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1.0 out of 5 starsZero stars
Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2018
While I do recognize that Esther Perel is a famous therapist, the author backs up her hypothesis with her patients' experiences and most of them are completely out of the ordinary. I will cite one single example of the many this book has. Certain men have difficulty expressing their interest and love to women (what a surprise), and this guy could not maintain relationships because of this until he found a japanese (or chinese woman). They fell in love and it worked out so well precisely because they could not talk. He did not speak japanese, the woman did no speak English in the beginning, so they were forced to show how much they loved each other without talking. While this is a very romantic story, honestly, how often is a regular person going to encounter a situation like this? What is the point in giving these kind of examples when most of the people are not going to experience something like that? When reading this book I felt as if I were reading advice from Cosmopolitan. Do not waste your money or time reading this book. It is not worth it.
A friend asked me why he found sex with his wife "routine". He said he loved his wife and having sex with her still felt good, but he didn't feel "turned on". Instead, he found himself fantasizing about sex with other women. This book answers that question completely and helps one explore the contradictions and congruity of love and sexuality.
Anyone who desires or is in a long-term relationship should read this. This book had me hooked, I whizzed through it in about 2 days. Hugely enlightening and puts words to something I've always noticed but could never quite put my finger on. The gist is that love demands closeness, but erotic desire needs space to thrive. For modern American couples, who often have their lives so intertwined, this can lead to problems. Perel explores this seeming contradiction and sheds light on how modern couples can become aware of this and mediate it. This book is packed with wisdom. Enlightening read!
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2019
The book is based on a flawed model of relationships. She buys into the model the “love” is an elusive attraction that you feel towards an unknown stranger. She seems to be in the “love at first sight” camp. Perel is like that person who falls in love on vacations, and then settles down with the expectation that the rest of their live must feel like that vacation. She is treating symptoms rather than causes. It is almost comical to read the book. Not surprising her only qualifications seem to be two TED talks and having been on Oprah once. Stay away from this book.
5.0 out of 5 starsbought three; handed them out like Bible tracts
Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2014
Got to this book late and am I glad for it. When it came out I was newly remarried and didn't need and wouldn't have heard the message. But seven years into a mid-life marriage I needed tips on answering Ester Perel's Big Question (from her excellent TED Talk): Can you want what you already have? Her answer seemed to be as I read: Sure you can. But it's work. And you better understand what's going on first.
Add to this that my whole arousal system of mind, body, soul and sex is older, as I'm in my mid 60s. Love what she said when asked how many times she'd been married: "Four. To the same man." This woman and mom and wife and therapist and speaker of 6 languages not only reinvented herself to stay hot for her man but to stay interesting for her two teen children living with mom/dad as a foursome. Yes, sex as a family value. From Belgium and Israel, her husband and two kids live or lived together when she wrote this from their flat in NYC. It's one thing to write how to stay hot for each other while married; it's another to pull it off and then even be able to communicate the complex system that makes it possible.
I gave one to a peer guy friend and one to my son. It's that good and helpful. They say when the student is ready the teacher will appear. Don't read this book too soon. Or too late either. But buy three copies and get ready. I say.
Fascinating and enlightening. This is one of those books that make you better, educated, happier, confident and much more if you read this with a very open mind. Perel offers great insight into human desire -- for love, sex, connection, space -- and how we tend to thwart the very intimacy we crave by applying judgement to our desires. I haven't read a better reason to be hopeful that long term relationships can maintain, even increase, passion and desire than this.
5.0 out of 5 starsIt has excellent advice about how to think about your intimate partnerships ...
Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2017
If a book could save your marriage, this would be it! It has excellent advice about how to think about your intimate partnerships that will actually lead to real changes in the relationships. My sisters and I have all read this book as part of our family book club and can report much better marriages because of Esther Perel's advice. Nothing is a quick fix, but one step in a new direction can take you to new places. I recommend this book to everyone who wants a better intimate relationship--especially if you are willing to do the hard work of looking at your own actions and making small changes to be a better partner.
5.0 out of 5 starsI think there is tremendous value in Perelman's insight that ...
