Mating in Captivity Book Summary - Mating in Captivity Book explained in key points
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Mating in Captivity summary

Esther Perel

In Search of Erotic Intelligence

4.5 (452 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

Mating In Captivity by Esther Perel is a thought-provoking exploration of the challenges and complexities of maintaining desire in long-term relationships.
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    Mating in Captivity
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Passion withers when we expect our partner to be our main source of security.

    Humans are contradictory creatures, longing for both security and passion. We feel secure when our relationship is stable and consistent. But passion is allergic to these qualities. It wants danger, mystery, and the unexpected.

    The key message here is: passion withers when we expect our partner to be our main source of security.

    Life is unpredictable and having a supportive infrastructure around us eases our anxiety. But many of us have abandoned the institutions – like marriage and religion – that gave our predecessors a sense of security. Now, we expect our partner to be everything: our rock, best friend, confidant, and lover. But this places a huge amount of pressure on them. And pressure is fatal to passion.

    Seven years into her relationship with Alan, 38-year-old Adele found herself in this situation. A successful lawyer and mother to 5-year-old Emilia, she was happy in her marriage, most of the time. But she didn’t feel like a sexual being – only a mother and wife. And she didn’t see Alan as sexual either. Passion in their marriage was killed by the safe routine they’d created to manage their busy life together.

    So, how do partners find a balance between security and eroticism?

    We must start by letting go of the fantasy of security. Every relationship holds the risk of loss. We like to believe that love will last forever. But death could end even the most loving relationship. In accepting the impermanence of life, we can stop clinging to routines in our relationships that make us feel safe. This guides us into a place where we can rediscover mystery in our partner. And mystery arouses excitement.

    One day Adele experienced a breakthrough at a work function. She saw Alan talking to some colleagues and noticed how attractive he was. In that moment, she forgot all the mundane interactions that filled their lives – like their bickering about the mess he left in the bathroom. Instead, she observed his smart, sexy vibe. He was more than just her husband, and it turned her on!

    It can be challenging to look at our partner with fresh eyes because seeing them as an individual threatens our sense of security. But by finding the courage to do so, we’ll constantly find new things about our partner to explore, and this can help us reignite our passion. 

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    What is Mating in Captivity about?

    Mating in Captivity (2006) explores the question that everyone in a committed relationship asks: Is it possible to sustain passion over a long period of time? Author Esther Perel believes it is, but she thinks we can only generate sexual excitement by reassessing modern ideals around commitment and better understanding how our personal histories affect our behavior in the bedroom. If we can do this, we’ll fuel our relationships with the mystery and excitement that keep passion burning.

    Mating in Captivity Review

    Mating In Captivity (2006) offers valuable insights into sustaining passion and desire in committed relationships. Here's what makes this book exceptional:

    • It challenges conventional wisdom on love and intimacy, providing a fresh perspective on long-term relationships.
    • The book combines psychological research, cultural analysis, and real-life case studies, making it both informative and engaging.
    • Its focus on the complex interplay between love and desire offers readers practical advice for maintaining passion.

    Revitalize your relationship with the insights from Mating In Captivity.

    Best quote from Mating in Captivity

    Erotic entitlement is built on a relaxed, generous, and unencumbered attitude toward the pleasure of the body.

    —Esther Perel
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    Who should read Mating in Captivity?

    • Long-term lovers wanting to reignite passion
    • Couples who are emotionally – but not physically – intimate
    • Parents with a lackluster sex life

    About the Author

    Esther Perel is a New York based psychotherapist, known for her groundbreaking approach to personal relationships. Drawing on over two decades of experience as a couples therapist, Perel’s first book Mating in Captivity became a New York Times bestseller and was translated into 24 languages. Her TED Talk reached over 5 million viewers in its first year, and her podcast, Where Should We Begin?, allows the listener to be a fly on the wall during her therapy sessions with couples.

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    Mating in Captivity FAQs 

    What is the main message of Mating In Captivity?

    The main message of Mating In Captivity is to explore the challenges of maintaining desire in long-term relationships.

    How long does it take to read Mating In Captivity?

    The estimated reading time for Mating In Captivity is around 5-7 hours, and the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Mating In Captivity a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Mating In Captivity is worth reading for its valuable insights into sustaining passion and desire in committed relationships.

    Who is the author of Mating In Captivity?

    The author of Mating In Captivity is Esther Perel.

    How many chapters are in Mating In Captivity?

    Mating In Captivity by Esther Perel has 10 chapters. They are

    1. From Adventure to Captivity
    2. More Intimacy, Less Sex
    3. The Pitfalls of Modern Intimacy
    4. The Paradox of Security and Adventure
    5. Can Do! The Protestant Work Ethic at Home
    6. Erotic Blueprints
    7. Parenthood: When Three Threatens Two
    8. Of Flesh and Fantasy
    9. The Shadow of the Third
    10. Eroticism and the Human Spirit.

    How many pages are in Mating In Captivity?

    There are 272 pages in Mating In Captivity.

    When was Mating In Captivity published?

    Mating In Captivity was published in 2006.

    What to read after Mating in Captivity?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Mating in Captivity, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The State of Affairs by Esther Perel
    • Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá
    • The High-Conflict Couple by Alan E. Fruzzetti
    • The Ultimate Retroactive Jealousy Cure by Jeff Billings
    • Why is Sex Fun? by Jared Diamond
    • The Four Noble Truths of Love by Susan Piver
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
    • Come Together by Emily Nagoski
    • Loving Your Spouse When You Feel Like Walking Away by Gary Chapman