Sexual Relationships | Self Help

Sexual difficulties can affect the most loving of relationships, and leave the partners feeling discouraged, hopeless, and unloved. These excellent books are resources for self discovery and hope, great books for lovers to read together and talk about.

Recommended Books for Sexuality Self Help with Relationships

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville HendrixGetting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

This popular book is divided into three sections: the first, “the unconscious marriage” describes how left-over desires and behavior from childhood interfere with the current relationship. The second section “the conscious marriage” describes how a marriage could fulfill childhood needs in a positive manner. The third section is a course in relationship therapy which gives detailed exercises for both partners to follow in order to learn how to replace confrontational criticism with a healing process of mutual growth and support. 2001, Owl Books

Journey of the Heart: The Path of Conscious Love by John WelwoodJourney of the Heart: The Path of Conscious Love

This book stands out as a poetically written, wisdom-filled guide to a deeper understanding of the desires and directions of the human heart. The book does not provide easy answers or quick fixes; it gives instead superb suggestions for joining in the most powerful and spiritual union possible. Welwood offers advice for couples on using love’s challenges to grow as individuals and in their relationships. He shows people how the most difficult and confusing areas of relationships can be used to awaken the deepest human strengths and resources. 1996, Perennial

Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic by Esther PerelMating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic

Focusing on "erotic intelligence", psychotherapist Perel asserts that languishing desire in a relationship actually results from all the factors people look for in love and marriage: grounding, meaning, continuity. She recommends several proposals for rekindling eroticism: cultivating separateness (autonomy) in a relationship rather than closeness (entrapment); exploring dynamics of power and control (i.e., submission, spanking); and learning to surrender to a "sexual ruthlessness" that liberates us from shame and guilt. Perel sanctions fantasy and play and offers the estranged modern couple a unique richness of experience. 2006, HarperCollins

Passionate Marriage: Love, Sex and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships by David SchnarchPassionate Marriage: Love, Sex and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships

Schnarch says that a man is more likely to let a relationship suffer in order to hold on to his sense of self, while a woman is more apt to let her identity suffer to help strengthen a relationship. Schnarch explains how to alter this pattern, encouraging each partner to move towards “differentiation” -- which means holding on to the self while simultaneously remaining in contact with one’s partner. Schnarch teaches how to find inner strength and resilience that can be used to reaffirm a relationship and reignite sex. A classic, highly recommended. 2009, W.W. Norton & Company

Rekindling DesireRekindling Desire: A Step-by-Step Program to Help Low-Sex and No-Sex Marriages

Sex and marital experts Barry and Emily McCarthy offer a ground-breaking ten-step program to help couples break down the barriers that have developed between them and rebuild closeness and longing. First they show couples how to root out the “poisons” that inhibit sexual desire: shame, guilt, anger, and passivity as well as medical side effects and physical dysfunctions. They then offer techniques and strategies to help couples revitalize desire and integrate intimacy and eroticism. 2013, Routledge, 2nd edition

Resurrecting SexResurrecting Sex: Solving Sexual Problems and Revolutionizing Your Relationship

By showing couples how they can turn their worst sex and relationship disasters into personal growth and spiritual connection, Dr. Schnarch offers couples the best sex of their lives. In addition to taking an unflinchingly honest, realistic, and erotic approach to sex, Dr. Schnarch reveals the complicated emotional interactions hidden within couples’ most private moments. This sympathetic self help book shows how couples can cure the rejection, hostility, and emotional alienation that often accompany sexual problems and thus deepen and strengthen their relationship. 2003, Perennial Currents

The Return of DesireThe Return of Desire: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Sexual Passion

Drawing on three decades of experience as a sex therapist and sex researcher, Dr. Gina Ogden shows you how to open up to the energies that spark desire; create heart-to-heart communication with your partner; transcend guilt, shame, and "good-girls-don't" messages; help heal the sexual wounds of abuse, addiction, affairs, and low self-esteem; so that you enjoy sexual pleasure throughout your life span -- from new love, to parenthood, and into your golden years. 2008, Trumpeter

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman and Nan SilverThe Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert

This highly ranked self-help book offers positive approaches for helping couples make sense of their difficulties and work to make their relationship successful. Gottman’s principles for successful marriage include turning toward each other instead of away, letting your partner influence you, moving through conflict and creating shared meaning. 2000, Three Rivers Press

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