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When you love someone, how does it feel? And when you desire someone, how is it different?
In Mating in Captivity, Esther Perel looks at the story of sex in committed couples. Modern romance promises it all - a lifetime of togetherness, intimacy and erotic desire. In reality, it's hard to want what you already have. Our quest for secure love conflicts with our pursuit of passion. And often, the very thing that got us to into our relationships - lust - is the one thing that goes missing from them.
Determined to reconcile the erotic and the domestic, Perel explains why democracy is a passion killer in the bedroom. Argues for playfulness, distance, and uncertainty. And shows what it takes to bring lust home. Smart, sexy and explosively original, Mating in Captivity is the monogamist's essential bedside read.
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.