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Sexual Intelligence: What We Really Want from Sex

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,020 ratings  ·  112 reviews
This is not your standard sex book. Sex therapist, sociologist, and Psychology Today contributor Dr. Marty Klein goes beyond the sex manuals to reveal how our mindsets during sex are more important than any tricks or techniques—and that the way to a healthier, more exciting, more fulfilling sex life lies in first developing our sexual intelligence. This book is the antidot ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by HarperOne
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  1,020 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Makes only one point in a very long winded way: we need to stop focusing on performance and what is normal, accept the effects of aging, and accept that sex will always be imperfect so we should stop trying to make it perfect. There, now you've read the whole book ...more
Good introduction to realistic, adult sex. It's really useful, especially if you're getting older and need to challenge your sexual assumptions/prejudices. ...more
I found much of this book to be very insightful. Some of the patients that Klein had drove me a bit crazy with their narrow-mindedness, but I suppose that's pretty representative. I think that there's something for everyone in this book and that any one who picks it up will end up with tools or new ways of thinking about sex. I particularly love the idea of shifting our paradigm as we age to reflect what our bodies are now able to do instead of what they could do 20 years ago... and ending that ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Really good, practical advice for the sexually repressed. If you're not and you're looking to better understand the brain and sexual desire, you will probably find it far too rudimentary, as I did. ...more
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dr. Klein gets beneath the superficialialities of sex and relationships and gives us some excellent tools for analyzing our attitudes and behavior. I have read dozens of books on sex and sexuality, this one goes beyond any others. His insights about the interaction of sex and the rest of our lives is excellent. He explores so many different ways to look at so-called sexual dysfunctions and reveals that many sexual problems are rooted in other life issues. This is a book to read carefully. It is ...more
Douglas Larson
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education, sexuality
I found this book to be the most sensible, down-to-earth, realistic and healthy discussion of sexuality I have ever read. The author is clearly a true professional and not just a pseudo-professional like so many other authors of books of this nature. And he has a nice sense of humor about the whole subject. I found myself laughing frequently as he described his clients' experience as well as his summations of various aspects of the human experience.

Klein draws on his decades of experience as a
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mid-to
Great book that deconstructs all the misconceptions we have about sex which become more relevant as we age - esp after 35. We are deluded into the performance, orgasm-oriented sex of popular media - not helped by ignorant experts around us and especially the complete lack of training of our family physician who also generally is arrogant and moralistic, compounded with backwards ideas of normal and acceptable in sex.

Sex is about the experience, connecting, validating each other, a place for pla
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book from beginning to end. It broke down the meaning of Sex trying to find intimacy and closeness but also getting all those bad ideas out of your brain. Of not being sexy enough for your partner. What hit me the most is communication this books helps you to understand how to communicate efficiently with your partner about sex. I recommend this book to all couples and especially singles as well
Megan Glemza
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not going to lie, this author changed my perspective on orgasm.

Perhaps easier said then done, "allow sex to happen, uninterrupted by your self-conscious or judgements."
Jill Gerhardstein
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, x2014, paper
I really enjoyed this book but he mentioned wetting the bed several times and did not mention female ejaculation once. I think he conflated the two, which is really weird for a sex weird that I'm mentioning it here.

Otherwise it had some great information and I'll probably gift a few copies.
Elizabeth Denis
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I know this topic can be taboo for many, but I'll still share some thoughts here. Growing up Mormon in a chronically abusive home (sexual abuse too), and then being married to a closet gay man for 15 years really skewed my perspective on my own sexuality. Through many years of therapy, I felt like my perspective on my own sexuality changed, as I started to heal. This book echoed some of my education and practice through therapy, and I appreciated the reminders. When keeping a partner in mind, co ...more
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
An immensely practical book--and probably a challenging one to most readers. Klein exhorts us to scrutinize and revise what we believe and feel about sex, with the goal of enjoying sex more, not doing sex better. With humor and bluntness, he points out the ramifications or byproducts of our pet convictions and attitudes. He prods us to accept aging and physical pain rather than try to have sex as if neither existed.

The emphasis of the book might appear to be on self-understanding, given Sexual I
Tadas Talaikis
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sexuality
Funny to read. This book shows how much people are idiotically brainwashed with religions and beliefs of bigots of various kinds. I'll put it in a few sentences.

First, how do you expect to be happy with classifications of the kind - "normal", "not normal"? You can just hope to stay with your fucking idiotic romance novels (or likewise idiotic self-help books).

Second, in love (sex) anything is normal that is agreed upon between conscious individuals. Any originator telling otherwise is damage
Tom Ellis
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Klein moves beyond the mechanics of sex to address the complexities and emotional dynamics of sexuality. He reminds us that there is a human brain and heart connected to our genitals. He challenges the false scripts that perpetuate feelings of shame, failure and frustration. Plus, his frank and witty style make Sexual Intelligence a pleasurable read. A must read for people who have sex - which is just about everyone.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Klein has a great depth of mastery (and perhaps a wee too much confidence) that allows him to clearly put forth a view of sexuality that strips away a lot of the societal angst and myth we all carry around. The book is a nice journey. Though it covers clients with a wide range of sexual orientations, it also slips into hetero normative thinking now and then. A worthwhile read.
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
A enjoyable mix of "what not to do" anecdotes, clear scientific explanations, and advice. A fresh perspective on what usually passes for sex and, now importantly, relationship advice. ...more
Ashley Salisbury
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did I ever think that reading a book about changing the way I think about sexuality could be funny? No, I didn't think that, but damn has it been proven it can be done! Dr. Klein is not only on point about how sexuality is viewed in a modern context and the ways we can change our attitudes about what constitutes good sex, but he is funny about it! I dare you to read this book and not giggle.

