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Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love

Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love

5.0 6
by Mark A. Michaels

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Most of us long for intimate relationships, and though texting and emailing may keep us superficially connected, it ultimately cannot create the kind of intimacy necessary to sustain a deep, fulfilling, and lasting partnership. With the divorce rate reaching a staggering 50 percent in 2013 and the breakup rate among unmarried long-term couples even higher, it


Most of us long for intimate relationships, and though texting and emailing may keep us superficially connected, it ultimately cannot create the kind of intimacy necessary to sustain a deep, fulfilling, and lasting partnership. With the divorce rate reaching a staggering 50 percent in 2013 and the breakup rate among unmarried long-term couples even higher, it appears that the more we tweet, the more disconnected we become. So many of us believe that new is better, hotter, and more intense, but love at first sight isn't really love, it's chemistry.In Partners in Passion, Michaels and Johnson provide readers with a fun, step-by-step guide to discovering true, loving, and romantically sexual relationships that will last for decades. Comprehensive and inclusive, Partners in Passion is original and provocative, drawing on a variety of sources: cutting-edge science, psychology, the authors' background in tantra, and personal experiences as teachers and as a couple. Partners in Passion invites couples to design their relationships and to choose consciously, and is replete with how-to suggestions and exercises, including interviews with couples from diverse backgrounds, relationship styles, and orientations who are enjoying erotically vibrant partnerships.

Winner of the Independent Publisher Award Gold Medal in Sexuality/Relationships

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Married Tantric instructors Michaels and Johnson draw from personal and professional experience to put readers on the path towards a long-term intimacy that is satisfying and exciting. They emphasize sex as a “co-creation” between lovers, where partners are “comrades on an exciting journey,” while criticizing relationship myths like the “soul mate” and forms of “gender essentialism” that pit men against women. Though they insist it is “just a general overview,” their anatomy and physiology lesson contains a wealth of information that may surprise readers. The authors address Tantra, explaining the ritual of “giving and receiving sessions” and the concept of “becoming aware of energy and working with it deliberately.” More adventurous readers can delve into role-playing and more advanced kinks—which are approached from a Tantric perspective—and the authors discuss differences between open relationships, swinging, and polyamory, with the attendant sexual and emotional implications of each. Other topics include handling sexual problems, from desire discrepancy to medical dysfunctions, and maintaining an active sex life at an advanced age. With a thorough resource guide included, this book runs the gamut on sex education, and the authors’ sex-positivity, feminism, and rejection of gender stereotypes makes it a welcome addition to the genre. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Winner of the Independent Publisher Award Gold Medal in Sexuality/Relationships
Winner of the International Book Award in Relationships
Winner of the Readers' Favorite Book Award in Relationships
Winner of the Living Now Book Award Gold Medal in Sexuality/Femininity
Winner of the USA Book News Best Book Award in Self-Help: Relationships

"Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson ask whether 'designer' relationships that include more than two people could go mainstream in the future, offering people more options when it comes to romance and marriage."

"How to customize your very own delicious route to personal pleasure."
—Twanna A. Hines, Metro US

"Patricia johnson and mark A. Michaels counsel couples on how to be in an open relationship."
—Fox News, My Fox DC

"With a thorough resource guide included, this book runs the gamut on sex education, and the authors’ sex-positivity, feminism, and rejection of gender stereotypes makes it a welcome addition to the genre."
Publishers Weekly

"Those seeking to create conscious, loving partnerships will find a compendium of concrete tools and resources in this important book. I will be encouraging clients, students, and colleagues to share this work. Bravo!"
—Nan Wise, PhD candidate
Cognitive Neuroscience, Rutgers-Newark
Certified Sex Therapist, AASECT

"If you’re in a relationship, you need this book. If you’re single, you need this book. If you’re having sex or ever plan to have sex–good sex, hot sex, toe-curling sex–you need this book. Clear off your night stand. This is the only volume you need."
—Jenny Block, author of Open

"Patricia and Mark don't only write about being partners in passion; they are partners in passion […] Their book is an absolute must if you are in a relationship or hope to be."
—Jamye Waxman, sex educator and author Hot Sex: Over 200 Things to Try Tonight and Getting Off: A Woman's Guide to Masturbation

"It's not everyday that I learn something new about sex; the chapter on Tantra is amongst the best introductions to the topic I've ever come across"
—Ian Kerner, PhD, NY Times best-elling author of She Comes First

"Gifted teachers and writers, Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson challenge conventional wisdom and offer bold, fresh strategies for real connection and intimacy in long-term relationships."
—Tristan Taormino, author, Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships

