Monogamy: Book Review

"A couple is a conspiracy in search of a crime. Sex is often the closest they can get. " Adam Phillips.

Phillips, in his book, tantalizingly explores how societal ideals of monogamy color our assumptions about love, sex, passion, self-pleasuring, jealousy, identity and relationships.

The book consists of 121 miniature essays (if they can be called that), ranging in length from a single sentence to several paragraphs spread over a page or two , a collection of psychoanalytic fortune cookie messages bound up in a book. The effect, alas, is more jarring than enlightening. Phillips is an epigrammatic writer, to be sure, but in his longer essays his flashes of insight are located securely within larger trains of thought.

Reading the excerpts below may give you some idea about his writing style:

"Profoundly committed to the better life, the promiscuous, like the monogamous, are idealists. Both are deranged by hope, in awe of reassurance, impressed by their pleasures. We should not be too quick to set them against each other. At their best, they are both the enemies of cynicism. It is the cynical who are dispiriting because they are always getting their disappointment in first. "

"At its best monogamy may be the wish to find someone to die with; at its worst it is a cure for the terrors of aliveness. They are easily confused. "

"No one gets the relationship they deserve. For some people this is a cause of unending resentment, for some people it is the source of unending desire. And for some people the most important thing is that they have found something that doesn't end. "

Me and my wife love all his books. I recommend every couple to read this book.

Author: Neo

Jealousy: Book Revew.

This book, first published in 1977 by Prentice Hall, is an integrated anthology of writings on jealousy that will be useful to researchers, students, helping professionals, and to individuals and couples seeking a better understanding of their feelings and relationships. The book includes nineteen chapters on various aspects of jealousy by sociologists, psychologists, and three perceptive journalists. It is the standard reference work on jealousy. Exploring issues related to psychotherapy and self-understanding, it encourages an emphasis on "normal" jealousy, rather than pathological jealousy. The book concludes that most jealousy is best understood as a "relationship" problem, rather than as a personal problem rooted in the psychological inadequacies of one individual.  The pictures below are from that first edition.

Writers  of the book:

GORDON CLANTON, Ph.D., teaches sociology at San Diego State University. He is a pioneer in the sociology of emotions, with special attention to love, jealousy, and envy. He has discussed jealousy on "Donahue," 20/20 and other television and radio programs.
LYNN G. SMITH, Ph.D., is a social psychologist who specializes in corporate planning and evaluation for non-profit organizations in San Francisco

I highly recommend this book for the couples considering swinging lifestle and having concerns on jealousy.

Author : Neo

Love, love me do

Love, love me do

Scanning the brains of people in love is also helping to refine science's grasp of love's various forms. Helen Fisher, a researcher at Rutgers University, and the author of a new book on love*, suggests it comes in three flavours: lust, romantic love and long-term attachment. There is some overlap but, in essence, these are separate phenomena, with their own emotional and motivational systems, and accompanying chemicals. These systems have evolved to enable, respectively, mating, pair-bonding and parenting.
Lust, of course, involves a craving for sex. Jim Pfaus, a psychologist at Concordia University, in Montreal, says the aftermath of lustful sex is similar to the state induced by taking opiates. A heady mix of chemical changes occurs, including increases in the levels of serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin and endogenous opioids (the body's natural equivalent of heroin). “This may serve many functions, to relax the body, induce pleasure and satiety, and perhaps induce bonding to the very features that one has just experienced all this with”, says Dr Pfaus.

Then there is attraction, or the state of being in love (what is sometimes known as romantic or obsessive love). This is a refinement of mere lust that allows people to home in on a particular mate. This state is characterised by feelings of exhilaration, and intrusive, obsessive thoughts about the object of one's affection. Some researchers suggest this mental state might share neurochemical characteristics with the manic phase of manic depression. Dr Fisher's work, however, suggests that the actual behavioural patterns of those in love — such as attempting to evoke reciprocal responses in one's loved one — resemble obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

That raises the question of whether it is possible to “treat” this romantic state clinically, as can be done with OCD. The parents of any love-besotted teenager might want to know the answer to that. Dr Fisher suggests it might, indeed, be possible to inhibit feelings of romantic love, but only at its early stages. OCD is characterised by low levels of a chemical called serotonin. Drugs such as Prozac work by keeping serotonin hanging around in the brain for longer than normal, so they might stave off romantic feelings. (This also means that people taking anti-depressants may be jeopardising their ability to fall in love.) But once romantic love begins in earnest, it is one of the strongest drives on Earth. Dr Fisher says it seems to be more powerful than hunger. A little serotonin would be unlikely to stifle it.

Wonderful though it is, romantic love is unstable — not a good basis for child-rearing. But the final stage of love, long-term attachment, allows parents to co-operate in raising children. This state, says Dr Fisher, is characterised by feelings of calm, security, social comfort and emotional union.