I have definitely changed the way that I think about what can constitute a 'sexual encounter' and that th
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Basically don't worry about it, do what you like, don't be ashamed, learn to adapt to any limitations you may have, sex can and should be more than just intercourse, love yourself, love the one you're with. Be open, adaptive, not too picky, communicative in a nice and thoughtful way, be willing to be content with less spectacular experiences than you may have had when younger. Don't be attached to the outcome. Enjoy it in whatever form it takes. ...more
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Friendly & forthright. The journey is the destination. Sex (which we define too narrowly) is another form of communication.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a random book selection for me based on browsing for some available audio titles from the library the night before leaving on a work trip. It had decent reviews so I figured, why not? I definitely found it worthwhile. Although I personally don’t have some of the sexual inhibitions or struggles that many of the example couples in the book did, it was still insightful, important information and worthwhile for anyone in a sexual relationship, especially a long term one and as we age. I fel ...more
Antonio Stark
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very informative book that changed my perspective on sex - not only on intercourse, but on activity that surrounds it. Sexual identity is not merely a physical function, but a complex interplay between mental and emotional capacities. To recognize this in both oneself and one's partner could provide a more fulfilling, and more enjoyable private (if one so chooses) life ...more
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
About halfway through this book, I turned to my fiance and said, "I wish I could memorize every single word in this book. It would make me a better person, and a better therapist." On rare but lovely occasions, I come across a book that I wish everyone could read. This is one of those books.

I've been a fan of Marty Klein's speaking career for almost a decade, but his first book that I read, "America's War on Sex," was a little bit too political for my taste. This book sounded like it had greater
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book so much that I had to go back and downgrade Mating in Captivity a star; once I knew what a book on this topic could be the other impressed me less.

This book is a genuine, thorough, and fantastic discussion of what constitutes intelligence in this area and how to go about acquiring it. Where Mating in Captivity had some smart and thoughtful pieces, it tended to be as much titillation and political statement as useful and thoughtful material. This book though dispenses with any
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sex therapist and marriage counselor Klein writes an incredibly down-to-earth and refreshing work on human sexuality. Instead of lamenting our changing sexuality as we get old, Klein invites people to accept the changes and roll with the punches.

Acceptance is a prominent theme: acceptance that sex changes as we age, acceptance of our own sexual preferences and ignoring what prominent researchers like Master's and Johnson define as "normal", and acceptance of your partner. We become sexually int
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
4.5 stars
Great grounded look at sexual issues and how a seasoned sex therapist looks at the work. At first, I wasn't sure I would connect with it because it seemed to focus on aging but as I read, I was won over by his practical approach which I feel serves people more than the myriad of "1000 ways to seduce your lover" type manuals or other books which promote "spicing things up." As a therapist, his vignettes rang true and I appreciated that his case histories weren't all "success stories." I
Teo 2050


Klein M (2012) (07:35) Sexual Intelligence - What We Really Want from Sex - and How to Get It

1. Telling the Truth About Sex
1.1. What Do People Say They Want from Sex? What Do They Really Want?
1.2. Am I Normal? Why Focusing on "Normal Sex" Undermines Sex
1.3. What Is Sexual Intelligence? Why Does It Matter?

2. Components of Sexual Intelligence
2.1. Your Brain – Information and Knowledge
2.2. Your Heart – Emotional Skills
2.3. Your Body – Awareness and Comfort

3. Implication
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm doing this on my phone so it won't be long. I really enjoyed this book. I bought it at the conference I was just at, and probably read it too fast to fully take in because I wanted to finish before I got sucked back into everyday life. I like that it's written for anyone, and I think it could be helpful for anyone. I like it as a therapist. it made me think about our culture and cultural messages about sex and sexuality and how they inform, shape, and hinder our sexual beliefs, behaviors and ...more
Peter Neiger
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this read, it was fairly quick and easy. As an aspiring sex therapist I really enjoyed reading a professional's view on the subject and some real world examples. The content of the book wasn't particularly applicable to me right now. It is more geared towards people in a different stage of their life or in fairly sexually traditional relationships. All in all, I recommend it to anyone interested in sex therapy or having some tension connecting to their partner due to the life/bo ...more
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think his message of self-acceptance, emotional intimacy and attention to pleasure are important to combatting anxiety- producing thoughts related to sexual expression and performance. I found it right in line with the work of Byron Katie: if an opinion about the way things "should" be is causing you to suffer, get rid of the opinion. My only caveat is that the book is definitely geared towards both heterosexuals, and the older end of the age spectrum. Still I would recommend it to anyone who ...more
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was written by a sex and relationship therapist who tries to encourage his clients to view sex in a different light, such as not viewing intercourse as the primary goal of a sexual encounter between a couple. I particularly liked chapters seven and nine. Chapter nine speaks to people who are dealing with health or age issues as they encounter these obstacles in the bedroom. Chapter seven speaks to those couples who view intercourse as "having sex" and everything else isn't. He tries to ...more
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Marty Klein is a sex therapist, author, educator and public policy analyst. He is critical of censorship, the concepts of "sex addiction" and "porn addiction," and the anti-pornography movement. ...more

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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“What really matters in sex isn’t the things you can measure; it’s how people feel, which is a lot harder to explore, understand, measure, or fix.” 0 likes
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