Resurrecting Sex: Resolving Sexual Problems and Rejuvenating Your Relationship

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In this remarkable new book, Dr. David Schnarch, world-renowned sex and marital therapist and author of Passionate Marriage, offers a groundbreaking approach to resolving sexual difficulties and the relationship problems they cause. By showing couples how they can turn their worst sex and relationship disasters into personal growth and spiritual connection, Dr. Schnarch offers couples the best sex of their lives.

In addition to taking an unflinchingly honest, realistic, and ...

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Overview

In this remarkable new book, Dr. David Schnarch, world-renowned sex and marital therapist and author of Passionate Marriage, offers a groundbreaking approach to resolving sexual difficulties and the relationship problems they cause. By showing couples how they can turn their worst sex and relationship disasters into personal growth and spiritual connection, Dr. Schnarch offers couples the best sex of their lives.

In addition to taking an unflinchingly honest, realistic, and erotic approach to sex, Dr. Schnarch reveals the complicated emotional interactions hidden within couples' most private moments. Resurrecting Sex speaks of compassion, partnership, generosity, and integrity in adult sexual relationships, offering hope to millions of people — golden-anniversary marriages, newly formed couples, and singles alike — who are struggling with sexual difficulties.

Uplifting, provocative, and heartfelt, the book is organized into four sections:

  • A crash course in sex
  • Explanation of how sexual relationships really work
  • Medical options and bionic solutions
  • Vignettes of couples changing their sexual relationships

Resurrecting Sex addresses all major sexual issues, including male erection problems such as rapid orgasm and delayed orgasm; women's problems with arousal and lubrication, difficulty reaching orgasm, and low desire; full coverage of Viagra (for both men and women); and other sex-enhancing drugs and medical options. Rather than dwelling on sexual techniques, this sympathetic book shows how to cure the rejection, hostility, and emotional alienation that often accompany sexual problems. Its unique method helps couples develop the love, affection, and commitment that prevent divorce and strengthen families.

Generous of spirit, enlightened, and insightful, Resurrecting Sex is destined to make the world a better place to fall in love.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
According to Passionate Marriage author Dr. David Schnarch, sexual dysfunction and relationship problems aren't just natural; they're healthy. The director of the Marriage & Family Health Center in Evergreen, Colorado, asserts that couples can improve their sexual relationships by utilizing his revolutionary approach. Resurrecting Sex combines a crash course in sex; a realistic primer on couple communication; and current, trustworthy information on medical options and home solutions.
Publishers Weekly
Whether the difficulties arise out of middle-aged boredom, serious illness or emotional troubles, Schnarch (Passionate Marriage), director of the Marriage & Family Health Center in Evergreen, Colo., offers a comprehensive guide for couples with intimacy problems. The book includes easily digested chapters on the basics of sex, how sexual relationships work, the use of drugs and surgery, psychological and emotional issues and orgasm. In a straightforward and comforting tone, Schnarch emphasizes the emotional aspect of sexual problems (even when there is an underlying physiological cause) and guides couples through the often difficult changes they have to make in their relationship in and out of bed. Using examples from among his own clients, he explores the way anxiety and tension in other aspects of a marriage can carry over into sexual relationships and gives advice about how couples can better approach each other. While much of his counsel isn't unique, Schnarch's positive, candid approach is appealing, and his tone is authoritative without being threatening. In fact, Schnarch says, "In the course of my life I've had every sexual dysfunction a man can have... I know about embarrassment, self-rejection, blaming myself or my partner, and withdrawing when I `failed.' " There are no quick fixes or promises of overnight transformation, but those who want to make substantive changes in their relationship should first reach for this book. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This self-help guide to sexual dysfunction offers fascinating and complex insights into how relationships maintain themselves and change while also covering the usual fixes like Viagra and hormones. Schnarch (Passionate Marriage), a psychologist and sexual/marital therapist, focuses here on an oft-overlooked issue: that anxieties cannot be avoided and hence the only choice is between productive anxieties (dealing honestly with one's feelings) and useless ones (seeking a partner's approval too much). His approach teaches the effective use of anxiety in relationships and sexual change, plus "holding onto yourself" being honest about yourself and your values, confronting yourself, and doing what you think is right when a relationship is troubled. He describes how sex does and doesn't work, how relationships work, how mechanico-pharmacological helpers work, and how to combine these helpers to address particular dysfunctions, including the effects of illness. Throughout, Schnarch stresses the normality of sexual and relationship problems, noting briefly his own past experiences as a patient. He does not promise instant ecstasies and accepts that some couples may not even find sex important. This realistic and multifaceted approach belongs in all public libraries. Martha Cornog, Philadelphia Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060193591
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/6/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

