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Extended Audio Sample Mating in Captivity: In Search of Erotic Intelligence Audiobook, by Esther Perel Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (602 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Esther Perel Narrator: Esther Perel Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2006 ISBN: 9780061243608
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Why does great sex so often fade for couples who claim to love each other as much as ever?
Can we want what we already have?
Why does the transition to parenthood so often spell erotic disaster?
Does good intimacy always make for good sex?


Ether Perel takes on these 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 twenty 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Her advice is refreshingly counterintuitive.” 

    Salon.com 

  • “An elegant sociological study, complete with erudite literary and anthropological references.”  

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • “Articulates a poignant and unacknowledged modern crisis for the first time.”  

    Evening Standard (London)

  • “So honest it hurts.”  

    Irish Times 

  • ANPR Best Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rozzinner | 2/15/2014

    " Great book for anyone planning on staying married a long time. Recommend to all my marital therapy clients. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 2/8/2014

    " The author does a remarkable job at articulating what you may have observed about lasting relationships. She offers practical suggestions for couples of all walks of life about how to prolong the romance. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Judith | 2/2/2014

    " When you've been married for a long time, it's difficult to get passionate about your mate because lust and trust don't mix well. Tell me something new. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Willa Grant | 2/2/2014

    " This book confirmed my beliefs about intimacy & separateness & how these pertain to a good sex life. I am glad she is not a "Just have more sex" therapist. If your sex life is lousy having more lousy sex is not the answer. Great book- I recommend it for any committed couple. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel | 1/29/2014

    " my feelings about this book are all over the map. at times I fervently agreed and at others I had a knee-jerk feeling of dissent which I had difficulty articulating. I guess I don't buy fully into the premise that eroticism and passion are diminished by intimacy, but I'm humble enough to admit that my thoughts on this may change over the years. anyway for the thoughtful analysis and for the good suggestions contained within, I'm comfortable giving Mating in Captivity 4 stars while reserving the right to change my mind when I reread this in a few years - and I definitely will be rereading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine | 1/27/2014

    " Holy erotic intelligence : ) I learned so much more about what I already knew and then some. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi | 1/14/2014

    " Hilarious as an audiobook! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elyssa | 1/4/2014

    " Well-written and thorough exploration into the difficulties of balancing passion with domesticity. The author, a psychologist, offers case studies of her clients as well as solutions to this dilemma. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine Jackson | 12/24/2013

    " Beautiful book about maintaining the mystery, otherness, and passion in long-term relationships. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rif Saurous | 11/29/2013

    " Discussion of how to keep passion alive in long-term relationships. Mostly very well-written. The sections on open relationships were a little narrow-minded, but it's often much worse. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tara | 11/18/2013

    " Interesting, and thought provoking, but contains little in the way of solutions. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Deborah | 4/14/2013

    " She makes a great point, that people tend to lose the will to make life exciting in favor of security once they are married. The problem was that each example she used illustrated the same point and I felt this book only needed to be a thesis. I'll try reading it again sometime, I hope. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Terri Trespicio | 2/3/2013

    " A must for anyone who's in a relationship or wants to be. So, that includes about all of us. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Malineg lewis | 1/9/2013

    " Interesting. Not for the faint of heart. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert Mcdiarmid | 12/27/2012

    " Well - much of this book concentrates on the impact of having children on heterosexual couples. so not a great deal of it applied - BUT - the "how to retain erotic intelligence in a long term relationship is a question/situation many of find ourselves in. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Naomi | 10/9/2012

    " More about how to love with respect and how many versions of satisfaction people seek "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 10/3/2012

    " Didn't realize that this was the same author I had seen on a TED X talk recently. Great insight. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate Hill | 5/21/2012

    " Ha ha I am laughing about the fact that I am reading this. A friend gave it to me and it's really quite interesting! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nhd110 | 5/20/2012

    " Amazing read. I saw her speak and she's a gifted couples therapist and speaker. She has a special coming out on HBO next year and a few great articles on the Huffington Post. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosie | 3/22/2012

    " This book is really good for those interested in a more psychological look at sex and monogamy. It's very interesting how the author explores some of the challenges married couples tend to face over time in relationships. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ioana | 9/26/2011

    " Just read it. And keep and open mind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel Ronan | 6/27/2011

    " Loved it. It's a great book. If you are in a relationship, you should read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ioana | 5/6/2011

    " Just read it. And keep and open mind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosie | 2/4/2011

    " This book is really good for those interested in a more psychological look at sex and monogamy. It's very interesting how the author explores some of the challenges married couples tend to face over time in relationships. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirsti | 1/28/2011

    " This book was interesting given my field. I liked her approach with clients and her open minded approach to sexual taboos. Although good, I didn't find this book as fascinating as "bonk: the curious coupling of sex and science". . . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 12/21/2010

    " Fascinating.

    I had to return this to the library with about two chapters in the middle yet to read. I'd highly recommend this to anyone in a long-term relationship. Dan and I both got a lot out of it, and we are still discussing it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Starfire | 11/21/2010

    " Interesting book that got my mind going in a few different directions. I'm not sure what else to say about it, given that I actually finished it a week and a half ago, but it was definitely interesting reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 10/9/2010

    " I think this just changed my perceptions in a big way. Enlightening and enjoyable, with no pat advice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terri | 1/20/2010

    " good read about couples therapy and how to remain connected to your partner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kj | 9/22/2009

    " This was a very interesting view of relationships and the valuable separateness we feel even when we're trying hardest to come together. I liked the emphasis on opening the need to keep some independence and perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Theresa | 9/22/2009

    " The title says it all. Writing is smart, engaging, and clear. Not self-helpy. It gets in there about a topic everyone wants to be good at - keeping it fresh and full of fire while keeping up with our adult lives. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kimberly | 8/3/2009

    " I read this to help with my work as a couple's therapist. I think that anyone who reads this book would enhance their intimacy with their partner. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robert | 7/30/2009

    " Perel makes some interesting observations toward the end of the book, but spends a bit too much time relating anecdotes for the first 100 pages or so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rozzinner | 6/26/2009

    " Great book for anyone planning on staying married a long time. Recommend to all my marital therapy clients. "

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About the Author

Esther Perel is a couples and family therapist with a private practice in New York City. She is on the faculty of the International Trauma Studies program at Columbia University, is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy, and has appeared on many television programs, including Oprah, Good Day New York, CBS This Morning, and HBO’s Women Aloud. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.