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Mating in Captivity Audiobook Summary

A New York City therapist examines the paradoxical relationship between domesticity and sexual desire and explains what it takes to bring lust home.

One of the world’s most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.

Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships. Wise, witty, and as revelatory as it is straightforward, Mating in Captivity is a sensational book that will transform the way you live and love.

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Mating in Captivity Audiobook Narrator

Esther Perel is the narrator of Mating in Captivity audiobook that was written by Esther Perel

Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships.  Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world.  Her celebrated TED Talks have garnered more than 30 million views and her international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence is a global phenomenon that has been translated into nearly 30 languages.  Her newest book is the New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs:  Rethinking Infidelity.  Esther is also an executive producer and host of the popular podcasts Where Should We Begin? and How’s Work?  Learn more at EstherPerel.com or by following @EstherPerelOfficial on Instagram.  

About the Author(s) of Mating in Captivity

Esther Perel is the author of Mating in Captivity

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Mating in Captivity Full Details

Narrator Esther Perel
Length 8 hours 11 minutes
Author Esther Perel
Publisher HarperAudio
Release date September 05, 2006
ISBN 9780061243608


The publisher of the Mating in Captivity is HarperAudio. includes the following subjects: The BISAC Subject Code is Interpersonal Relations, Psychology

Additional info

The publisher of the Mating in Captivity is HarperAudio. The imprint is HarperAudio. It is supplied by HarperAudio. The ISBN-13 is 9780061243608.

Global Availability

This book is only available in the United States.

Goodreads Reviews


May 15, 2008

If you're in a long-term relationship, or ever want to be in one, you must read this book. It tells you how to have the security, stability, comfort, etc that are requirements for a healthy a LT relationship while at the same time creating the uncertainty, mystery, and risk that are requirements for passion. The author is a therapist in NY and draws on cases to illustrate her points. It's engaging, the topic is fascinating, and Perel has some refreshingly smart suggestions for maintaining or recapturing eroticism in relationships. Note that this book probably won't resonate with everybody: some of her suggestions have a healthy disregard for the status quo, which the iconoclastic realist in me appreciates.As an (um) firm believer that if people had better sex lives, the world would be a happier place, take my advice: don't sleep on this one!


July 30, 2012

The author is a European, kink-and-alternative-lifestyle-friendly relationship therapist. It was quite refreshing to have her non-judgmental viewpoint on most issues of sexuality. She maintains throughout the book that in order to develop intimacy between two people, there needs to be some separateness. Which is a problem in this American society where our mate is supposed to be everything to us. There's a struggle in finding another person erotic and sexy when there's too much comfort and security.She supports her claims by providing case studies of her clients, whose information has been made anonymous. She'll outline their problems, help them examine them in depth and then try to guide them toward a solution without making a moral issue of their behaviors, actions or desires.She has some great ideas all around, especially when it comes to the fact that sexual fantasies are absolutely nothing like any other non-sexual fantasies and daydreams people have. With a typical daydream, you fantasize about what you want. A sexual fantasy is not so straightforward.I was a bit troubled when I got to her brief chapter on non-monogamy. Though she doesn't seem opposed to it, she also strikes me as alarmingly supportive of monogamy, or at least emotional monogamy. She is very open to the idea of sexual trysts outside a committed relationship, but with all the talk of maintaining a separate sense of self to keep intimacy alive between couples, I'm actually a bit shocked that she doesn't explore polyamory *at all*.Those bits aside, I found it a thoughtful and helpful book, confirming a lot of conclusions I'd long ago made about sex and intimacy.


