Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-Term Love

Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-Term Love


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Winner of the Independent Publisher Award Gold Medal in Sexuality/Relationships
Winner of the International Book Award in Relationships
Winner of the Readers' Favorite Book Award in Relationships
Winner of the Living Now Book Award Gold Medal in Sexuality/Femininity
Winner of the USA Book News Best Book Award in Self-Help: Relationships

Most of us long for intimate relationships, and though texting and emailing may keep us superficially connected, it ultimately cannot create the kind of intimacy necessary to sustain a deep, fulfilling, and lasting partnership. With the divorce rate reaching a staggering 50 percent in 2013 and the breakup rate among unmarried long-term couples even higher, it appears that the more we tweet, the more disconnected we become. So many of us believe that new is better, hotter, and more intense, but love at first sight isn't really love, it's chemistry. In Partners in Passion, Michaels and Johnson provide readers with a fun, step-by-step guide to discovering true, loving, and romantically sexual relationships that will last for decades. Comprehensive and inclusive, Partners in Passion is original and provocative, drawing on a variety of sources: cutting-edge science, psychology, the authors' background in tantra, and personal experiences as teachers and as a couple. Partners in Passion invites couples to design their relationships and to choose consciously, and is replete with how-to suggestions and exercises, including interviews with couples from diverse backgrounds, relationship styles, and orientations who are enjoying erotically vibrant partnerships.

Winner of the Independent Publisher Award Gold Medal in Sexuality/Relationships

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781627780285
Publisher: Start Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 02/18/2014
Pages: 504
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

