Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic

( 12 )

Overview

Ether 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 twenty years of clinical experience, Perel has treated hundreds of couples whose home lives are empty of passion. They describe relationships that are...

See more details below
Audiobook (MP3 - Unabridged)
$18.25
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$21.99 List Price
Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

Ether 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 twenty 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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Developed originally from an article she wrote on "erotic intelligence," psychotherapist Perel's first book sets forth a thesis for today's couples that is as revelatory as it is straightforward. Languishing desire in a relationship actually results from all the factors people look for in love and marriage: grounding, meaning, continuity. Partnerships are supposed to provide "a bulwark against the vicissitudes of modern life," Perel notes, and in one person we turn for all the emotional connections that the greater society (church, community, family) can no longer provide. Habit and certainty kill desire, yet how to live comfortably with the elements of unpredictability and risk that are necessary for healthy eroticism? Perel supports her nicely accessible work with case studies of couples both heterosexual and gay, spanning all ages, with kids and without, in an attempt to cure what ails their sex life. Some of the proposals Perel recommends for rekindling eroticism involve cultivating separateness (e.g., autonomy) in a relationship rather than closeness (entrapment); exploring dynamics of power and control (i.e., submission, spanking); and learning to surrender to a "sexual ruthlessness" that liberates us from shame and guilt. In short, Perel sanctions fantasy and play and offers the estranged modern couple a unique richness of experience. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Irish Times
“So honest it hurts.”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“An elegant sociological study, complete with erudite literary and anthropological references.”
Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy
“An excellent book, full of provocative prose and entertaining case illustrations.”
Gold Coast Bulletin (Australia)
“A charming blend of wit and wisdom...this book will give you a fresh perspective on long-term love.”
Jerusalem Post
“Well argued points written with considerable eloquence.”
The Evening Standard (London)
“Mating in Captivity...articulates a poignant and unacknowledged modern crisis for the first time.”
Salon.com
“Her advice is refreshingly counterintuitive.”
The Times Higher Education Supplement
“This is a brave book...refreshing.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061243592
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/5/2006
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 540,006
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Esther Perel is a couples and family therapist with a private practice in New York City. She is on the faculty of the International Trauma Studies program at Columbia University, is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy, and has appeared on many television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Day New York, CBS This Morning, and HBO's Women Aloud. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Esther Perel is a couples and family therapist with a private practice in New York City. She is on the faculty of the International Trauma Studies program at Columbia University, is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy, and has appeared on many television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Day New York, CBS This Morning, and HBO's Women Aloud. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Mating in Captivity

Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic
By Esther Perel

HarperCollins

Copyright © 2006 Esther Perel
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-06-075363-3


Chapter One

From Adventure to Captivity

Why the Quest for Security Saps Erotic Vitality

The original primordial fire of eroticism is sexuality; it raises the red flame of eroticism, which in turn raises and feeds another flame, tremulous and blue. It is the flame of love and eroticism. The double flame of life. -Octavio Paz, The Double Flame

Parties in New York City are like anthropological field trips-you never know whom you'll meet or what you'll find. Recently I was milling around a self-consciously hip event, and, as is typical in this city of high achievers, before being asked my name I was asked what I do. I answered, "I'm a therapist, and I'm writing a book." The handsome young man standing next to me was also working on a book. "What are you writing about?" I asked him. "Physics," he answered. Politely, I mustered the next question, "What kind of physics?" I can't remember what his answer was, because the conversation about physics ended abruptly when someone asked me, "And you? What's your book about?" "Couples and eroticism," I answered.

Never was my Q rating as high-at parties, in cabs, at the nail salon, on airplanes, with teenagers, with my husband, you name it-as when I began writing abook about sex. I realize that there are certain topics that chase people away and others that act like magnets. People talk to me. Of course, that doesn't mean they tell me the truth. If there's one topic that invites concealment, it's this one.

"What about couples and eroticism?" someone asks.

"I'm writing about the nature of sexual desire," I reply. "I want to know if it's possible to keep desire alive in a long-term relationship, to avoid its usual wear."

"You don't necessarily need love for sex, but you need sex in love," says a man who's been standing on the sidelines, still undecided about which conversation to join.

"You focus mainly on married couples? Straight couples?" another asks. Read: is this book also about me? I reassure him, "I'm looking at myriad couples. Straight, gay, young, old, committed, and undecided."

I tell them I want to know how, or if, we can hold on to a sense of aliveness and excitement in our relationships. Is there something inherent in commitment that deadens desire? Can we ever maintain security without succumbing to monotony? I wonder if we can preserve a sense of the poetic, of what Octavio Paz calls the double flame of love and eroticism.

I've had this conversation many times, and the comments I heard at this party were hardly novel.

"Can't be done."

"Well, that's the whole problem of monogamy, isn't it?"

"That's why I don't commit. It has nothing to do with fear. I just hate boring sex."

"Desire over time? What about desire for one night?"

