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Publisher's Summary

Esther Perel takes on 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 20 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.

©2006 Esther Perel (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers

What the critics say

"As revelatory as it is straightforward....Perel sanctions fantasy and play and offers the estranged modern couple a unique richness of experience." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Mating in Captivity

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Refreshing look at the erotic marriage

Wonderful insights into the many reasons our sex lives can struggle in long term relationships. Intimacy isn't the only issue that could hamper a healthy sex life. I recommend this to any couple (gay, straight, or non-monogamous) that is generally happy with their relationship but is struggling in the bedroom with no sex, boring sex, or shitty sex. Esther explores how our early experiences in life and the culture we grow up in, influence our expectations and needs in the erotic realm. One size does not fit all. Sex does not follow the rules of egalitarianism that pervades the rest of our relationships. What is comforting and cultivated outside the bedroom may hamper or abilities to objectify and find pleasure from our partner. It's not often I find a therapy book that I think men would enjoy as well as women and I think this one hits the mark.

8 people found this helpful

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Reconciling the Erotic & the Domestic

Psychotherapist Esther Perel tackles the paradox of modern love. She explores why it's hard to want what you already have, even in the most committed and loving relationship. Good read.

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing insight

I absolutely loved this audiobook. The insight into working Eros into the domestic is one I have never heard before. I have put some of these suggestions into how I communicate with my spouse and have found them to be very valid and validating.

3 people found this helpful

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Truthful, Triggering & Transformational

If you're considering this book, it probably comes from a place of pain, as well as deep love. You've come to the right place. Prepare to be triggered! This book goes DEEP. Incredibly enlightening, I cannot ever look at relationships in the same way. A masterful compendium of wisdom gathered through a career defined by courage, curiosity, and care. 5 stars across the board. I wish I had read this book many years ago. Required reading for all those who care about passion in relationships.

2 people found this helpful

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Out dates view points

I would say it’s a pretty good book over all. Just think the author at the time of writing this has some view points that are a bit outdated for 2020. Would be interested to see if they have changed their mind.

1 person found this helpful

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amazing book

This is a great book on cultivating passion & eroticism. I highly recommend it to every adult.

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A must to read for all committed relationships

This book is an eye opener for the meaning of love and sex within committed relationships. Highly recommended for couples who are seeking to reignite their erotic lives together.

1 person found this helpful

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Transformed my understanding of sexuality!

This book is the first one I've read (heard) that REALLY helped me to understand how my background and experiences have influenced my views of sex and eroticism in my marriage.
Please read it or listen to it! Now that I understand this better I am asking myself all kinds of questions about what I want and how to better connect with my spouse when this has seemed like work in the past. I'm excited to build on what I have learned instead of intimidated and I'll equipped to move forward.

The author narrates and I loved that because it felt like I was actually getting advice and insight from her more than just reading.

Highly recommend!!!!

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  • Ash
  • 2019-10-03

Eye opening and exciting!

It was great to see author’s non judgemental point of view and bringing lights into this forbidden topic of sex and eroticism. It does a great job portraying the contradiction between love and desire and how to maintain the spark in a relationship. Great read!

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Amazing

To the people involved in putting together this research. Thank you for helping us look at real facts and feelings.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Eric
  • 2018-12-03

Slices of life

This book is a litany of filler story after filler story of couples not having sex, with no solution offered whatsoever. Her reading is really bad, and her accent is distracting from the content.

36 people found this helpful

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  • John Elliott
  • 2018-09-01

Advice for a French surrender monkey

Short story is this, if you are having an affair, lying about it, and want to feel good about the lying and feel better about breaking your contract between your children, parents, friends, loved ones, and lover, then get this. Then maybe you'll feel better about being an ass who surrenders your most important commitments to your genitals.

If you want to add spark to a real marriage, look elsewhere.

But, if you prefer a fake marriage built around lies, read this book. I say strive to be more, and continue evolving. It is like our society has decided that merging with a more primitive monkey-like behavior is some sort of advancement. If you were to say these monkey type passions were right to act on, then it would be equally right to kill the invading mate.

41 people found this helpful

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  • forsale18
  • 2017-09-20

Useless

This literally just talks about cases with patients the author has handled. No practical detailed advice or suggestions.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Mary
  • 2021-06-25

Ignore the naysaying. The book is fantastic.

Do you want committed, connected love to stay hot? Do you think it’s impossible, but wish it weren’t? Haven’t you seen the rare couples for whom it is true? Listen to the book. Ester Perel is a jewel with a very good point.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-10-28

Horrible Narrator

there is probably some wonderful information here but I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes. You have to put all your energy and attention toward just understanding the words and you dont really get to listen to the advice.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Fredonna Walker
  • 2020-07-03

Every adult should listen to this one!

There are so many ways to be happily married AND happy sexually, and in this book Esther Perel lays them open for examination. It's about as far from a one-size-fits-all approach as you can get. and it treats everyone's preferences with respect. I deeply appreciate this book.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel Jorge Guerra
  • 2021-04-27

You can't love without honesty ...to yourslef

...and of course to whom you love. You cannot disregard eroticism in order to take car of love. The secret is you can have a fullfiling erotic and love life even in the long term. Just mind there is no one size fits all solution. In this book guided by Esther's experience, wisdom and down to earth warm tone she shares her observations on various couples there strugle, gulit or abandonment of their erotic life and theirselves and in each case how to reclaim it all back. One of my favorite audibles to date.

6 people found this helpful

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  • john burke
  • 2021-12-09

Poetic Observations, Some Insight, Few Conclusions

Perel has a very poetic style of writing and speaking. Her stance and approach seem very French to me (although she's Belgian by nationality) by that I mean removed, evasive with few if any conclusions. I found she was way too comfortable with the discomfort of her female patients particularly with the woman who's husband wanted to enact s&m fantasies on her. As psychotherapist I'm shocked she didn't dig deeper with the patients and their background. I get a sense she wasn't asking many questions in session rather taking notes....to be later used for a book. It's helpful book in the sense it opens up dialogue and nuance around subjects that are often unspoken but anything more substantial or tangible I'm unsure. I actually loved her accent/performance.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Yulia Popova
  • 2021-10-06

Good book

Not sure if I learned anything though... I wish the writer just hired a professional narrator. Was hard to listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • David Zehntner
  • 2021-09-07

Boring with a good title

I highly suggest skipping this one. She just talks about sex stories some of her patients have, but even that isn’t interesting. The book reminds me of typical therapy where there are no solutions and no understanding.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Alexandre QUACH
  • 2018-11-22

Aller plus loin que ses Conférences

Ce livre est une mine de sagesse et d'ouverture d'esprit. Esther Perel, qui fait déjà d'excellente conférence, va plus loin et plus précis dans cet audiobook lu elle même. Un must !

1 person found this helpful