A graduate of NYU and Yale, Mark A. Michaels writes for scholarly and legal publications and his plays have been produced off-Broadway. He took his first tantra class in 1997 and gave his first lecture on the subject two years later. Patricia Johnson spent many years as a professional operatic soprano. In 1999, a longstanding interest in tantra inspired her to attend a lecture by Mark Michaels, now her husband and collaborator. Since then, she and Michaels have taught and lectured throughout the world. They live in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Myth #2: They Lived Happily Ever After
This myth (and it really does have mythic origins) is very closely related to the concept of the soulmate. Both predate the belief that romantic love is the foundation on which long-term relationships should be built. Both are archetypes that exist in similar forms in many different cultures and that appeal to deep-seated human yearnings. And both have increased their grip on the contemporary psyche, in part because they have been amplified and modified in popular culture.
As you are most likely aware, the expression “ . . . and they lived happily ever after” originates in fairy tales. Contemporary Americans are most familiar with the Disney versions of the tales, which gloss over many of the darker, more violent aspects of these stories to make them palatable for mass consumption. Similarly, the modern, Disney-fied renditions tend to create the impression that happily ever after refers to romantic love. In reality, these tales followed two primary formulae. One involves restoration; Sleeping Beauty is perhaps the best-known example; The Ramayana is another, more ancient version from a different culture. In this form of tale, a person of noble background is brought low, forced to suffer, and is then restored to his or her proper station. The other form of tale involves the rise of someone from poverty to wealth, often through marriage to a noble. Cinderella is a prime example, although in many of the earliest “rise tales,” the hero is male.
Thus, in its original form, happily ever after seems to have little to do with love or emotional connection between the hero and heroine. Instead, these are stories about wealth and class, about suffering and reward, or in the case of The Ramayana, about purity and doing one’s duty (and Sita and Rama don’t exactly live happily ever after). Modern adaptations of these tales – the film Pretty Woman, for example – often rely on the ‘rise’ formula and celebrate the change in station, but they differ from the originals by emphasizing the personal qualities and lovable traits of the prince. There was a prince but no Prince Charming in the original fairy tales; the appellation is a nineteenth century invention. Similarly, in all likelihood, we twenty-first century Americans understand happily ever after in a way that differs vastly from what our ancestors understood a couple of centuries ago.
The old understanding was not relationship-based; it was about one’s station, and “ . . . they lived happily ever after” was a formulaic recitation that was followed by “The End.” In contemporary culture, the meaning of the phrase has morphed and has taken on an altogether different air of finality. Because we value romantic love in a way that our ancestors did not, we are likely to think of it as the source of happiness. This is a kind of subtle entrainment that can impair our ability to realize that relationships are dynamic and subject to change. The idea, as so crudely yet memorably dramatized in Pretty Woman, is that, once you meet your Prince Charming, everything will work out wonderfully, even if there are a couple of initial bumps in the road.
Although it is modern, this mythology is so deeply ingrained in our culture that, like Christianity, it influences virtually everyone, no matter how sophisticated you are and how much you’ve struggled to free yourself from limiting ideas. It is likely that a great deal of relationship disappointment has its roots in ‘ . . . happily ever after’. It can lead to unrealistic expectations, an unending quest for the perfect partner, and the mistaken belief that a mere rough patch is a catastrophe. The truth is that even the happiest and most harmonious partnerships can sometimes be difficult.
Relationships change and evolve, and that is something to celebrate. When it comes to Prince or Princess Charming, forget about the quest. Find aspects of that ideal, mythical being in your current partner, and focus on them. Don’t compare yourselves or your relationship to other people, especially to ones who never existed.
Myth #3: You Should Work on Your Relationship
America was founded in large part on Puritan values, and the ‘Puritan work ethic’ is often seen as a cornerstone of our society. While there is certainly nothing wrong with hard work, the tendency to overvalue it can lead to a grim and joyless worldview that treats playfulness as childish frivolity. Maintaining a playful attitude is one of the keys to having great sex and an effective way to keep your relationship happy and well balanced.
This emphasis on the need for work directly conflicts with the happily ever after mythology we just discussed. Many people seem to believe in both ideas, despite the contradictions. Love is effortless, and involves prancing off, hand in hand, through a field of flowers, forever and ever. At the same time, you must buckle down and make it work. Neither of these beliefs is particularly healthy, and entertaining both of them at once can only lead to unhappiness.
Too often, the idea of work enters people’s minds at a time when the relationship is already in trouble. People say things like, “We need to take some time to work on our relationship.” Sitting back and waiting until things are bad, and then deciding to go to work, is not a very effective way to get through difficult times. It is better to nurture your connection on a daily basis. If you can do this, you are far less likely to be overwhelmed during rough patches.
Sustained effort and attentiveness to your partner are important if a relationship is to thrive, but effort and work are not synonymous. Relationships are not jobs and should not be drudgery, so we encourage people to change their language. One way of reframing the idea of work is to think about your relationship in the language of business or art. If you apply the term joint venture (or even better, joint adventure) to your partnership, you are likely to get a good return on your investment.
We also like the term collaboration, although it has its roots in “labor,” which is synonymous with work. Despite this etymology, collaboration is usually used in the context of creative and artistic undertakings. Approaching your life and your love as a creative process will help you discover more joy and pleasure in all of your interactions.
Both of these linguistic modifications have the added benefit of implying mutuality and sharing. Changing terms may seem like a small thing, but words matter. In fact, they matter a lot.
The same is true in the realm of sex. The more playful you can be about your sex life, the more happiness and enjoyment you will find. If you can re-imagine your relationship as a joint adventure, try imagining your sexual encounters (and adventures) as opportunities to play together. This will help you avoid one of the pitfalls that couples commonly face: difficulty talking about sex. People often think that addressing their sex lives requires a big conversation. It’s far better to talk about sex a lot, and in as lighthearted a way as possible. Sex can be quite silly after all, so make talking about it a priority, and retain a sense of humor. This is not to say there will never be times when you have to be more serious. Every light and humorous sexual conversation you have is a way of creating goodwill, of investing in each other, and if you make that investment, the more difficult conversations won’t drain your resources