December 27, 2014

"Joni is quite forthcoming in disclosing her sexual past... But when I ask her, 'What does sex mean to you? What are the feelings that accompany your desire? What do you seek in sex? What do you want to feel? To express? Where do you hold back?' she looks at me, perplexed. 'I have no idea,' she admits. 'No one's ever asked me that before.'"No one's ever asked me that before.Sex is simple—two people (occasionally more), in the same time, in the same place, with the same idea—that's all it is, all it takes. Look at things at a slightly different angle, and things get complicated fast.Paradox underlies every meaningful human experience. As Perel writes beautifully: "We find the same polarities in every system: stability and change, passion and reason, personal interest and collective well-being, action and reflection (to name but a few). These tensions exist in individuals, in couples, and in large organizations. They express dynamics that are part of the very nature of reality... you can't choose one over the other; the system needs both to survive." In this book, Perel explores the polarity of desire and intimacy in modern relationships. She shows that the tension between exciting sex and loving companionship is difficult for many couples to reconcile because it is by nature irreconcilable. We want to believe that passion is intimacy and vice versa, but to do so would be to equate stability and change, or action and reflection. It makes no sense to do so. The idea that the firmer the grasp we have on someone the less we want them is a cliche, but it is also so threatening to certain romantic ideals that we don't examine the mechanics that drive it too closely. We pathologize things instead: the need for erotic variety is commitment phobia, self-destructive chauvinism, or daddy or mommy issues; while the desire for stability can make one seem or feel needy, controlling, or manipulative. We don't realize that it is quite normal to need and want both stimulation and regularity from our romantic and sexual experiences at the same time.Perel avoids simple answers and exposes many sticky assumptions that underlie even relatively sophisticated people's (feminists and the men who love them, LGBT couples, etc.) approaches to love and sex. It's not their (okay, our) fault.Nor is it a specific failing of 21st century American society. My one big gripe with this book is that Perel does the social science thing wherein our struggle with reconciling passion and intimacy in our sexual relationships is a new thing... sexual equality and the pill divorced the institution of marriage from its economic and reproductive purpose and blah-de-blah. I call bullshit. Feminism and birth control have shaped the paradox in a certain way, and perhaps made it difficult to talk about with clarity. However, marriage, the monogamous ideal, has never been only about economics and reproduction and preserving male power. It's always also been about love and sex, intensity and familiarity, trust and risk, as well. Today, as then, there are people who settle for stability without passion. Today, as then, there are people who refuse to settle. Today, as then, neither type are automatically better people than the other because of the type that they are.It's nice, however, to read a thoughtful book whose soul is half poetry, half clinical rhetoric that has been written with the latter group in mind. Recommended.


January 10, 2018

This book aptly inspects the question: Why passion, desire, eroticism and sexuality follow a downward spiral after marriage. Many elements contributing to this issue are examined with real case studies and often with practical suggestions. There are a lot of eye-opening and counter intuitive insights in the book that if practiced, will reignite the engine of passion in a married life. I highly recommend this book to everyone, not just couples.


March 28, 2021

Audiobook... read by Esther Perel (the author)Esther Perel, sex therapist....shares case studies about couples love lives — desires—arousal—eroticism—exploring the mysteries of Eros..Many aspects of sexuality are explored between couples:....sexual communication, sharing fantasies, core beliefs, desire, aging, monogamy, affairs, intimacy, freedom, problems, comfort, closeness, barriers, spice, truth, couple-arrangements, sex as play, sex as love etc. etc. ....emotional aphrodisiacs.... “feelings are potent sexual intensifiers—but not always the ones you expect”. “For married sex to be meaningful, it always needs to be an expression of love— preferably of life long abiding love”....But....mindless sex, naughty-raw-almost forbidden sex - a wider range of erotica- doesn’t necessarily fuel the mind with the person we love most and live with...But...Good News.... exciting, playful, erotic sex ‘is’ possible in long term couple relationships! Of course this isn’t a book everyone is dying to read....but...its written with sincerity—a tool to contribute...It’s refreshing and piercingly honest. Paul enjoyed “Mating in Captivity” with me. After 42 years together ... there just isn’t anything I can’t say to this cute guy I live with.


April 11, 2012

Enlightening. This is one of those books that make you better, educated, happier, confident and much more if you read this with a very very open mind. Doesn't give you advise nor tell you what's better, it just sets you free... I love it! Finished it in two days. Couldn't stop reading. Totally influencing my life right now.


February 19, 2016

It never ceases to amaze me how people insist on planning and preparing for the most trivial things in their lives, and then completely neglect all of the psychological and scientific information for the things that they themselves consider to be the most important or long-term in their lives, like their relationships.This book tackles the notion of eroticism and domesticity - how they interact and play out in longer term relationships. It discusses how sexual desire can fade over time, the reasons for it doing so, such as creating a oneness in the couple that precludes individual sexual selves, and ways to try to create space for eroticism to. All of the above is peppered with undeniably insightful information about how love, marriage and sex has changed over the history of humankind, and why advice from previous generations might not really be applicable anymore.It's illustrated throughout with examples from the author's own practice, and is incredibly non-judgemental of people's needs and desires, helping the reader understand why those needs/desires (or lack thereof) come from. It does repeat itself a little too much, but the relevance and importance of the content for modern couples who are unhappy with their erotic lives is undeniable.The book reads very differently than Esther Perel's talks surrounding monogamy and non-monogamy, which I would highly recommend in addition to the book. A couple of good ones are here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iDlu...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7E9A...


