Mating in Captivity - book by Harper Collins - review by Kayla

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Mating in Captivity

Book by Harper Collins

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Domestic Mating Issues for Therapists

"Mating in Captivity" is a neat book that really helps explain some of the reasons that sex dies out in relationships. However, this isn't really intended as a self-help book - it's more academic.
Very dry, academic wording, not really for couples
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
"Mating In Captivity" is a hardcover book published by Harper Collins and written by Esther Perel. The inner pages are all black and white and typed in an easy-to-read format. The book has 244 pages which are split into 11 chapters. This book also has a book jacket which protects the book from harm. The front of the book shows a couple laying on the front with the tagline "Reconciling the Erotic the Domestic". The back just shows some advance praise for the book. Honestly, with the front and back, you should probably easily get away with saying that you were reading this for a college class or just for knowledge. It doesn't look trashy nor "erotic" in any way.

The thing to know about this book is that I honestly wouldn't recommend it to couples to read to try and reconcile their differences. This seems like it was written more towards someone who wants to help other couples or someone who just wants to learn about what problems face couples. However, it doesn't really help much in terms of a self-help book for couples.

One of the biggest reasons it doesn't help is because the book is pretty dry. If a couple manages to make it through this entire book, I'd be surprised. Most of the writing is pretty academic and uses lots of big words. (Which makes it sound like I think people are stupid, but I don't. I just know I don't enjoy reading large words shuffled together for amusement.) While Esther did a good job of sounding academic and like she knew what she was talking about, it unfortunately doesn't apply well for the average audience reading this book. It ends up reading more like you are reading a textbook then any sort of recreational novel. If you want to read a textbook on the subject, then that's perfectly fine, but don't go in reading this like it's a recreational book. (If you want an example of the type of language that this book uses, just check out the EF description.)

Esther spends a lot of this book talking about why sexual relationships go downhill after the two of you become comfortable with one another. She basically states that they go downhill because people end up thinking of their partner as a friend and things get comfortable. It also has something to do with the novelty of your partner wearing off as well as you don't want to put as much effort into the relationship as you used to. None of the ideas offered in this book are amazingly new, but I still feel like I learned quite a bit by opening this book. While she didn't really offer much in the way of concrete examples on how to change things, (like a how-to guide) she did explain why she thought things happened as well as gave examples of a couple with the problem and how they fixed it.

I think the examples in this book were probably the most interesting part which is saying something. Unfortunately, like I said, most of this book was dry, and I ended up not wanting to read through it a very fast pace. Most books I pick up and want to continue. This book I wanted to put down - it's just a look of information, and like I said, it reads like a textbook, so it's dry with large, academic words. The examples, however, were written in more simple words with the author just telling the story of one of the couples that she's counseled. She talks about their problem, why it was a problem, why she thinks the problem was caused, and how the problem ended up being fixed. The examples ended up being the parts I looked forward to reading since the rest of the book was a bit dry - the examples read really easily and were interesting.

I certainly wouldn't recommend this book to couples who are looking to help improve their sex life. SuperHotSex or Supersex for Life are a lot more exciting and easy to read to improve your adult life. However, if you want to know the reasons behind it in an academic manner, Mating in Captivity is a good book to check out. If you also are interested in counseling others through their marital problems, this is a good book. However, for the sake of your sanity (and memory retention) treat this like a regular college textbook and only read a chapter or so at a time.
As a sidenote about the book: Since reading it, I've seen in referenced in three other sex-help books which is amazing. It's considered an authority on the subject of long-term relationships and sex, but it just wasn't intended for the average reader.
Follow-up commentary
I've actually found that this book is quoted in a lot of other sex books as being one of the leading, well-researched books on how eroticism leaves a relationship. I haven't re-read it, but I do hold it in higher regard than I did before. I still wouldn't recommend it as a self-help book, but if you want to know more about human sexuality, it's a good read.
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  • Naughty Student
    Wow, I thought the idea about the book was to give advice on how to get out of the whole, so to speak. Thanks the for the great review!
  • Sammi
    This sounds interesting, but I would have expected it to be more self-help.
    Great review!
  • ~LaUr3n~
    Hmmm doesn't sound worth my time. Thanks for the heads up!
  • Alicia
    Thanks for the review! Sounds like an interesting book, but probably not for me!
  • P'Gell
    It sounds like one of those books where people decide to publish their dissertation or thesis as a book. "I put a lot of work into this. I'll make some money on it." These are always dry and somewhat boring.

    I also disagree with the author's hypothesis. My Man and I have been together {mumbles} years, and we are as hot for each other than ever.

    Thank you for the review. One more book I don't have to read.
  • kck
    I hate it when the author's words make what is supposed to be an inclusive discussion an exclusive read. Academese is alienating to the layman! Sheesh! Thanks for the review
  • freshbananas
    this sounds really interesting! Thanks
  • jankit
    Too bad about it being such a dry read... the topic itself sounds interesting. Thanks for the review.
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