Why Good Sex Matters: Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life

Why Good Sex Matters: Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life

by Nan Wise


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A sex therapist and neuroscientist describes anhedonia, the inability to feel a satisfactory amount of pleasure—and provides the pathway back to fully enjoying sex, food, time with family and friends, and other pastimes, while also staving off depression, anxiety, and addiction.

Assaulted with opportunities for pleasure everywhere—from sex to food or exotic escapes—our culture is becoming more depressed and anxious. Research has shown that many people are having less sex, and that those who do have a lot enjoy it less. For more than thirty years, Nan Wise has worked as a therapist helping people gain a satisfying sex life. In recent years, her work has shifted to the study of anhedonia—the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable—and why more people than ever suffer from it. 
In Why Good Sex Matters, Wise not only reveals the fundamental problem in how we think about sex and pleasure but also how we arrived at this problematic relationship to begin with. This fascinating book helps us reclaim our innate capacity for joy, fun, exuberance, curiosity, and humor, while showing how reaching our sexual potential makes us smarter, happier, and more productive people. Ultimately, it reveals how a new understanding of sex can lead to a more expansive experience of pleasure in all aspects of our lives.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328451309
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/28/2020
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 456,203
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Dr. Nan Wise is a cognitive neuroscientist, professor, licensed psychotherapist, certified sex therapist, board-certified clinical hypnotherapist, and certified relationship specialist with three decades of experience. After almost twenty years in clinical practice as a sex therapist, she became driven by an intense desire to understand how the brain operates to create moods and behaviors in relation to sex and other aspects of human experience. Returning to academia in 2009 to pursue a PhD in cognitive neuroscience at Rutgers-Newark, she is now Associate Research Professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Newark. She lives in West Orange, New Jersey. 

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

The Pleasure Crisis and the Path to Healthy Hedonism

1 The Theft of Pleasure 3

2 The Sexual Route to Understanding Pleasure 25

3 The Core Emotions in the Brain's Basement 39

Restoring The Emotional Brain

4 Rebalancing Your SEEKING System: Liking What You Need 71

5 Hot-Tempered and Afraid: Taming Our Defenses 89

6 CARE, GRIEF, and PLAY: Using Our Affiliative Emotions to Enhance Pleasure 111

Pursuing-And Obtaining-Healthy Pleasures

7 Operational Intelligence and Creating a New Way to Be 137

8 Sex as a Tool for Transformation 161

9 Good Sex Versus Great Sex: Embracing Your Sexual Potential 187

A Final Note 211

Acknowledgments 215

Notes 217

Index 243

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