients is rolled out for the reader while the soothsayer herself dispenses meaning to truth. The writing is airy, and even at times elegant, but sadly only rarely achieves the intensity that the topic deserves.
Throughout, it's never quite clear whether this is a legitimate self-help manual or a series of slightly tawdry, Springeresque sketches. My own sensibilities would have preferred the author to engage in a more rigorous analysis of both the psychology and the anthropology attendant in the complexity of sexual relations within semi permanent relationships-in other words more Barthes, de Beauvoir, and Fisher-and less emphasis on the self-selected and voyeurized accounts of Alan, Adele, Zoe, Naomi, and Jed, among others.
The book was not without its highlights, however. In a well-written chapter titled "The Pitfalls of Modern Intimacy," Perel deftly draws out the consequent logic of removing pragmatism from the realm of relationship building. Using romantic love as a measure to assess long-term compatibility, we create unreasonable expectations about the role of passion in providing the sustenance of permanency; expectations that can hardly be met by the self as an emotion-laden being, let alone by the self as orchestrated by a never ending series of neuro-chemical carbon-based reactions.
In another section, Perel usefully describes the limitations of the spoken word in the pursuit of everlasting sexual bliss. Her advice on the matter? Couples should start by purging the feminized language of emotion from the bedroom where, instead, we might reintroduce the carnal "mother tongue" that is our body. He was not mired in words. He did not talk and talk until he was not certain of anything.
Yet, agree or disagree, it defies convention regarding the constitution of stable and happy relationships. Finally, a subsequent chapter on monogamy convincingly points out that despite the breakdown of many sexual taboos in our society homosexuality, premarital sex, birth control Americans remain steadfastly committed to monogamy as a singular ideal within all types of relationships. During a recent conversation with a friend and colleague who is very open and accepting of alternative sexualities and is generally unflinchingly supportive of the goals of the American cultural left, the issue of monogamy and politics arose.
And despite her predilection for progressive thought, she quickly staked out well trodden normative terrain, saying that "any man who cheats on his wife is a complete dirtbag. More often than illuminating, however, the content was repetitive and replaceable.
While easy to find humor in chapters explaining how democratic politics have left Eros limp and how the protestant work ethic leaves no room for eroticism, the anecdotal cases kept emerging even when their application felt forced. Perel did include a limited number of same sex couples along the way, but they were treated as synonymous with more traditional relationships and their explanatory power was thus limited.
Perhaps most bothersome was the condescension displayed towards her subjects; both those in the first degree, her clients, and those in the second, her readers. Her own cosmopolitanism the Belgian daughter of holocaust survivors, educated in Israel and practicing professionally in Manhattan often seemed needlessly dismissive of American cultural mores pertaining to sex and intimacy.
And lest we hope that American therapists can remedy the situation, Perel says not a chance: the American clinicians at one particular conference completely pathologized consensual and non-violent sex involving domination and submission.
She took strong exception to their inability to fathom the complexity of fantasy and play within loving relationships, while stressing her own embrace of such matters. Though admitting her "relative outsider" status and using it to glean myriad insights into American culture, her narrative paradoxically contains herself within that very collective identity.
But often, at least for this reader, the aloofness drew me away from her arguments. I suspect that many of her readers will find such tones similarly off putting. Additionally, many of the situations in which she described her heroic interventions were candidly patronizing.
The distinction between worthwhile social science and personal advertisement copy was never very clear. Overall, this was a thought provoking but flawed book.
With it's cherry red cover, half clad torsos, and provocative titular vocabulary, it wasn't always the most pleasant book to read in crowded places. The looks, especially from those of the female persuasion felt vaguely piteous. And while some of the ideas contained within are worth thinking about, I will probably only recommend it to a few of my Red State friends, for its shock value alone.
Otto, March 18, View all 3 comments. The author is a European, kink-and-alternative-lifestyle-friendly relationship therapist. It was quite refreshing to have her non-judgmental viewpoint on most issues of sexuality. She maintains throughout the book that in order to develop intimacy between two people, there needs to be some separateness.
Which is a problem in this American society where our mate is supposed to be everything to us. There's a struggle in finding another person erotic and sexy when there's too much comfort and secur The author is a European, kink-and-alternative-lifestyle-friendly relationship therapist. There's a struggle in finding another person erotic and sexy when there's too much comfort and security. She supports her claims by providing case studies of her clients, whose information has been made anonymous.
She'll outline their problems, help them examine them in depth and then try to guide them toward a solution without making a moral issue of their behaviors, actions or desires. She has some great ideas all around, especially when it comes to the fact that sexual fantasies are absolutely nothing like any other non-sexual fantasies and daydreams people have.
With a typical daydream, you fantasize about what you want. A sexual fantasy is not so straightforward. I was a bit troubled when I got to her brief chapter on non-monogamy.
No sex please, we're married
One chief reason we flounder in this supreme human aspiration is our unwillingness to accept the paradoxes of love — paradoxes like the necessity of frustration in romantic satisfaction and the seemingly irreconcilable notion that while love longs for closeness, desire thrives on distance. How to live with those paradoxes, rather than succumbing to the self-defeating urge to treat them as problems to be solved, is what Belgian psychotherapist and writer Esther Perel explores in Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence public library. Drawing on decades of her own work with couples and a vast body of psychological literature, Perel offers an illuminating and consolatory perspective on intimate relationships and our conflicting needs for security and freedom, warmth and wildness. Beginnings are always ripe with possibilities, for they hold the promise of completion. Through love we imagine a new way of being.
Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic
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The Sexual Healer
The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Friday March 9 One can gauge the heat of an issue by the level of discomfort it generates at a dinner party. Asking if there is sex after marriage is about as bad as asking if there is life after death. I broached the question of conjugal passion after reading Mating in Captivity, the unnerving book written by the Belgian New Yorker Esther Perel, and published here this month. I may as well have thrown a grenade on the table: "Sex! My husband shifted in his chair. Married for just four years and now host to a month-old baby, we felt the chill wind of marital mortality gust through the room.