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Cupid's Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships

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4.15  ·  Rating details ·  311 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Zing! Cupid’s arrow skewers a primitive part of the brain. Obediently, we fall in love amid showers of passionate fireworks, bond for a time … and then often get fed up with each other and grow irritable or numb. Perhaps we try to remodel our mate, seek solace online, or pursue a new love interest. Ancient sages recognized this biological snare and hinted at a way to dodge ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by North Atlantic Books
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Liberality
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how many people will buy into the idea that orgasm is bad for you. I certainly have always enjoyed my own and I am, for the most part, happily married for going on 28 years. However, maybe the idea that we are focusing upon orgasm too much and that it is hurting the overall relationship is an idea I can consider.

The author goes into the biological impact of orgasm upon the brain and that is very interesting in itself. She also explains how the pair bond is formed and the effects of
...more
Liaken
Okay ... so, this book is very repetitious. VERY. For the need for editing (to cut the book by 2/3), I would give this book a star or two.

BUT! for the ideas, I would give it five stars. So, despite the drastic need for editing, I'm giving it all five stars.

Because the ideas are worth getting to. They really are. At least they were for me. The book gave me scientific reasoning to explain why my marriage is so awesome. Basically, what we've been up to is bonding instead of mating. It was great to
...more
Reginald
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
For those who simply want the science, first read the "'How Do I Explain This Book To My Friends?': A Synopsis Of Key Ideas" section at the end of the book, then begin reading at chapter 4.
KB
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
What I like so far...Good argument, but no solid conclusion

To be clear, there are no actual studies that Karezza in and of itself saves marriages, or rebuilds lost passion in a relationship. However, the reason why this book is very interesting is that the author has collected enough science and research from neurology, zoology, anthropology, and psychology to make a very compelling case that orgasm-centered sexuality creates an undesired neurobiological reaction that is responsible for lost
...more
Elizabeth
Apr 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: noone except a therapist whose client is screwed up by this
Shelves: ralph, 2nd-tier, get-again
ILL I keep dreading reading this to do an adequate review. Next time just do one chapter.

Read the Goodreads description of this book. It was probably written by the author. This book does NOT have the newest neuroscience. As far as I know it uses ideas out of context and junk science. Not in the mainstream of science at all.

about Kerreza

It gets one star because I don't like this book. It doesn't steer people in a usefull direction IMHO. However it is clear alright, just clearly wrong.

Biology
...more
Greg
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm very ambivalent about giving this book 4 stars, because of the many instances where the author misrepresents or cherry-picks scientific studies to support her thesis. For reference, I am currently a working neuroscientist but in my former line-of-work I studied the psychology of addictive behaviors. The author unquestioningly embraces the "dopamine = reward" hypothesis, and a naive interpretation of brain plasticity. The dopamine=reward hypothesis has been effectively criticized by experts ...more
Manya
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
This book offers insight into the neurochemical changes that take place during various stages of romantic relationships/encounters. As a person who likes to learn about mind-body connections, it was really interesting for me to learn about how the early infatuation stages of a romance are neurochemically speaking pretty much like being on drugs. I had quite a few a-ha moments reading this. The book not only explains in simple terms which neurochemical changes take place and what causes them, but ...more
Kimberly

Nice book that directly (rather than wishy washy and ethereally) discusses the Taoist lovemaking (the physical ramifications of orgasm based sex) and channeling energy between partners. Very practical with sound examples. Through reading this book, I'm FINALLY connecting as to why, after I sleep with someone, I don't want to be around them and would rather "throw them away" and move onto someone new. And why, even with my best efforts, sex still seemed like combative showmanship in orgasm
...more
Brent Cope
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, science
A really interesting perspective on the biological, neurological and psychological consequences of orgasm. Thoroughly engrossing, the facts and research as well as the 'ancient wisdom' tidbits spread throughout really make the book fun to read. It gives a lot of insight into our own behavior and can really help you acquire focus.

If you're in a relationship already I definitely recommend it for both partners to read together and share with each other, it's that kind of book.
Henri Junttila
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Could having too much sex be ruining your relationship? Yup, turns out it can. This book dives into why we do what we do, and how we can use the different parts of our brain to not only have more fulfilling relationships, but be happier in general.

I'd recommend this book for anyone who wants to make their relationship work, and work well (after the initial 1-2 year honeymoon period).

This book was repetitive in parts, but I liked it. It helped me learn and retain the information.
Steve Bedford
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
An intriguing premise that could have been explained fully in roughly half the number of pages.
Kevin
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book talks about the fact that we easily get habituated (fed up with our partners) after repetitive sexual encounters until orgasm. We get the feeling of being "done". It is a mammalian mating signal to lose interest in your partner. Constant repetition of sexual acts until orgasm drive us towards subtle changes in our mood and thus creates some friction between lovers over time. This is what the author refers to as Cupid's Poison.