October 31, 2017

A cutting statement that rings, “Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did[..]”, points to a problem and the balance that the author aims to bring more guidance around in the frame of long-term committed relationships. To maintain the sparks, Perel says there is a need to balance Love, which is about having, with Desire, which is about wanting, and creating a sense of oneness for deep emotional connection, without possessing of the other person. Autonomy and individual for a life outside the relationship is important, to fight off the feeling of captivity or lack of freedom, which can cause friction or co-dependency in the relationship. Perel also emphasized the importance of play and the necessity for feeling of vulnerability and excitement in our love lives. I got tremendous value out of this book, and Perel’s insights and experiences were new to me and I have an urge to revisit the book to undercover more gems I may have glimpsed over.


January 10, 2018

80% of this is solid advice, the remaining 20% is there to get headlines - and to help the couples rethink themselvesI first learned about Esther Perel from a friend, and then from the New Yorker, where she is supposedly 'rethinking infidelity.'Is she? Yes - but she's not telling anyone to cheat either. Perel just recognizes that there is a lot of unhappiness in monogamous couples, and a lot of sexual dysfunction.So though she doesn't tell them to cheat, she may tell them to at least look in that direction. When a woman complains that she can't be sexual with her husband after she marries him:“Why don’t you divorce him?” I suggest. “Stay with him but divorce him. If you’re not married to him, he won’t look like such a homebody.” “You know what I said to him?” she admits, “I said, ‘If you left me today I would be sexually interested in you.’”Perel does not want this woman to divorce her husband. She is trying to shock her patient into reframing how she sees her marriage and herself.This kind of thinking gets Perel the headlines. But most of the book is solid advice. Is she controversial? Sort of. She's only going to tell you to 'flirt with another person' if your relationship, and your partner, demands it.Most of her book is advice - which I will list below.On being right WHEN MY MOTHER TALKED ABOUT relationships, she didn’t have much to say about intimacy. “You need two things in a marriage,” she told me. “You need the will to make it work and you need to be able to make compromises. It’s not hard to be right, but then you are right and alone.”On biological realitiesThere’s an evolutionary anthropologist named Helen Fisher who explains that lust is metabolically expensive. It’s hard to sustain after the evolutionary payoff: the kids. You become so focused on the incessant demands of daily life that you short-circuit any electric charge between you.On the myth of stress being the only couple in a dwindling sex driveBut when my patients cite the all-too-real stresses of modern life to explain why romance went south, I suggest that there may be more to it. After all, stress was a reliable feature of their lives long before they met, and it didn’t stop them from leaping into one another’s arms.On different needs from our parentsEach child brings an individual resilience to the lottery of life. What might feel good to one will feel overwhelming to another. Some of us may wish our parents had been more involved, while others may cringe at memories of their parents’ scrutiny and intrusion.On changes after having a childThe transition from two to three is one of the most profound challenges a couple will ever face. It takes time—time measured in years, not weeks—to find our bearings in this brave new world.


April 19, 2018

A very well written book with bold and more or less original ideas, but if you want to read it, don’t go for the audiobook. The author has an excellent command of written English, but her very strong Belgian accent makes following the text a hassle. It’s unfortunate that the task of creating the audiobook was not assigned to a professional reader.


June 03, 2018

This is my first book on relationships and it was a very good one.I'm looking forward to reading her second book, "The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity".If you're interested in the topic I highly recommend her two TED talks:Rethinking Infidelity - a talk for anyone who has ever lovedandThe secret to desire in a long-term relationship


June 02, 2020

Este a doua carte pe care o lecturez a acestei autoare și îmi place foarte mult stilul ei de a aborda "particularitățile erotice". Fiind un terapeut de cuplu, Esther a intâlnit mai multe tipaje de interactiune in familie decât putem sa ne imaginăm. Autoarea stie cum să incadreze oricare caz în limitele normalului si să explice în mod obiectiv cauzele unor acțiuni în viața de cuplu, făra a le judeca. Cartea va fi utilă oricui.


November 13, 2014

Fantastic book. Really insightful in so many ways. Some reviewers have cited that the tome fails in its lack of practical, direct advice. I disagree; Ms. Perel, in sharing the experiences of many of her clients, all likely composites, creates a rich tapestry for the reader to ponder the timeless tension between the domestic and the erotic. Highly recommended.


October 12, 2019

This was a captivating look at eroticism and the duality of distance and intimacy that we balance in long-term relationships. Esther Perel sheds light on numerous barriers to eroticism in the context of love, including difficulty debasing someone we cherish and the desire to minimize risk by eliminating separateness. A fascinating look at the ways in which the erotic lives not merely between and within two people, but also within individuals outside of the context of an other and within the shadow of a third.

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