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The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal about Creating a New Normal in Your Relationshipby Chrisanna Northrup and Pepper Schwartz and James Witte
Synopses & Reviews
Based on data obtained from nearly 100,000 respondents, here is the ultimate resource for anyone who wants to learn the relationship-tested ways couples can achieve satisfaction and contentment in areas such as communication, sex, affection, and financial cooperation.
What constitutes “normal” behavior among happy couples? What steps you should take if that “normal” is one you want to strive for? To help answer those questions, wellness entrepreneur Chrisanna Northrup teamed with two of America’s top sociologists, Yale Ph.D. Pepper Schwartz and Harvard Ph.D. James Witte, to design a unique interactive survey that would draw feedback from around the world.
What has resulted is the clearest picture yet of how well couples are communicating, romancing each other, satisfying each other in the bedroom, sharing financial responsibilities, and staying faithful — or not. Since the Normal Bar survey methodology sorts for age and gender, racial and geographic differences and sexual preferences, the authors are able to reveal, for example, what happens to passion as we grow older, which gender wants what when it comes to sex, the factors that spur marital combat, how kids figure in, how being gay or bisexual turns out to be both different and the same, and — regardless of background — the tiny habits that drive partners absolutely batty.
The book is dense with revelations, from the unexpected popularity of certain sexual positions, to the average number of times happy — and unhappy — couples kiss, to the prevalence of lying, to the surprising loyalty most men and women feel for their partner (even when in a deteriorating relationship), to the vivid and idiosyncratic ways individuals of different ages, genders and nationalities describe their “ideal romantic evening.”
Much more than a peek behind the relationship curtain, The Normal Bar offers readers an array of prescriptive tools that will help them establish a “new normal.” Mindful of what keeps couples stuck in ruts, the book’s authors suggest practical and life-changing ways to break cycles of disappointment and frustration.
"A sprawling Internet-disseminated survey of more than 75,000 people in committed romantic relationships fuels this collection of fun statistics and Kinseyesque glimpses into the love lives of everyday folks, all with an aim toward providing practical tips for improving relationships through an examination of behaviors reported by happy couples. The authors use the survey as a starting point to create a 'new normal,' one that balances notions of normalcy unique to individual relationships and ideas more common to a broad swath of other relationships. The tips and exercises are sensible and straightforward, though overly reliant on reductive conceptions of happiness. Extensive quotes from participants complement the book's use as a primer for frank discussions about romance, sex, communication, work, money, and trust. While the breakdown of many of the statistics along gender lines implies a heterosexual audience, the study covers a wide range of traditional couples and nontrad relationships. For the pair stuck in a rut or simply looking to enliven their bond, this book offers encouraging, low-conflict ways to make the tiny changes necessary to maintain and nurture loving relationships. Agent: Helen Zimmerman, Zimmerman Literary. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“The Normal Bar is more than a collection of surprising information — it’s one of the most insightful guides to building happier, healthier relationships that I’ve ever read. I was encouraged and comforted by the authors' findings. Simply terrific.” Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author of Happy for No Reason and coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul
“The Normal Bar is an innovative, easy to read book about relationships and how to make them better. It is filled with novel and important findings. I will use them in my classes, in my papers and in my clinical work.” Howard J. Markman, Ph.D, author of Fighting for Your Marriage
"Masters and Johnson, it's time to move over. The Normal Bar mixes together sex, savvy insights and science, making you laugh while you learn. Bet you haven't done that in a while." Nancy L. Snyderman, MD, NBC News Chief Medical Editor
Based on an unprecedented survey of the romantic lives of more than 100,000 people, most of them in couple relationships, The Normal Bar identifies what is "normal" for the most satisfied partners, and provides effective tools for shifting one's normal if one so desires.
This book's team of expert authors uses a powerful interactive survey tool known as OnQ to compare relationships around the world, sorting for such criteria as ethnic differences, age, gender, and income. What is delivered is the ultimate resource for anyone who wants to learn the keys to satisfaction and contentment in areas such as communication, sex, affection, and financial cooperation. The Normal Bar is the first book to give readers a snapshot of what relationships look like from the inside — from the typical couple's surprising embrace of bedroom kinkiness to the real factors that sour marriages to the role played by friends, family, and children. Most important, it insightfully charts the alternative paths that readers can take to improve their own romantic situation.
About the Author
CHRISANNA NORTHRUP created The Normal Bar project and is the CEO of YOU Got Challenged! Inc., a customized online program that motivates people to change their normal to a healthier one.
PEPPER SCHWARTZ received her Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University, is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington, and is the author of 16 books.
JAMES WITTE, a Harvard Ph.D., is the Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Social Science Research at George Mason University.
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