Because they are independent, these three systems can work simultaneously — with dangerous results. As Dr Fisher explains, “you can feel deep attachment for a long-term spouse, while you feel romantic love for someone else, while you feel the sex drive in situations unrelated to either partner.” This independence means it is possible to love more than one person at a time, a situation that leads to jealousy, adultery and divorce — though also to the possibilities of promiscuity and polygamy, with the likelihood of extra children, and thus a bigger stake in the genetic future, that those behaviours bring.

The stages of love vary somewhat between the sexes. Lust, for example, is aroused more easily in men by visual stimuli than is the case for women. This is probably why visual pornography is more popular with men. And although both men and women express romantic love with the same intensity, and are attracted to partners who are dependable, kind, healthy, smart and educated, there are some notable differences in their choices, while men are more attracted to youth and beauty.

Source: Economist
Date: 12 February 2004

Sperm Wars: Book Rewiew

In his book Sperm Wars, Robin Baker speculated that the excitement and stimulation of the candaulist fetish emerges from the biology of sexuality and the effects of sexual arousal on the brain. According to his theory, when a male believes that his female mate may have been sexual with another male, the male mate is prompted by biological urges to copulate with the female, in an effort to "compete" with the other males' sperm. The effects of sperm competition are well documented. Further, when initiating sex, the male mate thrusts harder, deeper and longer, in efforts to remove the sperm of the other male, and is biologically driven to have sex multiple times. While he may be unable to have sex more than once under usual circumstances, the cuckolded male is prone to repeated sexual efforts. Meanwhile, the wife enjoys greater sexual stimulation, first by her other male lover and second by her husband. In addition, the wife enjoys the neurochemical "highs" triggered by entering into a romantic or physical relationship with another lover. These highs include the effects of oxytocin and other neurochemicals which trigger excitement, euphoria and other feelings common to the beginnings of romantic relationships. These neurochemicals change over time, and as a relationship persists, with neurochemicals changing to ones that promote bonding, planning and nurturing. When a wife takes a new lover, she triggers the neurochemicals of a new relationship, bringing home excitement to her husband.

From Publishers Weekly

The major force in the shaping of human sexuality, claims British biologist Baker in this highly unorthodox study, is "sperm warfare," the competition among sperm from two or more men competing inside a woman to fertilize the egg. In this theory, biological imperatives shaped by evolution dictate sexual behavior. Male sexual behavior is driven by each man's need to prevent his female sexual partner from exposing his sperm to competition; or, failing that, to give his sperm the best chance of winning. A woman's sexual behavior, meanwhile, reflects her urge to maneuver her partner or to influence which male's sperm will have the best chance of succeeding. Baker views infidelity, group sex, partner-swapping, even rape and prostitution as risky strategies that nevertheless may enhance an individual's reproductive success compared with long-term monogamy. Men, he says, pursue four reproductive strategies: bisexuality, pursuit or avoidance of sperm warfare and a balancing of this pursuit/avoidance. Just which strategy a male is programmed to adopt will depend largely on his rate of sperm production. Baker's treatise unfolds as a series of graphic, fictional sex scenes, each followed by interpretive commentary. Its reliance on evolutionary biology to explain human behavior is reductionist, much in the manner of the writings of "selfish gene" proponent Richard Dawkins, but it is also challenging, intellectually provocative and likely to raise considerable and deserved debate.

Author: Neo

Insatiable Wives: Book Rewiew

   Clinical psychologist Ley forges into new territory to examine the long-lived, but little-known "hotwife phenomenon." In extensive interviews with couples, Ley discovers educated, successful individuals with strong, healthy marriages in which wives are allowed, and expected, to sleep with other men. These couples demonstrate high degrees of communication and mutual respect while also asserting that the lifestyle, initiated by the wives, has strengthened their marriages. Interviews lead Ley to track the origins of monogamy and the reasons why "female sexuality was constrained in our society and history," including analysis of the term "cuckoldry," the evolution of laws designed to protect the family, and the Madonna/whore dichotomy, alongside the medical and societal costs of keeping women under sexual lock-and-key. Well-written and thoroughly researched, Ley's survey of an evolving marriage lifestyle highlights qualities vital to any relationship, especially honest and consistent communication.

From the Author

  I wrote this book in order to better understand the marriages and sexual practices of a unique group of people who choose to engage in sexual behaviors that most societies have condemned and labeled as taboo. Along the way, I learned a tremendous amount about female and male sexuality, and about the integral ingredients of healthy marriages. This book is not about my own sexuality, any more than it is about the sexuality of all men and women, and all husbands and wives. Whether you are interested in this lifestyle or not, this book will change the way you look at sexuality within (and without) a marriage

About the Author

  Dr. David J. Ley is a Clinical Psychologist in practice in Albuquerque, NM. He is Executive Director of New Mexico Solutions and Director of Clinical Development at River Valley Consulting. He has worked with a specialty in sexuality since 1999.

Author: Neo