David Schnarch, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and director of the Marriage and Family Health Center in Evergreen, Colorado. He is founder of the Sexual Crucible Approach(r) to integrated sexual and marital therapy, and the Passionate Marriage Approach(r) for couples. Dr. Schnarch's textbook Constructing the Sexual Crucible is used as a primary text in graduate training programs across the country. He was the first recipient of the Professional Standards of Excellence Award from the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT} and chair of professional education for eight years. Dr. Schnarch currently serves on the editorial board of AAMFT's Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy. He lives in Evergreen, Co1orado.

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Read an Excerpt

Resurrecting Sex

Resolving Sexual Problems and Rejuvenating Your Relationship
By David Schnarch

Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright © 2003 David Schnarch All right reserved. ISBN: 006019359X

Chapter One

A Second Chance at Sex

In its essence, the delight of sexual love, the genetic spasm, is a sensation of resurrection, of renewing our life in another, for only in others can we renew our life and so perpetuate ourselves.

- Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life (1913)

What is it You seek? Are you looking for happiness? Peace? Passion? Solid connection with your partner? Sexy sex?

What do you currently have? Loneliness? Frustration? Failure? Boring, sad, empty sex? Painful sex?

We tend to believe couples don't typically have significant sexual problems. When we are unhappy, we think it's because of how we're uniquely screwed up. It is hard to believe unsatisfying and disappointing sex is normal. We try to live up to our distortions by hiding our own difficulties. Until recently, the full extent of common sexual unhappiness remained hidden from view.

Public discussions of sex have become more common over the last four decades (perhaps even too much so). The constant barrage of sexual information, advertising, and sex-laced entertainment in mass media makes it feel somehowinappropriate to have sexual problems in our liberated times. In spite (or because) of this, there exists a vast underground of couples with sexual problems who have gone unrecognized and unserved.

As a sex therapist, I've long known that sexual unhappiness is wide-spread. Sexual dysfunctions and dissatisfactions are rampant among normal healthy couples. My view of marriage differed so much from prevailing stereotypes that at times I felt alienated from society. That is, until two technological marvels, Viagra and the Internet, showed up.

Incredible initial sales of Viagra, the first readily accessible and easily administered erection medication, made everyone wonder where these pills were going. journalists did the math and started tracking prescription patterns. Feature articles in Time, Newsweek, USA Today, and every small-town newspaper helped spread public awareness. Gradually, John and Jane Doe began to realize what was (and wasn't) going on in many couples' beds.

The Internet, for all its wonders, became a new sewer for the sexual unhappiness and dissatisfactions in bedrooms around the world. Up sprang porn Web sites offering clip art, still photos, JavaScript images, and steaming streaming video. Sexually oriented chat rooms - meaning just about any chat room given half a chance - surfaced on major Web portals. Therapists started hearing complaints from clients that spouses (or they themselves) preferred masturbating online to having partnered sex. As complaints grew, the scope of unhappy marriages and sexually barren relationships became more apparent.

The problem is not Internet technology per se. The Net benefits desperate people looking for factual sex information and support. Unfortunately, the modem connection that carries a support group for adolescent burn victims also delivers clandestine e-mail from "Internet affairs." The unhappiness in people's bedrooms that propelled initial Viagra sales now also drives the Internet.

How Common Are Sexual Difficulties?

Although sexual problems have plagued men and women throughout history, scientific incidence data is sparse. Studies vary in their estimates due to differences in assessment methods and the people studied. Overall, however, results suggest that anywhere from 10 percent to 52 percent of all men and 25 percent to 63 percent of all women have sexual problems. An estimated 15 million men in the United States have significant erection problems and another 10 million have partial difficulty. One man in three has some difficulty with erections by age 60. These staggering figures explain why more prescriptions were written for Viagra when it was initially released than for any other new drug.