"At last! The new Holy Grail for how to sustain sexual fire and keep loving passion alive. The authors reveal the truths about ecstatic and joyful sexual expression—debunking common myths, providing understanding about sexual energy flow, while offering refreshing, sound and sensitive guidance for couples seeking to thrive over time. I love this book."
—Dr. Patti Britton, Clinical Sexologist & Sex Coach, author of The Art of Sex Coaching and Co-Founder of SexCoachU.com

"Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels have done a fantastic job of offering compassionate advice and clear steps to building the kind of relationship that can support and contain the sex life you deserve."
—Dr. Charlie Glickman, author of Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure

"Written with emphasis on the kindness, trust, and presence that are required in any healthy relationship, Partners in Passion illustrates delightful depths of insight, providing practical solutions to the very real issues that kill the passion and love in so many partnerships. Every couple needs to read this book!"
—Mikaya Heart, author of The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm For Women

"Partners in Passion is a contemporary sexuality book for both the novice and sexually experienced. The authors' practical and casual manner makes it easy to follow and appreciate the many topics ranging from sexual adventuring, safer sex, designer relationships to sexual communication, desire discrepancy, and aging. Reading it is like talking to a big brother or sister about all aspects of sexuality!
—Sally Valentine, PhD, FAACS, LCSW, AASECT Certified Supervisor and Sex Therapist

"Partners in Passion is an outrageous, courageous and much NEEDED endeavor. Michaels and Johnson distill the collective erotic wisdom of the ages, rewrite it with their own unique wit and generosity, and offer it back to us as a true gift!"
—Jennifer Pritchett, founder and owner of The Smitten Kitten, MN

"Partners in Passion by Michaels and Johnson is the most comprehensive compendium on sexuality to date ... This is a book for the whole family."
—Dr. Winston Wilde, sexologist, sex therapist, marriage therapist, author of Legacies of Love

"Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson are the authors of some of my favorite sexuality books, and in Partners in Passion they have taken their unique approach to intimacy to a whole new level ... I look forward to recommending Partners in Passion to my clients!
–Dr. Ruth Neustifter, Author of The Nice Girl's Guide to Talking Dirty

"These two passionate partners have done it again! Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy, and Long-Term Love ought to be the graduate's gift, the newlywed's gift, your lover's holiday surprise and the birthday present for your best friend's 50th, too! […] This is a grand blend of neuroscience, the most advanced thinking on relationship and sexuality education and practices—every lover's library needs one!"
—Suzie Heumann, founder of Tantra.com

"Finally, a smart, sexy and practical sex and relationship book! Mark and Patricia meld their knowledge of tantra and alternative sexuality with accessible, practical techniques for building (or rebuilding) passion in long term relationships."
—Jacq Jones, sex educator & owner of Sugar The Shop in Baltimore, MD

"Partners in Passion is the smartest and most comprehensive book on partner sex and erotic relationships available today. Brava, Mark and Patricia! I love this book.
—Barbara Carrellas, author of Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex For The Twenty-First Century and Ecstasy is Necessary

"Partners in Passion is not only a sensible, compassionate, readable book; it is the best book I have ever read about the varieties of love and physical/emotional intimacy […] This book is must reading for all people, young and old, of whatever sexual persuasion and culture, who are on relationship adventures seeking fulfilling intimacy and passionate partnership. My clients will benefit hugely from reading it."
—Alice Kahn Ladas, Ed.D, co-author of The G Spot and Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality and Women and Bioenergetic Analysis

"Partners in Passion is the perfect title because Mark and Patricia are just that – passionate about each other and passionate in their commitment to explore human sexuality together."
—Betty A. Dodson, Artist, Author and Ph.D. Sexologist

"Partners in Passion comes straight from the heart. Use this book as a gourmet guide to trust, touch, and ongoing adventures of discovery in the vast playing fields of loving relationship."
—Gina Ogden, PhD, LMFT, author of Expanding the Practice of Sex Therapy and The Return of Desire

"Other than our need and desire to eat, sex is what we crave the most. It’s what drives us. It needs to be fun and varied. Religion, politics, government intrusion, imposed morals, have all tried to suck the fun out of sex. Partners in Passion puts the fun back! It's a comprehensive and insightful guide for people who take their sex play seriously and are committed to leaving the bedroom with smiles on their faces. Even I can learn a few things from this fascinating book."
—Larry Flynt

