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True Secrets of Lesbian Desire: Keeping Sex Alive in Long-Term Relationshipsby Renate Stendhal
Synopses & Reviews
Description Berkeley writer and psychotherapist Renate Stendhal gives thoughtful advice on how to understand one's partner and imagine sex from someone else's point of view. By letting three couples talk as they would in a therapy hour, she illustrates how lesbian couples come up against their un-worked out feelings of shame about desire, assume patterns based on heterosexual roles, and often voice their needs only in fights and angry comments. Learning how to tell the truth is necessary, and involves the willingness to be vulnerable. These are skills that can be learned, the therapy hour shows how. Stendhal's couples are of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds; she shows them how and when to speak up about desire, infantile fantasies, old fears, and present needs to build trust with a partner that has an undercurrent of durable erotic charge. Stendhal debunks "lesbian bed death" (the myth that for lesbians it is inevitable that sexual desire will die). Once couples learn their habitual patterns, they can overcome it. Lesbian bed-death and fear that monogamy is impossible for lesbians is dreaded by even the youngest and newest--Stendhal will have a ready audience.
In this work, Renate Stendhal shows how she counsels four lesbian couples of different ages and backgrounds on how to articulate their sexual desires and fantasies, old fears, and present needs to build a hotter erotic life based on truth-telling.
Renate Stendhal sweeps out the old myths about bed death, the notion that lesbian couples tend to be too close to maintain sexual desire. Her own story and her talks with counseling clients prove the contrary. Stendhal shows that sex is the natural and continuous outcome of a closeness generated by bold honesty and the capacity to speak and hear intimate secrets. Sharing "shameful" desires and vulnerable fears is what love and sexual passion are made of.
Stendhal teaches simple, effective and thought-provoking lessons for any committed or married couple who wants to keep passion alive beyond the honeymoon phase. Her message: The art of intimate truth-telling is the most effective aphrodisiac of all.
Stendhal examines the "shadow" in lesbian relationships that descends when women bond so completely that the intimacy becomes a merging, obliterating the space between individuals where desire lies. Lesbian bed death, the topic of so many comediennes, is examined and reined in, no longer an inevitable result of a solid relationship. True Secrets of Lesbian Desire casts an eye on the myths that burden us all.
About the Author
Renate Stendhal is a coach and counselor for individuals and couples, with a private practice in Berkeley and San Francisco. She has published several books, including Sex and Other Sacred Games and the award-winning photobiography, Gertrude Stein in Words and Pictures.
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