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Published in 1997 by W. W. Norton & Co. (hard cover)
Published in 1998 by Owl Books (Henry Holt & Co., paperback)
Re-released in 2009 by W. W. Norton & Co. (paperback)
After 12 years helping couples around the world, Passionate Marriage is being re-released in the United States on April 27, 2009 (W.W. Norton & Co.) with a new forward and key-concepts guide based on reader’s comments.
Has sex with your partner become routine and unfulfilling? Up until now, most therapists would recommend a few changes in technique to spice things up. But renowned sex and marital therapist David Schnarch proposes in his groundbreaking book that, while this traditional approach might jump-start arousal, it often destroys intimacy in the process.
Dr. David goes beyond simply curing sexual dysfunctions to show couples how to grow closer in their marriage. Bringing passion to your love life involves more than mood music and clever techniques. In PASSIONATE MARRIAGE: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships, he makes available to the general public his highly successful and untraditional approach to sex and marital therapy. He reveals how a passionate sex life requires each person to face the anxiety of defining himself/herself while getting closer to their partner, a process he calls differentiation.
Differentiation involves changing the way we think about marriage: Instead of seeing it as the merging of two people into one, as has often been taught, we must learn to maintain a sense of ourselves as distinct from our partner in order to become closer to him/her. Gaining more differentiation is not easy-and Dr. David warns that any “expert” who promises Eros and intimacy in ten easy steps should not be trusted. Sexual encounters provide perfect opportunities to differentiate and develop the strength to love deeply.
Mixing humor and compassion, Dr. David describes couples’ explicit sexual encounters and dramatic therapy sessions to demonstrate how they found personal, marital, and sexual fulfillment far greater than they ever dreamed possible. Every sexual exchange, from kissing to daring erotic behaviors, is a graphic picture of how you and your partner feel about yourselves and each other outside the bedroom. He goes beyond simply curing sexual dysfunctions to help people achieve their sexual potential. For some that means the jolt of “wall-socket sex” and experiences of sexual transcendence.
Passionate Marriage offers explicit discussion of sexual behavior, practical tips, and details of couples’ going through the “people-growing” crucibles inherent in emotionally committed relationships.
In this respectful, erotic, uplifting, and spiritual guide to sexual and emotional fulfillment, Dr. David seeks to bring out the best in each of us, to help us love on life’s terms, and to develop an invigorating adult sexuality.
“Passionate Marriage is about resilience rather than damage, health rather than old wounds, intimacy and eroticism rather than techniques, and human potential rather than trauma.” Dr. David Schnarch
“Books for a Better Life” Award Nominee
Passionate Marriage: Sex, Love, and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships was one of five books nominated by a panel of 21 judges from 300 entries for the “Books for a Better Life” Award. This award is given for “books that have changed the lives of millions and their authors have become a major force in American culture.”