Product Details

Cleis Press
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6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Myth #2: They Lived Happily Ever After
This myth (and it really does have mythic origins) is very closely related to the concept of the soulmate. Both predate the belief that romantic love is the foundation on which long-term relationships should be built. Both are archetypes that exist in similar forms in many different cultures and that appeal to deep-seated human yearnings. And both have increased their grip on the contemporary psyche, in part because they have been amplified and modified in popular culture.
As you are most likely aware, the expression “ . . . and they lived happily ever after” originates in fairy tales. Contemporary Americans are most familiar with the Disney versions of the tales, which gloss over many of the darker, more violent aspects of these stories to make them palatable for mass consumption. Similarly, the modern, Disney-fied renditions tend to create the impression that happily ever after refers to romantic love. In reality, these tales followed two primary formulae. One involves restoration; Sleeping Beauty is perhaps the best-known example; The Ramayana is another, more ancient version from a different culture. In this form of tale, a person of noble background is brought low, forced to suffer, and is then restored to his or her proper station. The other form of tale involves the rise of someone from poverty to wealth, often through marriage to a noble. Cinderella is a prime example, although in many of the earliest “rise tales,” the hero is male.
Thus, in its original form, happily ever after seems to have little to do with love or emotional connection between the hero and heroine. Instead, these are stories about wealth and class, about suffering and reward, or in the case of The Ramayana, about purity and doing one’s duty (and Sita and Rama don’t exactly live happily ever after). Modern adaptations of these tales – the film Pretty Woman, for example – often rely on the ‘rise’ formula and celebrate the change in station, but they differ from the originals by emphasizing the personal qualities and lovable traits of the prince. There was a prince but no Prince Charming in the original fairy tales; the appellation is a nineteenth century invention. Similarly, in all likelihood, we twenty-first century Americans understand happily ever after in a way that differs vastly from what our ancestors understood a couple of centuries ago.
The old understanding was not relationship-based; it was about one’s station, and “ . . . they lived happily ever after” was a formulaic recitation that was followed by “The End.” In contemporary culture, the meaning of the phrase has morphed and has taken on an altogether different air of finality. Because we value romantic love in a way that our ancestors did not, we are likely to think of it as the source of happiness. This is a kind of subtle entrainment that can impair our ability to realize that relationships are dynamic and subject to change. The idea, as so crudely yet memorably dramatized in Pretty Woman, is that, once you meet your Prince Charming, everything will work out wonderfully, even if there are a couple of initial bumps in the road.
Although it is modern, this mythology is so deeply ingrained in our culture that, like Christianity, it influences virtually everyone, no matter how sophisticated you are and how much you’ve struggled to free yourself from limiting ideas. It is likely that a great deal of relationship disappointment has its roots in ‘ . . . happily ever after’. It can lead to unrealistic expectations, an unending quest for the perfect partner, and the mistaken belief that a mere rough patch is a catastrophe. The truth is that even the happiest and most harmonious partnerships can sometimes be difficult.
Relationships change and evolve, and that is something to celebrate. When it comes to Prince or Princess Charming, forget about the quest. Find aspects of that ideal, mythical being in your current partner, and focus on them. Don’t compare yourselves or your relationship to other people, especially to ones who never existed.
Myth #3: You Should Work on Your Relationship
America was founded in large part on Puritan values, and the ‘Puritan work ethic’ is often seen as a cornerstone of our society. While there is certainly nothing wrong with hard work, the tendency to overvalue it can lead to a grim and joyless worldview that treats playfulness as childish frivolity. Maintaining a playful attitude is one of the keys to having great sex and an effective way to keep your relationship happy and well balanced.
This emphasis on the need for work directly conflicts with the happily ever after mythology we just discussed. Many people seem to believe in both ideas, despite the contradictions. Love is effortless, and involves prancing off, hand in hand, through a field of flowers, forever and ever. At the same time, you must buckle down and make it work. Neither of these beliefs is particularly healthy, and entertaining both of them at once can only lead to unhappiness.
Too often, the idea of work enters people’s minds at a time when the relationship is already in trouble. People say things like, “We need to take some time to work on our relationship.” Sitting back and waiting until things are bad, and then deciding to go to work, is not a very effective way to get through difficult times. It is better to nurture your connection on a daily basis. If you can do this, you are far less likely to be overwhelmed during rough patches.
Sustained effort and attentiveness to your partner are important if a relationship is to thrive, but effort and work are not synonymous. Relationships are not jobs and should not be drudgery, so we encourage people to change their language. One way of reframing the idea of work is to think about your relationship in the language of business or art. If you apply the term joint venture (or even better, joint adventure) to your partnership, you are likely to get a good return on your investment.
We also like the term collaboration, although it has its roots in “labor,” which is synonymous with work. Despite this etymology, collaboration is usually used in the context of creative and artistic undertakings. Approaching your life and your love as a creative process will help you discover more joy and pleasure in all of your interactions.
Both of these linguistic modifications have the added benefit of implying mutuality and sharing. Changing terms may seem like a small thing, but words matter. In fact, they matter a lot.
The same is true in the realm of sex. The more playful you can be about your sex life, the more happiness and enjoyment you will find. If you can re-imagine your relationship as a joint adventure, try imagining your sexual encounters (and adventures) as opportunities to play together. This will help you avoid one of the pitfalls that couples commonly face: difficulty talking about sex. People often think that addressing their sex lives requires a big conversation. It’s far better to talk about sex a lot, and in as lighthearted a way as possible. Sex can be quite silly after all, so make talking about it a priority, and retain a sense of humor. This is not to say there will never be times when you have to be more serious. Every light and humorous sexual conversation you have is a way of creating goodwill, of investing in each other, and if you make that investment, the more difficult conversations won’t drain your resources