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: New Relationship Energy 1

Chapter 2: Good Relationships: The Ten Big Myths 6
Myth #1: You Need to Find a Soulmate 8
Myth #2: They Lived Happily Ever After 10
Myth #3: You Should Work on Your Relationship 13
Myth #4: Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus 15
Myth #5: Relationships and Sex are About Getting Your Needs Met 17
Myth #6: Desiring Someone Else is a Form of Infidelity 20
Myth #7: Monogamy is Natural and Optimal 22
Myth #8: Sex Should be Spontaneous 25
Myth #9: The Sex in Movies, on TV, and in Porn is Good 28
Myth #10: There is a Right Way to be Sexual 31
Chapter 3: A New Paradigm: Keys to Creating an Enduring and Erotic Relationship 32
Know Yourself Sexually 34
Love is Profound Interest 41
View Your Sexual Life Together as a Co-Creation 46
Take Pleasure in Serving Each Other 49
Maintain a Sense of Mystery 53
Chapter 4: Beyond the Keys: How to Live the New Paradigm 59
Connect First – Talk Later 60 Build Trust and Create Goodwill 64
Be Brave: Having the Courage to be Open About Sex Builds Intimacy 68
Keep Kindness as Your Touchstone 69
Be Honest in Moderation 72
Engage Empathically 75
Compersion: Take Pleasure in Your Lover’s Pleasure 77
Treat Your Relationship as an Ongoing Exploration 78
Be Flexible 80
Above All, Have Fun 82
Chapter 5: Great Sex: Concepts 84
What is Sex? 84
What is Great Sex? 86
Quality of Touch 89
Agenda-Free Touch 95
Awareness and Attunement 97
Abandon, Enthusiasm, and Lack of Inhibition 99
Don’t Wait to Feel Desire 104
Chapter 6: Anatomy: A Little Technical Knowledge Goes a Long Way 106
The Pelvic Floor – Crucible of Your Sexuality 110
Additional Paths to Orgasm 118
Female Anatomy 119
The Clitoris 120
The G-spot 121
Male Anatomy 125
The Penis 125
The Foreskin 127
The Prostate Gland 129
The Testicles and Scrotum 131
Chapter 7: Tantra and Neo-Tantra – Techniques for Enhanced Lovemaking 132
Breaking Out of Unconscious and Habitual Patterns 138
Making Energy Concrete 143
Orgasm as an Energetic Phenomenon 145
Orgasm as an Energetic Phenomenon: Part II 148
Karezza – A Different Way of Making Love 156
Chapter 8: Basic Sexual Adventuring 161
Sexual Trust 162
How to Build Sexual Trust 169
Create an Erotic Statement of Purpose 170
Adventuring as a Couple 174
Choosing Your Adventures 175
How to Talk About Trying Something New 176
Erotic Imagination 180
Fantasy 181
Visual Erotica and Porn 184
More about Fantasy: Partnered and Solo 188
Acting Out Fantasies 189
Sex Toys 191
From Behind Closed Doors to Out in the Open 195
Chapter 9: Advanced Sexual Adventuring: Open Relating to Strengthen Your Partnership 196
Forms of Non-Monogamous Expression 199
Non-Consensual Non-Monogamy 199
Semi-Consensual Non-Monogamy 201
Open Relationships 202
Friends with Benefits 204
Swinging 206
Polyamory 211
Designer Relationships 214
Safer Sex 215
Talking about Safer Sex 219
Sexual Responsibility 221
First Steps Toward Opening Your Relationship 226
Interacting with Others 230
Where and How to Meet Similar People 232
Dealing with Jealousy 233
Compersion and Jealousy 238
Chapter 10: Kink 240
What is Kink? 243
Sadism and Masochism 245
Dominance and Submission 248
Kink and Stereotypes 251
Intimacy in Kink 253
Fetish, Roleplay, and Dressing Up 254
Tantra, Kink, and a Caveat 257
Getting Started 258
Chapter 11: Dealing with Discrepancies, Distractions and Disruptions 261
Desire Discrepancy 267
Other Discrepancies 272
Sexual Function 278
Premature Ejaculation 278
Delayed Ejaculation 279
Erectile Dysfunction 280
General Female Sexual Issues 281
Anorgasmia 282
Pregnancy and Childbirth 285
Separation 289
Financial difficulties 295
Other Stresses 296
Chapter 12: Going the Distance 298
Techniques for Falling in Love Again and Again 304
Maintenance Sex 307
Consciously Continue Your Courtship 310
Sex and Aging 313
Chapter 13: Resource Guide 323
Books 324
Dating-Social Network Websites 328
Events 329
General Open Relating and Kink Resources 330
Online Erotica and Education 331
Retreat Centers and Resorts 332
Safer Sex Resources 333
Sex and Disability Information 333
Sex-positive Organizations/Directories – Professional, Political, Educational
Sex Shops/Online Vendors/Toy Manufacturers/Fetishwear/BDSM Supplies
Sexuality Educators, Advocates, and Allies 336
Tantra and Sacred Sexuality Resources 338

