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If you are on the proverbial market, as you rack up phone swipes, first dates, and—likely—new sexual partners, you might start to ask yourself, Is all this dating going to make me happier with whomever I end up with? Or are you simply stuck on a hedonic treadmill of potential lovers, doomed like some sort of sexual Sisyphus to be perpetually close to finding your soul mate, only to realize—far, far too late—that they are deal-breakingly disappointing? Meanwhile, the lowest odds of marital happiness—about 13 percentage points lower than the one-partner women—belong to women who have had six to 10 sexual partners in their lives.


Of sex and marriage

A typical one might go like this: One spunky young couple has it all. They have wonderful times, wonderful families, spectacular careers. To merge most passionately, we must first be defiantly distinct.

horny woman Lilah

For in love we miss the things we aim at directly. Everything good is bad for you.

eye-candy teen Monroe

A reflection of our inability to love long or well; to appreciate what we have come to know? We do not desire our brother, nor usually even our best friend. Perel is American in both the best sense and the worst in which Europeans use the term: She is American in her can-do conviction that people will live happily ever after.

lonely lady Avery

Many of the most ardent couples have, like Pyramus and Thisbe, retained a barrier between them—whether that barrier was a city block, as with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, or a garden and a monkey pen, as with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Tools of their offspring, they have ceased to live for themselves—and if eroticism needs one thing, it needs a sense of self. She is, after all, to judge from Mating in Captivityan extremely upbeat person and backs off constantly from the disturbing nature of her contentions. Too quickly we assume we understand the persons we love, and put them into. Do you, she asks them, express physical affection?

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It is salutary to remember this, salutary to encourage this, salutary—even—to know this is encouraged, so that we remain unafraid to surprise. She is adept at pinpointing problems; less so at proposing solutions.

Fewer sex partners means a happier marriage

He is the father who dresses his child in Armani and himself in sweatsuits. Because their sex together is good, dear reader, but it is not great. Many a tired husband is shocked when he suddenly sees his wife dance—or flirt, or fight, or take command, or write a poem.

Or at least, who can afford it? Treat each other like trash, and you might notice a discreet rise in sexual tension. It is revelatory—because re-estranging—to encounter our closest companions in contexts unlike those in which we usually confer.

Sex, morality, and modernity: can immanuel kant unite us?

In Subscribe. Sexuality is all about bridging distances—but to bridge distances, you must have distances. It is sometimes by averting our eyes that we see most clearly, and feel most strongly. Stop hugging. Even though she was born in Belgium and schooled in Israel, and speaks eight languages, she is fundamentally, deeply American—indeed, announcing that you speak eight languages is a deeply American thing to do.

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But in its obliqueness lies an advantage. Perel considers this plan a success. Go help the homeless or the victims of war, and let your libido rebound on its own time. It is not by flaying our erotic impulses into banality and duty that we fortify them.

They adore each other. Is this as bankrupt a state as it appears?

Exchanging sex for survival

The Atlantic Crossword. She is American, finally, in her unquestioning assumption that we should work like hell on our sex lives. The question becomes how to maintain such distinctness in a long-term relationship. Part of us wonders if Perel might best advise such couples to get a life —i. We are talking our desire to death. Those who love us best are often the worst enemies of our self-reinvention—and thus the enemies, ironically, of their own serendipitous delight. That said, Perel is onto something.

It needs a sense of greed and want, aggression and emotion, desire and agency. The mother who spends all day arranging playdates for her toddler is the mother who has no time for her own dates. Her recommendations for retaining the distance in which passion can flare are at once gimmicky and tragic.

single girl Beatrice

What the crowds on the Cretan waterfront I presently call home clamor to see is not the fat fish in the display case but the flash of fin in the foam, the glint of gold in the waves, the fleeting copper that the ocean swallows again as quickly as it reveals. They are the men and women who have been desexualized, deindividualized, dehumanized.

Sex and the married man

The ironies of intimacy she discusses in her book are real. We all, as Walt Whitman said, contain multitudes.

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Bad as this is for children who emerge with a sense of entitlement that unfits them for social lifeit is worse for parents. Or might it be construed not as the frailty of eros but, rather, its generosityits largesse, its ambition and strength, that it burns more brightly for a stranger than a sibling, a foreigner than a friend—that it yearns not for its mirror image but rather for an Authentic Other: the man outside the gate, the woman untamed, the interloper?

We must be two before we can be one, said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Popular Latest. And they are worth talking about.

Multiple lovers, without jealousy

We do better to seek pointers in Love in the Western World. The s freed us to look squarely at sex. Nobody rushes to see what is spread out on the sunny asphalt like a dried fish or a flogged octopus. Incalculable woe.

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Because we know how they take their coffee or turn over in bed, we think we know their emotional or moral turbulences, their secret judgments, recurrent temptations. The paradoxes to which she points—that the cozy closeness of marriage does not often promote unruly desire; that children, the fruit of eros, are sometimes simultaneously its end; and that knowing everything about a person domestically or psychologically does not always make one crave that person biblically—are real.

The bored sex

One might reasonably make the argument that if good sex comes at so high a price, who wants it? Erotic love—for all of its attraction to what it recognizes and identifies with—is drawn at least as strongly to what it does not recognize. On this matter, as on others, Perel is brave and right. Our own decade might free us to look at something else besides—to look not more, but deeper.

Sex-offender city

People make love. It is sapping your sexual energy. In truth, it is drawn toward the distant and dangerous more than it is to the sweet, the solicitous, the familiar.

foxy lady Fiona

Stop kissing. When sex becomes the subject of self-improvement, when couples monitor the frequency and intensity—the regularity and reciprocity—of their erotic contact, it becomes as dull a drudgery as their day job, as boring a routine as biceps curls.

Recent women


When I met Jonica Hunter, Sarah Taub, and Michael Rios on a typical weekday afternoon in their tidy duplex in Northern Virginia, a very small part of me worried they might try to convert me.


They have sex about three times a week, which might strike many as enviable, considering that John and Jane—who are in their 40s—have been together for nearly two decades.


Until I was 17, the Catholic schools I attended focused on the teachings of the church.


Driving through Broadview Park, a square-mile neighborhood west of Fort Lauderdale, Randy Young splits his attention between the single-level stucco homes outside his window and the laptop affixed to the dashboard of his Toyota pickup.