"Relationships evolve. Passion turns into something else."

"I gave up on passion when I had kids."

"Look, there are men you sleep with and men you marry."

As often happens in a public discussion, the most complex issues tend to polarize in a flash, and nuance is replaced with caricature. Hence the division between the romantics and the realists. The romantics refuse a life without passion; they swear that they'll never give up on true love. They are the perennial seekers, looking for the person with whom desire will never fizzle. Every time desire does wane, they conclude that love is gone. If eros is in decline, love must be on its deathbed. They mourn the loss of excitement and fear settling down.

At the opposite extreme are the realists. They say that enduring love is more important than hot sex, and that passion makes people do stupid things. It's dangerous, it creates havoc, and it's a weak foundation for marriage. In the immortal words of Marge Simpson, "Passion is for teenagers and foreigners." For the realists, maturity prevails. The initial excitement grows into something else-deep love, mutual respect, shared history, and companionship. Diminishing desire is inescapable. You are expected to tough it out and grow up.

As the conversation unfolds, the two camps eye each other with a complex alloy of pity, tenderness, envy, exasperation, and outright scorn. But while they position themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum, both agree with the fundamental premise that passion cools over time.

"Some of you resist the loss of intensity, some of you accept it, but all of you seem to believe that desire fades. What you disagree on is just how important the loss really is," I comment. Romantics value intensity over stability. Realists value security over passion. But both are often disappointed, for few people can live happily at either extreme.

Invariably, I'm asked if my book offers a solution. What can people do? Hidden behind this question looms a secret longing for the élan vital, the surge of erotic energy that marks our aliveness. Whatever safety and security people have persuaded themselves to settle for, they still very much want this force in their lives. So I've become acutely attuned to the moment when all these ruminations about the inevitable loss of passion turn into expressions of hope. The real questions are these: Can we have both love and desire in the same relationship over time? How? What exactly would that kind of relationship be?

The Anchor and the Wave

Call me an idealist, but I believe that love and desire are not mutually exclusive, they just don't always take place at the same time. In fact, security and passion are two separate, fundamental human needs that spring from different motives and tend to pull us in different directions. In his book Can Love Last? the infinitely thoughtful psychoanalyst Stephen Mitchell offers a framework for thinking about this conundrum. As he explains it, we all need security: permanence, reliability, stability, and continuity. These rooting, nesting instincts ground us in our human experience. But we also have a need for novelty and change, generative forces that give life fullness and vibrancy. Here risk and adventure loom large. We're walking contradictions, seeking safety and predictability on one hand and thriving on diversity on the other.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel Copyright © 2006 by Esther Perel . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2007

    A reviewer

    Esther Perel is a ¿couples therapist¿ who deals with all types of human couples be they heterosexual, lesbian, gay, mixed race, mixed religion, and most any other category where eroticism and/or sexual behavior is involved. She tells it like it is through her years of therapy practice with many humans. While I had a hard time getting into this book, I can understand where it would be a great asset to many couples regardless of age, race, sex, or personal background. The author compares sex in the modern world in the United States as it compares to other areas of the world. We in the United States are more aggressive in sexual behavior but we are also too self worried about our personal actions and performance compared to many other areas of the world. The comparison of eroticism and sex is completely different. The author goes to great lengths to attempt to explain these differences. Her one on one and couples therapy goes into many aspects of what many call love, some mistaking love for sex. She will have sessions with a couple and then, if needed, separate them to delve deeper into their problems. Many of today¿s marriage problems are due not only to sexual problems but the ability to assume each partners role in their marriage how it came about how their daily lives affect their bedroom life how outside influences such as work affect both partners how children sometimes cause a blockade and how to resolve these problem areas before they have gone so far that the marriage is broken. The book explains various types of groups that her patients have spoken about in their therapy and the suggestions she has rendered to them. Group consensual sex, sex with someone outside the marriage, and sexual encounters in ¿swingers¿ groups, all have helped some but have also taken their life in reverse. The use of fantasies by each mate is described quite deeply with its benefits and pitfalls. The bringing of more intimacy into a couples life and how it enhances both. She explains that sex is not the answer to everything even though it was a major part of their early marriage it cannot exist as the only part of a marriage in order to keep it flowing smoothly. As an older person reading this book I really did not learn much for my age group but I could equate many a family and friend needing some of the therapy this book gives freely. Can it save a marriage or a union? Possibly so by directing them down a new and steadier path towards happiness in their bedroom and in their total lives even with children in those lives that might be creating a block for you.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2006

    it's about time

    It's about time somebody said the obvious, that the same old/same old does chip away at a couple's sex drive. Great book that makes you feel OK if you sometimes don't want to 'Play by the rules' in bed or if that doesn't always turn you on. Buy 'The French Maid' book of fantasies (by MacLeod) to go along with this since it lets you pretend your somebody else while your having sex. Politically incorrect, but feels goooooood......

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 12 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)