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Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction

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Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction Cover

ISBN13: 9781416537922
ISBN10: 1416537929
Condition:
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

We've all felt the giddy flutter of excitement when our new lover walks into the room. Waited by the phone, changed our plans...But are we in love, or is there something darker at work? In Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction, Susan Cheever explores the shifting boundaries between the feelings of passion and addiction, desire and need, and she raises provocative and important questions about who we love and why.

Elegantly written and thoughtfully composed, Cheever's book combines unsparing and intimate memoir, interviews and stories, hard science and psychology to explore the difference between falling in love and falling prey to an addiction. Part one defines what addiction is and how it works — the obsession, the betrayals, the broken promises to oneself and others. Part two explores the possible causes of addiction — is it nature or nurture, a permanent condition or a temporary derangement? Part three considers what we can do about it, including a provocative suggestion about how we describe and treat addiction, and a look at the importance of community and storytelling.

In the end, there are no easy answers. "A straight look about some crooked feelings," Desire shows us the difference between the addiction that cripples our emotions, and healthy, empowering love that enhances our lives.

Review:

"'We are a nation of puritanical love junkies,' proclaims Cheever (My Name Is Bill) in her inquiry into the growing scientific and psychological evidence that suggests a chemical basis for sex addiction. Drawing on a hodge-podge of addiction literature, neurobiological studies and her more informal (but most persuasive) role as a seasoned battler of her own obsessions, Cheever believes that American idealism taints our expectations of relationships: 'In our world, addiction to other people... is the only addiction that is applauded and embraced.... ' But for Cheever, a lover's destructive behavior can be just as traumatizing as that of an alcoholic, a bulimic or a compulsive gambler. Cheever is best when writing personally; her candid memories of emotionally abusive parents, repeated adultery and consuming love drive an otherwise meandering text. Her cultural subjects are titillating enough and range from the voyeurism of To Catch a Predator to speculation that Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, struggled to hide a sex addiction. But the reader strains to connect slim narrative threads of this unstructured meditation on obsession." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

For a book about an activity most of us consider pleasurable, this is a remarkably grinding read. Susan Cheever first attracted attention with a memoir in which she revealed that her famous father, the author John Cheever, was bisexual. She got the idea for "Desire" while researching her biography of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson; once Wilson had his alcoholism under control, apparently,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[N]ot so much a nitty-gritty tell-all as it is a series of free-form musings on what addiction is and why it affects people so powerfully....Insightful and often engaging, but also aimless and occasionally trite." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[P]rovocative and deeply personal....Such clinical investigation...is secondary to the intimate revelations Cheever shares about her own troubled past and addictive behavior." Booklist

Synopsis:

Cheever presents an intimate, provocative meditation on love, sex, and addiction; explores the boundaries between passion and addiction, desire and need; and raises important questions about how people love and why.

About the Author

Susan Cheever is the bestselling author of eleven previous books, including five novels and the memoirs Note Found in a Bottle and Home Before Dark. Her work has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Boston Globe Winship Medal. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, a member of the Corporation of Yaddo, and a member of the Author's Guild Council. She writes a weekly column for Newsday and teaches in the Bennington College M.F.A. program. She lives in New York City with her family.

Table of Contents

contents

part one: what is it?

The Bride, the Groom, and the Dog 3

The Broken Promise 9

Bill Wilson 21

Abusers vs. Addicts 35

The Brain 43

Trance and Obsession 51

Tolerance and Shame 63

Adultery 73

part two: what causes it?

Repetition 83

The Body 93

Old Age Is a New Thing 103

Environment 107

Is Sex Addiction the Male Version of Female Bulimia? 113

All of the Above 119

part three: what can we do about it?

Let's Change the Way We Describe Addiction 127

A Community of One 135

Storytelling 143

How Others Tell the Story 153

Conscience and Remorse 159

The Dog Again 165

Bibliography 171

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

OneMansView, November 8, 2008 (view all comments by OneMansView)
The author has written a very personal account concerning the not-well-understood subject of sexual addiction and how it compares with other addictions, namely alcohol, drugs, food, and gambling. The book consists largely of brief interviews with noted addiction scholars, many specializing in sexual addiction, personal accounts of those who destroyed their lives through sexual obsession, and a personal look at various periods of the author’s life involving promiscuity, infidelity, and alcohol abuse.