Having an orgasm causes a neurochemical reaction in the
...more
Lewis Elliott
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I debated between 3stars and 4stars. I went with four, because even though I did not want to fully adopt a lot of the practices in this book--the theory, pointers, quotes, questions, and explanations are very thought-provoking and wonderful to entertain. I do believe karezza could be very beneficial for many people! The modern-age and western civilization has watered down sexual/sensual/bonding connection and made it mostly about climax, agenda, and achieving a goal. Where in history and eastern ...more
Ryan Curran
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sure, it's a bit redundant, but there is some important information laid out in this book. Marnia gives the reader a comprehensive look into the science and philosophies behind the enlightened sexual practice of karezza. This book helped change my perspective on relationships, love, sex, and pretty much every human function in the world. Marnia drops little bits of humor throughout, keeping a lighthearted approach to such a serious and relatable topic for most. In fact, her humor helps the ...more
Jean Boudillon
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book you can't afford not to read

This book blew my mind. The implications of our neurochemistry on individuals, relationships and society as a whole are nothing but huge.
Yes there is such a thing as habituation in couples and it's probably killing your love relationship.

In a sense, the history of civilization has been a sad descent from trusted relationships and connection—to an escalating and compulsive search for substitute mood medicines, ie. food, porn, drugs or shopping.

You've got two
...more
Jonathan
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A surprisingly good read about sexuality from a neurological perspective. It does give some spiritual basis to the claims as well, but most of it reads more ancedotally rather than with some spiritual authority. They quote the gospel of Thomas as a source, which is stupid. The science is goof, though. The book overall is well-researched and easy to read. I can't apply a lot of it, since there is a context for couples, but science has immediate application.

The short version is that chasing after
...more
Jonathan Inman
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book isn't perfectly well-written, but the information in it is well-researched and vital, so I'm giving it five stars.

First of all, the first two chapters are just the author's long-winded backstory, which contain some story conclusions that aren't the strongest. The real meat doesn't come until chapter three. And then, on occasion, the book feel repetitive with its info. But such repetition can be good, as it drills home the point.

Thanks to this book, I, once again, have had an experience
...more
Patrick
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book offers us a scientific look at monogamous relationships, what makes them last/stronger and how to avoid getting used to our partners and thus decrease our enjoyment.
It's not a boring book on relationships in the form of "Just spice it up", what I admire a lot!
For me it was a "revolutionary" read and has provided me with crucial informations. The concept of Karezza is very beneficial for monogamous relationships.
Things I disliked - partly repetitive content, way too anti-hedonistic
...more
Kotryna
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Worth a read (and a try) for anyone who wants a beautiful, fulfilling and long lasting relationship. At first the whole idea might seem weird (thanks to our evolutionary tendency to defend any behavior that might lead to procreation and unconscious defensiveness to alternative ideas), but once you start reading this insightful book, you'll soon see the logic and wisdom behind this alternative approach that authors suggest. One of the best books on relationships IMO.
Joe
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-in-2018
The book weaves a tapestry of personal example, 3rd person testimony and actual scientific data to explain why relationships seem to just fall apart so easy. Then the book offers a mind blowing solution that has changed my whole outlook on intimate relationships. The book has managed to incite a change in me. 11/10 obnoxiously recommending this to any person I ever meet.
Michael Baroody
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
It was an interesting book on the effects of orgasm (and the corresponding neurotransmitters released thereafter) on sexual satiety in monogamous relationships. Advocates for karezza and orgasmless sex/bonding.
ameer Mahmood
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really explains the issue and give amazing solutions.

Books like these are what we need. She picked up ancient wisdom and proved it with science. She has done a great job. I am convinced.
Brandon
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really powerful book backed by science. The chase of dopamine is really hurting our society and our relationships. We don't fully understand yet how porn is affecting our lives. Would have given 5 stars were it not a little redundant.

Highly recommended!
Frank Peters
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting book and theory. Not a scientist but I recognize the parts with being more sharp after a few days / weeks. Too bad she did not go into more details about how this affects people without a partner.
Amade
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
The ideas are interesting, but the book was pretty dull to read - too repetitive.
Andrew
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book that can change how you perceive seemingly random patters of emotions and understand how strong biological force to orgasm is and all its implications.
Ronald J.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting idea!
Tigran Ghardashyan
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has a chance to be your relationship-saver.
Stephen Kelley
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, the best book on love and romantic relationships I've read.
Mij
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a very intriguing read. Using reference material from a variety of sources (personal experience, scientific study, and spiritual traditions) the author makes a case for more intimacy-based relations between couples. Her premise is that humans have two genetic "programs": a mating program, which drives us toward reproductive (orgasm-based) sex, and a bonding program, which drives us toward pair-bonding (intimacy-based) sex. The latter is more conducive to stable, lasting relationships, ...more
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