Mating in Captivity

Reconciling the Erotic & the Domestic
Narrated by: Esther Perel
Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
Categories: Erotica, Sex Instruction
4.6 out of 5 stars (7,163 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $27.37

Buy for $27.37

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Esther Perel takes on tough questions, grappling with the obstacles and anxieties that arise when our quest for secure love conflicts with our pursuit of passion. She invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.

In her 20 years of clinical experience, Perel has treated hundreds of couples whose home lives are empty of passion. They describe relationships that are open and loving, yet sexually dull. What is going on?

In this explosively original book, Perel explains that our cultural penchant for equality, togetherness, and absolute candor is antithetical to erotic desire for both men and women. Sexual excitement doesn't always play by the rules of good citizenship. It is politically incorrect. It thrives on power plays, unfair advantages, and the space between self and other. More exciting, playful, even poetic sex is possible, but first we must kick egalitarian ideals and emotional housekeeping out of our bedrooms.

While Mating in Captivity shows why the domestic realm can feel like a cage, Perel's take on bedroom dynamics promises to liberate, enchant, and provoke. Flinging the doors open on erotic life and domesticity, she invites us to put the "X" back in sex.

©2006 Esther Perel (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"As revelatory as it is straightforward....Perel sanctions fantasy and play and offers the estranged modern couple a unique richness of experience." (Publishers Weekly)

Featured Article: 20 Best Nonfiction Audiobooks to Enjoy


The best nonfiction audiobooks take involved, often intimidating subjects and reinvigorate them with sharp narration so you can stay focused and on track. In this list, we’ll share our picks for some of the best nonfiction audio out there, encompassing a wide array of topics—from the entire history of humanity to astrophysics to the American prison system. No matter your preference, our list will keep you engaged with fascinating, deeply human stories.

What listeners say about Mating in Captivity

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5,478
  • 4 Stars
    1,134
  • 3 Stars
    356
  • 2 Stars
    104
  • 1 Stars
    91
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,655
  • 4 Stars
    955
  • 3 Stars
    327
  • 2 Stars
    83
  • 1 Stars
    81
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,571
  • 4 Stars
    955
  • 3 Stars
    326
  • 2 Stars
    86
  • 1 Stars
    77

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Didn't find it very useful

I was having relationship problems of my own, and a friend recommended this book, saying it might be insightful. Maybe I went in looking for something that wasn't there, but I didn't really find this book very useful for what I needed. The book talks about common intimacy problems that couples face, interspersed with anecdotes from Esther Perel's own clients. After 8hrs of , the only prescriptive solution I could draw out of it was: "too much familiarity kills intimacy, so maintain a healthy level of independence." Too be fair, that's good advice, but it wasn't necessary to read the whole thing to arrive at it. If you're interested in hearing about common problems in intimate relationships, you'll like this book. But if, like me, you're looking for guidance in solving your own relationship troubles, I recommend you look elsewhere.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Thinker's Book...

Would you listen to Mating in Captivity again? Why?

Absolutely. Though clearly articulated, the book contains sufficient nuance that listening to it again is needed to pick up on all the gems of the book.

What about Esther Perel’s performance did you like?

Clear articulation, good tone.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

A number of "A-Ha!" moments throughout the book.

Any additional comments?

Anyone seeking a "silver bullet" for erotic revitalization of their relationships will be disappointed with this book - rather this book is designed for people who are willing to carefully analyse their relationships, and consider the nuances of the case studies presented in the book to unlock the hidden gems.

The concepts in this book are counter-intuitive to most people's views of how to address erotic issues in their relationships which makes the listener question and ponder their own misconceptions of what makes us tick erotically.

I listened to this book on a long road trip with my partner and it lent itself to being paused and discussed on a chapter by chapter basis - making for an entertaining and insightful roadtrip with discussions of our own relationship and the relationships of those around us.

This is worth the listen - so much so, that we purchased several paper copies to give to our friends.



95 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Intimacy is in the eye of the beholder.

