The Heart and Soul of Sex: Making the ISIS Connection

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Drawing on the results of her unique national sex survey—and on decades of clinical practice as a sex therapist—Gina Ogden offers a revolutionary exploration of women’s sexual experience. The best sex, say thousands of women, doesn’t just happen in the body. It is multidimensional, connecting body, mind, heart, and soul. In The Heart and Soul of Sex, Ogden coaches readers to fully realize the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of sex, making what she calls the “ISIS Connection.” Throughout the ...

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The Heart and Soul of Sex: Making the ISIS Connection

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Overview

Drawing on the results of her unique national sex survey—and on decades of clinical practice as a sex therapist—Gina Ogden offers a revolutionary exploration of women’s sexual experience. The best sex, say thousands of women, doesn’t just happen in the body. It is multidimensional, connecting body, mind, heart, and soul. In The Heart and Soul of Sex, Ogden coaches readers to fully realize the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of sex, making what she calls the “ISIS Connection.” Throughout the book are firsthand stories of survey respondents, offering examples of how ordinary women from ages eighteen to eighty-six have found their own way to sexual expression.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This book was shaped by the results of a landmark sex survey called Integrating Sexuality and Spirituality (ISIS) that researcher and sex therapist Ogden undertook in 1997. Instead of focusing on the mechanics of sex, the ISIS survey asked the mostly female respondents how they experienced sex and what sex meant in their lives. Ogden (Women Who Love Sex) writes, "In some ways, the language of spiritual experience comes closest to expressing the fullness of our sexual response, for it is the language of connection and ecstasy." In Ogden's view, sex is (or should be) about more than physical sensation. She cites recent laboratory findings that show multiple areas of women's brains lighting up when they bring themselves to orgasm, including the areas connected with religious ecstasy and spiritual experience. The results of the survey bear Ogden out, as 47% of women say "they've experienced God during sexual ecstasy"; 67% say "sex needs to be spiritual to be satisfying." In this provocative, important book, Ogden functions as a gentle, persistent guide in mapping out pathsphysical, mental, emotional and spiritualthat women can take to locate their sexual "center," where healing, ecstasy and transformation occur. There are also chapters on the chakras, tantric sex and creating ceremony for sacred lovemaking.
From the Publisher
“In this provocative, important book, Ogden functions as a gentle, persistent guide in mapping out paths that women can take to locate their sexual ‘center,’ where healing, ecstasy, and transformation occur.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Gina Ogden is a master therapist and teacher. Her research redefines ways we can discuss sexual issues with our clients and patients. She offers a holistic, non-performance-based model that cracks open old beliefs, unearths fresh emotions, and carves out paths for healing and awakening sexual spirits.”—Patti Britton, Ph.D., cofounder of Sex Coach University and former president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists

“This is a glorious book. Gina Ogden speaks directly to the heart of sexuality in a way that women all over the world will recognize. To read this book is to remember and reawaken to the melody of the life force that both created and sustains our bodies and lives. May this book soar—and take us all with it!”—Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and Mother-Daughter Wisdom

“Gina Ogden has a keen sense of the complexities of our sexuality, and she knows how to take you there and back. The Heart and Soul of Sex offers insights, tools, and resources to help therapists bypass the tempting surface issues and get to the core.”
—Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590302941
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/11/2006
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Gina Ogden, PhD, has had a distinguished career as a marriage and family therapist, sex therapist, teacher, researcher, and author. She is the author of several books, including Women Who Love Sex and The Heart and Soul of Sex, and has been a featured guest on numerous radio and television programs including Oprah. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2006

    Finally someone asked the women!

    Dr. Gina Ogden moves the discussion of sex from a quantitative ordeal (how big, how many, since when?) to a qualitative discourse (how deeply felt, how connected, how passionate?) Or let¿s say that she uses quantity ¿ 3,800 people, mostly women, answered her survey ¿ to get to the quality of their experience as sexual creatures. There have been very few American sex surveys this large and few that concentrate on what Ogden coins the ISIS: the integration of sexuality and spirituality. In fact, the scope and focus of this in-depth enquiry into what women feel about sex challenges the very nature of classic American sex research, which prefers information it can simply count. Ogden demonstrates that girls want to talk about sex not in terms of how many pulses there are in an orgasm or the length of our clit hoods, but in terms of where sex takes us and what that journey feels like. Ogden¿s survey has given thousands (33% more than the Hite Report) of women that opportunity. ¿The Heart & Soul of Sex¿ addresses the need of women to take control of their own sexuality through the sex-positive message that all of us have the right to intimacy and pleasure. The book then provides tools and self-help material to use in connecting spiritual and sexual sensibilities. WHAT DOES THE SURVEY COVER AND WHAT ARE THE RESULTS? Ogden explores the connection between spirituality and sexuality and finds that 69% always or sometimes feel that really satisfying sex needs to have a spiritual element. The vast majority connect that spiritual sense to being in love or feeling committed. This would come as no surprise to lesbians, perhaps, who as two women often have a double-dose of the love-huggies. The survey shows a good deal of overlap between the respondents who felt sexuality involves ¿excitement¿ (97%) and ¿oneness with partner¿ (94%) and the 91% and 85% respectively who felt the same thing about spirituality. I was surprised that a full 15% (the largest number) said drinking or drugs contributed least to spiritual sex. So much for the 1960s! Dr. Ogden points out that this has been a self-selecting survey: women who identify as spiritual are likely to have been receptive. Still, it is interesting that 84% of those surveyed said they had ¿experienced sexual ecstasy¿ and a bit surprising to my cynical mind that a full 70% felt the same about ¿spiritual ecstasy.¿ But the final (44th) question of the survey is revealing indeed. How important are these three things to your present life, it asks: Sexuality (84%), Spirituality (91%) and Religion (34%). Clearly Ogden is on to something: women want it, but they want it heart and soul.

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