Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kerner -- How to put the "OOO" back in "Mattress Mambo"

What comes to mind when you hear the word "sex"? Do you smile? Do you scowl? Or do you just roll your eyes because, "who has time?" Does the thought make your heart race with pleasure or anxiety?

While the mechanics of sex are fairly simple, the other aspects of sex can get pretty complicated and emotionally charged.

Everyday stresses, strains, and past hurts don't knock on our bedroom door -- they sneak underneath like a nonchalant breeze. Sometimes you don't even notice the toxicity until there's a marked change. By then, is it too late?

Ian Kerner has a PhD and several books about sex/dating/relationships. His newest book, Sex Detox, not only addresses this fact of life but professes to put a couple back on the path of, ahem, "passionate persuits".

According to Kerner, "American sex lives are broken" and "we cannot seem to make them whole."

In a nutshell, his message? Its not about getting freaky-deaky as much as it is about intimacy. When you have a deep connection with your partner, you have a much higher chance of sexual fulfillment when you are doing the matress mambo.

Kerner's approach? He talks a bit about "neuroplasticity" which involves the brain's way of rewiring itself. (Like learning new, healthy habits to replace the old unhealthy ones.) He believes that we can retrain our brains and get rid of the unhealthy attitudes and action, thus paving the way to a healthier, happier romantic relationship. This is where he introduces his readers to the term, "reORDERng" which means to "observe, recognize, de-couple, engage, and regulate. "

The 30-day process does take commitment as well as some reading each day. Kerner's tone is friendly, not preachy. And you need not be in a long term, relationship in order to see results. Kerner also devotes a large chunk of the book to singletons.

But do you know what I found most refreshing about this book? He includes same sex couples! This is the FIRST relationship book I've ever read that includes gay and lesbian couples, citing them as well as straight couples in varied examples! (Gay/lesbian couples face many of the same problems straight couples face, so why shouldn't they be included?)

You are wondering if I took the "30-day challenge", aren't cha? Um, no. But for reasons I can't blog about, sorry. But in reading the book I have become inspired to try his techniques. (Though I'd bet you my entire savings that if I brought this book to my husband he'd be making fun of me for the next month just because I expressed an interest. But that doesn't mean all men will be opposed to the book.)

The second last page of the book, for me, was the most uplifting and profound.

"The goal of the program is not to find a spouse for the sake of being married. The goal is to get rid of your prefabricated pictures and checklists and learn to trust your own instincts...

"I often tell people that dating and maintaining relationships... is like acquiring a piece of art: We should wait to be struck and captivated by someone we want to take home and frame. But too often we do the opposite: We walk around with our frames, desperately trying to fit others into them... we carry those frames with us into our intimate relationships, where they shape our expectations and ultimately, our disappointments... Worse, our frames also become shields, blocking others from getting through."

Insightful advice indeed.

This review was written on behalf of Parent Bloggers Network.


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