The best thing about this book by Ester Perel is that you get real insight into how different people in relationships see their partners and their roles. You get to hear how they approach sex and intimacy and love and how the three things are almost never the same to any two people. This book is a little short on solutions. (I guess that, as a therapist, Perel believes the solution, ultimately, is therapy. Although she does not say as much.) But, overall, this piece is an engrossing and worthwhile glimpse into the minds and lives of people who find that love and lust aren't always in synch. As a narrator, Perel's strong but infinitely listenable Belgian accent and tone are, simply, pitch perfect.

87 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Radical Relationship Insights

Ms. Perel has an innate understanding of relationship dynamics, and she illustrates them from multiple angles. These aren't the cliched musings of a relationship columnist or self-help guru, but qualified and experienced approaches from someone who has obviously studied relationships in earnest, and lived through their myriad issues in real life.

She knows what she's talking about, and many of the things she reveals in Mating in Captivity seem obvious in retrospect only because of how clear and adept they are as observations.

I listened to this book before moving in with my girlfriend of a year and a half (it's the first time I've lived with an SO), afraid our relationship would fall apart the moment we signed the lease - and eager to prevent the slow decay that I've heard domesticity brings about.

While I can't say this book has saved my marriage (I'm not married and we've only lived together for like 3 weeks now, so no verdict yet lol) it has already helped me shift my approach, and reassured me of the importance of uncertainty, mystery, and communication in any long term romantic exchange.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

When a theory is manifested by confirmation bias.

While I enjoyed the theories and experience the author brought to the table, I was astonished that the underlying theme of the book. The theory being that in order to create a spark, you must first become in a sense a stranger or “other” to your partner. She encourages leaving the home to flirt, to become more independent, and to create some sexual tension with your spouse through teasing the real or perceived concept that a spouse could cheat at any time, but chooses you. While on its face, I can understand the math, and can see what she’s saying, but a home with kids is a delicate partnership that rarely can handle the volatility she theorizes is needed to create a sustainable passion. I was really disappointed that after all of the great information, and literal foreplay, the book’s climax was primarily based on the theory that monogamy and the rules assigned to it were the culprit in failing marriages. Disheartening to say the least.

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Deep reflections on sexuality and intimacy

Any additional comments?

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It brought to light a lot of things I hadn't really thought about maybe ever, or didn't know about, or didn't really understand, and some things I had only partial knowledge of. Its enlightening to listen to someone who has so much vast knowledge about sexuality, coupling, intimacy and pleasure. I've listened to maybe 50 books on relationships in the last few years, and I want to give this one 7 stars.

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

wish I would of had this info in my 20s

wish I woulkd of had this information in my 20, before two marriages and divorces

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

life changing

I love these books I love the podcast I love just being able to explore the approaches that people take to relationships. I am going to share this with my wife and I hope to have many many deep conversations on understanding each other and where we have been where we are we want to be. I definitely recommend this to folks who have been in relationships are not in relationships or in something it's lingering. five stars for sure.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible

Esther Perel hits the nail on the head over and over again. Sexual health isn't something we spend a lot of time discussing in American culture, but it's an important facet of any adult's life. If you are interested in improving your own outlook on human sexuality, improving the relationship between you and your partner, or better preparing to teach your child about healthy sexuality, Perel's work should be among the first places you go.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Highly Recommended!

I enjoyed the author's reading. She does have an accent but it doesn't get in the way of the message. Instead, I found her voice sexy and appropriate to the book's subject matter. Her re-enactments of sessions with clients were very expressive and entertaining.

The book itself was excellent. While not a how-to guide, through examples and explanations the author relates how she believes eroticism and sexual tension can be maintained in a committed relationship. She approaches the subject from many different angles and some repetition (which I saw as a learning aid as opposed to a lack of material).

This book really opened my eyes and raised my erotic-intelligence quotient! I have a much better understanding of what sex means to my partner and what I can do to keep eroticism alive between us.

26 people found this helpful