The author amply demonstrates that sexual addicts are given to the behaviors of lying, secretiveness, broken promises, obsessiveness, self-destructiveness, remorse, and the like, much as do other addicts. Likewise, there is evidence that there are genetic predispositions to most addictions, as well as similarities in brain reactions to addictive behaviors and withdrawals across the spectrum of addictions. Though not elaborated, sexual addiction is somewhat unique in that a substance is not involved and the behavior, even copious amounts, is considered normal and essential for life. The propagation of species depends on strong sex drives.

Another factor in naming activities “addictions” is the changing social environment and tolerance for behaviors. At one time in our history, excessive use of tobacco, overeating, and drinking were hardly viewed in the same manner as today. Furthermore, the sting is taken out of the word by its use to describe intense interest in all types of activities.

Sexual addiction is extremely difficult to determine. Multiple sex partners, open marriages, and the like are hardly atypical in modern society. The anonymity of urban life, professions that provide intense contact with numerous patients, clients, etc, access to significant resources, and an open-minded orientation – all of these facilitate an increased variety of sexual experiences. The author, a distinguished writer and mover among high social circles, had far more opportunities for sexual liaisons than the average person. She was unfaithful and undoubtedly was remorseful; however her claims of sexual addiction seem well overstated. She did not target potential victims at every turn – not even close. Perhaps under different marital arrangements, her behavior may well have been tolerated.

The book is an interesting and personal take on sexual addiction. Clearly, sexual addiction does exist with predatory behavior being a large component. Yet it remains an elusive concept. Infatuation, even obsession, is a typical response in many, if not most, courtships. Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect that intensity of feeling to never arise again. And, if so, is a labeling of sexual addiction that informative? There is much more to be said about the subject than is found in this short book. The book is perhaps best read for the author’s journey through many marriages and lovers, though all covered in a rather subdued sense.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781416537922
Subtitle:
Where Sex Meets Addiction
Author:
Cheever, Susan
Author:
Cheever, Susan
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Human Sexuality
Subject:
Psychopathology - Addiction
Subject:
Social Psychology
Subject:
Sex
Subject:
Sex addiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
October 2008
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 11.13 oz

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » General
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » Sexual Issues

Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction Sale Hardcover
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Product details 192 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781416537922 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'We are a nation of puritanical love junkies,' proclaims Cheever (My Name Is Bill) in her inquiry into the growing scientific and psychological evidence that suggests a chemical basis for sex addiction. Drawing on a hodge-podge of addiction literature, neurobiological studies and her more informal (but most persuasive) role as a seasoned battler of her own obsessions, Cheever believes that American idealism taints our expectations of relationships: 'In our world, addiction to other people... is the only addiction that is applauded and embraced.... ' But for Cheever, a lover's destructive behavior can be just as traumatizing as that of an alcoholic, a bulimic or a compulsive gambler. Cheever is best when writing personally; her candid memories of emotionally abusive parents, repeated adultery and consuming love drive an otherwise meandering text. Her cultural subjects are titillating enough and range from the voyeurism of To Catch a Predator to speculation that Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, struggled to hide a sex addiction. But the reader strains to connect slim narrative threads of this unstructured meditation on obsession." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[N]ot so much a nitty-gritty tell-all as it is a series of free-form musings on what addiction is and why it affects people so powerfully....Insightful and often engaging, but also aimless and occasionally trite."
"Review" by , "[P]rovocative and deeply personal....Such clinical investigation...is secondary to the intimate revelations Cheever shares about her own troubled past and addictive behavior."
"Synopsis" by , Cheever presents an intimate, provocative meditation on love, sex, and addiction; explores the boundaries between passion and addiction, desire and need; and raises important questions about how people love and why.
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