Reviewed in the United States on August 26, 2017
I think there is tremendous value in Perelman's insight that intimacy--marked by safety, closeness, and familiarity--and desire--marked by space, mystery, and risk-taking--are two distinct things. They not necessarily be opposed for many of us (thank God), but they are not the same, and need to be cultivated differently if we want to have a long term relationship marked by both loving security and erotic passion.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 12, 2018
Gets to the heart of the matter in rather frank ways that some authors skirt around or dither about. There's an age old clichés about marital problems occurring because of a lack of communication, and the basis of the book seems to be just that; problems occur because couples just don't tell each other what's really going on in their minds. This can be for all sorts of reasons - fear of criticism, fear of looking weird or stupid, protecting someone else's feelings, presumption about what the other partner wants, or just plain lack of awareness. Perel shows that many of our hopes, fears, desires and fantasies are not that weird at all, in fact they're more common than we realise and are mostly part of a normal, healthy mindset. Its just that we've been conditioned down certain routes and traditions of whats acceptable and what isn't. So much so that we don't always feel comfortable disclosing our needs and desires to even the closest person to us. In some of her many talks that appear on youtube, Perel often hints at questioning whether monogamy is for everyone or whether its realistic at all. In the book, in one of the later chapters, she spells out her view more clearly... that monogamy is just as much a choice as any lifestyle choices, and although it's a model that fits many people, that it should not be regarded as the only way to be. She also points out the hypocrisy and changing definitions of monogamy (ie, one sexual partner for life). You could have two long term relationships, and consider yourself monogamous in both of them (!?), but as soon as you slept with the second partner, you were not monogamous! She gives lots of examples of couples who talked things over and thrashed things out under her guidance and with her insight, and in each case the couples eventually came good and made the adjustments needed for a more fulfilling sex life. My only criticism is that she never gives examples of when, having disclosed their innermost thoughts and secrets, the couple realise they are incompatible, not on the same wavelength and split up! Taking a risk and opening up to your partner can have wonderfully positive effects, but it could also be a deal-breaker, and Perel doesn't seem to fully acknowledge this. It could be argued, though, that the risk of not communicating, putting your head in the sand and trying to maintain the status quo has its own unhappy consequences. Nevertheless, it is an honest, helpful and thought-provoking read for any couple in a long term relationship who have started to wonder where has all the magic gone and why is sex becoming a bit boring and predictable.
5.0 out of 5 starsOne of those ‘everyone should read this’ kind of books
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 22, 2018
Takes her ages to get into the meat, the first chapter or two is just summarising what we all know, love is hard. But eventually she gets into case reviews which are super interesting and although really specific still weirdly universally applicable. I haven’t completely read a book in years and I smashed through this, it’s got highlights, notes and all sorts all over it now. Definitely a read to any one who cares about themselves and anyone else
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 20, 2017
I heard the author on radio 4 woman's hour and liked the sound of her. The book considers sensuality, sexuality and self in relation to an other and has made me consider cultural norms in relation to being part of a couple in a committed relationship. Hugely interesting book.
2.0 out of 5 starsGossip from her clients, nothing else of note....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 23, 2020
This is a very feminine book in the way it deals with subject matter mostly through an emotional appeal through the authors own experience.
I didn't find there to be much reasoning behind it. And in fact because it focuses purely on sex, it made me wonder what some of the advice she gave would have on the relationship (I think in one case she advises the couple to basically only meet for sex!).
And to be honest, I was reading it from the position of the 'red pill' lens anyway having read the inspirational books from Rollo Tomassi and it seems that this book does conform very much to views he puts forward in his books (basically maintaining frame and dominance). Given the author doesn't really demonstrate any rationale or any overall guiding principles I'm not quite sure what this book has to offer besides a lascivious title!
4.0 out of 5 starsAn important and enjoyable perspective on passion
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 7, 2019
I love the way Esther Perel thinks and talks about sex and relationships - forthright but generous, open-minded, realistic and practical but also often poetic.
This is a thought-provoking book rather than a practical one - there aren't bullet point lists, plans or outright 'rules', but it'll make you consider your own relationships and habits, which is perhaps more meaningful in the long term. I listen to her podcast, Where Should We Begin?, so some of the content was a little familiar to me, but I enjoyed reading throughout.