Acknowledgements 339
Selected Bibliography 342
List of Words

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Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The latest book from the Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson: " The Definitive Guide to Building Sexual Heat and Deep Emotional Intimacy for a Lifetime, " is a timely and very welcome practical guide for the intimacy that we have really lost in this tech age.The writers really hit the nail on the head, and couldn't have come along at a better time. Due to technology overflow, relationships have changed dramatically, and not for the good in my opinion. I have witnessed many unsuccessful relationships due slow but certain distancing - have lost a lot of intimacy. Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson's reminds us of what many have forgotten, and many have never known. The book is very easy to follow, offering Illustrations, Tips and Techniques, debunking myths and really getting to the heart of it. "Partners in Passion. A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-Term Love" is a must have book! Part manual, part guide, it affords couples an unparalleled opportunity to explore, discuss and work on the goal to "...Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-Term Love."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These two know what they're talking about! I got a chance to meet the authors in person and they really are an amazing pair. This book details all the best ways to keep the passion alive in your relationship. Very thoughtful and inspiring. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I seriously think I could read and reread this book every year for the rest of my life and still learn something new each time. I'm not married yet, but I know that when I am married, I want my husband to read this book with me. Intelligent advice is spread throughout the book (pretty much every page). I especially liked the the Ten Big Sex Myths debunked in chapter two. They are so pervasive in our society, but Michaels and Johnson effectively explain where their falsities lie. Fantastic book!
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Suzanne Cowles for Readers' Favorite Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love by Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson is an in-depth exploration into the complex world of intimate relationships. Married for fourteen years, the couple lays out a practical guide to keep love alive using their own professional knowledge and experience in the field. We all want to sustain the infatuated feeling of a new relationship, and this book discusses exactly how to maintain connected chemistry while growing into a deeper union. A holistic approach is used to redefine roles, dispel gender myths, explain the anatomy of exploration, and dissect the Tantric energy flow at the heart of intimacy. Michaels and Johnson uncover the mysteries to falling in love again and sustaining a courtship throughout life. All types of unions are defined that run the gamut between kink and sexual dysfunction. This non-judgmental self-help book brings about a fresh understanding of relationships where pleasure is achieved by a focus of service. Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson use their creative genius to mesmerize the reader in Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love by fostering an adult conversation where trust and adventure converge into a vibrant sexual union. Packed into thirteen informative chapters, there is something for everyone’s personal tastes, along with illustrations, tips, and a reference list of other books, websites and events. Honest and frank suggestions in a non-clinical setting abound throughout a powerful read into the secrets of a lasting and fulfilled relationship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found _Parters in Passion_ an extraordinary combination of 1) explanation of pertinent history and cultural context; 2) affirmation of readers’ uniqueness as both couples and individuals; 3) invitation to personal exploration; and 4) practical considerations, resources, and/or recommendations. In addition, I was struck by how comprehensive the volume is—it contains an incredible range of information and covers an array of topics to a surprising degree of depth. Need an overview of sexual anatomy? See chapter six. Interested in Tantra? Check out chapter seven. Curious about swinging or other forms of nonmonogamy? Visit chapter nine. Wondering about sex and parenting issues? Reference chapter eleven. Incidentally, any time you want more information about almost any area covered, you can check the vast resource guide of which chapter thirteen is comprised. _Partners in Passion is not_, in any way, a clinical, detached, or “how-to” guide that glosses over anything in the name of quick fixes or empty suggestions. Rather, it is a sincere, depth-filled, conscientious exploration imbued with the sense that the authors have walked (and are walking) their talk and are inviting you to learn and walk along with them at your own pace and in your own way. As a truly affected and appreciative reader, I add my voice to that invitation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very well-researched and thought out book for couples willing to make the effort into engaging in a deeper intimacy.