The 1999 mail survey of 1,384 adults (ages 45 and older) conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) and Modern Maturity Magazine provides a similar view: The majority of men and women sampled said a satisfying sexual relationship was important to their quality of life. One in four men surveyed (26 percent) reported complete or moderate difficulty with erections, but less than half these men ever sought treatment. Overall, the AARP study noted that only a small minority of people who have sexual problems ever seek treatment. Only 10 percent of men and 7 percent of women in this study had taken medication, hormones, or other treatment to enhance their sexual performance. (A majority of those who did reported increased sexual satisfaction and improved relationships.)

Inside Your Neighbor's Bedroom

You can see widespread sexual problems in the results of the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS) epidemiological study of 1,749 women and 1,410 men ages 18 to 59. The demographics of the people studied match the general public at large, meaning that the results probably represent an accurate picture of what's happening across the United States: 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men reported having a sexual problem in the prior year. Given people's tendency to under report such problems, the study's findings probably are on the low side.

Stop for a moment and consider what this really means. When you realize that a third of all men and almost half of all women have had a sexual problem recently, that's a whole lot of couples struggling with a sexual problem in one partner or the other. You can visualize what's going on in bedrooms everywhere when you consider the actual sexual problems reported in the NHSLS study.

One out of five women doesn't enjoy sex. Fully 19 percent of women report difficulty lubricating and 15 percent report pain during sex. This means that lots of women aren't having a particularly good time in bed, and it's doubtful that their partners are either. Regardless of whether their partners reach orgasm or not, there isn't going to be a lot of intimacy, passion, tenderness, or affection for anyone involved. Look behind the numbers and think of the disappointment, frustration, and tears they represent.

Next, consider the implications of other findings that a quarter of all women report having difficulty reaching orgasm. Aside from the impact this has on women's self-esteem and enjoyment of lovemaking, think of what this means in bedrooms across the country tonight. One out of four women may be lying there, lost in her own private mental world, wondering if she'll reach orgasm and worrying about how her partner will respond if she doesn't. Lots of people will be working in bed when they could be relaxing. Many of them will feel miles apart during what is supposedly the most intimate thing two people can do. Some will give up on themselves or their partner, disappointments will be common, and many will become discouraged and turn away from each other.

(Continues...)


Excerpted from Resurrecting Sex by David Schnarch
Copyright © 2003 by David Schnarch
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Part I A Crash Course in Sex
1. A Second Chance at Sex 13
2. How Sex Works 30
3. What Is Happening When You Can't Get Aroused? 45
4. Do You Have Difficulty with Orgasms? 62
5. Twenty-two Ways to Resurrect Sex 79
Part II How Sexual Relationships Work
6. Changing Is Often Difficult--and Worth IT 101
7. Hold On to Yourself! 127
Part III Medical Options
8. Sex Devices and Surgical Procedures 155
9. Sex Drugs: Better Loving Through Chemistry? 170
10. Can Medical Options Improve Your Marriage? 184
Part IV Couples in Search of Solutions
11. Solutions for Arousal Disorders 201
12. So You Want to Have an Orgasm 226
13. Synchronize Your Pelvis and Your Inner Mental World 244
14. What Will It Take to Change Things? 266
Appendixes
A. Referral Information and Resources 283
B. Medical Conditions and Diseases Creating Sexual Problems 286
C. Drugs Associated with Sexual Dysfunctions 287
D. Drug and Medication Sexual Side Effects 288
E. Side Effects of Drugs That Indirectly Diminish Sex 289
F. Organic Conditions Causing Diminished Desire 290
Notes 291
Index 305
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First Chapter

Chapter One

A Second Chance at Sex

In its essence, the delight of sexual love, the genetic spasm, is a sensation of resurrection, of renewing our life in another, for only in others can we renew our life and so perpetuate ourselves.

-- Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life (1913)

What is it You seek? Are you looking for happiness? Peace? Passion? Solid connection with your partner? Sexy sex?

What do you currently have? Loneliness? Frustration? Failure? Boring, sad, empty sex? Painful sex?

We tend to believe couples don't typically have significant sexual problems. When we are unhappy, we think it's because of how we're uniquely screwed up. It is hard to believe unsatisfying and disappointing sex is normal. We try to live up to our distortions by hiding our own difficulties. Until recently, the full extent of common sexual unhappiness remained hidden from view.

Public discussions of sex have become more common over the last four decades (perhaps even too much so). The constant barrage of sexual information, advertising, and sex-laced entertainment in mass media makes it feel somehow inappropriate to have sexual problems in our liberated times. In spite (or because) of this, there exists a vast underground of couples with sexual problems who have gone unrecognized and unserved.