Meet the Author

A graduate of NYU and Yale, Mark A. Michaels writes for scholarly and legal publications and his plays have been produced off-Broadway. He took his first tantra class in 1997 and gave his first lecture on the subject two years later. Patricia Johnson spent many years as a professional operatic soprano. In 1999, a longstanding interest in tantra inspired her to attend a lecture by Mark Michaels, now her husband and collaborator. Since then, she and Michaels have taught and lectured throughout the world. They live in New York City.

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Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The latest book from the Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson: " The Definitive Guide to Building Sexual Heat and Deep Emotional Intimacy for a Lifetime, " is a timely and very welcome practical guide for the intimacy that we have really lost in this tech age.The writers really hit the nail on the head, and couldn't have come along at a better time. Due to technology overflow, relationships have changed dramatically, and not for the good in my opinion. I have witnessed many unsuccessful relationships due slow but certain distancing - have lost a lot of intimacy. Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson's reminds us of what many have forgotten, and many have never known. The book is very easy to follow, offering Illustrations, Tips and Techniques, debunking myths and really getting to the heart of it. "Partners in Passion. A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-Term Love" is a must have book! Part manual, part guide, it affords couples an unparalleled opportunity to explore, discuss and work on the goal to "...Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-Term Love."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These two know what they're talking about! I got a chance to meet the authors in person and they really are an amazing pair. This book details all the best ways to keep the passion alive in your relationship. Very thoughtful and inspiring. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I seriously think I could read and reread this book every year for the rest of my life and still learn something new each time. I'm not married yet, but I know that when I am married, I want my husband to read this book with me. Intelligent advice is spread throughout the book (pretty much every page). I especially liked the the Ten Big Sex Myths debunked in chapter two. They are so pervasive in our society, but Michaels and Johnson effectively explain where their falsities lie. Fantastic book!
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Suzanne Cowles for Readers' Favorite Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love by Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson is an in-depth exploration into the complex world of intimate relationships. Married for fourteen years, the couple lays out a practical guide to keep love alive using their own professional knowledge and experience in the field. We all want to sustain the infatuated feeling of a new relationship, and this book discusses exactly how to maintain connected chemistry while growing into a deeper union. A holistic approach is used to redefine roles, dispel gender myths, explain the anatomy of exploration, and dissect the Tantric energy flow at the heart of intimacy. Michaels and Johnson uncover the mysteries to falling in love again and sustaining a courtship throughout life. All types of unions are defined that run the gamut between kink and sexual dysfunction. This non-judgmental self-help book brings about a fresh understanding of relationships where pleasure is achieved by a focus of service. Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson use their creative genius to mesmerize the reader in Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love by fostering an adult conversation where trust and adventure converge into a vibrant sexual union. Packed into thirteen informative chapters, there is something for everyone’s personal tastes, along with illustrations, tips, and a reference list of other books, websites and events. Honest and frank suggestions in a non-clinical setting abound throughout a powerful read into the secrets of a lasting and fulfilled relationship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found _Parters in Passion_ an extraordinary combination of 1) explanation of pertinent history and cultural context; 2) affirmation of readers’ uniqueness as both couples and individuals; 3) invitation to personal exploration; and 4) practical considerations, resources, and/or recommendations. In addition, I was struck by how comprehensive the volume is—it contains an incredible range of information and covers an array of topics to a surprising degree of depth. Need an overview of sexual anatomy? See chapter six. Interested in Tantra? Check out chapter seven. Curious about swinging or other forms of nonmonogamy? Visit chapter nine. Wondering about sex and parenting issues? Reference chapter eleven. Incidentally, any time you want more information about almost any area covered, you can check the vast resource guide of which chapter thirteen is comprised. _Partners in Passion is not_, in any way, a clinical, detached, or “how-to” guide that glosses over anything in the name of quick fixes or empty suggestions. Rather, it is a sincere, depth-filled, conscientious exploration imbued with the sense that the authors have walked (and are walking) their talk and are inviting you to learn and walk along with them at your own pace and in your own way. As a truly affected and appreciative reader, I add my voice to that invitation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very well-researched and thought out book for couples willing to make the effort into engaging in a deeper intimacy.