August 23, 2007
Author’s advice on sex and intimacy makes her hot stuff
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Perel disagrees with those among her colleagues who would say that sex is a metaphor for the relationship, and that improving the emotional connection will similarly enhance the sexual connection. She sees sexual and emotional intimacy as two separate languages.
"I would like to restore the body to its rightful prominent place in discussions about couples and eroticism. The body often contains emotional truths that words can too easily gloss over," she writes.
"It's not that I'm against closeness," she says, but suggests that couples keep some mystery between them, that less talk can be more.
She writes about fantasy and the importance of playfulness and about infidelity and the challenges of parenthood. In Perel's view, sexlessness transcends religion and background.
That she has written this book sometimes surprises Perel. A talented public speaker who led a downtown salon for several years, she didn't think "paper was where I'd land." For about five years, she had been, as she describes it, an author in search of a topic, when the editor of the Psychotherapy Networker magazine asked her what she was thinking about.
"I'm thinking about Americans and sex," she replied, aware that it made for interesting dinner conversation, but not sure she had enough material. So she wrote an article -- actually, she wrote 11 versions of the article before it was published and then republished in the Utne Reader, where it was spotted by several book agents.
Several translations use variations on the cover. In the Hebrew and British editions, the bed sheets are white. The German features a red lily, and the Spanish cover carries a red sneaker and a black high heel. A few make use of the title of her original article, "Erotic Intelligence."
Sandee Brawarsky is book critic for The Jewish Week.
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