Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Book Review: Sex And Love In Intimate Relationships

When I received this book for review, I thought, “Wow! I’ll never make it through to give a review.” I thought it would be a very hard book to read. But, as I began reading, I realized it could hold my attention more than I had previously thought.

The material included in Sex And Love provides for a good look at how our views on our sexuality plays in our every day life. We should be able to talk freely about our sexuality with our mate. The way we view our own body and our mate’s body has lots to do with the satisfaction we come away with. When we learn to love ourselves, we will have no problem loving others.

The book is set in 4 topics:

  • Exploring Sexuality and Love
  • Factors influencing Sexual Development and Adult Sexual Functioning
  • The Defensive Process and Sexuality
  • Therapeutic Approaches to Problems in Sexual Relating

Having never studied psychology, I would rather to have had a book written from the authors’ views rather than all the studies that were cited. I got lost in all the clinical notes (author, year, etc) within the study.

I am looking at this material through the eyes of a Christian, and I would have appreciated a Christian approach to the sexual issue, as well. Early in the book, it was said, and I quote “However, relationships that combine genuine love and sexuality are difficult to find and even more difficult to tolerate and accept.” Being a Christian with a happy , satisfying, and long marriage of 42 years, I believe what we bring to a marriage is what we get out of it. If we bring a distorted view of sexuality, maybe tainted by our own homelife, then, perhaps our relationship will suffer. But, if both of us bring a healthy view of our own sexuality, and a willingness to be patient with each other, then perhaps one can have a long and healthy relationship that combines both genuine love and sexuality. I know that is present in my own marriage. But, it helps to have a God to whom you can rely on, as well.

I was disturbed by an interview from Mazur’s book, The New Intimacy – describing her husband’s infidelity in their marriage. On page 221 -

I didn’t plan on having an open-ended marriage. It simply began to develop that way when I discovered that my husband loves other women besides me; that he’s not monogamous in a traditional way. This realization freed me from the obscenity of possessiveness. Some of my extramarital relationships have been fruitful to me...I do wonder abut the future –there’s a measure of risk and uncertainty in the way we’ve now chosen, but I’m learning not to be afraid to be a person, a woman with worthwhile contributions to make to human society. As a matter of fact, there is a continual excitement about our marital relationship and mutual growing – anything else would be emotional death for us. (p.10).

I am a woman who believes in complete monogamy within a marriage. I have a hard time relating to anything a woman says, who has a ‘continual excitement’ about their marital relationship, when she’s approving of her husband’s adultery! I know this was included in the Exclusive verus NonExclusive relationships section. But, being a follower of Christ, I believe love and sex should be between a husband and wife, and would not have another partner included, whether a twosome, or threesome. It was God’s intention that love was between a man and a woman, and I believe this is the only Union he blesses. One of His commandments is ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’ Exodus 20:14.

Being a Christian, I was put off by the inclusion of material by therapists on homosexuality and bisexuality. I would have preferred a book on sex and love geared to the heterosexual population alone. Also, this book is strictly for adults, since there is material here not intended for young people.

Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships, authored by Robert W. Firestone, Lisa A. Firestone, and Joyce Catlett – published by American Psychological Association, was given to me by Mind and Media, free of charge, for a review of the book only.

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