Come Together: The Science (and Art!) of Creating Lasting Sexual Connections

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Come Together: The Science (and Art!) of Creating Lasting Sexual Connections

Publishers Weekly (11/27/2023):

"Solving sex problems isn't all therapy and feelings," stresses sex educator Nagoski in her empowering and pragmatic follow-up to 2014's Come as You Are. Writing that long-term sexual satisfaction relies less on a "spark" than fostering a "context that makes it easier to access pleasure," Nagoski focuses on such practical tools as creating "mental floorplans" to map out emotional states and how to navigate through them to reach "a sexy state of mind." Elsewhere, she explains how to have constructive conversations about "old sexual hurts" that inflict present-day pain (for example, if a partner has received a nasty remark about their "body, sexual history, or ability to give or receive pleasure") and offers tips for prioritizing sensory pleasure over desire. Nagoski's prose is spry and inviting as she marshals research and anecdotes (many featuring nonbinary couples) to dispel notions of "normal" sex, ban sexual expectations and judgments, and advocate "liv with confidence and joy" in one's body. It's a valuable resource for anyone looking to spruce up a subpar sex life or make a good one better. (Jan.)

Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

BookPage (02/01/2024):

Emily Nagoski's third book, Come Together: The Science (and Art!) of Creating Lasting Sexual Connections, like her second, Come as You Are, focuses on better sex. But where Come as You Are was aimed at women, Come Together is for couples in long-term relationships. To be clear, though, Come Together isn't a book filled with sex tips or techniques; it's a book about relationships, communication and methods to frame and understand emotions.

Nagoski, a sex educator who trained at Indiana University and the Kinsey Institute, sets out to debunk popular beliefs, primarily one that "puts desire at the center of our definition of sexual wellbeing." She argues that when we focus too much on desire--a "spark, a spontaneous, giddy craving for sexual intimacy"--our worry about losing that spark "hits the breaks and puts sex further out of reach." Instead, Nagoski argues that partners should center pleasure, writing that "great sex over the long term is not about how much you want sex, it's about how much you like the sex you're having." Nagoski offers tools to increase pleasure, such as an "emotional floorplan," a map of the brain's different emotional states, some which are pleasure-favorable (lust, play, seeking), and some pleasure-adverse (fear, grief, rage); prompts to help partners discuss sex; and even a breathing exercise to help readers tap into their "erotic wisdom."

Happily, Nagoski does not exclusively focus her attention on heterosexual sex. Through the dozens of interviews conveyed in the book, Nagoski includes LGBTQ+ couples, as well as those in polyamorous relationships, kink and BDSM communities, and more.

Nagoski reminds readers that the key to great sex over the long term isn't frequency, novelty or special skills. Instead, it's trusting and admiring your partner, prioritizing one other and prioritizing sex. She shares research findings, the ongoing stories of three very different couples, and pieces of her own story--for instance, how her work as a sex researcher and coach caused her to lose all interest in sex, and how she and her partner grappled with this loss. For readers with shorter attention spans, Nagoski closes each chapter with a TL;DR summary and questions to consider. Well-researched but accessible, Come Together is an inclusive, good-humored and reassuring book that offers something for every couple in a long-term relationship.

Copyright 2024 BookPage, No redistribution permitted.

Biographical Note:

Emily Nagoski is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of Come as You Are and co-author, with her sister, Amelia, of Burnout. She earned an MS in counseling and a PhD in health behavior, both from Indiana University, with clinical and research training at the Kinsey Institute. Now she combines sex education and stress education to teach women to live with confidence and joy inside their bodies. She lives in Massachusetts with two dogs, a cat, and a cartoonist.


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