As a sex therapist, I've long known that sexual unhappiness is wide-spread. Sexual dysfunctions and dissatisfactions are rampant among normal healthy couples. My view of marriage differed so much from prevailing stereotypes that at times I felt alienated from society. That is, until two technological marvels, Viagra and the Internet, showed up.

Incredible initial sales of Viagra, the first readily accessible and easily administered erection medication, made everyone wonder where these pills were going. journalists did the math and started tracking prescription patterns. Feature articles in Time, Newsweek, USA Today, and every small-town newspaper helped spread public awareness. Gradually, John and Jane Doe began to realize what was (and wasn't) going on in many couples' beds.

The Internet, for all its wonders, became a new sewer for the sexual unhappiness and dissatisfactions in bedrooms around the world. Up sprang porn Web sites offering clip art, still photos, JavaScript images, and steaming streaming video. Sexually oriented chat rooms -- meaning just about any chat room given half a chance -- surfaced on major Web portals. Therapists started hearing complaints from clients that spouses (or they themselves) preferred masturbating online to having partnered sex. As complaints grew, the scope of unhappy marriages and sexually barren relationships became more apparent.

The problem is not Internet technology per se. The Net benefits desperate people looking for factual sex information and support. Unfortunately, the modem connection that carries a support group for adolescent burn victims also delivers clandestine e-mail from "Internet affairs." The unhappiness in people's bedrooms that propelled initial Viagra sales now also drives the Internet.

How Common Are Sexual Difficulties?

Although sexual problems have plagued men and women throughout history, scientific incidence data is sparse. Studies vary in their estimates due to differences in assessment methods and the people studied. Overall, however, results suggest that anywhere from 10 percent to 52 percent of all men and 25 percent to 63 percent of all women have sexual problems. An estimated 15 million men in the United States have significant erection problems and another 10 million have partial difficulty. One man in three has some difficulty with erections by age 60. These staggering figures explain why more prescriptions were written for Viagra when it was initially released than for any other new drug.

The 1999 mail survey of 1,384 adults (ages 45 and older) conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) and Modern Maturity Magazine provides a similar view: The majority of men and women sampled said a satisfying sexual relationship was important to their quality of life. One in four men surveyed (26 percent) reported complete or moderate difficulty with erections, but less than half these men ever sought treatment. Overall, the AARP study noted that only a small minority of people who have sexual problems ever seek treatment. Only 10 percent of men and 7 percent of women in this study had taken medication, hormones, or other treatment to enhance their sexual performance. (A majority of those who did reported increased sexual satisfaction and improved relationships.)

Inside Your Neighbor's Bedroom

You can see widespread sexual problems in the results of the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS) epidemiological study of 1,749 women and 1,410 men ages 18 to 59. The demographics of the people studied match the general public at large, meaning that the results probably represent an accurate picture of what's happening across the United States: 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men reported having a sexual problem in the prior year. Given people's tendency to under report such problems, the study's findings probably are on the low side.

Stop for a moment and consider what this really means. When you realize that a third of all men and almost half of all women have had a sexual problem recently, that's a whole lot of couples struggling with a sexual problem in one partner or the other. You can visualize what's going on in bedrooms everywhere when you consider the actual sexual problems reported in the NHSLS study.

One out of five women doesn't enjoy sex. Fully 19 percent of women report difficulty lubricating and 15 percent report pain during sex. This means that lots of women aren't having a particularly good time in bed, and it's doubtful that their partners are either. Regardless of whether their partners reach orgasm or not, there isn't going to be a lot of intimacy, passion, tenderness, or affection for anyone involved. Look behind the numbers and think of the disappointment, frustration, and tears they represent.

Next, consider the implications of other findings that a quarter of all women report having difficulty reaching orgasm. Aside from the impact this has on women's self-esteem and enjoyment of lovemaking, think of what this means in bedrooms across the country tonight. One out of four women may be lying there, lost in her own private mental world, wondering if she'll reach orgasm and worrying about how her partner will respond if she doesn't. Lots of people will be working in bed when they could be relaxing. Many of them will feel miles apart during what is supposedly the most intimate thing two people can do. Some will give up on themselves or their partner, disappointments will be common, and many will become discouraged and turn away from each other.

Resurrecting Sex. Copyright © by David Schnarch. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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