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The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Loveby Thomas Moore
Synopses & Reviews
In our age of science and psychology it's tempting to think of human sexuality in terms of biology and interpersonal relationships. But this new book by Thomas Moore regards sex as an experience of the soul and emphasizes the themes of fantasy, desire, meaning, and morality. In The Soul of Sex, Moore turns especially to religion, mythology, literature, rites, stories, and visual imagery that see in sex some of the most profound mysteries of life. He finds spirituality inherent in sex and at the same time explores the many ways in which spiritual values can sometimes wound our sexuality. He recommends chastity and celibacy for everyone--as aspects of sexuality and not only as literal lifestyles--and presents them as a means of developing a sensuous spirituality.
The Soul of Sex also establishes the principle that one can't have a fully satisfying sex life in a world that is asexual and antierotic. Thomas Moore recommends many ways in which society could tone down its moralism and create a public life that is erotic, one that affirms desire and pleasure. He sees widespread attention to sex in the media as a symptom of our failure to find a positive place for sex in the culture, and he spells out an Epicurean way of life in which the simple, deep pleasures of good food, friends, family, home, and intimacy with nature provide an appropriate erotic base for a fulfilling sex life.
This is a book for any individual of any gender or lifestyle who is trying to integrate sex into the rest of life. It is also a tool for couples, helping them to explore their sexuality with honesty, appropriate emotional complexity, civility, and comfort. Moore argues that sex should be at the center of life and at the top of our priorities and if we don't give sex its due, it will haunt and consume us. But when sex has a soul, deep pleasure and meaning find a common home, and in that sense this book is a sex manual for the soul.
As Moore explains in the opening sentence of his introduction, "This is a book about human sexuality, but it contains no information on biology, anatomy, or health, and it has little to say about techniques and relationship." Moore, a philosopher, theologian, and author of the best-selling Care of the Soul and SoulMates, has instead crafted a philosophical essay on the importance of incorporating sensuality and sexuality into all aspects of one's life. He delves into the stories of the old classical gods and goddesses, newer legends such as Marilyn Monroe's tragic life and death, and his own at-one-time celibate life to prove his assertions. Some of his writing may shock readers; he devotes several pages to the sexuality of Jesus Christ and asserts that it might be wise to "plac[e] sex at the top of our priorities in marriage or other intimate relationships-prior to love, affection, duty, communication, parenthood, and mutual support." This is an odd book with no easy home in library-land, as it's definitely more philosophy than self-help. Academic libraries may want to consider purchasing it, as should public libraries where Moore's previous work has been well received.
Pamela A. Matthews, Gettysburg Coll. Lib., PA
In his provocative and highly original new work, the bestselling author of Care of the Soul and Soul Mates at last restores sex to its rightful place in the human psyche.
A work that explores the soul of sex — its depth, mystery, and vast imagination — this groundbreaking book speaks directly to the ordinary individual and couple looking for deeper meaning and sensuality in all aspects of their lives. As in Thomas Moore's previous books, The Soul of Sex draws on mythology, literature, and religion to discuss the various aspects of sex, including sexual fantasy, erotic dreams, the body, hair, and cosmetics, the sex organs, sexual comedy, chastity and purity, the sensuous life, sex in the workplace, marital sex, and sex in myth. It explores the spirituality inherent in sex and relates the many ways in which spiritual values can sometimes wound our sexuality. And it spells out an epicurean way of life where the simple pleasures of good food, home, and intimacy with nature provide an erotic base for a fulfilling sex life.
By positing a union of spirituality and our sexual natures, Thomas Moore connects sex to the rest of life. This singular approach questions the very foundations of our usual thinking about sex and offers every reader a fresh, livable way of becoming more deeply sexual and loving.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -307).
About the Author
Thomas Moore was a monk in a Catholic religious order for twelve years and has degrees in theology, musicology, and philosophy. A former professor of psychology, he is the author of Care of the Soul, Soul Mates, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, The Education of the Heart, The Soul of Sex, and Original Self. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children.
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