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Mating in Captivity: How to keep desire and passion alive in long-term relationships Paperback – 1 November 2007
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'Reads like a cross between the works of Jacques Lacan and French Women Don't Get Fat' ― The New Yorker
'At precisely the same moment that you're being shocked by her, you're also acknowledging the validity of her ideas. Perel's ideas are like the chorus of a really good pop song - instantly familiar because they resonate deeply. It's all rather terrifying in its intuitiveness and its pure rightness' ― Observer
- Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton; 1st edition (1 November 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0340943750
- ISBN-13 : 978-0340943755
- Dimensions : 19.8 x 1.8 x 13.1 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 7,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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By Soronaa on 5 July 2020
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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.
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!
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.